My First Ride: A 1975 Honda CB750

| 10/4/2011 9:59:10 AM

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Royce Thiessen's 1975 Honda CB750 
Royce Thiessen's first bike, a 1975 Honda CB750 found on Craigslist. 

I have been reading Motorcycle Classics since 2008 and finally decided to get off the sidelines and jump into the classic motorcycle arena.  So I began browsing Craig’s list, found the classic I’d always wanted and went to look it over.  The front brake was sticking preventing an actual test ride but I figured that could be fixed.  Otherwise it was all there (wrong seat) and seemed to run properly so I bought it.  A few days later I was ready to follow your motto “Ride ‘Em, Don’t Hide ‘Em “ and take my ‘new’ 1975 Honda CB750 for its first ride.   

This was not as simple as it sounds as I first had to siphon out the old gas and replace it, air up the tires, and disable the front brake due to the sticking problem.  After donning helmet, jacket and gloves, I was ready to go and fired it up.  Then, with the feeling of anticipation that comes at the beginning of any first ride, I eased the clutch and headed down the hill in front of my house.  Because of the absence of a front brake and the age of the motorcycle, the plan was to ride cautiously up and down the street a few times, just to ‘get a feel for the bike’.

From the beginning the engine wouldn’t idle very well and I attributed this to its need to warm up but things only got worse from there.  By the time I was half way down the street it was cutting in and out and then the engine died completely.  Since I was headed down hill, the momentum carried me to the bottom where I stopped and tried in vain to start the engine.  Although it turned over smartly, it wouldn’t fire.  After a few futile minutes of trying - choke on, choke off, throttle on, throttle off - I gave up and unhappily accepted that I was dead in the water and wasn’t going to get it started anytime soon.  I just stood there and looked at what had, until a few moments ago, been my beautiful ‘new’ pride and joy.   

Then the recriminations began.  How could I be so stupid!  What did I think was going to happen when I bought a 36 year old motorcycle?  Obviously the engine was messed up and to ever get it running again it would probably require complete carburetor rebuilds or worse by an expensive professional mechanic.  The guy who sold it to me said it ran great, and it did at his place, and I was just dumb enough to fall for it. I hadn’t even taken it for a test ride. How stupid was that.  And so on and so on.

But in the end, there I was, stuck at the bottom of the hill.  I couldn’t leave the motorcycle in the road so the only thing to do was to push it back up the hill to my house.  Then I would have to get some sucker, probably a friend, to help me push it up my steep driveway and into the garage.  So off I went, slowly pushing my former pride and joy now turned object lesson to the foolishness of middle age, up the two hundred yards to my house.   

10/30/2011 4:33:04 PM

there are many 1st time rider's and owners on this forum there mostly new to the biking world and older 1s not to open minded when coming to other brands of bikes,but have great story's like yours,A classic is a classic just keep them on the roads.

bryan veinotte
10/28/2011 5:11:58 AM

i feel your pain! i just purchased a 76 cb750 and have had a few episodes that i can laugh about now but were not amusing at the time.(must of had an extra bowl of stupid for breakfast those days lol).am havin a blast ridin now though-woohoo.bryan veinotte

Scott haralson
10/27/2011 9:36:17 PM

I remember when I got my first bike with " vacuum shut off" petcock. I think it was my '78 Yam xs-11, first thought I had was :"good, can't ever forget to turn it on again".

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