The original owner and president Franta Juhan, was a motorcycle speedway champion when he opened his first motorcycle shop in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1938. Franta, was a world class rider competing in multiple events including, Speedway, GP Road Racing, Ice Racing and Trials.
After immigrating to Canada Franta’s Brother Jaroslav, who won the Prestigious Pan America Road Race for Porsche, and, raced Ferrari at Le Mans, may have pressured him, towards car
industry. But his love of motorcycling drove him to open another motorcycle shop.
Generations of loyal customers are glad he did.
Franta, with his many contacts throughout the world of motorsports, could have been a dealer for almost any brand. In the early sixties Honda was in it’s infancy, in North America, and sold through distributors, including Vancouver’s Trev Deeley. So why Honda?
It was the racing pedigree that drew Franta, to Honda. He knew that the engineering marvels like, the unbelievable RC166 250cc six cylinder ridden by the legendary World Champion, Mike Hailwood would eventually filter down to Honda’s production products.
As we know today, that was an astute observation. In the early sixties however, the market was dominated by British and American brands at that time which made Honda a risky choice.
He chose Honda for many of the reasons you do today; Honda provides clean, efficient, well engineered, reliable transportation.
The fact that Honda used racing as part of its engineering process endeared them to him. He believed that this racing technology would filter down into production motorcycles, which would transform Honda to become into a world leader in transportation.
Today after 50 years of selling and servicing Honda, we agree!
Franta Juhan, Vienna
From Past to Present
In 1965 we opened our doors to the public at 145 Robson Street in Vancouver. We were there for 28 years, before relocating, to our present location in Burnaby, B.C.
The picture on the left is current owner Frankie Juhan with three Honda classics at the Honda Centre, 145 Robson Street, Vancouver, in 1969. The rare Honda S600 Sports car, the first Superbike the CB750K- and a Honda Classic the CT70.
The first Honda distributor in North America was Trev Deely,. Trev supported Frankie and his wrench Duncan Fraser in road racing. Frankie Juhan was a Canadian Motorcycle Champion, and represented Canada in New Zealand, the United States and the European Gran Prix Circuit. He worked in the shop learning the business first hand from his dad and took over in 1992. The shop moved too our current location in Burnaby in 1993 and since that time we have won multiple awards from Honda for our Sales and Service.
The Honda Centre endured three major recessions 1980’s , 1990’s and 2007. Due to loyal customers, superb products and dedicated staff, the Honda Centre has pulled through time and time again.
In the 80’s, Canadian interest rates went as high as 21% and, Reuters reported “Business bankruptcies rose very quickly in both the 1982 and 1991 recessions, reaching close to 50 percent year-over-year growth rates.
Honda made some great products during these recessions. Bikes, like the 1982 turbo charged CX500TC and the CB750SC Nighthawks. With the high unemployment and interest rates at the time, few people could afford them even though they were terrific bikes for their value. The 1982 CTX500T sold for $ 5,000 and, you could easily get double that for a properly restored one today.
“Those were tough times and you had to work in every facet of the company to make it work. I sold the bikes and parts, cleaned the shop, worked in service and took every phone call. You worked stupid hours and made every transaction count. The relationships with Honda and our suppliers were crucial to our surviving during these times. It was Honda’s great products with their commitment to quality that allowed us to sell enough bikes, to pay the bills”
–Frankie Juhan (Current Owner)
The Present and the Future
Today, Honda is a global powerhouse, being the world’s largest manufacturer of four stroke engines, and is a world leader in all their major markers.
Honda Canada took over from its distributors in 1969 and today Honda and its dealer’s employ more than 19,000 Canadians, buy $2.1 billion of goods annually from Canadian–based suppliers, and exports products to the U.S.A., Mexico, China and South America. Simply put, Honda is a remarkable Canadian success story.
Most recently Honda has introduced motorcycles that get to the root of Honda’s success, creating affordable fun transportation for the masses.
The 125cc Grom, CBR300R and the CBR500R are this year\’s favored Honda bikes that provide riders with the reliability and performance they are used to, but offer a modern sense of efficiency and creative design.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS SELLING AND SERVICING HONDA
Since 1965, the Honda Centre has been selling and servicing Honda Motorcycles, Marine Outboards, and Power Equipment to loyal customers who value the Honda Centre’s tradition and attitudes. We thank those customers who continue to support us and contribute to the Honda Centre legacy.
Our Mission is to continue to provide top quality service while looking for new ways to enhance our value to the Honda community.
Our Vision, is rooted in our historic winning legacy. Obstacles are just something, you have to overcome, to win. You win approval from your customers by striving to exceed their expectations.
You win approval from your suppliers by being consistent and knowledgeable in presenting their products.
The combination of these two tracks built a strong foundation from which customer loyalty, is the end result.
Thank’s to over 50 years of adhering to these principles we have up to three generations of customers. It still makes us smile when a grandparent brings his grandson or granddaughter in for their first motorcycle. Especially, when you sold the grandparent their first bike!
Growing with Honda
Over the years the Honda Centre added Honda Power Equipment and Honda Marine to the product list and became the first dedicated single full Line Honda Dealer in British Columbia.
As a single-line dealer, the Honda Centre is able to focus its energies in one product line. This enables the our team to have a strong knowledge base on all aspects of our product line.
Over the past 50 years the Honda Centre\’s dedicated sales, service and parts staff provides our customers the attention, knowledge, and trust that they deserve.
Frankie and Duncan are still a team, working together to manage and strengthen the Honda Centre historical reputation. Duncan’s management experience includes, having been nominated by Earnst & Young, as Entrepreneur of the Year in British Columbia, is a Simon Fraser Alumni, a Project Management Professional and a motorcycle enthusiast. Our current sales team consists of Galen Tschumi-Dion a superbly well trained professional and Marine and Power Equipment specialist Lee Landis. Both have who has an extensive background in all motor-sports, including racing flat track, Baja and racing sailboats.
Parts and Accesories
Our parts department is staffed by ex racers Lori Sweet and Ben Cha who have over 50 years of combined experience. Besides Honda, this group works with the major accessories and parts suppliers including: Motovan, Parts Canada , Gamma, Importations Thibault, Full Bore, Kimpex, Paynes Marine and many more. This ensures our customers have access to the brands they desire.
Our team brings unprecedented expertise and has created what is arguably the most experienced Honda Parts and power sports accessory department in British Columbia.