Every so often, a bike comes along that significantly impacts not only their respective segments but the industry as a whole. While the Vincent Black Shadow, Kawasaki Z1, and BMW R80 G/S were all game changers in their own way, few bikes left such an indelible mark on motorcycling history as the Honda CB750.

The Honda CB750 is often regarded as the first superbike for its unprecedented performance and trailblazing features. But to understand just how revolutionary it was, you have to look at the global market as a whole, as it was in 1969. The United States was famous for its bulky cruisers, and the UK was responsible for most large-capacity street bikes. Only the Italian MV Agusta had ventured to produce a four-cylinder racing model, but these were well beyond the budget of the average biker.

Honda turned the industry on its head by introducing an affordable two-valve transverse inline four-cylinder model with a 736cc power unit that appealed to speed demons and made practical sense due to its unprecedented reliability. The Honda CB750 still stands out as one of the most accessible and dependable classics, with many still running as they did when they first rolled off the production line.

The acronym “UJM” was soon coined to describe the Universal Japanese Motorcycle, as the three other large firms, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha, each produced its own model based on the same features as the CB750. These included four cylinders, disc brakes, a tubular cradle frame, and telescopic forks. All attributes are pretty standard and unremarkable on many modern bikes, but that in itself is a testament to Honda’s progressive thinking that reignited the motorcycle industry and changed biking forever.

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