The Honda CB750 Four: Classic for the Masses
The more things change, the more they stay the same
The Honda CB750 KO.
Photo by Richard Backus
Honda CB750 K0
Years produced: 1969-1970
Total production: N/A
Claimed power: 67hp
Top speed: 123mph (period test)
Engine type: 736cc overhead cam, air-cooled inline four
Weight (wet): 227kg (499lb)
Price then: $1,495
Price now: $12,500-$20,000 (sandcast), $5,000-$8,000 (diecast)
MPG: 34.3mpg (period test, average)
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
In 1969, throngs of motorcyclists clamored to see and ride Honda’s newest creation: the four-cylinder, single overhead cam Honda CB750 Four. It was unlike anything Honda had produced for the public, and frightfully similar to their race bikes, with the first mass-production in-line four-cylinder engine. It was the first Superbike, and more than 35 years later it makes for a great classic ride. Today, motorcyclists and collectors alike are snatching up original and restored early-production Honda CB750 motorcycles due to their limited numbers and their place in history, pushing sale and auction prices for these classic motorcycles sky-high.
Some 15 years ago, that wasn’t the case. When Dale Keesecker, owner of the Candy Blue-Green 1969 Honda CB750 K0 you see here, decided he wanted to restore one for his collection of two-wheeled machines, both the bikes and most replacement parts were readily available, and prices were fairly reasonable.
Editor-in-Chief Richard Backus and I had the chance to drive out to north-central Kansas not long ago to visit Dale and his 750. As the proud owner of a 1976 CB750 K6 I’ve been working on for just over a year, it was a trip I’d been looking forward to.
As we walked around Dale’s bike, ogling the perfect condition of pieces such as the emblems, gauges, exhaust system and more, answers to questions of origin started to have a broken-record effect. What isn’t original on the bike (albeit meticulously cleaned and polished) is NOS — new old stock. These are factory made replacement parts, most of which are identical to the original ones they replace. And while it isn’t a miracle to find NOS parts for some machines, the market has been picked very clean for early Honda CB750 pieces in recent years, as the value of these beauties has risen.
But that wasn’t the case back when Keesecker and his mechanic restored this beauty: Keesecker and his CB were ahead of the curve. It’s not an uncommon story. These 750s were ahead of the curve before they ever hit showroom floors.
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