The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969

The Motorcycle That Gave Birth to the Nanahan Category

The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969

Employing an Idle Facility to Produce a Large Motorcycle

Saitama Factory (currently Wako Plant) and Hamamatsu Factory were in 1969 selected to produce the CB750 FOUR's engine and body, respectively. American Honda sent two engineers to Saitama Factory to join the staff for a series of tests, in which 300 items were checked from the user's perspective. Honda Motor had high expectations for the exportation of the CB750 FOUR which was believed to be a strategically important bike for increasing the sales of other Honda models on the U.S. market.

This was Honda's first attempt to market a big bike, and therefore it would be hard to forecast sales accurately. For that reason each plant decided to make effective use of idle production facilities, normally used for power products. This would serve to minimize the company's overall investment. Modifications and overhauling, however, would be needed before their equipment could be used to build the CB750.

Honda's previous models used a spilt-type, press-fit crankshaft having a needle bearing. However, the four-cylinder powerplant in the CB750 FOUR employed an integrated crankshaft and metal bearing. At Saitama Factory, the staff wracked their brains trying to identify the right machining equipment and line configuration to produce a part they had no experience making. They even visited automobile manufacturers in order to acquire some knowledge they could use to plan the line.

Efficiency on the line was poor initially, and as a result the production volume was at most five units per day. However, the machine became an instant smash hit, bringing tears of joy to everyone involved with the CB750's creation. The initial production forecast of 25 units per day was pushed up to over 100 units. Back orders piled up as a result of this explosive, yet completely unexpected sales activity. Soon, the production of sand-molded crankcases, for which the factory did not have a dedicated machine, could no longer meet the rate required for mass production. In response, the entire crankcase production facility was upgraded to adopt the metal die-cast type. The line was gradually enhanced as production volume increased. However, every time the volume was adjusted, additional employees would be mobilized to run a temporary line. Everything had to be accelerated in order to produce such a number of bikes at Honda's level of quality. Ultimately, though, the production of engines and bodies was transferred to Suzuka Factory - in July and October 1971, respectively - as part of the company's endeavor to satisfy customer demand.

Suzuka Factory was then building the CB500, using a production line within its automobile plant. However, there were problems with this facility, including a restrictively narrow corridor along the line that hindered the smooth flow of parts. Therefore, with the assumption of CB750 Four production, the factory took a long-term view and changed the L-shape line for body assembly to a straight-line configuration. The move offered a better work environment and vast improvements in employee safety.

The organizational structure and operator training were improved, too. To that end, a dedicated organization was formed for the production of the CB750 FOUR by gathering selected personnel from the Honda 1300 and TN lines. The resulting vacancies on those lines were then filled by personnel from the factory's auto plant. Those assigned to the motorcycle production line were then given orientation concerning the major differences from automobile production, particularly with regard to the prevention of damage to the product's exterior. Accordingly, the line started up on schedule, with all cost and quality objectives satisfied.

The Challenging Spirit of Honda

A System that Fosters Expertise
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  3. Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification  / 1960Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification / 1960
A Dream Come True: Car Builder for the World
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  2. Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962
  3. Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966
  4. Introducing N360 / 1967Introducing N360 / 1967
  5. Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968
  6. Introducing the CVCC / 1972Introducing the CVCC / 1972
  7. Announcing the Civic / 1972Announcing the Civic / 1972
  8. Introducing the Accord / 1976Introducing the Accord / 1976
Marketing Globally, Producing Lacally
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  2. Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959
  3. Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963
  4. Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980
A Refreshing New Development
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Products Emerging From Technology and Innovation
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  2. The Oval Piston Engine / 1979The Oval Piston Engine / 1979
  3. The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968
  4. The Car Navigation System / 1981The Car Navigation System / 1981
  5. The Airbag System / 1987The Airbag System / 1987
  6. Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987
  7. The VTEC Engine / 1989The VTEC Engine / 1989
  8. The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977
  9. The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983
  10. The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969
  11. CG125 / 1975CG125 / 1975
  12. Road Pal / 1976Road Pal / 1976
  13. City / 1981City / 1981
  14. The NSX / 1990The NSX / 1990
  15. Odyssey / 1994Odyssey / 1994
  16. Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988
  17. The E300 Portable Generator / 1965The E300 Portable Generator / 1965
  18. The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978
  19. The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980
Production Technology: The Essence of Creative Manufacturing
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  2. Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974
  3. The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982
  4. Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981
  5. An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988
A Neverending Passion for Racing
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  2. Completion of Suzuka Circuit / 1962Completion of Suzuka Circuit / 1962
  3. Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979
  4. Formula One Entry: The Initial Phase / 1964Formula One Entry: The Initial Phase / 1964
  5. Formula One Entry: The Second Phase / 1983Formula One Entry: The Second Phase / 1983
  6. Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994
  7. The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997
Creativity - The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder
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  2. Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970
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  2. 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
  3. Creating Hometown Forests / 1977Creating Hometown Forests / 1977
  4. Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991

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