There have been a number of popular motorbikes over the years, yet the Honda CB750 could be the greatest of all time. It led the way for the Japanese motorbike revolution that took over the industry. The CB750 represented a new wave of high-performance machines that set the pace for the next few decades.
The CB750’s accolades include being a part of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Classic Bikes, being featured in the UK National Motor Museum and being rated as one of the 240 Landmarks of Japanese Automotive Technology. But what made it so memorable and how did it change the industry?
Starting the revolution
In the 1960s Honda had established a reputation for producing popular motorbikes, such as the C100 Super Cub and CB72. By the time the CB750 was introduced in 1969, Honda had an understanding of what the public needed. Honda were influenced by racing because they understood that what won on the track was likely to be sold quickly. This knowledge of the industry helped to make the CB750 successful.
When the CB750 was unveiled, it came with a 736 cc transverse, straight-four engine with a single overhead camshaft and a front disc brake. This was groundbreaking for the time because the equipment had never been available for an affordable mainstream motorbike. At £650, the bike was a hit in the UK. The pricing and performance gave the CB750 a major advantage over British bikes. Its direct competition was the BSA Rocket 3 and the CB750 made its rival look antiquated.
The CB750 proved to be very popular during the 1970s, with Cycle magazine calling it the “most sophisticated production bike ever.” It could reach a top speed of 120 mph and the bike also offered a comfortable ride with low vibration. It was the perfect all-rounder for motorcycle fans.
The CB750 was produced up to 1979 and over 60,000 were sold worldwide. In that time it went through alterations. For example, when the CB750A Hondamatic was brought out in 1976, it featured an engine with lower compression and smaller carburetors. Later models like the 1991 version featured maintenance-free hydraulic valves.
Today, the CB750 continues to be highly coveted by motorbike enthusiasts. Crowned the first superbike, its influence on the industry is undeniable. Its claim to being the greatest of all time is debatable, but considering its iconic status, the CB750 is certainly a contender.
Do you think the CB750 is the greatest motorbike of all time?