Unless you were there to witness it first-hand, it's difficult to understand the commotion that surrounded the announcement of the CB-450. Honda was well-respected by that time, and their bikes already had something of a reputation as giant-killers. Honda's "big bike" previously was the 305cc SOHC series of Dreams and Hawks and Scramblers. So the 450 had nearly half again the displacement! And double overhead cams!! To say that it was the most eagerly awaited new motorcycle of all time is no understatement, and the media blitz was unprecedented.
Of course, in the end the 450 wasn't quite the world-beater that everyone expected. Yes,they could hang with even a well-tuned BSA or Triumph 650, or even a Sportster. But such relative exotics as Nortons, Royal Enfields, and MV Agustas could tromp them handily. In the end, the CB-450 was a quantum leap in value, not absolute performance, presaging the CB-750 in that regard. I mean, yeah, the aforementioned bikes could match or beat the 450.. but at two to three times the price!
Sadly, I've never yet been able to swing a ride on a 450 Honda. But who knows, maybe one day I'll find a deal on a CB-450 similar to my serendipitously stumbling across the CB-350F. If so, you may be sure I'll snatch it up!
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