Photo / video by Town Moto. Words by Kemp Archibald of Ripple Rock Racers.
1969 Honda CB750 - The “CR SPECIAL” – Café Racer Build
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In the summer of 1969 I was just a teenager when Honda introduced its magical CB750. I remember seeing my first one at a little gas station in Winnipeg. Candy Gold paint, 4 cylinder engine and disc brakes made it revolutionary. The wail of the 4 exhaust pipes as the rider raced up the hill, echoing and reverberating long after the machine had disappeared, was forever burned into my mind. In 1970 Honda entered the CB750 into the Daytona 200 Roadrace as a pure factory racer called the CR750. They won!
The “CR Special” is my homage to Honda’s great legacy with the CB750.
I began the build with a 1969 CB750. The intent was to build a period café racer that replicated the CR750 in spirit and performance. The 69 frame was modified and gusseted as per the factory roadracer. A replica CR750 alloy tank, made in Scotland, was fitted as was our custom built CR style oil tank. The seat is made from aluminum fabricated to resemble the Yoshimura “CR750 Honda Kit” racers. We made custom aluminum sidecovers and replicated an aluminum carb protector shield just like the factory racer. Wheels are period original Lester Aluminum Mags, the first production aluminum motorcycle wheels. We used Goldwing forks modified by Racetech for roadracing duty and we made custom billet aluminum triple trees to beef up the front end and provide the correct geometry for cornering and high speed running. We sprung the rear with dampers from Progressive. Brakes are Brembo 4 piston with our custom designed billet hangers. The wiring is all custom fabricated by us to be simple and reliable. Lighting is LED all round, ignition is by Dyna Electronic
The engine is full race, just like the factory CR750. We cheated a little with a displacement boast to 904CC, added a Web 58B cam, full porting and a 10.5 to 1 compression ratio pistons. Our Hindle Stainless Steel Exhaust has a custom upsweep for a bit more ground clearance and we designed a billet spin on oil filter and oil cooler combination to keep it running cool. We fabricated custom billet rearsets with DCC levers and shod the Lesters with Avon Roadrunners. Carbs are Kehin “CR Specials” at 31mm, which is pretty big!
The bike was designed to be a fast road burner that wouldn’t be uncomfortable on the racetrack if it’s owner so deemed. It is a café racer with a no compromise performance perspective. I can imagine riding this bike on the treacherous rain swept roads at the Isle of Man or maybe the serpentine 500 series highways in Ontario on an early Sunday morning.
No matter where this bike is taken, the rider will always sense the history, feel the power and recall the exotic scream of the 4 cylinder engine as it crests the top of a hill and disappears, the sound forever echoing.