Hamamatsu introduced the Japan's first motorcycle. The motorcycle industry in the region flourished since when Honda Soichiro, the founder of Honda Motor, developed a bicycle equipped with small engine. There were more than 40 motorcycle manufacturers including Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha in the area at the beginning. Suzuki is the only that stayed, but many parts manufacturers are still in Hamamatsu.
Japan became the world's largest manufacturer of motorcycles in 1960 and grew its export volume in the Showa 40s (1965-1975). Although, Its manufacturing volume continuously declined after it peaked in 1981. Some of its causes were demands for cost reductions to parts manufactures from motorcycle companies engaged in price competition in 1980s and transfers of production bases to overseas due to the saturation of the Japanese market. Fortunately, the motorcycle market in Asia expanded since the beginning of the Heisei period (1989- ). High-powered bikes for Europe and the United States and small bikes are the two large pillars of the industry today.
One of characteristics of motor bikes manufacturing is that it depends highly on skilled engineers. This is brought by the difficulty to install large scale production plant since, unlike automobiles, its manufacturing lots are small and its short product cycles.