Thursday, October 8, 2009

Honda CB750

The Honda CB750 is a motorcycle built in several model series between 1969 and 2003 that is recognized as a milestone for Honda's successful introduction of a transverse, overhead camshaft inline four-cylinder engine that has ever since been the dominant sport bike configuration. Though MV Agusta had sold such a model in 1965, and it had been used in racing engines before World War II, the CB750 is recognized as the four-cylinder sport bike that had a lasting impact.[1] The model is included in the AMA Hall of Fame Classic Bikes,[2] the Discovery Channel's "Greatest Motorbikes Ever,"[3] and was in The Art of the Motorcycle exhibition.

Honda of Japan introduced the CB750 motorcycle to the US and European markets in 1969 after experiencing success with their smaller motorcycles. The bike was targeted directly at the US market after Honda officials (including Soichiro Honda himself) repeatedly met with US dealers and understood the opportunity for a larger bike.[4]

Under development for a year,[5] the CB750 offered two unprecedented features, a front disc brake and a straight-4 engine with an overhead camshaft, neither of which was previously available on a mainstream, affordable production bike. These two features, along with the introductory price of $1495.00 (US), gave the CB750 a considerable advantage over its competition, particularly its British rivals.

Cycle Magazine called the CB750 "the most sophisticated production bike ever" upon its introduction.[6] Cycle World called it a masterpiece, highlighting Honda's painstaking durability testing, the bike's 120 mph top speed, the fade-free performance of the braking, the comfortable ride and excellent instrumentation.[7]

The CB750 was the first modern four-cylinder machine from a mainstream manufacturer[8], and the term Superbike was coined to describe it.[9] The bike offered other important features that added to its compelling value: electric starter, kill switch, dual mirrors, flashing turn signals, easily maintained valves and overall smoothness and freedom from vibration both underway and at a standstill; later models ('91 on) included maintenance-free hydraulic valves. On the other hand, the bike was difficult to get on its center stand and tended to throw chain oil onto its muffler.

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