Chris Rush­ton, CB750 owner

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - MIRA FILES -

Owner of the two CB750 fours fea­tured, Chris Rush­ton, 58, a re­tired en­gi­neer­ing con­sul­tant from Not­ting­hamshire, is a stal­wart of the ‘Sand Cast Only Club’ and an ex­pert on the very early 750cc Hon­das. He’s been rid­ing bikes since 1976 and has a lik­ing for Honda fours in gen­eral, rang­ing from a CB350 Four, a CB400F, a CB500 Four, ‘sand-cast’ 750 fours, and up to a CB1300 and VFR750. The Honda bug started af­ter he de­cided to move up from his first bike, a Suzuki B120P. “I wanted a 400 Four but couldn’t af­ford one,” said Chris, “so set­tled on a 250 Honda twin be­cause the lo­cal dealer was Honda. Af­ter a year I pro­gressed to a 400 Four. I just kind of stuck with Hon­das.” Chris bought his first Honda 750, a K2, in 1986. “I fol­lowed it up the next year with what we call a 750 ‘K0’, a die-cast CB750. That’s the one that is now in the Beaulieu Mo­tor Museum, do­nated by its present owner. The K0 is a tran­si­tional model pro­duced at the end of the CB750 and start of CB750K1 pro­duc­tion, with K1 carbs and air­box. Then at the TT in 1987 I met Honda en­thu­si­ast Dave Ayesthorpe and he be­came a good friend. I guess his pas­sion for Hon­das re­in­forced my own.” Dave, who re­cently died, was the owner of a col­lec­tion of Hon­das, in­clud­ing one of the four rare pre-pro­duc­tion CB750S. Pride of place in Chris’s col­lec­tion is the blue ‘sand­cast’ with the en­gine num­ber 1005298 dat­ing from Au­gust 1969 which he bought in 1990 with 22,000 miles on the clock. “A guy in Manch­ester

was im­port­ing Hon­das from the US along with Kawasaki 900 fours. It was largely orig­i­nal but needed a full recom­mis­sion. The seat was split and the side pan­els miss­ing but it had four pipes on it – two of them are still on it – I found bet­ter ones than the orig­i­nals – one had got a graze on it.” It had been run­ning well un­til last year. “I stripped it last year with 133,000 miles be­cause there was a con­sid­er­able oil leak from the head gas­ket,” says Chris. “When I took the head off I spot­ted that there were a few pieces miss­ing from the num­ber 2 pis­ton. When I looked fur­ther I found it was be­cause one of the rings had es­caped, but they were in the ex­haust when you rat­tled it. “But it was run­ning fine and wasn’t burn­ing oil. So it’s had a plus-0.5mm re­bore. The crank and the shells and the camshaft and the bear­ings are all the orig­i­nals. All the con­sum­able bits have been changed of course. It has got Avon tyres on be­cause per­son­ally I like Avons. They suit most of the bikes I have. I am rig­or­ous re­gard­ing ser­vic­ing, as oil and time are a lot cheaper than en­gine re­builds,” he says. “I re­place the drive chain ev­ery time the rear tyre is changed.” To show the huge mileage the bike has cov­ered, Chris mod­i­fied the speedo’s odome­ter with an ex­tra nu­meral, and it now shows 133,900 miles. Again, he has main­tained the essence of its his­tory, in­clud­ing the sticker on the front fork leg, a park­ing per­mit from the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia that ex­pired on Jan­uary 20, 1972. “I do far more miles on this than any of my other bikes, in­clud­ing the modern ones such as the VFR and CB1300,” says Chris. “Why? Apart from the fact that it is such a sig­nif­i­cant mo­tor­cy­cle within the over­all story of mo­tor­cy­cling, for me it has char­ac­ter, is de­pend­able, makes a great sound through those orig­i­nal ‘HM300’ ex­hausts (which are the same ones as fit­ted to it in 1990 when I bought it), han­dles and brakes rea­son­ably well if you ac­cept that it is 1970s tech­nol­ogy. It still puts a smile on my face, even af­ter all th­ese miles,” adds Chris.

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