Yamaha Vs. Honda Motorcycles: How They Compare

When buying a motorcycle, you have several choices, and two of the most well-known brands, Yamaha and Honda, provide excellent options. But when choosing models becomes difficult, the logical solution is to compare which motorcycle maker is best. While there are differences between Yamaha and Honda, both offer advantages and disadvantages for riders. For those just getting into the bike scene, not all models are ideal for beginners; before purchasing, you should consider the best motorcycles for new riders. When examining Honda and Yamaha's history, you'll discover both have an interesting story.

In 1946, Soichiro Honda noted that most people in Japan got around town on basic bicycles and was inspired to improve on the two-wheeled form of transportation. Using small engines that powered radio systems, Honda successfully added them to bicycles, making travel less physically challenging. The new powered bicycles were so incredibly popular that Honda couldn't keep his inventory full. 

Conversely, Torakusu Yamaha wasn't initially in the business of vehicle development but instead was intent on creating a superior version of the organ, a Western instrument. Through trial and error, he painstakingly worked to improve tuning in his version of the organ, and this history is encapsulated in Yamaha's logo, which is comprised of three tuning forks. It wouldn't be until 1953 that Nippon Gakki (now known as Yamaha) would begin developing motorcycle prototypes.

Comparing Supersport and Adventure Touring

Within the current Supersport category, Honda's top offering is the 2023 CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, and Yamaha comes to the table with the 2024 YZF-R1M. In terms of engine displacement, Honda's Fireblade SP is slightly larger at 999cc vs. Yamaha's 998cc. Examining the compression ratio, Honda edges out Yamaha with a 13.4:1 ratio to a 13.0:1, indicating that the Fireblade SP can pull more energy from combustion. In comparing these two Supersport motorcycles, it's clear Honda provides a slight advantage in performance, but Yamaha's bike starts at a lower price point. However, in terms of technology, Honda includes a full-color high-resolution display with customization options, unlike Yamaha.

When looking at Adventure Touring bikes, Yamaha turns the tables on power with its 2024 Super TÉNÉRÉ, equipped with a 1,199cc engine compared to Honda's Africa Twin at 1084cc. However, Honda's bike has a touchscreen display that can connect to your smartphone using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. But once again, Honda is more expensive at $18,099 for its Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES DCT, compared to Yamaha's 2024 Super TÉNÉRÉ with a starting price of $16,299.