Having captured five consecutive championship titles in the historic 1966 World Grand Prix Road Racing Series, Honda decided to withdraw from the World GP circuit beginning the very next season. Upon that announcement, the company turned toward its primary target: the development of high-performance consumer machines. Thus it would achieve through the application of technology obtained in road racing.
Honda was in those days exporting more than half of its Japanese-made motorcycles. The company, however, did not offer large-displacement sports bikes, even though they were in great demand in developed countries such as the U.S. Moreover, sales of Honda motorcycles in America had begun to drop in 1966. Accordingly, American Honda had been asking for the development of new products.