First Europe, then America.
Way back in 1969, the motorcycle world was just waiting for something to come along and shake it up. When Honda brought its now-legendary CB750 Four prototype to Europe, the moto world there was properly shook. It was like absolutely nothing else that had gone before, and the whole thing seemed like a much-needed breath of fresh air.
Innovations like a front disc brake, an electric start, and a left-side shifter were very nice indeed, particularly since Honda had designs on cracking the American market. Most of all, though, people appreciated the extremely smooth and usable power delivery.
A 750 four-cylinder may not seem revolutionary now, but that’s because the CB750 Four blazed a true trail way back then. In 1968, there were no superbikes in the world. Suddenly, in 1969, there were.
As with most world-changingly-great innovations, the entire motorcycle world was soon on fire to compete with this absolute beast. It was extremely tough to beat, however, since it offered such an exquisite combination of usable power and performance at such a reasonable price. Kawasaki soon dethroned Honda in the superbike battle Soichiro started, but that’s another story and shall be told another time.
Honda built four CB750 prototypes for display at motorcycle shows around the world, one each in Candy Gold, Candy Red, Candy Green, and Candy Blue (Honda had A Thing for multi-layer candy colors back in those days). Just two years ago, in March 2018, the candy gold prototype , known as “the Brighton bike” because that’s where it debuted, shattered auction records for a Japanese motorcycle. At the time, it sold for £161,000, roughly US $223,550.
There’s something extra special about riding a candy gold CB750 through the streets of Brighton like the rider in this video does. It’s like a return home, to the place where it all happened. A sort of elusive and secret joy that only those motorbike fans who are really deep into it will understand as you rumble on by.
Perhaps as time moves along, a CB750 as original as this one becomes even more special. After all, so many of these bikes have been customized and reshaped into other machines over the past 50 years.
It’s also further confirmation that when you’re a part of an important moment in history, you don’t always realize it. How many CB750 Four owners who lined up to buy these bikes from their local dealers knew what kind of revolution was underway? It may have become crystal clear later, but who actually knew it while it was purring merrily and eating up roads underneath them?