- Fit for Four
- Technical data – Honda CB 750 Four Bj. 1969
- Buy a four? – Honda CB 750 Four built in 1969
Impression Honda CB 750 Four
Fit for Four
Some men believe that they have to plant trees, father sons or kick certain single-cylinders in order to experience real cleansing. If you tick “not applicable” here, you are looking for an old CB 750 Four. Yes, the ones from the glory days of the motorcycle bomb. With a full 30 years under my belt and more history between the ribs than some history volumes of social studies. You can hardly experience more ripening.
It is only when the workshop door opens and the mechanic pushes the machine out into the morning sun that I realize that it really is it. She, who turned the world’s head 33 years ago, detonated like a bomb with her 750 cc four-cylinder and a top speed of almost 200 km / h in rebuilding-weary 1960s Germany. She, who at that time seemed to unite all fantasies and longings at once. The big days are long gone, but it’s still here. Do your best to cover up the already dull areas in the orange lacquer, the small metal particles in it sparkle, whatever it takes. Metal flake ?? the latest craze back then. Whole Capris and 02 Series BMWs were embellished in the local paint shop. It should look cool and daring. With the Honda it is original. She was wild and daring.
Doesn’t seem to have been outside for a long time, this CB 750 K2. And probably less on the road than a motorcycle that can easily put away 100,000 kilometers without having to adjust valves, timing chain, ignition and carburetors. Has stale its days somewhere in a lousy nest in the USA, where you could hardly drive because of the sheer rain. Oregon maybe. 8,000 miles in 30 years. Hard to believe. I finger around the bottom of the engine, the ignition lock is on the left in front of the cylinder head, the finger-length choke lever half a meter further back on the carburetor. Click ?? Oil pressure and idle controls light up in the tiny dashboard. Those weird little things that are kind of similar in all old Hondas. Like the smell of metal, rubber, fuel and whatnot, which strictly speaking should be the same on every motorcycle, but strangely enough it is not. Hondas smell like Honda, Kawas smell like Kawa.
It’s no different with the sound. This short grinding, scraping and rumbling after starting, until the oil finds its way back to the lubrication plan, the four carburettors when performing in groups and the chains in the right rhythm, only an old Honda can do that. Only then does the actual sound come into play. From the inimitable four-in-four system, which with a throaty growl introduced the sound of an entire generation. One tube per cylinder was the motto, no matter how many there are. Every breath of the four pistons, every flicker of the valves, every coughing gasifier spit seems to come out via direct transmission. You can’t get any closer to an engine.
The mechanic gives me directions from Cologne, then I’m gone. Literally. I just remember that I have to turn right at the first set of traffic lights, then straight on until … Everything is forgotten after 500 meters. I confess I was afraid. For 20 years. Before her, yes. When she was still the great captain. Fast, beautiful and powerful and light years ahead of our 250 rifles. A kind of youth trauma. And now I am enthroned here in the royal gold metal flake command post, behind the altar of somewhat faded instruments, above me the sky, below me this engine legend with its four trumpets – and it’s just awesome! And quite simply, this motorcycle drives as easily as a folding bike. I am shocked. Everything, every lever, every switch finds its way into the desired position just as easily as this thing in every driving state. We grumble through Cologne, over tram tracks, cobblestones, through construction sites and between traffic jam columns, and it’s as easy as driving an ER-5. At some point I have to tank up and am amazed that it starts up again easily despite the hot engine, hums at 1200 rpm, neither the clutch jams nor the power supply wobble, but simply dispenses with all the annoying things that old motorcycles usually do love. A fascination already in the first 20,000 kilometer endurance test, which the MOTORRAD test team unwound in 1972/73 and despite some teething troubles came to the result that they were looking at an exceptionally reliable motorcycle. A sensation. And outstanding proof of the rock solid construction. The world held its breath when Honda unveiled a machine with the incredible power of 67 hp. And Kawasaki even temporarily halted development of the Z1 to see how the new Honda would fare. And it broke all records and soon became a model of reliability and good-naturedness.
Hey, the idiot really stops at yellow! I hit the iron hard and – nothing happens. At least nothing to do with brakes. This motorcycle lives at the front with practically no lag. If the snare drum wasn’t so brave at the back, the braking distance was probably enough to Bonn. Okay okay ?? this 218 kilo stretch is a whopping 30 years old. If the first hydraulic disc brakes in series produced the testers back then, that means little today. Should I still be driving straight ahead? No matter. With the Honda it’s nice everywhere. We cruise through old Wilhelminian-style districts and workers’ settlements from the post-war years. When Honda dared to come to Europe with powerful motorcycles in the 1960s, they hit the motorcycle world at rock bottom. Nobody was interested in two-wheelers anymore. In Germany people were definitely fed up with windy adventures of all kinds, wanted to sit in the dry, drive an Opel Kadett and go on vacation on the Adriatic. New registrations for two-wheelers had sunk into the abyss, top brands such as NSU had even stopped manufacturing motorcycles for image reasons. And then that! An almost thoroughbred racing offshoot of Mike Hailwood’s 500cc GP machine for the common people. For an affordable 6500 marks and nothing but pleasure. And it worked out, Honda managed to turn things around again, selling adventure instead of boring petty bourgeoisie. With sensational success. In Germany alone during its ten-year construction period 35,924 times, worldwide even 1.5 million times. It swept the whole market with it, catapulting the registration numbers straight up. While the new registrations in 1969 were still at 4863 units, in 1973 they were already at 34 884, in 1976 at a whopping 56 809. A new era had begun.
Vdamn, how long can you actually drive through Cologne without ever meeting a signpost? I turn right and the street gradually widens. Up there, the Autobahn! A sharp loop leads up, the Honda rolls willingly into a low incline, allows a slight stirring to penetrate the ribs, but glides through it obediently, picks up speed again in the entry lane and sweeps the track with full sails. The Rheinuferstrabe begins behind Bonn and I now accelerate more and more emphatically, occasionally letting the speed indicator move in the direction of the pale pink area when overtaking, which the Four replies with an enthusiastic four-pipe roar. That’s how she wants it. It’s ever more courageous along the Rhine loops, Koblenz, Boppard and in wild flight around the Lorelei. Shortly before Wiesbaden we turn into the Taunus. And that’s when it happens. Completely suddenly. On one of these great bend streets, the nasty bump in the last bend barely noticeable – and the Honda almost makes us both end up on the plank, it suddenly behaves so wildly. Wiggles, lurches, bucks? suddenly creates all types of motorcycle at once. Hui! I carefully slow down the pace, gently catching the completely unleashed again. Phew! So there it was, the infamous chassis of the “Absolute Beginners” from the Far East. Bearings without service life, swing arms and fork tubes with better water pipe diameter and dampers as sensitive as field forge hammers. You either learned to live with it or to improve it with ingredients from countless tuners. Yes, yes, okay, I forgot. It’s also a little tricky, this legend, which now holds the candy lacquer in the sun with an almost thieving twinkle. Wild and daring – yes, she is, the old captain. Unbroken. In 2000, the readers of MOTORRAD voted it the bike of the century.
Technical data – Honda CB 750 Four Bj. 1969
Engine: Air-cooled OHC four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, one overhead camshaft, two valves per cylinder, bore x stroke: 62 x 62 mm, displacement 748 cm³, 67 hp at 8000 / min, 4 carburettors, o 28 mm. Chassis: double loop frame made of tubular steel, telescopic fork in front, o 35 mm, gas pressure shock absorber at the rear. Tire size front 3.25-19, rear 4.00-18, hydraulic disc brake front, o 296 mm, drum brake rear, o 180 mm. Measured values (1969): top speed 190 km / h, acceleration 0-100 km / h 5 seconds, weight 218 kg with a full tank, construction period 1969-1979, price 1969: 6,495 marks.
Buy a four? – Honda CB 750 Four built in 1969
Anyone who is infected now has different options. Sure, a real 750 K0, the first four, will hardly be hanging around in a barn anywhere and being available for 500 notes ?? but maybe a later model like the K6, F1 or a 500 will do it to even get to know the Four-Feeling. Solid machines suitable for everyday use without special optical requirements are currently still available from 1000 euros. Basically everything that is original and has four pipes is expensive, while the more powerful and more modern F models (400, 550 and 750) with four-in-one system that were later added to the K series are clearly sidelined . Anyone who uncompromisingly wants a good, original or restored 750 from the first series K1 or K2 (K3-5 was only available in the USA), on the other hand, must not skimp and currently have to reckon with prices between 3500 and 5000 euros. The K0, of which only 80 came to Germany in 1969, is even significantly higher. “The Richter scale is open to the top for top machines,” says Werner Menikheim from the Cologne-based specialist Sayonara Cycles, who brings together fours from all over the world, but above all from the USA. “In Germany these things were simply mercilessly rebuilt.” If you want to assemble one yourself, you have to calculate exactly, as a few thousand spare parts can quickly come together. The exhaust system alone costs 750 euros and a new paint job that is at least similar to the original colors costs around 600 euros. Chassis optimizations such as Koni shock absorbers, improved bearings and also double disc brakes (with TÜV) should not be rejected because things can only get better here. Overall, the technology of the old fours is not a problem. “Back then in Japan people probably had their own concerns as to whether these things would last, and that’s why they built to last,” says Menikheim, who has been working with the machines since 19xx. 100,000 kilometers without an engine overhaul are not uncommon and the maintenance work can be done on your own with a little manual skills. It can only be difficult with the four carburettors, the nozzles of which are often completely sealed up after a long period of inactivity due to forgotten fuel in the float chambers. Then the only thing left to do is disassemble it completely and put it in the cleaning or ultrasonic bath. Spare parts are easy to get; what the Honda dealer no longer has is now offered by specialists such as Sayonara, phone 0221/5461833, www.sayonara-cycles.de, or Honda CB 4 cylinder in Willich, phone 02154/42107, www.cb-4ylinder.de, used or new to. The bikes of the 70s are also increasingly appearing in vintage car markets (see next pages). And there is the 1st CB 750 Four Club, phone 040/89070293 or www.cbfourclub.de, which is also happy about the smaller conspecifics.
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