Perfection: 1970 Honda CB750 Four

An early die-cast Honda CB750 Four is restored by owner Don Stockett of Vintage Motorcycle Rescue.

| September/October 2017

  • 1970 Honda CB750 K0
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • 1970 Honda CB750 K0
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • 1970 Honda CB750 K0
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • 1970 Honda CB750 K0
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • 1970 Honda CB750 K0
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • 1970 Honda CB750 K0
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • The 4-into-4 exhaust system is a defining visual feature of the CB750.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • 1970 Honda CB750 K0
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • The CB750’s front disc brake got a lot of attention when it debuted, as drum brakes were then the norm.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • 1970 Honda CB750 K0
    Photo by Nick Cedar

1970 Honda CB750 K0
736cc air-cooled SOHC inline 4-cylinder, 61mm x 63mm bore and stroke, 9:1 compression ratio, 67hp @ 8,000rpm (claimed)
Top speed:
123mph (period test)
Four 28mm Keihin
5-speed, chain final drive
12v, coil and breaker points ignition
Dual downtube steel cradle/57.3in (1,455.5mm)
Telescopic forks front, twin shocks w/adjustable preload rear
Single 10in (254mm) disc front, 7.1in (178mm) SLS drum rear
3.25 x 19in front, 4 x 18in rear
499lb (w/half tank fuel)
Seat height:
31.5in (800mm)
Fuel capacity/MPG:
4.8gal (18.1ltr)/35-40mpg
Price then/now:
$1,495/$4,000-$12,000 (1970 die-cast model)

Don Stockett has had a lot to celebrate recently. He not only won an Antique Motorcycle Club of America (AMCA) Winner’s Circle award for this 1970 Honda CB750 K0, scoring 99.50 points, he also managed a narrow escape from road rash on the same bike.

Some weeks before the AMCA Fort Sutter (California) National meet where he won his Winner’s Circle award, Don rode the CB750 K0 in The Quail Motorcycle Gathering pre-show Quail Ride. During the ride, he went a little too hot into a decreasing radius left turn and barely avoided running the bike onto the gravel as the centerstand scraped the pavement. “It’s a big, heavy bike and it’s hard to correct in a corner,” Don says.

Viewed from a perspective of almost 50 years of progress, the single overhead cam version of the 750 Honda is a nice bike with a lot going for it, yet one that could benefit from some focused upgrading. But viewed from the perspective of its contemporaries, the Honda CB750 Four was a revelation. Here was a powerful and reliable motorcycle with good brakes — for the time — a 5-speed transmission, bright lights and an electric starter that worked on cold mornings, none of which were common motorcycle features when the CB750 hit the market in 1969. Just as importantly, the styling was good enough to turn heads, and unique enough to attract buyers.

Honda’s strength

That Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda Motor Company, was in the position that his company could design and build a bike like the CB750 was due to years of forethought and investment. In the early 1950s Mr. Honda, with the help of some optimistic banks, bought $1 million worth of American and Swiss machine tooling. Meanwhile, his British rivals soldiered on with the same old pre-war lathes and milling machines — they had to keep the shareholders happy, after all — and Harley-Davidson, then the sole surviving American motorcycle company, had bought up as much surplus equipment as it could after World War II, but years of poor sales had limited its ability to keep up in the factory machinery department.

By 1959, Honda was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. It had based its success on selling small motorcycles of excellent quality to Asian customers, but it soon branched out. As the 1960s progressed, Honda sold increasingly larger capacity motorcycles worldwide. Honda products swamped the British manufacturers’ small bike offerings, and although the Japanese imports cost more, they had good brakes, bright lights and electric starters. And they didn’t leak oil.

Bruce S
12/11/2020 1:06:03 AM

I had three SOHC Honda 750s during the 1980's, two CB750Fs and a CB750A. All were memorable rides and miss them. Thanks for the article.

12/10/2020 5:34:37 PM

Practical and simple design timeless style. Comfortable for most riders and any distance a conversation starter everywhere. Solid as a tank wails like a banshee. Have a '74 with 25K returned to stock from a Vetter-ized tourer 20 years ago by a novice a little shop help for tires, carb sync, points, cables and such. 46 y.o. and still does eighty percent of what any new bike does - except for the braking so gotta keep the pace in check.

The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5.00 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $29.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $34.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter