Modern Moto-Mother: Honda CB750 KO

1970 Honda CB750Ride a street motorcycle?

If it’s got more than two cylinders, there’s a good chance you are piloting the offspring of this Honda CB750.

The waves created in 1969 when Honda launched its CB750 KO are still splashing to this very day. With the introduction of its transverse, inline, 4-cylinder motorcycle engine (aka straight-four engine), generations of bikes followed as variations of this central theme.

This was also the first major production motorcycle to utilize a disc brake (front only).

The bike in the photo was manufactured as part of Honda’s first model year (from July 1969 to June 1970) and is part of the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum collection.

This bike represents a watershed moment in motorcycle history. British bikes dominated the high-performance motorcycle world up until this machine hit the showroom floors. Honda raised the entire standard of motorcycle performance and reliability and shifted the balance of manufacturing power from the UK to Japan.

48 thoughts on “Modern Moto-Mother: Honda CB750 KO

  • Bought used 74 CB750K4 with Vetter, Bates, and Box in 77 and after 100K sold it about 5 years ago. I’ve been street riding since 1959 and it was by far the best ride I’ve ever had.

  • I’m another (former) owner of a ’75 CB400Four Super Sport. I had it for years and it pretty much initiated me to the world of motorcycling. I had it from the mid eighties all the way through about 2 months ago. I will always have a soft spot for those sexy 4 into one pipes coming off the 4 carburetors. I loved that bike.

  • I am one of those very few that never spent ownership time on an air-cooled Honda four. I went from a two stroke Yamaha RD400F straight to a BMW R100RS, and for most of my riding days never looked back. What is sad is that the depleted economy of Britain after two world wars, their crumbling Empire going away, labour troubles, and this depleted state affected the lack of R&D and quality control issues that plagued the last British twins also hastened the Japanese hegemony of the market.

    Now, as everyone well knows, the concept of a lightweight mid-displacement Twin is hardly dead as Suzuki’s SV650 and Kawasaki’s 650 sporter sell like mad. Honda made its Hawk two decades ago now, and of course we see the resurgent Hinckley Triumph firm doing well despite a catastrophic fire 7 years ago.

    Only the Norton firm dared to move into the latter 20th Century with its revolutionary Wankel-rotary-powered bikes of the 1970s, but they became an evolutionary dead end with progressively tighter emissions and durability constraints (apex seals). They did successfully road race and offer these up as the Commander police motorcycle for well over a decade though.

    I did know several friends who had British bikes of the late 60s to mid 70s, and all they really required was an enthusiast to own and care for them. Some say that is where the “bonding” between man and machine comes into play, and to an extent I’d agree, as I’ve always rather enjoyed, rather than tolerated, doing some wrenching. However, the majority of buyers these days are not so disposed, so the appliance like character of Japanese manufacturing paradigms and techniques hold sway to this day.

  • I have a K0 sitting in boxes, I ran it for three years covering over 80k, before the final drive bearing gave up again. The weak spot in an otherwise fantastic machine. It handled beautifully, I have 2 featherbed Nortons to compare it with!! The brakes were only OK until the disc was drilled

    Still running an 88 V45 Super Magna a couple of VT500Es a 1970 CB350 K4 a 1968 CB450 special in a BSA frame and about to start work on a 1979 Gold Wing imported from Colorado, not sure how the British weather will affect its near pristine shiny bits. They all have to fight with a VMax for space in the garage

  • ………. had both a 69 and a 72, both were for those days, fast and had a great sound …… the 72 was so fast it got stolen in less than the blink of the eye, ended my bike riding for a while, paying off the loan and no bike sucked, shouldn’t have taken it out before I activated the insurance! Now still riding Honda, 80 Goldwing standard and thinking of adding an 84 Interstate to the garage.

  • I still have my 1970 K-1, ride a goldwing now but it sure is fun to turn back the clock and remember when. Both bikes very high miles and reliable.

  • I knew the answer to that one before I clicked on this page, as any moto-freak should.
    The original Rice Rocket – but as others have mentioned, the two-stroke triples that came a little later blew the 750four away. My 1st bike was an H2 – and I lived to tell about it!

    I ride nice reliable, albeit some would say plodding and dowdy BMW’s these days.

  • 10-4 on triumph , daytona 200 race 2012 watch triumph come from 7th to almost winning ,came in 4th with feet apart from 1-4 bikes and if his drive off the back was not screwed up by the bike in front of him it might of been 1 or 2 place can watch on u-tube the whole race or even the last 10 min’s..

  • Before everyone agrees that the British Motorcycle industry is dead, take a look at Triumph – producing world class bike in the naked, touring and now adventure classes.

  • Started out touring all over N. CA on an old Benelli, moved UP to a 305 Honda Dream, then a 305 Super Hawk. Did a jaunt on the Yamaha 750 XS moved to a Moto Guzzi, then came to my senses and drooled all over the 85 1100 Shadow. Spent over twenty years on that one and was impressed enough that when my DEAR Brother wrecked it for me, all I could see was another 1100 Shadow. Ride and love my “04 Honda Sabre SHADOW. Honda over the years have proven themselves beyond belief.

  • I remember when the CB750 first hit the uk WOW , what a shake up / wake up , only Nortons plastic commando came near it . only shame the British bikes couldn’t / wouldn’t get on the band wagon .

  • I’ve had Hondas…bikes, cars, snow blowers…everything they make is first rate.

    I own a Harley Night Train now, and, honestly, as much as I liked all my Honda bikes…and as good as they were….I never loved any of them like I LOVE this Night Train! LOL

  • Some of the early Honda bikes were a little although not when placed against British bikes.
    One wonders what would have happened if japan had not looked towards motorcyles but britain only has itself to blame.

  • Friend of mine had a CB750 and put an 850 big bore kit in it. Then his brother out ran 5 police cars, and htis wa sin the day of the 454 with 4 barrel carbs………………..
    Geee I wonder wheer that bike is now….

  • I owned a 1972 Honda CB 750. I rode the bike untill 2006. It may have had its faults, but never left me stranded. For me it started with a 1964 Honda 305 super hawk. I now ride a Goldwing, which I love; but the CB750 will always be my favorite ride.

  • to yvonne on april 18 …no our old friends the cry baby bikers harley davison got pres reagan to put higher import $ tax on over 700cc. bikes. because no one wanted them [h.d.] they thought price would get them sales instead of building a good product….that was before the sell the over priced black tee-shirt, head rags, fake tats, hell with the bike sell them i am bad look. sales push… and it worked they still make the same old crap.

  • I have a 83 Honda NightHawk – it is my First Bike – and I LOVE IT!! Amazed at the Power it has – and so are my Friends!! I am also 6’6″ = 230lbs. and I am very Comfortable on it!

  • I love my 86 Honda Shadow VT 700 that I recently read the U.S restricted imports of bikes for that year to below 750 … Probably due to the popularity of the Honda over U.S. bikes back then – I don’t know.

  • LOL it’s funny to hear you all reminisce. I’m driving a 1977 Honda 750k now! It looks old, but it’s still fast & runs great!

  • I rode the K0’s little sister – a Honda CB400F Supersport – for a few years – what a wonderful, fun and reliable bike she was. I loved that little bike !

    What a pity the British Motorcycle Industry just rolled over and died … :~(

  • I rode a CF400F Supersport – the K0’s little neice ! Also a wonderful, fun and relieble bike !!!

    It’s a pity the UK bike industry just rolled over and died … :~(

  • My first bike was a 1970s something Honda 450 Hawk-a-matic, after 6 months I had to have a real transmission and some power. I bought a used CB750. I cant remember the negatives, but I do remember 1000s of joyful miles as I learned how to ride. And I remember how dependable it was, even though I was also learning how to wrench! Since then I have been thru several BMWs and Harleys……. but I will never forget my Hondas.

  • When we were in the Air Force stationed at Cannon AFB, my friend bought a Honda 750 four and we rode from Clovis, NM to the Grand Canyon, then up into Colorado, and back to Clovis. My butt hurt the first two days, but that was a great trip on a great bike.

  • I disagree. It was the 450 Honda. It was smooth, powerful and 200cc less than the British 650cc bikes.

  • I had a green 1973 with drop bars,Koni’s and a 4 into one, my first big bike and set me up for a lifetime of Honda’s, Super reliableand tough as old boots, also heavy with dodgy handling, I loved it.

  • I ride a 1982 CB900 Custom. This bike is smooth, fast, and pretty. I have ridden a lot of scooters and motorcycles. I don’t think I’ll find a better combination of comfort, speed and reliability. (I did have to replace the electrical rotor twice, but that is a 15 minute operation.

  • I never owned a CB, but I had a 600 and then an 1100 Shadow. I really liked the bikes. The engines were great and I never had a problem. Unlike the engine, the fit and finish was OK. Infact, everything was plastic, and I once cracked the directional housing just by cleaning it. That was disappoining. Though I ride a BMW bike today, which I adore, I would still get another Honda in a heartbeat. They’re simply great bikes. Scott

  • Had a 1978 750K, then spent a lot of $ and time getting mounts for a Spirit of America Eagle hack to attach to it. Made for a great rig. Loved riding it with and without the chair on it. Even rode it through a surprise blizzard one November to Duluth. Made it with no problems, but passed A LOT of cars and trucks in the ditch or stranded in the middle of the highway. My only complaint was the seat, and chain maintenance. Took the seat from a 1981 Suzuki 1000G (suzies had the best seats in those days) and remodeled it to fit the 750 pan. Took a little creativity and sewing, but then I had a real comfortable ride. Eventually traded it off for a 1980 Suzuki 850G with a Velorex sidecar, so I finally had the shaft drive and comfortable seat I wanted. Both of those bikes were among my favorites of all time, and I wish I had both of them back.

  • I bough my first CB 750 red in early 1970. Rode it every day until 1973 and bought another one. It no doubt was a super bike at the time and I put 125,000 miles on the first one and close to that on the 2nd 750.
    I have had several bike since that time and now still ride a super bike called a Boss Hoss.


  • Did anybody have the four into one made by Dennis Murray that he called the Scientific Design? The sweetest sound on the road.

  • Hello
    well i was riding when the honda hit the streets(and i mean hit)a ill handling vibrating boat anchor.By todays standards an absolute piule of the proverbial but by the standards of then ? well at least it didnt leak oil and it generally (unlike british ,italian and american bikes)would go further than the end of the driveway without breaking down.
    As for finish it was as bad as you could possibly get with chrome that only needed moments to corrode suspension that wasnt ,and spare parts prices that were close to what one would pay for virgins in todays world.
    The brakes ? ok a disc but a disc nonetheless(it was absolute rubbish and was not even close to a 4 leading shoe drum)
    It wasnt a great bike but it was one that showed the world what a bike could be.We could well rave about its power and such but keep in mind that around the same time the japanese were making two strokes that also didnt handle stop or last(just like the honda)but holy snapping arseholes batman they went like stink.An example was the kawasaki 750,and 500 triples,they got you corner to corner with a rush you cant imagine(getting around the corner was the beginning of true fear)
    So dont let your fading memories forget what the honda 4 was but dont let your age imagine what it wasnt

  • Anyone riding a 4 cilinder bike whould know the answer but probably doesn’t. It’s my understanding that the marketing guys, after watching the 250 fours race and hearing the now famous four cylinder howl, promoted the “4” in a srteet bike.The 1969 CB 750 was a technological revolution. I had a ’73 which, I recall was basically the same as the ’69. It wasn’t the best handling bike though.

  • Several of my motorcycle buddies had Honda 750’s and the 500 spin-offs. Me, I went from British Metal and Oil Leaks to the Z900 Kawasaki. Still miss the Z. Currently riding the Honda VTX1800C which I like almost as much.

  • My first bike was a Honda 350. I traded my 67 Corvette for some cash and the bike. It was a fun ride.

  • I have a 82 CB900 Custom which is virtually the same bike with 45K on it and it still flies any time you ask it.

  • Even though I’ve never owned one, I imagine anyone that’s ever riden or owned a motorcycle is aware of the reliability and longevity of the Honda 750s.
    A friend of mine who sadly passed away a year ago had a 750 Four with over 250,000 miles on it that he bought new in 1978. He loved that bike!!!! We’d always kid him and ask why he didn’t buy a new bike and he’d always answer; When I find a better bike, I’ll buy it……… RIP Phil We Miss Ya……..

  • That was the machine that started it. I had a 1970 cb 750 K, Gold one.
    I put 60 thousand, hard miles on. It was my main transportation as I did my military time.
    Never seen a ring ding do that or out run it. Many tryed.

    Currently riding a 1998 st1100, with 70 thousand miles on it. In August I will be going out to Idaho from Orlando Fl

    Love those Hondas

  • All true, but my ring-ding 500 Kawa triple would run away and my 750 ring-ding Kawa triple would fly away … they made the smoke that CBs ate.

  • Got one then.
    Threw away the pipes. Threw away the seat. Threw away the front fender, rear shocks, headlight, fork springs.
    Added Cafe everything, and a fork brace.
    It made for a great highway racer that never would break.
    Dang thing is probably still running.


  • I knew the answer to that one!! I remember a printed conversation between Mr. Honda and the European makers. When asked how many units Mr. Honda was to bring to the states he said 50k. The Europeans said that was a good number of units for a year. Mr. Honda said, “No, that figure is for a month!!”

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