The Honda CB750 Café Racer is a stalwart in the café racing world. To those of you who aren’t familiar, the Café Racer underworld has made a phenomenal come back in popularity over the past few years. Started in the 1960’s, the Café Racer culture was characterized by a rockabilly lifestyle coupled with a punk rock style. The Rockers and the Ton-ups were the most prevalent of the Café Racer groups. The Honda CB750 has become a favorite of today’s café racer crowd.
Café racers in the 1960’s lived for speed and rebellion. Characterized by their leather jackets and rough attitudes, they would race from café to café and back in order to prove their worth. The goal of the Ton-Up boys for instance was to ride their bikes over the 100 mile per hour mark. These bikers would also take part in record racing, which was a short race from a café to a specific point and back, hopefully before the record on the jukebox was over. Dangerous, yes, a heck of a lot of fun, absolutely.
The first decade of the 21st century has seen a major resurgence of these café racers. The cool factor of these naked, raw and fast motorcycles has roared back into mainstream motorcycling. People from all walks of the motorcycle world have been engaged in the creation of semi-modern café racers. Honda’s CB series has proved to be a perfect platform for a café conversion. Honda produced the CB450, CB550 and CB750 in the 1970’s. The CB750 being the most powerful of the bunch.
Honda decided in 1969 to introduce the CB750 to the United States market. At the time they had a number of smaller models available for sale, but realized the market for a larger bore version. The CB750 was a hit. The bike was outfitted with previously unheard of features in the consumer sport bike market. Its front disc brakes and straight four overhead cam shaft motor were harbingers in the affordable race bike category. The CB750’s msrp in 1969 was $1495, not cheap, but from a relative standpoint, an absolute bargain compared to its British competition.
Honda’s executives had a difficult time determining the demand for the bike, and used a sand cast mold system on the first 7,414 bikes produced. The production lasted until September of 1969. These “sandcast” models are extremely rare and will fetch a pretty penny on the market if one can be found.
Dubbed as the “most sophisticated production bike ever” by Cycle magazine, it is no surprise that the CB750 became a favorite of Café Racers in the 21st century. Today, the bikes can be found for sale under $2,000 and provide a wonderful platform for a café conversion. The simple and cheap addition of Clubman Bars ($25.00) is enough to radically alter the appearance of the bike. The aftermarket for these bikes is extremely comprehensive, parts can be sourced from a number of manufacturers. Be careful to study the ways of the CB series motorcycles on the SOHC4 forum. There is a ton of useful knowledge to be gleaned from those forums.
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