1977 Honda CB750
Completely Gone Through By Meticulous Honda Expert, Every Mechanical Item Attended To, 3 Pages of Documented Work, One of the Best Hondas We've Ridden
History of the CB750:
"The most sophisticated production bike ever" - Cycle World, 1969
A Grand Prix racer for the streets, and the first superbike:
Having captured five consecutive championship titles in the historic 1966 World Grand Prix Road Racing Series, Honda decided to withdraw from the World GP circuit beginning the very next season. Upon that announcement, the company turned toward its primary target: the development of high-performance consumer machines. Thus it would achieve through the application of technology obtained in road racing.
Honda was in those days exporting more than half of its Japanese-made motorcycles. The company, however, did not offer large-displacement sports bikes, even though they were in great demand in developed countries such as the U.S. Moreover, sales of Honda motorcycles in America had begun to drop in 1966. Accordingly, American Honda had been asking for the development of new products.
The Dream CB450 was released in 1965 as a high-performance bike. Featuring a two-cylinder DOHC engine, it had been created at the request of American Honda, which wanted a higher-class version of its predecessor, the 305 cc CB77. Yoshiro Harada, who was in charge of the development project, reflected on the product's history.
"In 1960," he recalled, "the U.S. market for large motorcycles was approximately 60,000 units annually. Of these, most were imports from British makers. The Japanese market was comparatively much smaller, with monthly sales of several hundred units. But through our understanding of the situation we decided to develop a 450-cc bike, specifically a mass-production model, that could be sold in the U.S. as well as Japan."
The CB450 sold relatively well, but it did not win acceptance as a major product. The majority of American riders, it seemed, did not judge motorcycles simply by how fast they could go. They also wanted responsive torque performance so that they could get the power they needed without downshifting. For many local riders, motorcycles represented a means of recreation and relaxation rather than rocket-sled performance.
Harada visited the U.S. around the summer of 1967 to observe the CB450's impact in local markets. He even went so far as to detail the machine's superior performance to the staff at American Honda, telling them it was even better than the 650 cc models by Norton and Triumph. However, they did not see the point in riding a 450-cc bike. Instead, they simply held to the belief that "bigger was better."
The 650 cc displacement size was the largest to be found in Japan, yet these bikes accounted for only a few percentage points in the overall market. Harada therefore decided to develop a bigger model, as an obvious nod to the U.S. market. However, the request given by American Honda'"the bigger the better,"seemed quite vague to him. Based on that advice alone, it would be difficult for Harada to determine the right displacement.
It was then that Harada learned from a reliable source that Britain's Triumph was developing a high-performance model with a 3-cylinder 750 cc engine. This bit of news determined the engine specification. By October 1967, the outline for Honda's new larger cc model had been defined: it would be driven by a 750 cc engine having a maximum output of 67 horsepower (one more than Harley-Davidson's 1300 cc unit, whose maximum output was 66 horsepower).
A team of about twenty members was assembled on behalf of the development project in February 1968. The design of the CB750 FOUR had officially begun. However, Honda was already the industry's leading producer of motorcycles, thanks to the popularity of its classic Super Cub. By introducing the CB750 FOUR, the company planned to become the world's top manufacturer in terms of quality as well as volume. This model's competition, however, would be formidable, since the pack included comparable models from Triumph, BMW, and Harley. Therefore, the new Honda would have to offer a superior level of performance and reliability in order to lead the field.
A 4-cylinder, four-muffler engine structure was to be the basis for design so that riders in every market could immediately associate the bike with the stunning performance of Grand Prix machines. Moreover, the handlebar position would be elevated-popular among American riders-to emphasize the bike's dynamic, "wild" image. As Honda's first mass-production model with a large powerplant, the CB750 employed various technologies designed to ensure high production volume and easier maintenance for the owner.
Veteran rider Dick Mann, meanwhile, streaked to victory on his CB750 FOUR at the AMA Daytona 200-Mile Race in March 1970. It was a ride that sent customers throughout the States running to their Honda dealers. In reflecting their conviction that "bigger is better," American riders soon wanted a bigger bike with an engine offering even larger displacement.
The history of motorcycles barely stretches beyond 100 years. Gottlieb Daimler built the first in 1885, though outriggers meant his technically had four wheels. The first machines we would recognize as true motorcycles came from Millet (1892), Hildebrand & Wolfmueller (1894) and DeDion-Buton (1895). Countless milestone bikes have come and gone in the 117 years since, and many warrant serious Motorcycle of the Century consideration.
There can only be one winner, however, and no matter what criteria we considered, Honda’s CB750 was our unanimous choice. This bike changed everything. The CB750 wasn’t an engineering breakthrough—inline-fours, disc brakes, electric start and quad-exhausts had all been done before. The CB750 was conservative, even, with just a single cam and two valves per cylinder, plus chain primary and final drive. The brilliance lay in its application, and the bold way Honda repackaged such exotic technology in mass-produced form, with all the kinks ironed out—then delivered it at a price and in a quantity that gave almost anyone access.
This was the first “modern” motorcycle. Modernism is defined by how humans use knowledge and technology to improve and reshape their world, and there is no better emblem of modern thought than Soichiro Honda. He utterly rejected the existing motorcycle industry’s provincial, cottage-industry traditions, replacing established ideas with cutting-edge engineering, technology and manufacturing technique. The CB750 was a direct result of this new process, and its success revolutionized the way motorcycles were designed, built and sold.
From the moment the public first laid eyes on it at the 1968 Tokyo Motor Show, the CB750 was an unqualified success. With its visually imposing inline engine and four gleaming exhaust headers, the CB750 looked like a street-legal Grand Prix bike. And with a legitimate 125-mph top speed, it had the performance to match its looks. By '73 Honda was selling more than 60,000 CB750s each year. The massive impact of the CB750 forever banished Japan’s former reputation as a copycat nation, capable of little more than mass-producing others' designs for a fraction of the cost. The CB750 forged a new reputation for the island nation as an indisputable source of the best engineering, design and technology in the world. More important to motorcycle enthusiasts, the CB750 acted as the archetypal Japanese superbike, kicking off an epic high-performance arms race that continues to this day. There would be no Honda CBR1000RR—nor Kawasaki ZX-10R, or Suzuki GSX-R1000, or Yamaha YZF-R1—if the CB750 hadn’t come first.
Mr. Honda was famously short with praise, yet even he couldn’t conceal his excitement after riding the CB750 for the first time. One former Honda R&D employee remembered the scene: “It was during final testing in the U.S. Mr. Honda happened to be there. He said, ‘Let me ride that thing,’ and just jumped on and blasted off across the desert. He was gone for nearly a half-hour. Everyone was quiet, and very nervous. When he came back, he just said, ‘What a terrific, terrific machine!’ then walked away, laughing. That was the first time anyone there ever heard any words of praise from him!”
This bike was completely gone through, mechanically restored and set up as a cafe racer. The work was done by the same methodical ski-lift inspector and Honda expert out of Vermont that we bought our CB350-4 (sold) from. He has a knack for documenting every aspect of his restoration process and gave me a 3 page document detailing every single aspect of the restoration, right down to electrical voltages taken at 5 different points of engine speed. The cosmetics on the bike are good overall but not perfect with a few imperfections here and there, but nothing that really stands out. This is a low mileage original bike that has been completely sorted and cafe'd. It is an extremely fast bike that sounds incredible (see video) and rides wonderfully.
Here is the document I received with the bike:
Miles – 13,782
Condition Before Restoration
solid tank with no dents/dings
frame is fine
rims and spokes will polish up well
nice front fender
fork tubes and lowers will polish up well
engine paint is pretty good
solid exhaust headers, cans are solid but stained
no engine leaks
FRONT (suspension, wheel, and brakes)
front forks disassemble, cleaned, new Honda OEM seals
springs measured and easily within spec
5w Motul synthetic fork oil
lightly polished fork lowers
raised forks 25mm
brake caliper disass, cleaned, polished piston and bore
master cylinder cleaned
de-glazed brake pads (much pad left)
Prestone DOT 3 brake fluid
checked front wheel bearings
fab’d bleed screw cover
polished caliper mounting bracket, bolts
cleaned/lubed speedo/tacho cables
polished front wheel spokes, rim
polished fender and fender stays
new headlight ears
cleaned, lubed and polished speedo drive and axle
new front tire prof mounted and spin balanced, with new HD tube and rim strip
cleaned threads, then loctite’d front sprocket mounting bolts
oil and filter changed
REAR (suspension, wheel and brakes)
polished rear wheel, spokes, hub and brake panel
checked rear wheel bearings
de-glazed brake pads
polished brake stay
cleaned front and rear sprockets, now 14t / 41t (stock is 15 / 41t )
cleaned, sanded and painted swingarm
removed/checked swingarm bushings (are perfect)
cleaned and polished springs
new DID 630 non O-ring chain
installed new battery
installed new ignition switch
new NGK plugs
installed new halogen headlight bulb
repaired ground wire in harness
sanded and painted electrics panel
cleaned all electrical connections
removed front/rear blinks, labeled wiring
removed rear light, brake light
sanded/painted battery box
new horn and spare key
new side-mounted license plate bracket w/LED brake/license plate light
new NGK plugs
lightened throttle spring
rinsed tank and cleaned petcock
new fuel lines and in-line filter
cleaned/lubed throttle cables
set accel pump rod at 0/.2mm, pump arm to body at 10mm
35 idle jets
floats at 12.5mm
lowered needle one clip position from stock
42 idle jets
moved needles up by dropping to 4th clip position down
air screws 1 ½ turn out
new left side cover
installed new drag bars
installed bar risers
installed new Roccity cycles café’ seat
removed to lighten bike:
rear light/lic plate bracket
chain ring on sprocket
checked oil flow to top end – ok
checked charging system – ok (battery 13.2v)
4000 14.7v (max)
checked shifting – perfect
split overflow tube on #1 – repaired w/JB weld, sealed with heat-shrink tubing
all 4 pipes evenly hot, long warm-up, runs very strong and idles well when warm
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