Remember that "list of the Ten Most Significant Japanese Motorcycles of all time" I mentioned on the Yamaha DT-1 page? Well here's the bike at the top of that list. Only, I think that to give the CB-750 it's due, you've got to strike "Japanese", and place it atop the Ten Most Significant Motorcycles Ever list! This is, quite literally, The Motorcycle That Changed The Industry.
Think about it. Within a few years, all the Japanese manufacturers were forced to market OHC transverse fours, to maintain their credibility. At least half, and probably much more, of the bikes on the market 30 years later still hew to the CB-750's basic model. It set new paradigms of functionality and reliability, totally changing what the consumer came to expect from a motorcycle.
No, it wasn't the fastest motorcycle on the market in '69; that honor went to the Kawasaki H-1. But the H-1 wasn't civil. It smoked like downtown Pittsburgh, drank gasoline like a Cadillac, and was as subtle as a heart attack. And reliability? Hah! The fact that the H-1 came with a carrier for 3 spare spark plugs under the seat was no accident! You needed those spare plugs! The H-1 wasn't a motorcycle that a gentlemen could ride. The big CB was.
Not that this was the only side to the CB-750. If you weren't a gentleman, the CB wouldn't magically change you into one. Bone stock, it was quite capable of satisfying all but the most jaded of hooligans. And within 6 months of it's appearance on American shores, us enterprising Yanks had on the market all the necessary bits and pieces needed to transform the CB into a world-class hooligan's bike! Loud 4-into-1 exhausts, high-performance camshafts, high-compression pistons, you name it, it was available. Even full-on turbocharger kits complete with fuel injector!
<raises glass> So here's to the '69 CB-750, the Grand Daddy of all UJM's!
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