Retro motorcycles keep winning the Japan Bike of the Year award

The Honda Dax 125 has won Japan’s Bike of the Year for 2022. The mini-bike, which is short for Dachshund, was released back in March and inspired by the original Honda Dax from 1969. Notably, years before the Motocompo, it was designed specifically to be carried around in the back of a car and boasted a fuel tank that wouldn’t spill if the motorcycle was laid on its side.

The Dax beat out 69 other motorcycles to win top honors. It’s no small feat considering bikes like the Suzuki Hayabusa and Ducati Street Fighter were also in the running. However a big part of the Dax’s appeal was its ability to attract young  enthusiasts to the motorcycle hobby.

Naturally, winning the Grand Prize also means that the Dax handily won the Moped category, beating out its cousin the Honda Super Cub as well as the Yamaha NMAX. Last year’s overall winner, the Ninja ZX-25R won the Light Motorcycle (250cc and under) class, while the Kawasaki Z900RS 50th Anniversary Edition won the Small Motorcycle category. Rounding out the prizes were the Harley-Davidson Sports Star S for the Foreign class and the Honda Gyro Canopy e: in the Electric division.

The Bike of the Year is a relatively new award, having existed only since 2018. That year the throwback Kawasaki Z900RS took the Grand Prize. It was followed by the reborn Honda Super Cub C125 in 2019, a revived Honda CT125 Hunter Cub in 2020, and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R in 2021. That means four out of the five winning bikes have been retro inspirations. Perhaps there’s some bias at work here, but it just goes to show, with bikes as it is with cars, heritage matters.

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