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!
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”
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
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.
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.
final year of production (1978) the bike remained the same besides the two-tier
seat and some minor engine
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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!
Engine: Air-cooled, 4-stroke, parallel-4 SOHC
Bore x Stroke: 61.0 x 63.0mm
Max Power: 67.0hp@8,000rpm
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)