In 1968, Honda showcased a standard motorcycle at the Tokyo Motor Show with an air-cooled inline 4 750cc engine, round headlamp, a high handlebar, a flat seat and a disc brake at the front. Honda named it CB750. It was eventually launched in 1969 and became the first production motorcycle in the world to feature a disc brake. And even though the CB750 wasn’t the first production motorcycle to have an inline 4 engine, it was the first to popularize it and made it the most commonly used engine configuration for the sportbikes of the future.
The CB750 was a groundbreaking motorcycle and its acceleration was unmatched by any other production motorcycle with a top speed going over 190 km/h. The combination of a performance-oriented inline 4 engine and the added safety of the front disc brake meant that the CB750 closely resembled Honda’s GP racing motorcycles of that time. The motorcycle became an instant hit and it overwhelmed Honda with exceedingly high demand.
The biggest impact of the CB750 is in the fact that it was the first motorcycle to be called a “Superbike”. (p.s.: This was shot in 2016 as part of our 100 Motorcycles project. You can read more about it, here.