Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 30th March 2018

Japanese motorbikes have a reputation for being among the best in the world, and a Honda CB750 recently became the most expensive Japanese motorbike ever sold at auction. A pre-production 1968 CB750 sold for £161,000 at the H&H Classics auction held on 4th March 2018. The original estimate for the bike came in at £35,000 to £40,000, yet a drawn out bidding war meant the CB750 sailed ahead of the price tag. It beat the previous record of a 1962 Honda CR72 Production Racer auctioned in Las Vegas in 2009.


According to Mike Bryan, head of motorbike sales for H&H Classics, “this is one of the most historically important bikes we’ve had the pleasure to offer for sale. Referred to on its launch as the most sophisticated production bike ever. The standard bike at launch was capable of 120 mph and was equipped with non-fade front hydraulic brakes. The bike has gone onto become a true icon rated as one of the top landmarks of Japanese Automotive Technology.”


The CB750 was sent to Honda Great Britain in 1969, with its first public appearance taking place at the Brighton Motorcycle Show. It also appeared on the cover of the May 1969 edition of Motorcycle Mechanics. The auction house claimed the bike didn’t share a single part with the production version and it had been in the same private collection for 35 years. Before it was sold, the motorbike was undergoing restoration when the owner passed away.


At the same auction, a Honda Monkey XUC 91H trail bike formerly owned by John Lennon broke a record as well. It sold for £57,500, becoming one of the 10 most expensive Japanese motorbikes ever sold at auction. The estimate had been £30,000, but the bidding kept going. Lennon’s bike ranks behind the 1968 Honda CB750 and a 1975 Bimota HB1 sold at Bonhams in 2014.


The XUC 91H was passed to Henry Graham, who owned Motorcycle City in 1971. Then, it was sold to John Harrington and he kept the bike for 47 years. He displayed the motorbike at different events and shows until it went up for auction.


The fact that the Honda CB750 and XUC 91H sold for such high prices points towards the universal appeal of Japanese motorbikes. They are a reminder of how far the market has come from the early days and how models from Honda, Suzuki and others will always have a place among riders.


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