Dennis Zickrick, Honda CB750 Authority

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Dennis Zickrick and Eric Melvin stand with Eric's 1981 Honda CB750K.
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Dennis Zickrick was one of the original Honda CB750F superbike racing technicians. Here, he's holding up AMA racer Freddie Spencer's racing leathers from 1982.
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Dennis Zickrick with Eric Melvin's 1981 Honda CB750K.
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Dennis Zickrick with five of his bikes.
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A team photo from 1980 featuring Dennis Zickrick and the other original American Honda road race technicians.
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Dennis Zickrick and Mike Velasco on Freddie Spencer's race bike at a 1982 race in Daytona.
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Dennis Zickrick on Freddie Spencer's race bike in 1980.

“Eric, my name is Dennis. I’m an authority on the Honda CB750 and I heard you have a problem. If you still have a problem I can help. If you need parts I can help. Call me if you need to”. That was the voicemail I received amongst several emails after I posted on Craigslist for technical advice for an issue I was having with my 1981 Honda CB750K. Several people emailed with advice however I got my problem solved a couple days later with the help of some friends. The pulse generator was out of specification which through the timing off. We reset it and I was back to riding.

I emailed or called everyone back that offered advice although I was most curious about the guy who had left me the message saying he was an authority on Honda CB750. When I called the number left in my voicemail it rang four times before it picked up. Cutting through loud background noises a voice said “Hello, this is Dennis.” I responded, “Dennis this is Eric from Craigslist with the CB750. You left me a message last week. I’m calling to thank you for offering your help. I got the problem solved and I’m back on the road.” I began to ask him about his experience with CB750’s when he explained that he was out of state and then was not a great time to talk. He asked if we could talk the following week when he was back in town. I agreed and we hung up.

The following week I got a call from Dennis. He said that he’d like to meet me and see my bike. He gave me directions and a time to visit. I went to meet him a few days later and it was a short jaunt only 7 blocks from where I lived. I rode through the alley to the garage door. When I turned the corner and up to the parking spot the overhead door was open. I saw many familiar bikes inside and out that grabbed my attention including a Honda 650 Nighthawk, VF1000F interceptor, a 1984 GPZ 900R Ninja and a 1979 KZ1000. Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s helped me have a deep appreciation for bikes from those years. I knew I was in an interesting place.

I waited outside for a few minutes when a man with a silver goatee walked towards me. “I’m Dennis,” he said. We stood there for almost an hour talking about my bike as well as the others in his shop which belonged to friends or customers. During our talk Dennis’s phone rang several times and we ended our talk. We shook hands and I accepted his offer to come back another time. A second conversation with Dennis ended without asking him about his claim of being a CB 750 authority. I had no idea who he was or about the fate, treasure and surprise that I had found that day.

Born to ride a Honda
I’ve been around motorcycles most of my life and they’ve had a profound impact on me, especially Honda. I started riding during a snowy month of March 1979 on a Honda Z50R. I grew up in Silverthorne, Colorado and Summit Honda was only two miles away from our house. My older brother Jim started working there at 13 and stayed 7 years. His first job there was to keep the foundation cement wet to prevent it from cracking in the summer sun. Jim worked for two different owners while there. He saw many changes to Honda motorcycles including the DOHC CB 750, V4 engines and mono shock suspension. Summit Honda had sent Jim to Honda tech school in California for training on the V4’s. I used to love to go see Jim at the shop and look at the bikes. Jim started racing enduros then went to motocross in 1983. He raced Hondas from 1981 to 1986 and finished on Yamaha in 1990. I was the pit guy, bike cleaner and beverage distributor during his motocross days on the SRAC (Sport Riders Association of Colorado) race circuit. We drove lots of miles with bikes in the back of Chevy El Caminos and various pickup trucks. I started racing motocross in 1984 and had a mid-air double jump collision with another rider. I ended up in the hospital after the crash. I had started and retired from racing the same day. The next summer I got a nice treat when I got to meet and get autographs from some of my boyhood Honda motocross heroes including Bob Hannah, Johnny O’Mara, Ron Lechien, David Bailey and Rick Johnson at a national race held at Thunder Valley in Lakewood, CO. Later on I would meet other Honda greats such as Jeremy McGrath.

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