Friday, 29 June 2018

Honda CB750F

Many may think it the only thing to do with ‘em, but I wasn't so amused when I hit the kerb and was flung off my CB750F1, after some myopic old dear stepped out into the road. Somehow, I managed to escape any serious injury and staggered over to the registered blind person, sorry, sweet old lady, who was standing regarding the still quivering remains of my once proud possession, which lay like a beached whale, sticking out of the council bus shelter.

I was just checking that she was alright, when I was accosted by a belligerent business type who screeched to a halt, leapt out of his Jag and proceeded to do me verbal violence. All this was just too much. My bike possibly wasted, a geriatric Go-Go dancer asking me what time the No. 70 bus was coming and assault from a stuffed shirt who never saw it happen. I prepared to do battle but he was saved by another car driver who had actually seen it happen. To my utter amazement, and fatso’s dismay, this third person came to my defence. 

Seeing the tables turned, the obnoxious little Jag owner slunk back to his four wheeled bath chair. We saw the old lady onto the bus, although I had to apply restraint to avoid putting her under it. We managed to extract the beast from its new home and straightened out the usual bent bits. It didn’t look too bad in the dark November night. Next morning I went to look at the damage - there was a big puddle of oil as the crash bars had punched a neat hole in the engine side cover. Three days and a mere £38 later I was back on the road.

One regular problem was loosening of the spokes in the back wheel. No matter how often they were checked and adjusted they just could not cope with the stress. The problem was solved when, after my constant bitching, the wife bought me a cast wheel as a surprise present! If it looked a bit weird, with different types of wheels at each end, that’s nothing to the improved handling.

In fact the improved rear end showed up the front forks so much that I added some spacers to the springs which makes the forks usefully tauter. It still could not keep up with RD400s, though. Then both shocks started leaking which ruined the handling again (perhaps the spoked wheel had been giving them an easy time by flexing with all the bumps).

Next, both clocks stopped working, and then the base gasket started to leak, blowing oil all over the engine. All these things coming together meant I decided to sling the bike in the garage when the tax came due, and forget all about it. I eventually sold it to some lad so keen he didn’t mind all the faults. 

It was love at first sight when various leads saw me looking at a CB750 Phil Read Replica, flash twin headlamp fairing and lots of go in a short burn up the road. When I realised he only wanted £450 I nearly bit his hand off. It was only later that I realised that the engine and chassis were very similar to the F1 and I hoped I wouldn't have the same problems. Fortunately, it’s based on the F2, not quite such a fragile package.

The clutch made the usual racket at tickover but first impressions.
were favourable - much more stable. With Konis fitted at the rear and newer design forks - it felt like quite a different bike. The twin front discs were much more powerful than the single fitted to the older bike, although the rear disc was too powerful, locking up the back wheel.

The bike was brilliant at night as it had twin Cibies - even dumbo car drivers quickly dimmed their lights when you gave them a blast of the main beams. Playing with main beam draws attention away from the seat, especially if you try to fit a pillion on. The ace bars were great at speed but a pain in town. Older Hondas are on the tall side which suits me fine as I don't like looking like a frog on a matchbox.

The exhaust was an eyesore, a 4-1 job with chrome downpipes and a great carbuncle of a matt black silencer. When it blew out its baffle it sounded wonderful and did not ruin power delivery, although careful use of the throttle in built up areas is needed to avoid any structural damage to nearby buildings or attention from those guardians of law and order. In two years the only mechanical problem I had was a sticking carb float during extended idling in traffic jams. I took the carbs apart but could find no problem. Only when the lower fairing panels were removed did the problem go away - too much heat build up causing the floats to expand and stick in the carbs? I found EBC pads removed the legendary wet weather brake lag. The Goodyear Golden Eagle rear tyre was truly horrible, sliding, hopping and even wore unevenly. A pair of Roadrunners lasted 5000 miles and were only slightly better.  A pair of Metzelers were much more suited to balls out riding and worth the extra expense. 

A great posing tool and pretty useful if you’re on the tall side and the better half is on the small side. However, don’t be taken in by the classic appendage that sometimes accompanies adverts for these bikes - they are basically an aging single cam Honda 750 four in some party clothes, but nice all the same. I'd buy another.

Alan Hampshire

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