Whether we like it or not, development and advances in technology will continue at an alarming rate. Today’s latest innovation is tomorrow’s outdated frustration. Every innovation increases efficiency and puts us all in a world where we live in a constant state of fast forward. Although we have been conditioned to become far more adaptable to change, there are still times when a manufacturer has to carefully consider their loyal client’s response to a radical departure from what has been the accepted norm for their product. A wrong move in what is possibly the right direction technologically may be disasterous!
Long before technology ran rampant, Honda faced the dilemma of how to move forward without losing its loyal customers. When Honda had launched the CB750 in 1969 they had launched one of the most influential motorcycles ever made. Besides the Triumph and BSA Triples, there was nothing that could come close to the CB750 in performance. The Honda was full of innovation like an electric starter and disc brake. Honda’s Japanese rivals were still building two strokes and had no answer for this superbike. However by 1978 the competition had caught up and in certain instances surpassed the decade old design of the CB750. Honda were ready to launch their new double overhead cam 750cc engine in a new and modern looking motorcycle to be known as the CB750F in 1979. Being aware that the radical new look may not be the stalwart Honda CB750 rider’s cup of tea, Honda played it safe by simultaneously launching the CB750K as the touring model.
The CB750K was available from 1979 until 1982. It had all the new technology of the sporty looking CB750F, including the DOHC engine but was carefully disguised to look more like the original CB750 SOHC models. Spoke wheels were an option instead of the Comstar wheels and a four-into-four exhaust was fitted. A chrome front mudguard was fitted and the paintwork on the tank and sidecovers cleverly made the new tank styling, which swooped down to the side covers, appear more like the older generation’s styling. The seat was slightly stepped between rider and passenger in line with this models tourer classification. A single front disc brake and rear drum brake were retained instead of the twin disc front and single disc rear brake of the CB750F. The CB750K is probably the first factory built retrobike. The DOHC engine held its oil in the crankcases and the separate oil tank of the previous generation was thus no longer required. The four cylinder engine produced about 77hp. I owned a CB750F back in the day and I dispute the quoted 200km/h top speed. Mine ran out of breath at under 190km/h.
Our featured motorcycle started life as a CB750K. Jaco from V Custom Cycles, where the transformation took place, is quick to mention that the motorcycle was built completely to the owner Marcelle’s own design specification. Marcelle’s design was influenced by the Wrenchmonkees from Denmark’s creations. He definitely added his own style to the build. The cream tank with the satin black painted bottom section and chocolate brown stripe looks so good it should be edible. Rudi from Kicker Custom Paint was responsible for the excellent paint job. Marcelle has several more projects in the pipeline. He intends branding all his customs under the name Sprocket Rider Motorcycle Co.
The engine was externally refurbished and the carbs fitted with their K&N type filters. The exhaust system was made by V Custom. They also moved the battery down to an almost invisible position behind the engine and miraculously made the wiring harness disappear. This leaves a clean, uncluttered section of the motorcycle where the sidecovers, battery and electrics used to be mounted.
A severely shortened rear mudguard has been fitted. With a mudguard this short and those open air filters, this is definitely a ride for sunny days. The small cateye taillight looks just right. I always say that every custom that we feature has at least one outstanding feature. For me, the slight step in the seat makes a nice change to the ironing board flat seats that are normally fitted to motorcycles built in this style. Dion the Leatherman was the upholsterer. The original front fender was dechromed, shortened and painted satin black. Mini gauges replace the originals.
Between Marcelle and V Custom Cycles they have created something very special out of what was very ordinary. The experience that we have gained over the last seven months of doing this blog tells us that this bike is going to be a huge hit internationally. Let us see if we are correct!