Feature article

Best Honda Motorcycles Available in NZ: Buying Guide

Honda is amongst the market leaders for motorcycles in New Zealand. That’s in large part because of its huge range.

Last updated: 25 June 2024

Honda is amongst the market leaders for motorcycles in New Zealand. That’s in large part because of its huge range. It has traditionally been strong in the LAMS market with its CB machines but also has an enormous line-up in the off-road area. In 2016 Honda entered the ADV arena with a highly successful reprisal of its Africa Twin, while the smaller Trans-alp 750 made a comeback last year. And in the touring area Honda recently released the NT1100, a traditional tourer that makes use of the Africa twin 1100cc engine. Another relatively new addition is the CL500 Scrambler that Honda describes as a commuter.

Hornet Buzz and Sting

There are a few standouts that come to mind, last year’s CB750 Hornet being one of them. The Hornet name has a long and storied history with Honda but the reprised version was essentially developed from a blank slate. Its engine is all new, a 68kW and 75Nm parallel 750cc twin, providing plenty enough power to overcome weight of 190kg. That’s thanks to a lightweight frame, promising streetfighter performance to match the sharp styling.

There are three ride modes while TC and wheelie control are standard. The engine is designed as much for low and midrange power as it is for top end performance.

Radial-mount four-piston calipers, a five-inch TFT colour display, and full LED lighting round out the feisty middleweight. Primary competition for the $15,995 Hornet comes from Suzuki’s GSX-8S.

View Listings on Trade Me Motors: Honda Hornet


Following the release of Honda’s Rebel 500, a Rebel 1100 followed in 2021. The pleasing part about this machine is that it didn’t suffer from the usual bad cruiser character traits, like being overweight - this is 223kg - and adverse to cornering. This is a bobber (bobbed fenders) that’s not afraid of bends. The engine is borrowed from the Africa twin so there’s plenty of grunt, its 98Nm arriving at 4750rpm. As with the donor bike, there’s a twin-clutch variant available. This is essentially an auto you shift with manual paddles.

Features include four engine modes, traction control and ABS, along with cruise control, which is surprisingly handy on a cruiser. It’s quick in a straight line - 0-100 in 3.7sec - and sounds bassy without being stupid loud. What makes this engine so alluring is its easy power delivery. At everyday revs from 3000 to 5000rpm this feels strong, earthy and is pulling an easy 3800rpm at the open road legal limit. A lone radial mount four-piston caliper slows a 330mm disc most effectively.

The ride is comfy too, not always a given on bobbers. And where most grind out when you lean them over, this really doesn’t. It also steers in a live and direct manner. Factory accessories include a small touring screen and soft baggage.

Naturally this comes in black but is available in red or brown too. It sells from $17,995 for the manual version. Primary competition is the Scout Bobber which looks feistier but isn’t as fast. 

View Listings on Trade Me Motors: Honda Rebel


Kyle Cassidy
Kyle Cassidy
Editor NZ Autocar magazine - autocar.co.nz

Kyle has been reviewing cars since starting at NZ Autocar magazine in 2003 and has been editor since 2009. In that time he’s become an expert on what makes for a good vehicle while also gaining insights into the local automotive industry.