One of the first superbikes, the Honda CB750 has been blowing its competition out of the water since it first hit the asphalt in 1969. Let’s take a look at its history and see what’s in the engine that makes this superbike tick.
The world was in turmoil in 1969, with Martin Luther King Jr. and Kennedy being assassinated, protests roaring over military involvement in Vietnam, and crime in city streets was at an all-time high. The CB750, a revolution in the world of motorcycling, became a natural fit.
The Revs in the Revolution
The Honda CB750 captures all of this unrest and pumped it into a 736cc SOHC, air-cooled, straight four engine with 68 horsepower at 8500 revolutions per minute and a top speed of 125 miles per hour. In 1969, this superbike was one of the fastest motorcycles on the market.
Timeline of Versions with Changes and Pictures
This revolutionary sports bike underwent revolutions in design almost every year it was in production, but only five major models were ever produced.
- CB750 and CB750K series (1969-1978)
The original CB750 and all versions of the CB750K0 series from the CB750K to the CB750K8 had the original SOHC engine, but the model was modernized in style beginning with the 1975 production line. Production numbers were highest for the CB750K1.
- CB750A “Hondamatic” (1976-1978)
The CB750A was the first in this line to feature an automatic transmission system. Technically the transmission was a 2-speed automatic and wasn’t fully automated, unlike the line of cars under the same name that would come later.
- CB750K, CB750F, and CB750C (1979-1997)
Beginning in 1979, the SOHC engine was replaced with the newer, more efficient DOHC engine. Production for each of the nearly dozen versions varied year to year with the last version continuing until being replaced by the Nighthawk 750.
- CB750SC Nighthawk / Nighthawk 750 (1982-2003)
Production of the Nighthawk 750 was on and off throughout this timeframe. While in production, the Nighthawk sported a 4-stroke engine, more effective braking systems, and a 5-speed transmission.
- CB750 Special Edition (2007)
Honda revived the earlier designs of the CB750 in 2007 to be released exclusively in Japan. The CB750 Special Edition was essentially identical to earlier version in an effort to market nostalgia for the trend-setting 1969 CB750 model.
The CB750 in the News
Honda just celebrated the 50th anniversary of its inline-fours, adding to the already legendary legacy of the chain of production models pioneering a revolution in motorcycling design set into motion by the CB750.
Ryan Renolds famously stated that he used to cruise on a cherished CB750 when he was 15. Given his age, the model he used most likely would have been a Nighthawk.
If you’re looking for places with like-minded people to talk to about your fascination with the CB750, then Facebook is a great place to start. If that doesn’t satisfy your need for cruising chatter, check out the online forums.
The CB750 – a Revolution in Motorcycling
Despite its removal from production, the CB750 lives on in the designs of countless superbikes, motorcycles, and scooters the world over. If the victor writes the history books, then we have to admit that the CB750 was motorcycling history’s victor.