Contents: Introduction; In the Beginning; Customizing a Bike; How to pick a safe front end; Custom Frames; Rigid Frame for the 500; Paint it with a spray can; Bolt-together Customs; Extended Foot Controls; Speed Secrets for the 750; The Yoshimura 750; The Weber Carburetor; Dual Disc Brakes; Tuning the 750; Tuning the 500 – 350; Carburetor Rebuilding; Rebuilding the 750 Engine and Transmission; Rebuilding the 500 – 350 Engine and Transmission; Wiring Diagrams; Technical Data; Maintenance Schedule
For most of the years following World War II, there was an established pecking order of bikers in the U.S. Triumph owners spoke only to Harley owners, and Harley owners spoke only to God. Until 1969, that is.
In 1969, Honda Motors of Japan, who had until this time been busy making good small and medium sized bikes that you met the nicest people on, decided to get into the act.
They entered the big bike market in a big way, with a 750cc motorcycle that was miles ahead of anything else available at the time.
Not two, but four cylinders. Valves worked off an overhead camshaft, just as in the most expensive sports cars. Five speeds in the transmission instead of just four. Electric starting, at the touch of a button. And, last but not least, a monster disc brake on the front wheel.
At first, there were a lot of unkind remarks from riders of brand T and brand HD motorcycles. No one was sure how long the big four would live, and most of their comments were unprintable.
But as time went on, the 750 Fours began to pile up the miles too. And, aside from some problems with the chain in the earliest models, reliability problems appear to be licked.
Riders of the other brands discovered another thing as well. If they were parked along with some Hondas, and everyone decided to leave together, most often it was the Honda riders who were first, at the touch of a button, while everyone else was still kicking.
The 750 Four is into its fourth generation now, and has two smaller brothers, the 500 and 350. And nobody laughs any more, at any of them.
Police departments throughout the country are trading their Harleys for black and white Hondas, and accessory shops and speed shops are working overtime turning out special equipment for privately owned
The Fours are adaptable bikes. Lots of people buy them and just ride them stock. A lot of people take the ful dresser route, and the 750 has the power to carry all the accessories anyone wants to put on it. With a fairing and windshield for comfort, the Four rider can pack a lot of miles into a day’s riding.
A lot of other buyers go the chopper route. The Fours pack a lot of power for their weight, and it’s low down, for good handling. Besides, the engine looks good too. Every week, it seems, the choice of custom parts, from footpegs to frames, gets wider.
A newer trend, or the return of an older trend, is the growth of the cafe racer idea on the Fours. More than a few riders are adding clip-on bars and bobbing the fenders to come up with something that looks as if it should be going somewhere flat out on the Isle of Man, rather than down to the nearby supermarket to pick up a quart of something.
Finally, of course, there’s the drag strip route. Modified Fours are turning into formidable challengers on the strip, with some builders claiming to be getting as much as 4 times the stock horsepower from the o.h.c. engine. Whichever way they’re used, the Honda Fours do their job willingly, and are creating their own superbike legends. No wonder Honda Motors sells all that they can make.
1973 Motorcycle Rider’s Guide for Honda Fours available at www.DadsVintageAds.com
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