This is a bike that everybody loved and

wanted to have. Nobody cared about anything

 else besides Honda’s CB750. This is

probably the most important machine in the

history of motorcycling
.

1969-78 Honda CB750

 

Introduction

In 1969 Honda was known as the inventor of the Super Cub. The bike was pretty small, useful and it was well-received. But let’s face it: that was not the kind of bike that would develop into a legend in the States and within that very same decade Honda satisfied Americans’ demands for big, beefy bikes with something that would change the course of motorcycle history and create the powerful legacy for the next generations of straight fours- Introducing the CB750!

History

1. 1969 Honda CB750
1969 Honda CB750

The CB750 was a big and rather heavy bike with high handlebars, intended as an all-rounder. But it still whistled to a top speed of about 125mph (201kph), handled reasonably well and sold in huge numbers worldwide. In the 1970s, Honda did relatively little to uprate the CB750, which meant that it lost ground to newer rivals including Kawasaki’s 900cc ZI, which arrived in 1973. The Honda actually lost some performance, as its engine was detuned to reduce emissions. When it was given a facelift to produce the CB750F in 1976, the new bike’s Hat handlebars, racier styling, vivid yellow paintwork and four-into-one exhaust system were let down by a top speed of below 120mph (193kph). The DOHC, 16-valve CB750K of 1979 had an unreliable engine and poor handling, all of which seemed a far cry from the brilliance of the original CB750. Although the CB750’s engine formed the basis for many specials and racebikes throughout the 1970’s, the Honda made less of an impact on the track that in the showrooms.

In 1969 the original version of the CB750 was released. The bike had louvred side panels, all-cable throttles, a tiny seat hump and plastic instrument lenses. Also, first 7400 or so have “sand cast” crankcase.

The 1971 version had beam-operated throttles, restyled airbox and oil tank with new emblems. The bike also received the white tank lettering and the black front brake caliper. Let’s not forget something: this is the year with the biggest-selling CB750


The following year, the bike (K2) was improved with restricted silencers, altered rear shocks and a metal chainguard instead of plastic.
In 1973 it’s K3 for U.S. The bike got improved front fork and five-way adjustable shocks. The K3 also features new tank graphics, restricted air intake, front disc water guard and running lights in indicators.

In 1974 the bike (K4) didn’t improve too much. Only three vertical braces in cylinder head side fins.

Next year the K5 had bigger indicators and rubber-tipped “flip-up” side stands.

1976 is the year when the CB750 got its stronger swingarm and in 1977 the K7 featured a F1-type engine and single carburetor accelerator pump. Plainer silencers, 17in rear wheel width wider tire, 0-ring chain and flush fuel filter also were added that year.

In its final year of production (1978) the bike remained the same besides the two-tier seat and some minor engine tweaks.

Competition

2. 1968 Honda CB750 unveiling
1968 Honda CB750 unveiling

When the CB750 was unveiled in 1968 everybody said:” This is it! ”. Honda broke the mold and this was a bike for enthusiasts- technically (if only by a month) the second true modern Superbike behind the Triumph Trident (aka BSA Rocket 3). The CB750 was the first modern four cylinder machine from a mainstream manufacturer. Other novel features included, an electric starter and an overhead camshaft. By comparison the triple cylinder Triumph Trident was an extension of an older engine in a far better handling frame. The CB750 and Rocket3/Trident sold well against each other up until 1971, with the CB750 trading on price and reliability, while the Rocket 3/Trident traded on its racing ability. However, as the price of the Honda dropped and the extras increased, the Trident failed to develop as quickly and Honda was eventually outselling the British bikes by five to one in 1976, the last year of production of the Triumph Trident.

Exterior

This motorcycle made a statement with the technical features that presented at the time but let’s not forget the beauty of it: it had a simple design and a nice, clean look which also attracted customers all around the United States and Europe. The bike was very reliable and versatile and we can say it developed into a legend. But let’s talk about the paint scheme when the bike was launched in 1969.

The first CB750 four was sold from 1969 to 1970 and was available in one of three colors: Candy Blue Green, Candy Gold, or Candy Ruby Red. The tank, side covers and upper forks had the basic color.

 The CB750 is all about the nice clean design combined with tasty paintjob covering the beast bellow.

Technical

Try not to say WOW while reading the following! The dazzling four-cylinder machine represented one of the greatest technical leaps since motorcycling began. Why? Just think about it: until then, there had only been a handful of four-cylinder motorcycles and none had offered the power, sophistication and availability presented by the CB750. Not only did it boast a potent overhead camshaft engine, the big four also outpaced everything else in its class by offering a front disc brake, a five-speed gearbox and stunning looks as well as usual Honda features like electric starting and a superb finish. Able to top 120mph whilst still begin docile at city speeds the inexhaustible CB750 delivered its power more smoothly than any big sportster before it.

 ----

Test drive

5. 1969 Honda CB750
1969 Honda CB750

Riding a Honda CB750 is a great experience for any kind of rider and it certainly was for me. If I would have to choose one bike for a test drive, this will be it each and every time.

Size and weight are the things that strike you when you first approach the CB750, yet Honda is far from being unmanageable. The bike doesn’t feel so heavy and it rides smoothly, offering the greatest riding experience in collaboration with its sound, of course. Except when making tight turns, when top heaviness is apparent, the four’s bulk can be largely forgotten. But, although the front disc and rear drum offer effective braking for leisurely riding, when the machine’s 480lb-plus weight is rolling at speed it’s a mistake to expect too much from the disc.

The seat is very comfortable, although tingly high frequency vibes penetrate the filling across a fair span of the rpm range. The bars and footrest are well placed for brisk, rather than frenetic road riding, with windblast inevitably becoming an issue at motorway velocity.

The bike presents over-firm fork action and poorly-damped rear units so the ride can become bouncy on some occasions. But who cares about that when he has underneath him the best motorcycle engine produced in the late 60s and improved in the following years of production? The bike simply attracts you with its roughness and classic look. You feel like you’re writing history with the throttle and by going smoothly through all 5-speeds of the bike.

Price

At the time, large models were sold for between $2800 and $4000 in the U.S. but not the CB750. This bike had a retail price of $1495 making the dealers burst into thunderous applause when they heard the price. The bike ended up selling for $1800 to $2000 but it was well worth it.

Conclusion

This is a bike that everybody loved and wanted to have. Nobody cared about anything else besides Honda’s CB750. This is probably the most important machine in the history of motorcycling, so important that a line was established before and after the CB750. Way to go Honda!

SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine: Air-cooled, 4-stroke, parallel-4 SOHC

Displacement: 736.0cc

Bore x Stroke: 61.0 x 63.0mm

Max Power: 67.0hp@8,000rpm

Transmission: 5-speed

Clutch: Wet multi plate

Starter: Electric & Kick

Frame Type: Double cradle steel tube

Front Suspension: Telescopic

Rear Suspension: Swingarm

Front Brake: Single Disc

Rear Brake: Leading trailing drum

Dry weight: 218.0kg

Top speed: 125mph (201kph)