It is said, if you hold on to an item of out of fashion clothing long enough it will eventually become fashionable again. Fashions and fads do seem to be cyclical, returning in a new improved reincarnation to be enjoyed by a new generation of people. Those of us who had the pleasure of enjoying the motorcycles of the 1980s when new, would never have thought that there would ever again be a demand for these motorcycles which were so basic compared to the new radically better superbikes which the Japanese gave us in the 1990s. Yet, after almost thirty years of being uncool, Japanese four cylinder motorcycles of the early ’80s are back on the collector, restorer and customisers’ A-list.
The Honda four cylinder models seem to be the most popular choice for customising with the CB750 being the model most in demand. The reason for the CB750’s popularity is largely due to its availability. Between 1969 and 1978 Honda had already sold 400 000 of the single overhead cam engine models before launching the double overhead cam models in 1979. By the mid ’80s, Honda had decided the future lay with the watercooled V4 engine and although the original inline four cylinder was used again in the ’90s, the market had already moved far away from this old technology.