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
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!”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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