The Honda CB750F Super Sport
Best bets on tomorrow's classic Honda motorcycles
The Honda CB750F Super Sport.
Honda CB750F Super Sport
Years produced: 1975-1978
Claimed power: 58hp @ 8,000rpm
Top speed: 114mph
Engine type: 736cc air-cooled SOHC inline four
Weight: 538lb (wet)
MPG: 35-45 (avg.)
Price then/now: $2,152/$1,500-$3,500
The Honda CB750F Super Sport was born out of Honda's desire to regain its position as a motorcycle pacemaker.
When Henry Ford launched the Model T in 1908, there was nothing else like it, and the T established a design template that defined the automobile for more than a decade. The problem? Ford was still building the T in 1928, and the market had moved on. By continuing to manufacture the same basic car, Ford maximized the benefits of mass production, but at the cost of market leadership. After years of snapping at Henry’s heels, the Dodge Brothers, Louis Chevrolet and the rest streaked out front.
Something similar happened to Honda in the 1970s. The 1969 Honda CB750 Four mapped out the future for motorcycles. And like the Model T, it stayed in production for just a little too long.
By 1975, the Kawasaki Z1 with its 903cc DOHC engine had leapfrogged ahead of the CB750. And waiting in the wings were The Suzuki GS750 and the Kawasaki KZ750, both aimed squarely at the market Honda had built, and creating along the way what was to become known as the Universal Japanese Motorcycle or UJM: the air-cooled, 2-valve, DOHC across-the-frame inline four.
Honda’s response to the challenge was conservative. In 1975, the 750 K5 with its distinctive stacked mufflers was joined by the Honda CB750F Super Sport with a sportier 4-into-1 exhaust. The Honda CB750F also wore a new, slimmer-looking (but 0.3-gallon larger) gas tank with a recessed filler covered by a lockable plate, and a disc brake replaced the rear wheel’s mediocre drum brake.
In spite of its radical-looking (for Honda) exhaust, changes to the basic 750 Four plot were minor. Reduced trail and a longer swingarm improved straight-line stability, while a stiffer frame and suspension changes improved handling in the corners. And although the engine was claimed to be unchanged, the new exhaust system brought minor adjustments to valve timing and carburetion, which, according to Cycle magazine, also eliminated the K-bike’s off-idle flat spot.
Whether it was the new exhaust (and revised air box) or some undisclosed engine modifications, the F produced considerably more power than the K-bike. Cycle magazine recorded 58hp at the rear wheel compared with 49hp for the 1973 K3. This, combined with lower gearing, meant a standing quarter in the high 12s instead of the 13s. On the road, the improvements made for a comfortable ride and precise steering: “… it handles better than any of the other Japanese superbikes,” said Cycle. Fuel consumption was slightly worse at 43mpg versus the K’s 45mpg, perhaps because of the lower gearing and a 12-pound weight increase.
Page: 1 | 2
| Next >>