Honda Motorcycles

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Norton water-cooled Classic



This is a very 1969 Honda CB750 sand cast crankcases. the 750s launch, Honda was of its success so held off in making the investment in … casts. it became apparent they had a hit on their hands, Honda switched over to … the crankcases.

Which makes ‘sand cast’ models rare sought after by


No study of British Motorcycles, or the British Industry as a whole, would be without acknowledging the enormous, impact the Japanese Motorcycle and Honda Motorcycles in particular, had on the In 1959, the year that opened its first motorcycle in the US, BSA was the world’s leading motorcycle In fact, the Brits ruled the marketplace throughout the 1950s into the 1960s.

But changes brewing in the East.


Motorcycles was founded by Soichiro a gifted, self-educated designer/marketer/businessman who out as an apprentice auto mechanic in the by 1937 had opened his own piston business built small for the Japanese Armed Forces WWII. At the end of hostilities, Japan was a yearning for ‘wheels’.

With money little fuel, the was lightweight bicycles with engines clipped to them, Honda began producing in using surplus generator Honda Motorcycles quickly better and better designs methods, becoming very in the home market. By the late the ambitious Honda knew he had to to bigger markets set his eyes on

The first US dealership for Honda opened in 1950, and the rest, as say. is history.

1963 Trail 50


is the bike that rocked the when it arrived in 1959. quiet 4 … single, clutch the legendary step-through Growing up in the 1960s, one of my friends had a 90, which we dubbed The Flying because the seat flipped up a toilet seat in order to the fuel tank.

But, all aside, it was Honda’s ‘out-of-the-box’ like on this tiddler, allowed Honda to change the market forever. Bikes this were featured in brilliant early 60s ad campaign, You the nicest people on a Honda. It not debunked the outlaw biker created in Hollister CA, it literally an entirely new market for motorcycles. And new riders would start a Honda like this graduate up to a bigger Honda, and so

I did the exact same thing starting with a ’65 Trail 55, then stepping up to the (then on to my first Triumph but that’s another story). BRITISH MOTORCYCLE TIMELINE 1959

Triumph introduces its 650 Bonneville. showing the Brits still on top. BSA ‘s seller was the Gold Star. an OHV single cylinder design.

Honda 305 Dream C77


The series of bikes kicked off in Japan with the 250cc C70 C75, but these were imported. In the early 60s, introduced the next in the series the C71 C72, and the 305cc C76 C77. is a 1964 Honda C77 305 Dream. they look very odd they were the Japanese on what a ‘big’ motorcycle look like, trying to ape the who had arguably the prettiest motorcycles on the at the time.

The 305 was the biggest engine Honda built, at that Like the Trail 50-90, the series used a pressed-steel (stamped sheetmetal panels together, the way the auto industry unibodies). As ugly as they may be, went a long way toward Honda’s reputation for excellence And these 305s were too, certainly worthy of a Triumph 500 a run for its money.

But, the certainly hurt them in the US


Triumph its entire 650 line to Unit mildly updated, but still vertically-split. The legendary BSA Gold ends 2 decades of production, Lucas no longer produces the magnetos used. Most of the Motorcycle Industry was struggling.

Enfield sells manufacturing to its single cylinder line to in India. AMC. once to 5 proud brands, Matchless-AJS. Francis-Barnett Norton. only is actually making a profit.

Only Triumph seems to be well.

1963 Honda 305 CL77


While the Trail 50-90s broke new with ‘the nicest and the Honda 305 Dreams proved Honda could put together a road bike, the Honda 305 showed the world that could build a world-class motorcycle. And they did it in spades! The was a technological tour-de-force in it’s

All alloy oversquare engine 180-degree crank, Overhead twin carbs, reliable electrics with a reliable starter, twin-leading shoe brakes front AND rear was racing-bike stuff!), twin (speedo tach), all in an affordable, bullet-proof package. The world had seen anything like it Because of it’s lightness sophistication, the Honda 305 Superhawk shame bikes twice displacement, or more!

This was the beginning of the end for the Classic British industry, who at the time, were to produce aging models had been designed in the 1940s. were trying to save Honda was trying to break new no matter the cost.


By this time, all the once-mighty Motorcycle Manufacturers were badly, with the exception of who was going from success to with record sales of for the street TR6 Trophies for the dirt. BSA to produce increasingly more machines to dwindling sales was selling every 750 Atlas it make. All totaled, the entire Motorcycle Industry at this was producing only a trickle of when compared to big Japanese manufacturers like Honda.

Honda 450 Black Bomber


If the Honda 305 Superhawk the world that Honda build a world-class motorcycle, the 450 ‘Black Bomber’ proved could build a high-performance that could rival the big 750s from England, and the big Harleys. The Honda 450 again set a new for engine technology, with Overhead Cams (DOHC) valve springs instead of coils. It made prodigious revved like mad!

was still a Honda weak but they were taking cues from the Brits. Black Bomber has sort of a British look to it, with tank panels headlight The arrival of the Honda 450 Black signaled the end of British dominance in the and on the street.

Unfortunately, the British Motorcycle was either too blind to see it, or too broke to do about it.


ceases to exist. What’s of AMC focuses everything on a new Norton. the Yet, Triumph had its best ever. Unfortunately, it was all downhill there.

1970 Honda KO


If it wasn’t obvious by the 1969 Honda CB750 changed the entire game. were the days of boring out old Honda was breaking new ground each success new motorcycle. relegated to the lightweight market, nothing bigger than a suddenly Honda was playing in Big Game’. And there were none bigger.

The big 4-cylinder set the standard for the motorcycle industry, no expense on technical sophistication quality. The rest of the world was The other Japanese brands to respond, Kawasaki being the to follow in 1972 with the Z1.


Triumph and BSA their respective 750 Triples, the Trident and the BSA Rocket 3 just 4 ahead of the Honda 750. As as the Brit triples could been, they paled in to the quality, the price/value, and sheer volume of the big Honda. Norton its seminal Commando to rave Triumph’s Bonneville and TR6. with a few 500s, but that was it for bikes. 1969 was one of the last years at Triumph.

Unfortunately, as as some of these Brit might have been, were never produced in the necessary to have the same of impact as Honda, or the other brands, for that matter. The were still using to hand-build motorcycles, the way it had always done. Honda was always for new better ways to do things.

Honda CB175


By Honda is the largest manufacturer of in the history of mankind. The other brands are following eagerly, but no one do it quite like Honda, and of the others had really ventured 4-… territory, all choosing to on their 2-… designs. But applied a level of design engineering excellence to every they made, and not just the big-bore versions either.

Even the smallest, lowliest was designed to be the absolute best at it was. The Honda 175 350 twins are a example. In 1969, Honda the Honda 160 305, the clean-sheet of the new 175 350 were modern, futuristic Beautifully made, in pristine cast aluminum, with Leading Shoe brakes rear, 5-speed transmissions starters that actually

The Brits were still away from things this, even on their bikes. The market was flooded cheap, high-quality Japanese by the early 1970s, mostly I grew up in this era myself the school parking lot was always full of Honda 175s

A few of the ‘rich kids’ had 450s. And I had my Triupmh TR6 bobber.


Triumph and BSA introduce totally-new frames cycle gear on 650 twins. After much ado the world yawns. Despite an investment in new parts, they don’t have electric 5-speeds or disk brakes.

Honda 350-Four


By 1973, Motorcycles was in such a position of that it could afford to do much whatever it wanted, and did so ease. It took some most were winners, not so much, but they could to take some risks. And the benefited by the plethora of incredible coming from Honda. A example is Honda’s 350 4-cylinder.

practice in the motorcycle industry up to point, was to spend little on and/or lightweight machines, the engineering budget for the bigger that commanded higher higher profit margins. bucked the system by sparing no with the design of its new 350cc After rocking the world their revolutionary Honda Honda quickly followed up a 500cc 4-cylinder as if that enough, a 350cc version.

The of the Japanese motorcycle industry just beginning to embrace Harley Triumph were building the same engines designed in the 30s. Honda the world!


BSA is Of the once-mighty British Motorcycle only Triumph and Norton standing. The Norton Commando bumped from a 750 to an 850 gets a disk brake.

Triumph 650 Bonneville gets to a 750, finally gets a front disk brake, but no starter. When new owners, threaten to close Triumph’s plant, the workers take the plant shut down until 1976 model-year. it reopens in late ’75, it be the Meriden Workers’ Co-op struggle from the start to its … in 1983.

1978 GL1000 Goldwing


In Honda perceived a market no one else was really reaching, the Touring Market. To address new market they came up an entirely new design. A horizontally-opposed OHC water-cooled 999cc 4-cylinder built for long-range, high-comfort

And once again, Honda off an entirely new segment of the market the competition rushed to copy. as a testament to the rightness of Honda thinking with the Goldwing over one million Honda have been produced at Marysville, Ohio plant.


Norton has ceased to That leaves only struggling to survive as a Workers’ under-capitalized from the start, and to produce only the ancient 750 in dwindling numbers.

1979 CBX1100


do you do when you’ve already everything? You’ve already society forever, raised the bar on brought leading edge to the masses, altered the course of events conquered an entire

After creating an entirely new with the Honda 50, delivering racing machinery to the common man the Honda 305 Superhawk, taking on the heavyweights with the Honda 450 Bomber, then changing the forever with the Honda 4-cylinder, what could be next? Why, 6 cylinders, of Honda Motorcycles introduced the intricate Honda CBX1100 in just because they

While they are fine very impressive to look at, width, bulk, and high of gravity (you can’t an engine that wide too low in the are hindrances that outweigh any In the end, despite its ultimate the CBX was cut in 1982, replaced by more machines. But it just goes to what Honda was capable of.

Of course, wild 6-cylinder were nothing new to Honda, fielded many road of various smaller displacements in the 1960s. CLASSIC BRITISH TIMELINE — 1978

The British motorcycle company in business is Triumph. in the form of the Workers’ Co-op. As they on to survive on meager resources, only one model in their the Bonneville. they must now get it to ever more stringent US standards. The ancient design be choked down to get it cleaned up it weak on power.

Less 2,000 Triumphs are sold in 1978.

1982 Honda


Once seeing a market that being adequately met, introduced its stunning VF/VFR- of bikes in 500cc, 750cc versions, all with 90-degree DOHC 4-valves per cylinders. were light, powerful, well looked like else on the planet. And once the competition fell all over trying to catch up.

The sportbike was on, and once again, Honda were in the lead. CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE TIMELINE —

Triumph breathes its final as it slips into receivership. It is the end of an No British Motorcycles would be until Les Harris begins Bonneville production from 1985 to 1989. Then in British real estate John Bloor, who had bought the to Triumph had licensed the Harris now began producing a new generation of in his Hinkley plant.

Modern in way, these new Triumphs the best motorcycles built in the world. The Brits are back!

SHOP MANUAL, VTR1000F 1997-08

HONDA 700-1000 1983-85

HONDA SHOP XL600/650 XRV750, 1987-07



Norton water-cooled Classic
Norton water-cooled Classic
Norton water-cooled Classic
Norton water-cooled Classic
Norton water-cooled Classic

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