Throughout the 1960’s Honda motorcycles incorporated more and more race-developed technology into their production machines. Ultimate MotorCycling has gone back to take a look at some of the motorcycles that benefited directly from this direct injection race technology. Our team was able to come-up with four examples that changed the face of motorcycling forever. This trend of race on Sunday and sell on Monday has continued into the modern day.
1960 Honda Dream Supersport CB72
This 250cc sports model was loaded with engine technology developed at the Asama Race and at the Isle of Man. Featuring extremely durable engine internals, a sophisticated valve train and ignition system, this twin-cylinder OHC engine pumped out an impressive 24 HP at 9,000rpm (available with both 180° and 360° crankshafts). Racing kit was also available, making the CB72 a popular mount for privateer racers.
1962 Honda CR Series Production Racers
These racing machines were production versions of the RC racers. With the completion of the Suzuka Circuit, road racing flourished in Japan, and the CRs were sold to privateers racing the GPs. The CR lineup included the 50cc CR110, the 125cc CR93, the 250cc CR72 and the 350cc CR77. All were twins except for the CR110, and, like the RC racers, all featured gear-driven cams, DOHC 4-valve heads and redlines exceeding 10,000rpm. The CR110 (8.5 HP/12,700rpm) was aimed at the 50cc class established in 1962, and both it and the CR93 achieved impressive results in domestic and international racing. The CR110 was also marketed in a street going version with lights as the Cub Racing CR110.
1965 Honda Dream CB450
This was Honda’s largest displacement model of its era and Honda’s first sports model aimed at the overseas market. Race-derived technology in this DOHC twin included torsion-bar valve springs and eccentric tappet adjusters. Output was 43 HP at 8,500rpm. This impressive engine was mounted in a high-rigidity single down-tube frame. Boasting more top speed, power output and acceleration than any domestic model, the CB450 kicked out more performance than the leading 650cc machines from other countries.
1969 Honda 750 Four
One of the most significant machines in recent motorcycling history, the CB750 Four featured a 4-cylinder engine reminiscent of the Honda RC racers, a terrific exhaust note from four exhausts and, in a first for a production motorcycle, a top speed of over 200 km/h. The incredible 750cc 4-cylinder engine featured a wealth of technology developed on sixties era GP racers.
The CB750 was later followed by 500, 550, 350 and 400 Fours, which firmly established Honda’s reputation as a builder of multi-cylinder models.