The Dawn of the Phrase Superbike
Date: Sunday, November 23 @ 07:05:34 EST
"Turning a page in time"
Honda says good bye to the 750cc four.
On the dawn of the coined phrase, from the motorcycling world. “Superbike.” Honda is leaving behind its corner stone, for their line up of 2004 motorcycles. The CB750 four will no longer be offered. Yes the Night Hawk will continue, but only as a 234cc, 2 cylinder motor. The only motors that come close to the 750cc motor. Honda will offer is in a naked sportsbike by the name of Super Hawk with a 599cc motor. Or one will take the big step up to the plate, and pick one of the 900cc motors or go wild, and choose an 1100XX. These are there offerings in the line up that Honda will be selling in 2004.
The Japanese started shaking things up with-in the motorcycle world back in 1967 -1968 time frame. Prior to the days of the inline 4 cylinder motors, the twins were the bikes, like the Harley Davidson, Triumph and BSA. Honda did have the CB450 but that was nothing but a shadow in the late afternoon sunshine when trying to run with others.
Then in 1968 another shake up was starting with Norton releasing their 750 Commando, Triumph and BSA also bringing out their triples, but then in 1969 the big shake up comes from Japan with the releases from Kawasaki with their three cylinder 2 stroke motor in the 500cc Mach III, and Honda takes center stage with the 750cc four. Honda was going to set standards in motorcycle industry for yesterday and today with performance, reliability and innovation, first to use disc brakes on motorcycles even electric start. This would be a muscle bound road ready racer that came equipped with turn signals. With the 750cc many things were taking place at unbelievable pace, speeds from the other manufactures of twins were running around 14.5 seconds at 85 mph in the quarter mile. Now with the new generation of in-line 4 cylinder motorcycles the times dropped to near 12.0 seconds at 100 + mph, seems like the twin cylinder scooters lost there luster.
Honda was so unsure about the in-line 4 cylinder that during the first year of production, all of the motors were sandcasted, thinking that a in-line four cylinder might not be the way to go. Soichiro Honda wanted a bike that would dominate the large displacement market. It was noted that back in 1967 that Bob Hansen, then the American Midwest Regional Manger was said to have mentioned to Soichiro that the next king of the motorcycles would have to be a four, an not a large twin.
The public loved the CB750cc four so much that several aftermarket kits were being produced for the bike including fairings and saddle bags, or in the opposite direction clip-ons and a solo seat, which was the beginning of the café-racer era. By 1970 Honda started releasing there own CR kits sold them thru the dealers, which allowed the 750cc motor that was rated at 67 horse power, bringing it up to 90 horse power and the red line from 8500 to 10,500 rpm.
Then another Japanese manufacturing company by the name of Kawasaki had the answer for Hondas’ CB750 four, and that was their introduction of the KZ1 900cc in-line four.
So with-in the motorcycle industry begun the term of the new breed: Superbike.
Well Honda has decided that the 750cc four has taken its place in history and has retired it from its production. Some great life cycle for the 750cc four, from its birth to the public in 1969 to 2003 a total of 34 years.
Honda has done well for a engine that may of never been.