Original Superbike, Reborn: 1973 Honda CB750

Honda CB750 Restored

A Navy helicopter pilot restores his father’s CB… 

In 1969, Honda stunned the motoring world with the introduction of the CB750 Four, the “Original Superbike.” It’s tough to overstate how revolutionary Honda’s 750/4 was at the time. In modern terms, it’s been likened to Honda launching a 1500cc naked version of Marc Marquez’s RC213V MotoGP race bike…and selling it at an Everyman price:

“What Honda did in 1969 was so far removed from what anyone else was selling, it’s impossible to comprehend. The CB750 had twice as many cylinders as any motorcycle on sale, made 50 percent more power, had a starting procedure that didn’t involve kicking or tickling, brakes that worked, reliability that other manufacturers couldn’t even dream of, and all for the price of a lashed-up, warmed-over, vibrating British nightmare…” —Bennetts

Honda CB750 Restored

Enter our new friend Kevin Borough, an active-duty Navy helicopter pilot who’s been in love with motorcycles since the 8000-mile trip he took around the country with two friends after graduating from the Naval Academy. Later, he met his wife — a fellow rider and diehard MotoGP and MotoAmerica fan — and together they started The Starting Grid Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping talented youth pursue dreams of competing on the world stage:

“She connected the two things I loved, which was motorcycles and racing, and since then we have started a company together, dedicated to helping support the race seasons of young riders. So you could say the passion for motorcycles runs deep!”

Honda CB750 Restored

In fact, you might say that Kevin owes his very life in part to the 1973 Honda CB750 you see here — a bike that his father bought from the original owner in 1976 and used a commuter:

“My dad picked up my mom for their first ever date together in 1981 and the rest was history! But alas, a few years after that fateful day, the bike was placed in the garage, and there it sat for 30 years under a heavy down blanket.”

Kevin’s Dad on the bike!

 

In 2020, Kevin convinced his dad to let him restore the languishing family heirloom, and the result of that hard work is the gorgeously restored, lightly modified CB750 you see here.

Honda CB750 Resto

What started a mere “getting it running” campaign transformed into a full nut-and-bolt restoration. With some prodding from his wife, Kevin tore the engine down to the cases and completely rebuilt it, powder-coating it black with polished fins.

Honda CB750 Restored

He laced up and trued a new set of wheels, painted the tank and fenders, outfitted the bike with a Carpy’s 4:1 exhaust and pod filters, updating the rear suspension, and much more.

Honda CB750 Restored

The result is one of the most beautiful CB750 restos we’ve seen, a bike that maintains the character and silhouette of one of the world’s most iconic machines…with some modern upgrades:

“All in all I didn’t want a cafe racer, but rather a modernized version of a classic bike that was true to the original bike that my parents took their first date on. What you see is a culmination of that vision, and I hope everyone likes how it turned out.”

We sure do! Below, we talk to Kevin for the full story on this ’73 CB750.

Honda CB750: In the Builder’s Words

Honda CB750 Restored

About the Builder…

So a little bit about myself, I’m an active duty Navy helicopter pilot by trade and fell in love with motorcycles after taking an 8000-mile trip around the country with two friends after graduating college.

Since then, I met my wife who also rode and was super into motorcycle racing, both in MotoGP and MotoAmerica. Growing up watching NASCAR with my dad, she connected the two things I loved, which was motorcycles and racing, and since then we have started a company together, dedicated to helping support the race seasons of young riders. So you could say the passion for motorcycles runs deep!

My workshop is what you would expect to find in a garage owned by someone who spends too much time in it! My dad, as much as I love him, was frustratingly never the one to have the right tool for the job, and so my garage is filled with specialty tools (now all Honda related) to do a job the right way the first time.

About your Bike…

This 1973 Honda CB750 has been in my family since 1976 when my father bought it from its first owner. He bought it as a commuter and he did very little to it, in terms of mechanical work. He bought it with raised handlebars, a weird 70’s burgundy paint job, and no Honda emblems to speak of, with a rusting out 4 into 2 chrome exhaust.

Honda CB750 Restored
Getting to work!

My dad picked up my mom for their first ever date together in 1981 and the rest was history! But alas, a few years after that fateful day, the bike was placed in the garage, and there it sat for 30 years under a heavy down blanket.

In 2020 I finally convinced my dad to let me restore it, and so began a complete frame-off restoration. What began as a simple “get it running campaign” turned into breaking the engine down and rebuilding it completely.

The kickstarter had never worked, even before my father bought it, so under some prodding from my wife to do it right and do it once, I set about breaking down the engine to its crankcase, which is the only way to repair the kickstarter in these old CB750s.

The bike was kept red to keep it similar to when my father bought it, but I brought it back to its stock color scheme with the Honda tank stripe. My father always wanted a deep candy apple red, and I always wanted something with gold leaf.

This bike represents a blend of both ideas. Both fenders were painted to modernize it, and the engine was powder-coated black with polished engine fins.

Honda CB750 Restored

A Yoshimura style 4 into 1 race exhaust completed the look and gave the bike a great sound, complete with free flowing air intake pods to give the bike a more streamlined look. At this point there is barely a nut or bolt that has not been touched.

Honda CB750 Restored

All in all I didn’t want a cafe racer, but rather a modernized version of a classic bike that was true to the original bike that my parents took their first date on. What you see is a culmination of that vision, and I hope everyone likes how it turned out.

Honda CB750

The mods list is actually quite short given that the bike is still mostly stock:

  • Carpy’s 4 into 1 exhaust
  • Pod Air Filters
  • 2” rise handle bars
  • Rear remote reservoir shocks

The list for what has been done:

  • Engine completely rebuilt
  • Carbs completely rebuilt
  • Clutch completely rebuilt
  • Tank, fenders, side covers painted
  • Wheel bearings replaced
  • Wheels powder coated
  • Wheels laced, spoked, and trued
  • Center stand removed

Follow the Builder

Kevin Borough (@kevin_borough)
CEO and Founder, The Starting Grid Foundation
www.thestartinggrid.org

11 Comments

  1. I always felt that the 1968 Norton Commando was the first “Superbike”

    • It was certainly my favorite!! A true mechanical work of art. And it looks like yesterdays Brit bikes are certainly holding their values quite a bit better over 750 Honda’s from that era. For those Honda’s to compete in the collectors market they have to be almost perfect and “SandCast”!! How many of those are left? Almost bought a Triumph T160….purple and white!

    • Could go back to the Vincents or Brough Superior for machines whose first priority was performance.

  2. Nice! Glad you left the side covers on.
    This see-through-the-frame fad is so old.

  3. David Seitz

    So wish you would put a short video of these restomods. Need to hear that sound!

  4. You did a wonderful job! This bike has so much more meaning, because it belonged to your Dad. There is something special about preserving memories, rejuvenating a machine and continuing a love of motorcycles from one generation to the next.

  5. It looks beautifull. Very nice job! How i wish Honda will made modern versions of old icons.

  6. Looks good and I’m sure its a nice bike for your dad to see. It does remind me of something done back in the day with little bits of money pouring in and buying one piece at a time and making it right but still close to stock. Well played !!

  7. Lyle MacDonald

    This bike is perfect; just perfect. I remember being a teenager and going into the Honda dealership when the first CB750 showed up. It drew quite a crowd. Although there was also a chrome tanked Royal Enfield Interceptor 750 sitting there that I thought was also pretty cool and which had my vote as a 15 year old.

  8. Beautiful, well done resto.

  9. Did anyone hear of a rumour that it was possible to bore the cylinders and create an engine size of 960cc

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