Honda CB750 is the founding father that kick-started the Superbike era
The 1969 Honda CB750 SOHC is a legend. With its revolutionary disc brake, it started a new era of power braking from high speeds. It's the second bike on our Five Motorcycles that shook the world list.
1969 was an important milestone in the timeline of human history, bringing with it some major events: the Moon landing, Richard Nixon was elected as the 37th President of United States, and ARPANET came into existence – be grateful, this was the grandfather of the Internet.
The same year was also outstanding for all the bike enthusiasts, a year when a milestone in the bike industry was set. Honda produced the world's first REAL superbike, and it had disc brakes. It was an expensive technology that had been used previously only on high-performance vehicles and supercars of the time. Suddenly, this top-notch technology was affordable for the average folks. It was light years ahead of the competition and it overshadowed everything else in the market – the Triumph Trident, the BSA Rocket 3, the Norton Commando Fastback, the Harley XLCH, and the Kawasaki Mach III.
This Honda was being pushed forward by an air cooled, 736 cc, transverse four cylinders, four-stroke, SOHC, with two valves per cylinder engine. Some say that the sound of this engine was similar to a Ferrari, and for good reason. It had four megaphone exhaust pipes, two on each side. Honda CB750 K0 was the ultimate production motorcycle of its time.
Dealerships were advertising this superbike with very appealing numbers: 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, 68 horsepower @ 8500 rpm and 42 ft-lb of torque (57 Nm). It had a 5-speed transmission gearbox, telescopic forks for the front, and dual spring shocks on the back. The front brake had a 290 mm disc, while for the rear a 178 mm drum brake was used. It had an electric starter and also a kick-starter. The inline-four engine could take the 500 lbs motorcycle and the rider to a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h).
Rumors had it that you could rake up 100.000 miles on this model, trouble free. It was a huge improvement compared to the motorcycles of the time. No more pesky oil leaks, no more falling bolts because of the vibrations. The inline-four engine was very well balanced due to the alternately firing order of the pistons, decreasing the vibrations, and increasing the level of comfort for the long distance rides.
The success of this motorcycle was huge! The production continued up to 2003, of course, with some improvements. Due to the innovation that Honda brought to the motorcycle world, we can certainly say that, with this model, Honda granted the "Power of Dreams" to every passionate biker and it deserves a place in our five bikes that shook the world list.
See other bikes from our Five motorcycles that shook the world list:
1955 Moto Guzzi V8 – Ottocilindri Madness
Britten V1000 – The Kiwi Brewed Champion
HONDA NR750 RC40 – Oval Pistons Poetry