Meet the man who still owns, and loves, the 1976 Honda CB750 he bought in 1977.
Owner: Greg Wassenberg
Occupation: MRI technologist
While thousands of motorcyclists have owned and/or ridden CB750s throughout the years, finding someone who bought one new and still has it can be a challenge. You might recognize Greg Wassenberg from our story on the Honda CBX. He also owns a 1976 Honda CB750 K6 — and has since he drove it off the showroom floor in June of 1977. Now, more than 30,000 miles later, his 750 is a slice of history, one of the few pieces of his teenage past that's still around. And it's practically in as good of shape as it was the day he rode it out of Import Cycles, Ltd in Salina, Kan.
Q: Why did you buy your CB750?
A: "I was pretty much a loyal Honda owner and I liked the look and feel of the bike. If you remember, 1977 was the beginning of the next generation of machines from Yamaha and Suzuki. Their 750s outperformed the older-style Honda 750 in the handling and power departments, but the Honda had proven its reliability and toughness. Also, the 1976 was the last year for the original styling. The 1977-1978 CB750Ks were re-styled with larger fuel tanks and larger exhaust pipes."
Q: What are the maintenance problems to look out for with these bikes?
A: "The steering head bearings tend to wear relatively fast. The fork seals usually started leaking after two or three years. The electric starter switch spring has a nasty tendency to corrode and break: Honda only sells the starter switch assembly as a unit. The upside is it's not that hard to replace. The 4-into-4 pipes dissipate heat so well that, if the bike isn't ridden long enough to get them warm, they will rust from the inside out. Once you notice this happening, it's too late to do anything about it. As with all Hondas of that era, the front brake caliper could get sticky or lock up altogether if the caliper wasn't kept clean and didn't get fresh brake fluid at regular intervals."
A: "I'd ridden a friend's '74 CB750 and that's what really convinced me to buying one. The 750 cruised at highway speeds effortlessly, and still had ample power to get you in trouble with the local authorities. And there was no perceived vibration to be felt anywhere on the bike."
Q: What's special about this bike to you?
A: "When I first bought the 750, it was all about having a four-cylinder bike — lots of power, decent handling, enough room for rider and passenger. Thirty years later, it's more about nostalgia and being able to enjoy riding something that was around when I was kid. The fact my bike is 30 years old and runs so well is what makes it special to me now. That and the compliments it receives on its condition.
It's great to talk to some of the folks that have been riding longer than I have and hearing stories about how motorcycling changed when the 750 was first introduced. This model of Honda 750 used to be quite plentiful. I counted 14 CB750s on one 230 mile trip to my grandparent's home in
Nebraska back in '78. Nowadays, I could probably count on one hand how many CB750s I've seen on some of my various vacations and still have fingers left"
Q: What kind of riding do you do on this bike today?
A: "Most of the miles I put on this bike now are on dinner or poker runs with my bike club."
Q: What do you like/dislike about it?
A: "The 750 is, in all practicality, the embodiment of the Universal Japanese Motorcycle. It was built to be all things to all people. All you had to do was spend a little money and outfit it to your own style. Honda designed the 750 to be reliable, dependable, and virtually unbreakable. In my humble opinion, I'd say they hit the mark with this machine."
Q: Do you think you'll ever sell it?A: "I doubt it. I've thought about it a few times, but sentimentality keeps it in my garage. This bike is the only tangible possession I have dating back to my younger days. Some of my old high school and college buddies can't believe I still have it." MC