NOT ONLY…

…but also. Scott Red­mond on al­ter­na­tives for old Honda fours.

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS - WORDS: SCOTT RED­MOND AND BERTIE SIMMONDS

1969 bike had sand­cast crankcases (and now daft prices); these quickly gave way to more con­ven­tional and cheaper to pro­duce cast items. By the mid-sev­en­ties the SOHC had se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion. Kawasaki had stolen the thun­der with its Z1 and sub­se­quent mod­els. Suzuki had stayed loyal to the two-stroke with their GT750, per­haps not a di­rect com­peti­tor for the sen­si­ble Honda 750 four. Suzuki knocked it up a gear and gave us the GS750 (their first four-stroke) and it made the CB750 look dated all of a sud­den. The later 750 SOHC mod­els came thick and fast, an as­sort­ment of makeovers and tap­ping into trends of the time, with K and F mod­els and also the odd custom.

The 750 F1 in its yel­low splen­dour looked fresh-faced, but its spoke wheels looked silly in a world of mag wheels. The F2 then came along, it had Com­star wheels and the en­gine was black­ened up, but it was all too lit­tle too late. Of all the SOHC mod­els it is prob­a­bly the one that has stood the test of time the best, its long slen­der tank and sad­dle giv­ing it a sleeker look, be­neath the tin though it was still pretty much an early Sev­en­ties model. Honda cre­ated the Phil Read Replica/honda Bri­tain ma­chine, which had a huge en­durance-racer in­spired fair­ing, big twin lamps and match­ing seat unit. The re­worked tank added to the racer look. There was no short­age of af­ter­mar­ket frame kits for the SOHC en­gine, of­fer­ings from Rick­man, See­ley

had po­ten­tial. The Honda CB750F ar­rived in 1980 wear­ing its euro-de­signed clothes, an an­gu­lar tank, space in­vader-style graph­ics and it was iden­ti­cal to the CB900F, so it car­ried ku­dos with it. A bloke called Fred­die Spencer helped with its im­age and it made the SOHC range look very last year. The 750F held the Honda 750 fort into the Eight­ies. With tech­nol­ogy chang­ing at an alarm­ing pace many weren’t too sur­prised when Honda re­tired the in­line four in favour of the fu­ture and that fu­ture was the V4 lay­out. The VF range stole the head­lines, but Honda didn’t turn its back com­pletely on the con­fig­u­ra­tion that had helped make it the world’s largest mo­tor­cy­cle man­u­fac­turer.

The CBX750F was in­tro­duced to the range in 1983, its hand­some looks alone made it stand out, but the jewel in its crown was the en­gine. The VF750 range gave Honda night­mares and bad press, with their choco­late cam is­sues, mean­while the CBX750F qui­etly got on with be­ing a su­perb mo­tor­cy­cle. In just over a decade Honda de­vel­oped the 750 on many lev­els, tech­ni­cally and cos­met­i­cally and, sure, those bikes from the sum­mer of ‘69 are clas­sics, ground­break­ers and your Trevor Fran­cis bikes, but, for me, the CBX750F is more like your Brook­ing, a loyal ser­vant and a lit­tle over­looked. We’ll never know what Brook­ing was worth re­ally be­cause he only ever kicked a ball for one top flight club, but I reckon he’d have got a few quid more than that other Trevor. If you want to own an air-cooled 750 Honda, af­ter you’ve stopped dream­ing about the SOHC, start search­ing for a DOHC CBX750F.

PHO­TOS: MORTONS AR­CHIVE

This went for more than £50k!

Good ones cost the earth! and Dresda au­tos and they all fab­ri­cated frames and chas­sis kits for the Honda mo­tor. It wasn’t un­til 1979 that Honda parked the age­ing SOHC and went back to the draw­ing board. The CB750KZ wasn’t that much of an im­prove­ment vis­ually, but its DOHC en­gine

Scottie says try a hum­ble CBX. Bert says try a CB1300.

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