The best of the vintage sport tourers. Stone reliable, comfortable, plenty fast enough, sort of sporty handling…actually excellent for its time, and quite good looking, in a Teutonic sort of way. The R90 was the natural outgrowth of the legendary R75 and was a needed upgrade for BMW. The Honda CB750 was faster and stopped better, thanks to the front disc brake, than the R75 and…Kawasaki had just upped the ante big time with the King Kong of them all…the mighty Z1.
The reviews of the R90 were glowing. Cycle World put it this way, “the BMW R90/6 is so exciting, it’s difficult to find a point at which to begin describing it.” Cycle Guide magazine said this, ” a powerful motorcycle designed to compete in the performance conscience market of 1974.” Lets think about performance for just a moment. The Z1 put out a very strong 82 HP, Kawasaki’s H2 750 was rated at 74HP and Honda’s CB750 67 ponies. BMW showed up at the party with…maybe 59? Not what you would call threatening. But, horsepower isn’t everything, there’s this little thing called torque and that is where the boys in Munich beat everybody. The R90 had pulling power all over the place. Yeah the Japanese had the top end and the rush of speed but it was the BMW that would get you from corner to corner quickly with no drama.
I found a nice 1976 R90/6 on ebay today, not too many miles and looks to be in good condition overall. What I really like about this motorcycle is the Hannigan Sport Touring fairing. These fairings have a very distinctive look and feel to them. My friend Bill Stermer, author and journalist ( he wrote the definitive book on these bikes and is a contributing editor to Rider magazine ) has one on his R90 and just loves it. I have ridden the bike and understand why. This bike has the stock BMW saddle bags which are very nice, but I do recommend that you also add a safety strap to the bags as they are known to, at the worst time, pop open and leave your stuff spread across the landscape. I do have one big question about the bike though, it has a new front wheel, why? Was the bike crashed? did it hit a big pothole on the road? if there was some damage, how are the forks? But, maybe it got a new front wheel just because the old one was corroded and looking a bit ugly? Anyway, that is the only question I would ask, otherwise this looks to be a great bike at a good price that will last anyone years and years. Plus, that Hannigan fairing is so cool. The more I look at this bike, I wonder if it might a better bike for me than my R90 with RS fairing? Hmmm. Click on the pics below for more info. And, if you call now, you get a free tank bag!! Don’t wait.
’76 BMW R90/6
How often do you find an unrestored, virtually new, stone stock motorcycle on ebay? Not all that often. But, there is one today and it’s a beauty. My old friend Bud had one exactly like this one, same year, color and his was in about the same condition…that is until he made a very nice Cafe style bike out of it. Bud kept all the original parts wrapped up in blankets, packed in boxes and stashed away, which turned out to be a smart move when he finally sold the CB.
Honda redefined motorcycling in 1969 with the CB750. The big Honda put out a whopping sixty seven horsepower that would easily take you over ‘the ton’, a front disc brake (the first on production based motorcycles) that would haul you down from those lofty speeds with ease, and all of it at a price of only $1495. The term Superbike was coined to fit the mighty Honda 750. Through its ten year lifespan, 1978 being the last year of the SOHC model, the CB750 underwent few changes…’if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
I found this absolutely beautiful 1975 CB750 on ebay today and honestly, looking at the pictures you’d swear you were looking at a new bike..it’s just missing the nubs on the tires. With only 7750 miles on the odometer, it’s barely broken in. This is a bike that I personally would leave just as it came from the factory. The SOHC CB750 is still to this day one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever built. The CB has a rock solid reputation for reliability that would make planning a long trip with it a no brainer. The bike is located in Oregon, which to me means…road trip. Buy the bike, pack up your riding gear, get a Greyhound bus ticket to Fairview Oregon and then have a great ride home. It’s a perfect time for traveling in the west.
The owner doesn’t give a lot of description but I think in this case the pictures tell you most of the story. Click on the pics for the rest of the photo’s and a way to contact the owner.
A side note here, the cafe racer pictured above is not my friend Bud’s, it belongs to Steve ‘Carpy’ Carpenter, the CB750 Cafe Racer genius.
I love Cafe’ Racers…always have, always will. There is just something so completely right about a well done Cafe’ Racer. They are purposeful motorcycles, designed and built to go from point A to point B quickly with no muss, no fuss. And, when done right, in fine style. A clean Cafe Racer will always attract a crowd no matter where it is parked. While you’re inside the local gas station convenience store getting your afternoon Red Bull, the guy pumping regular into his wife’s(?) minivan will walk over and give your bike the ‘I wish I was riding this’ look over. When you ride it to work, it’s guaranteed that at least half your workmates will look at your motorcycle both coming to work and going to lunch…and, they do it every time you ride to work. Non riders will look at your Cafe Racer and ask questions like “isn’t that uncomfortable to ride?” or, “where does the passenger sit?”. Most fellow riders at the Sunday morning ride breakfast stop, no matter what they ride, will admire your bike and the work you put into it.
The true appreciation however, of a well built Cafe’ Racer comes from one place and one place only. You. You are the one that visualized your Cafe’ Racer. You are the one that knows all the little details of what went into building your bike. You know how every part feels and fit’s together…and the ones that didn’t!?. The time, the money, and then more time and money. Speaking of more money, you also add in what I call the ‘might as wells’…those are the things that you go ahead and do because you did one thing so you ‘might as well’ do two more or, you’ve already spent this much money, so you ‘might as well’ spend this much more. I’m assuming you’re a single guy here.
Once it’s all built, you sit in your garage on Saturday night with a couple of friends, who have listened to all your dreams for this bike, and all the fit’s of depression when things weren’t coming together like you wanted. Friends who are tired of looking at all the before during and after pictures. Friends that just want to go riding with you and your creation tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow morning comes, you roll your Cafe Racer out of the garage into the sunlight (it never rains in this dream by the way…) where you just stand, staring at what you’ve built. Key in the ignition, set the choke, fold out the kickstart lever (proper cafe racers don’t have electric starters…button’s are for wimps) and with one kick your creation barks to life then settles into a soulful idle while you put on your helmet and gloves. As you pull out of the driveway, you catch a glimpse of your neighbor watching you from the kitchen window with a bit of a scowl on his face, your bike isn’t really that loud is it? Nah.
Your Sunday ride is all you hoped it would be. Your friends loved the bike, it drew a crowd at breakfast, even the Highway Patrolman that stopped you for speeding gave your bike a compliment. What a day. By the time you got home you were already planning your next bike.
So how do you get the money to build another Cafe Racer?? You sell this one. That’s how I found this really well done ’75 Honda CB750 Cafe Racer on ebay.
This Honda is really nicely built. Everything that wasn’t necessary was stripped off. The frame was modified for handling improvements, suspension was upgraded a little, the motor was tidied up, a very nice custom made seat / tail section was built as was a sweet oil tank. This CB750 is a great example of what a cafe racer can and should be. There are many more details to be found about this motorcycle and more pictures. Just click on the pics and you could save yourself a lot of the agony of building a custom Cafe Racer. There is one thing I would do if it were mine though…bin the Raasks rearsets. I have had them before and they are too high to be comfortable. Cobble something up from either the stockers or a later model CB750F…you and your hips will be a lot happier.
I don’t believe you could find a sweeter unrestored CB750 anywhere. The first generation SOHC 750’s were a true marvel of the time. Smooth, fast, good brakes and reliability. Honda had truly become the bench mark for motorcycle reliability. My traveling partner at the time Bud, had a ’72 CB750 that rode everyday to work and took at three long trips per year. Long trips to him were nine to ten days and 500-600 miles per day minimum. Bud liked to sightsee at around 75MPH. His Honda never broke down, well, unless a flat tire and a dead battery count as breakdowns.
This one on ebay today is absolutely beautiful. Unrestored but looks almost like it just came off the showroom floor. And it gone too far from that showroom floor, the motorcycle only has 7,000 miles on the clock. I have seen SOHC 750’s in good shape go for some pretty big money and so far this one is looking quite reasonable. Buy it, fly to where it is and ride it home. click on the pics for more pics and details.