The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969

The Motorcycle That Gave Birth to the Nanahan Category

The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969

The First Motorcycle to Offer Disc Brakes

Fortunately, Harada had come across some after-market disc brakes in a motorcycle accessory outlet during his trip to the U.S., and they had proved effective in the CB450. As a result, he immediately visited Lockhart, the developer and manufacturer. After consulting with the supplier's staff regarding the ideal design, Harada left the company with a set of their products. He secretly believed the new model they were going to develop might offer an opportunity to adopt disc brakes.

The First Motorcycle to Offer Disc Brakes

The detailed specifications printed in the Dream CB750 FOUR's product brochure

The day of the 1966 Tokyo Motor Show, scheduled for October, was fast approaching. However, Harada was still unable to make up his mind. Therefore, he brought two different brake specifications to Soichiro Honda and asked for some advice.

"We've designed two separate specifications having different braking systems," he told Mr. Honda. "One uses conventional drum brakes and the other had disc brakes. Of the two, the disc-brake specification had only recently been developed, so it will need more tests. If disc brakes are adopted, we aren't sure we can meet next spring's completion target."

Mr. Honda's reply, though, was simple and direct: "Well, of course we'll have to go with disc brakes."

The CB750 FOUR was a hit at the Tokyo Motor Show, flashing its big disc brakes to throngs of admirers. Rave reviews began pouring in.

However, immediately following the show, many hours were spent analyzing the remaining problems. Before the model's commercial launch issues that needed to be solved included increased wear of pads and noise in the brake pads, problems that were generally associated with disc mechanisms. They had to be solved in order to "achieve higher power while maintaining safety," which was a key requirement in the development of the CB750 FOUR.

Mr. Honda, in his reply to a question from an engineer, explained Honda's objectives in developing the CB750 in the January 1969 issue of the company newsletter (No. 124):

"When I went to Switzerland last June," he said, "a policemen on a white police motorcycle came into the park where we were. He then got off his bike. I was watching it, thinking what a small motorcycle he was riding. I was amazed to find it was a Triumph 750 cc. So, actually the motorcycle was fairly big, but it looked small since the policeman was so big. [Laughs] I knew then that our bikes wouldn't sell in foreign markets if we kept building them according to our Japanese perceptions. That's why I suddenly became enthusiastic about this, and it's why I started telling them to develop a bigger model as soon as possible."

The CB750 FOUR was released in the U.S. in January 1969. That year, Honda held its first U.S. dealer meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, a gathering of motorcycle dealers from across North America. The meeting's objective was to motivate sales, which had been sluggish since 1966. As a strategic move prior to the coming spring season, the meeting was also attended by company representatives from Japan, including Soichiro Honda himself. The event's true highlight was the introduction of the CB750 FOUR and other new models such as the Z50 and SL350.

"A retail price of $1,495 was announced by American Honda's President Kihachiro Kawashima at the Vegas meeting," Harada remembered. "Since large bikes were selling for between $2,800 and $4,000 in the U.S. at that time, all 2,000 dealers burst into thunderous applause when they heard its price. I've even heard that the machine fetched a premium as soon as it was on the market, selling for $1,800 to $2,000."

Honda was soon deluged with orders for the CB750 FOUR, and the initial production forecast of 1,500 units a year became a monthly figure. Even that, however, was not enough, so the number jumped to 3,000 units.

The Challenging Spirit of Honda

1990 - 1999
  1. The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997
  2. Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994
  3. Odyssey / 1994Odyssey / 1994
  4. Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992
  5. Hosting Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991
  6. The NSX / 1990The NSX / 1990
1980 - 1989
  1. The VTEC Engine / 1989The VTEC Engine / 1989
  2. Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988
  3. An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988
  4. Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987
  5. The Airbag System / 1987The Airbag System / 1987
  6. The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983
  7. Formula One Entry / 1983Formula One Entry / 1983
  8. Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982
  9. The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982
  10. Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981
  11. The Car Navigation System / 1981The Car Navigation System / 1981
  12. City / 1981City / 1981
  13. The F200 The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980
  14. Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980
1970 - 1979
  1. The Oval Piston Engine / 1979The Oval Piston Engine / 1979
  2. Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979
  3. The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978
  4. Creating Hometown Forests / 1977Creating Hometown Forests / 1977
  5. The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977
  6. Introducing the Accord / 1976Introducing the Accord / 1976
  7. CG125 / 1975CG125 / 1975
  8. Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974
  9. Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973
  10. Announcing the Civic / 1972Announcing the Civic / 1972
  11. Introducing the CVCC / 1972Introducing the CVCC / 1972
  12. Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970
  13. Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970
1960 - 1969
  1. The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969
  2. Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968
  3. The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968
  4. Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966
  5. The E300 Portable Generator / 1965The E300 Portable Generator / 1965
  6. Formula One Entry / 1964Formula One Entry / 1964
  7. Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963
  8. Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963
  9. Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962
  10. Employing the Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification / 1960
  11. The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960
1950 - 1959
  1. Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959

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