Honda Offered Two New Motorcycles

Honda offered two new motorcycles aimed at two key capacity segments of the market which to all intents and purposes are inextricably linked.

It makes sense to review the pair as an item and try to put these astounding machines into some sort of context. Perversely, both machines are overlooked now as the classic world obsesses with more modern and powerful masterpieces from the 70s and 80s, but viewed against their global contemporaries the CB72/77 were little short of revolutionary.

The 'breed' started in 1957/58 with the C70/C75 (250/305cc). These were very similar in appearance to the later C72/77 machines but had dry sum p engines and crankshaft mounted clutches. The pair then morphed into the C71 and C76 in 1959 with the addition of electric starters. For 1960 Honda offered the quirky C72177 alongside the more orthodox CB72n7 machines but for all their reliability and strong construction the former pair looked, to western eyes at least, downright weird.

Very angular with leading lin k front forks, rectangular section rear shocks and a bizarre front mudguard, the bikes were just a little too odd for many riders' tastes. However, they did help in the building of a strong foundation that allowed Honda to expand and grow.

The CB72 250 reached the marketplace in February 1960 and the world of motorcycling stood slack jawed, collectively gaping at what was simply an amazing machine. Sporting a tubular steel frame instead of the C series pressed steel chassis, the engine was also utilised as a stressed member adding extra rigidity and torsional stiffness. Running a 180 degree crank, which gave it a very characteristic exhaust note against our own 360 degree twins, the diminutive bike ran a pair of Keihin carbs that allowed the bike to rev up to 10000rpm.