August 2007 8
I sure do buy a lot of old Honda SOHC 4’s! These 550’s are solid little bikes. Small enough to zip around town on, and heavy enough to do some touring down the highway. Why people don’t look to buy bikes of this size today I have no idea, they are far more practical than many modern bikes.
A first year F model CB750. The F bikes had a number of differences from the standard K model. All the body work was redone and made to look sportier. The tank is longer and sleeker, the seat has a lower profile, and there is a rear cowl section. The exhaust was a 4 into 1 from the factory rather than a 4 into 4. The front blinkers were mounted lower and the bike did not have chrome headlight ears. The later SS models have the chrome headlight ears but the blinkers were mounted lower on the ears and had shorter stems. The SS forks were larger diameter as well. I’m not sure which year the F model cylinder heads got bigger valves, was it first year? Anyone know? These bikes also had a rear disc brake, the K model still used the drum.
There were a few other minor differences between the K and F. This particular bike has a Dyna electronic ignition installed which makes for a very strong spark, and no more adjusting the point gap and sanding the point faces!
These 350cc inline 4 cylinder bikes were produced from only 1972-1974. They are quickly becoming a very popular and in demand collectible due to their short production run, and the difficulty of finding an unabused example. However, I have found an excellent example and trailered it home. This bike is in near emmaculate condition without a dent or scratch on it. The original!!!! paint looks flawless. There are only 2 problems with the bike. The one that detracts significantly from the value is rust where the mufflers meet the headers (very common for older 4 into 4 systems, particularly this specific model). It is not properly repairable without replacing the mufflers, which are otherwise in excellent condition. The other issue that detracts the collectors eye are the stickers on the tank. While these can be removed with a little patience, the paint is slightly darker underneath so their outline remains. I think they’re kind of cool though!
I was reading through the classifieds for motorcycyles today, as I frequently do. I came upon someone selling a 1977 Honda CB750A(utomatic). In the listing they claimed it was the only automatic motorcycle ever built. I couldn’t resist giving them some additional information.
Just a little information. The CB750A was in fact the first automatic motorcycle built for the street. However it is not the only automatic motorcycle ever built. The first automatic production bike (I believe) was the Rokon 338 which was an off road bike debuted in 1973 and manufactured in America. It used a centrifugal clutch and a single gear. The CB750A was released in 1975. Honda also created Hondamatic motorcycles in 1979 (CM400) and in 1982 (CM450). The 400 was produced for 3 years, and the 450 was produced for 2 years. Other automatic motorcycles have existed with less popularity. Husqvarna produced an automatic motorcycle somewhere around 1984-85.
I’m sure there are many other bikes with automatic transmissions probably dating back as far as the early 20th century.
Some may argue that a centrifugal clutch driven bike is not a true automatic transmission, and to that I would say: The sliding gears inside the automatic Honda street bikes are not true automatic transmissions either. Who cares! If you don’t have to shift or use the clutch, it’s automatic!
Within 24 hours I had the bike repainted, shined up, and running. Certainly not a perfect bike or a quality restoration job, but it is a fun little bike that makes LOTS of noise due to the mufflers being hollowed out.
I picked up this bike for an incredible deal (in non-running condition of course!). I have always liked the small bore honda twins. The cb350 is one of the greatest bikes of all time. The 360 is actually quite a different motor. Why they made all the changes I’m not entirely sure.
These bikes are more or less Japanese trash. There is really nothing wrong with them from a usability standpoint, they are comfy and go down the street just fine – But they are very unrefined, filled with poorly made and poorly designed parts, and are not a bike you should plan on keeping any length of time. However, these bikes do share a motor and carbs with the KZ650, which is a tried and true design.
I’ve owned several cb750’s over the years and they are always great bikes. This one was no exception. It sat for years behind a house a few towns over. I dragged it up onto the trailer. Within a couple days I had it purring nice and smooth and cleaned up pretty well. The grim on the seat and tank cleaned off extremely well. The paint on the tank was in exceptional condition which is very rare, particularly for a bike that sat outdoors a while. The paint on these old bikes normally fades quite readily.