When I saw “Wzorek” drive up to the appointment in the Honda CB 750 Four, something was stirred in my soul. This bike is a milestone. When he first hit the road, the motorcycle world changed. A new era has begun. Nothing was like before.
The sight of the old Honda brought back memories: I’m seventeen years old again, touching down for the first time on a WSK 125 Lelek. In Poland, Edward Gierek’s era is in full swing, and I dream of becoming a racing driver. It’s a sunny day in May, in front of the 10th Anniversary Stadium, a car picnic is held on the occasion of the anniversary of the WSK factory. The highlight of the day is the motorcycle race. The path leads partly through the streets, partly along the garden lanes around the grounds. Motorcyclists from the “Skorpion” club play the role of special invited guests to make the event more interesting. They all ride modern, heavy Western motorcycles. Among them are two Honda CB 750 Four. Beautiful, strong, sharp and fast. I could watch my love, absorb this wonderful mechanical thing with all my senses. I can’t fully explain what I felt at that moment, but when I got home and looked at my “wuecha” … I thought I would cut it with an ax …
In the West, this motorcycle did not arouse such strong feelings, but there it also ignited a strong desire. The Honda CB 750 Four was presented at the Tokyo Motor Show in late 1968, where it met with an enthusiastic reception. The bike was designed for export, and Honda’s first target market was the United States. American motorcyclists have always preferred high-capacity motorcycles, and Honda, although already known as a manufacturer of modern and reliable machines, did not have an ace up its sleeve in the form of large motorcycles. The CB 750 Four was supposed to change this state of affairs and it did. It was the first Japanese motorcycle with a 750cc engine. Everything was new on this bike. For the first time, a machine of this capacity had a four-cylinder engine powered by four carburetors. The design of the CB750 Four has benefited from lessons learned from building Grand Prix racing bikes. The Honda CB 750 engine produced 67 hp, so it was more powerful not only of the competitive machines of the 750 class. Even the 1300 cc Harley-Davidson can boast 66 hp, which is less. CB 750 quickly became a hit in the United States. Soon after, this motorcycle began to conquer the European market. Americans appreciated Honda’s high power and comfort, while Europeans appreciated sports performance and technology, which until then was only available in racing motorcycles, or in the exclusive Italian machines of MV Agusta, which were produced in much smaller quantities and sold at a higher price. The Honda CB 750 Four beat all competitors in terms of performance. The motorcycle developed a speed of 200 km / h and reached the first hundred in less than 6 seconds. In those years, it sparked the imagination of all motorcyclists. In addition, the Japanese motorcycle was fully equipped – it had an electric start, turn signals, mirrors and was the first machine to have a hydraulic disc brake. Honda had another very important advantage – before it appeared on the market, anyone looking for a fast motorcycle bought an English Victory or a Norton, and this meant high vibrations, oil leaks and problems with electricity. The time he spent tinkering in the garage, the Honda owner spent enjoying the ride. Thanks to Honda, in wealthy Western societies, where the car has become a commodity, people have rediscovered the beauty of motorcycles. Driving a modern fast machine added prestige. The motorcycle was chosen not out of necessity, but from the desire to get a feeling behind the wheel of two fast wheels. The success of the Honda 750 Four sparked a new growth in the market, pulling the entire industry out of its lethargy and leading to an unprecedented evolution of the design towards more and more power and the performance it always demands. From that time to today, the four-cylinder transverse engine has remained the same as the Japanese motorcycle.
So it is not surprising that today the Honda CB 750 Four and its early successors have achieved the status of beloved classics. With the return of the popularity of Café Racers, many customizing customers are rediscovering the charm of the good old “Forka”.
One such lover is Adam Banaszek “Wzorek”. He has three “Forks” in his collection of classic japs. He bought one that has already been converted into a chopper. The modifications consist mainly in widening the fork without changing the angle of the head tube. In Japan, the funny chopper style is currently very fashionable and there are many machines made in Japan that can adapt to this climate. Honda “Drawing” is similar to the canons of this model. Long fork, narrow seat, high handlebar and well placed mirror. From a technical and horse point of view, such a modification is dangerous. However, this is how the first choppers were built in the 1970s. Rockers of that time, inspired by American movies, rode such devices. Since Harleys were common in the old continent at the time, fast Japanese motorcycles were replaced. What mattered was the individual style and the impression these machines made on outside observers. Chopper “Wzorka” has historical value, because it shows the conditions of those years. “Wzorek” changed the steering wheel and sofa in this Honda, added some of his own accessories, and “aged” some elements in his own way. Evidence of the era from which this chopper comes are also the ribbed covers on the engine, the plugs on the timing cover and the decorative nuts that keep the “cap” of the cylinder head. The owner does not complain about the change in the handling characteristics of this Honda, because he uses it comfortably at sea, while he feels the vibration of the Easy Rider. This is made possible by a variable engine, the sound of which is deeper and bassier than that of modern four cylinders.
The next two “Forks” from the “Wzorka” firm are later F2 models, which started in 1976. These motorcycles had two brake discs in the front and one disc in the back. The engine was painted black, and the exhaust system with four different mufflers was replaced by a 4-in-1 system. Both bikes were modified in sibling style. This is a customization trend that goes back to the 60s. The general idea of this style is that the motorcycle must be old school and small, reduced to the minimum necessary. This model includes strikers (but without rear frame modification), cafe racers and spoilers built on any basis. Black Honda “Wzorka” is something like a cafe racer. The rear of the motorcycle was lowered by removing the rear fender and placing a thin coach on the remaining frame. At the front, there was a sports handlebar in the shape of the letter M. Those handlebars were very popular in the 70s among motorcyclists who liked to go fast. In addition, Honda is deprived of side skirts. It has two small old-school lights in the back, and the license plate sits on the side. Good work in the modified image of the machine is done by road tires and aggressive tread, and the exhaust system is fixed by cutting the muffler and using a wrap. The blue Honda, for a change, represents the same style as dirt tracking. The same patent as in the black machine was used here, reducing the rear part of the car. The motorcycle has tail lights. The fuel tank was replaced, the original clocks were removed, only a small speedometer was attached to the top shelf. In general, it is difficult to say that “Wzorek” motorcycles are damaged mainly by glossy coatings.. ““Wzorek” repeats that what is more original is beautiful and does not hide the passage of time of its motorcycles. A purist lover of classic motoring would probably look at them with disgust, but I see in them the charm of interesting “sawn-offs”. “, challenging the traditional glossy-chrome aesthetic.