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Bu uyer’s Guide!


CMM know-how at your fingertips!

Staf ford preview October 13-14 How Honda’s CB750 changed the rules

October 2018 Issue 372

Fred Merkel’s RC30

& first Ducati 888!

FIVE DECADES OF MODERN CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE MECHANICS INCLUDING: Drum brake service. 90s: Suzuki GSX-R750 SRAD, Kawasaki GPX600, Honda VFR400R NC30. 80s: Suzuki GSX-R1100G, Suzuki RG500. 70s: Kawasaki Hybrid Stroker, Kawasaki Z1300 and Z1325 Special. Also: Allen Millyard column, Q&A: your questions answered plus your bikes and your memories!

October 2018 Issue 372 Publisher: Dan Savage, Contributors: Kev Larkins, Joe Dick, Kris Jones, Alan Turner Art editor: Justin Blackamore Picture Desk: Paul Fincham, Jonathan Schofield Production editor: Dan Sharp Divisional advertising manager: Zoe Thurling Tel: 01507 529412 Advertising: Robert Bee Tel: 01507 529575 Subscription manager: Paul Deacon Circulation manager: Steven O’Hara Marketing manager: Charlotte Park Commercial director: Nigel Hole Editorial address: CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE MECHANICS MAGAZINE, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6JR Website: General enquiries and back issues: Tel: 01507 529529 24-hour answer phone Archivist: Jane Skayman 01507 529423 Subscription: Full subscription rates (but see page 42 for offer): (12 months 12 issues, inc post and packing) – UK £51.60. Export rates are also available – see page 42 for more details. UK subscriptions are zero-rated for the purposes of Value Added Tax. Customer services: Tel: 01507 529529 Lines are open: Monday-Friday 8.30am-7pm Saturday 8.30am-12:30pm Distribution: Marketforce UK Ltd, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 5HU. Tel: 0203 787 9001 Subscription agents: CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE MECHANICS MAGAZINE, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6JR Printed: William Gibbons & Sons, Wolverhampton Published date: CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE MECHANICS MAGAZINE is published on the third Wednesday of every month Next issue: October 17, 2018 Advertising deadline: September 27, 2018 © Mortons Media Group Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage retrieval system without prior permission in writing from the publisher. ISSN 0959-0900 CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE MECHANICS magazine takes all responsible steps to ensure advice and technical tips are written by experienced and competent people. We also advise readers to seek further professional advice if they are unsure at any time. Anything technical written by the editor is exempt – he’s rubbish with spanners. CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE MECHANICS (USPS:729-550) is published monthly by Mortons Media Group Ltd, PO Box 99, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6LZ UK. USA subscriptions are $60 per year from Motorsport Publications LLC, 7164 Cty Rd N #441, Bancroft WI 54921. Periodical Postage is paid at Wisconsin Rapids, WI. Postmaster: Send address changes to CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE MECHANICS, Motorsport Publications LLC, 7164 Cty Rd N #441, Bancroft WI 54921. 715572-4595

All hail the Honda CB750… A better motorcycle journalist than I (aren’t they all?) once told me that he thought that the Honda CB750 was the most important two-wheeler of the 20th Century. He figured that Honda’s move to large capacity, multi-cylinder motorcycles at the end of 1968 was a seismic change that led to the domination of Japanese motorcycle manufacturers and that it was the CB750 – not the humble, multi-million selling Honda C90 – that showed the way to the future. The same journalist says that we should look again to the Far East – albeit China and Korea this time – for the next revolution. With these manufacturers either producing singles, twins or old-spec four-cylinder motors, will we see them move into other, larger capacity formats? And if so, what machines will grace CMM’s cover in another 50 years’ time? Me? Being born in 1971 I kinda missed out on the furore behind the bike itself, but it had

Steve Cooper


Big Zed lover

Ralph Ferrand

Mark Haycock

Steve’s gone on holiday, but not before bringing us an LC Buyer’s Guide, a drum brake masterclass and his Hybrid project!

Our Ralph is back again with two Zed helpings: sorting the timing on the Z1300 and sorting the forks on project Z1325.

Mark will be back with painting his CB750 K2 next issue, but for now he’s answering Q&As for the benefit of you all.

Of course he won a Salon Prive award… this month he retrospectively looks at ‘framing’ the RC374.

Pip Higham

The man, the legend… Pip recalls some lovely two-wheeled memories as he says goodbye to his brother, Bill Higham.

Having trouble finding a copy of this magazine? Why not Just Ask your local newsagent to reserve you a copy each month?

Older, nicer bikes editor

Engineer extraordinaire!

The Professional Publishers Association


Allen Millyard

Independent publisher since 1885

ramifications with my older male family members – most of whom were bikers. Pretty soon the old Nortons, Triumphs and BSAs that I was sat on as a nipper for pictures were replaced by Japanese machines, two-strokes, four-strokes and – ultimately – big-bore four strokes, Kawasakis and Yamahas mainly. Along with the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of the Honda CB750 in this issue, we are also looking back at the first 15 years of the World Superbike championship, which is 30 this year. The spectacle of Jap four-cylinder 750s battling dominant V-twin Ducatis will never be forgotten. We hope you enjoy the issue.

Bertie Simmonds

Q&A king


Self-appointed super hero

Our very own rotund editor selflessly puts himself in the spotlight this month as the architect behind the World Superbikes 30th feature. Having spoken to Carl Fogarty on the blower and interviewed Colin Edwards for three hours in a pub in Kettering (as well as covering the sport in 1996) he thinks he’s done a good job. We so should have paid someone else to do it. Page 34.

Paul Jayson

Classics expert

The very first CB750s are fetching astronomic prices: Paul gives us a rough guide on what to pay...

Jeff Ware

Two-stroke lover! Our Antipodean mate gets back on with the Suzuki RG500 this month – it’s time to strip and check that square four motor.

Scott Redmond

Robert Bee Ad GOD!

Cupid Stunt rider

Scottie pushes the case for newer Honda CB750s while bemoaning the use of steering dampers on alloy frames!

Big Bad Bob is still the main man to book YOUR advert in CMM. He’s a lovely chap, so ring him and discuss dull cricket scores…

Our ‘Wild’ Child is forging ahead with his GSX-R1000 K8/1100 Slabbie hybrid and with a can of ‘Ute’ paint, she’s looking good!

Breaker, breaker…

Martin Child / 3


❙ Q&A





Mark Haycock with a page of tips. Ralph Ferrand sorts out the forks. Craig Prior finally strips the V4.






Gets the frame sorted on.

Scott Redmond puts a damper on his frame woes!


Steve Cooper cleans and services!


Andy Catton on servicing and stripping stickers!



Scoop’s guide to buying the legendary LC.

110 ❙ KAWASAKI Z1300

Ralph sorts out the timing.

114 ❙ SUZUKI GSX-R1100G

Martin Child is back on with this hybrid classic/modern.

118 ❙ KAWASAKI HYBRID Scoop’s chassis rolls.

Contents 06 08 10 12 14 20 22


27 32


The legendary CB750...

CMM MARKETPLACE Wanna cheap CB750?


New kit, tools and stuff.

CMM TESTED We try stuff out.


Events and news.


WIN Bridgestone tyres!


WIN S-Doc kit and Tamiya kits! Mark Forsyth finishes it!


We chat with Terry Rymer.

34 42 44 53 56


World Superbikes’ best bits!


Subscribe and save cash!


John Nutting says happy 50th!


Paul Jayson on prices for the original machines.


World Superbike title winner of Fred Merkel.


Suzuki’s GSX-R1100… What’s happening?

This month, Pip recalls some more yarns.

122 ❙ SUZUKI RG500

Jeff Ware strips the square four motor. What does he find?

See page 126 / 5

Game changer… T


his month marks the 50th anniversary of Honda’s seminal CB750. It was 50 years ago that the

almost futuristic shape of the Honda CB750 Four was first revealed at the Tokyo Automobile Show in October 1968. Futuristic? Well, at a time when singles and twins were the norm and triples were something special, to see a four-cylinder machine was something very different indeed and yet here it was and it was coming to a Honda dealer near you in 1969. Here was a machine that was building on Honda’s reputation with smaller capacity machines, but with yet more sophistication, with overhead cams, electric start, a disc-brake and yet all with the promise of Honda’s reliability. It looked stunning, too. And it still does today, which is why we’ve decided to celebrate this most magnificent of Japanese motorcycles with an eight-page tribute, which begins on page 44. Perhaps the most exciting thing that the Honda CB750 represented – even back in 1968 – was that it was just the start of something big. And so it proved. The CB750 began a long line of stunning classic Japanese machines coming – not just from Honda – but its home opposition in the form of Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. Arguably, without the CB750 motorcycling would not be where it is today and for us, that makes Honda’s CB750 perhaps the most important motorcycle of the 20th Century. cmm

6 / classic motorcycle mechanics / 7



Honda’s superb CB750 Fifty shades of grey nicely sums up the current Honda CB750 market, says Scottie.


or a model that celebrates its half century this year you’d be forgiven for thinking finding yourself an example of the world’s first true production superbike might be a thankless task – well I’m happy to report that there’s no shortage of seven fifty Hondas on the open market. This boils down to a couple of reasons why this is the case. Firstly, the single overhead cam CB750 kept its place in the Honda range for a decade and the DNA of the original CB750-K0 got various updates over its lifespan, which means there’s a CB750 to suit most pockets. The deepest pockets are required for those early K0 models, but it’s a case of buyer beware when hunting for one of these rare icons, as Paul Jayson from The Motorcycle Broker explains on page 53. Not too many bikes have survived without either some sympathetic freshening up, or a full-on nut and bolt restoration. The highest prices are often obtained by those bikes that had an easy life, and remain bog standard. In recent years there’s been a shift towards people appreciating the unrestored classic – after all it’s only original once! Restored bikes bring their own can of worms and prices for any remaining NOS parts are expensive, so it can make sense to use pattern parts that mimic the styling and finish of original parts. For your personal consumption they make total sense, they

8 / classic motorcycle mechanics

F1: not the earliest model... but better. So why not?

are readily available from specialist traders and often at reasonable prices. Selling on a restored bike is when this approach might backfire – like a poorly fitted set of points. I found several K0 models on sale, which surprised me, and adding to my puzzled looks were the prices – they are all over the place! Good-looking restored bikes with splatterings of look-a-like consumables like saddles, exhausts etc. can be had for not too much over £10,000. Prices climb up towards £30,000 for fully documented restorations with no end of NOS Honda parts and hours of tender loving care applied. To the untrained eye you’d be hard pushed to tell which is which. The single overhead cam engine has always been a favourite with custom builders and more recently the café racer scene has helped to keep prices of scruffy old CB750s at an over-inflated worth. Expect to budget £2000 for a complete but tatty late model. The CB750 sold in big numbers, not just here but all around the world. Global economics help to keep too many bikes from overseas washing up on our shores, but the biggest market for sourcing grey imports is the US, and 50 years on from the launch of the K0 there’s no signs of the supply running out. Honda fiddled with the models year in and year out, with another number added to the K series prefix – if you don’t know your K0 from your K7 you would do well to mug up and teach yourself, with no shortage of information online or available from owners groups online, it doesn’t take too long to become an anorak. The good news is road-ready bikes are plentiful and they can often work out cheaper than rebuilding a basket case. The best value CB750 SOHC models from what I can see are the F1 and F2 models. They are easy to spot with their long sleek tank and tailpiece. The F1 had spoked wheels and a silver finish on the engine, the F2 looks even smarter with the black motor and Comstar wheels, so Seventies! p trying to look more modern, both models Despite still had d a kick-start fitted, not that they really need ded it, as the electric start rarely gives any aggro. The grey import bikes show no sign of s slowing up, which means prices should stay steady. Sure, the odd exceptional machine will push the glass ceiling on prices, but on the whole the CB750 market is pretty stable. There’s no reason why these bikes won’t keep attracting new owners for another 50 y years! If you haven’t tried one yet, then why not give e one a go and see just what you have been missing? m cmm



e spoke to Vin Egan from V Bikes who has bought, sold and stripped Honda 750s for parts over the years. Here’s some of his CB750 wisdom on parts and availability.

■ Exhausts: NOS systems are extremely rare and pricey. There are some excellent pattern systems out there, mostly for the four-pipe models. They won’t carry vital hallmarks of genuine Honda systems, but they will look beautiful when fitted. ■ Bodywork: There’s plenty still out there, tanks are hard to find in tip top condition. Being steel they do rot so avoid poor repairs, especially if you intend to invest money in a professional respray. ■ Carbs: Easy to remove, strip and clean. Parts are readily available and with the right tools it’s a job that is easily achievable by anyone with some mechanical know-how. ■ Damage: Crash damage is worth checking for and before getting a frame repainted it’s worth checking that it’s straight…

Buy Now

■ Engine: Built to last so don’t be put off by high mileages. They do like regular oil and filter changes to keep them in tip top condition. ■ If you are rebuilding a motor, parts are plentiful, plus you can add extra pep with some Wiseco big-bore pistons and a lumpy camshaft for that ‘special’ feel. ■ The odd ball models: The Honda Britain is one model that’s maturing rather well. Basically it is a pimped up CB750F1/F2 and it’s a real taste of the Seventies race-rep scene and worth a good look. ■ Best advice: Buy the bike you want and if that’s a clapped out restoration project you will be fine finding a majority of the parts you will need to complete the project. Likewise, if paying good money for a shiny bike in road-going condition takes your fancy, then go for it!

Buy Now

■ The numbers game: It goes without saying to check frame and engine numbers, as you would anything else. Beware of anything where the numbers look to have been tampered with.

Buy Now

Buy Now

There are many CBs out there... / 9



The latest riding kit, top tools, tyres, retro clothing and more! PRICE



We love Suzuki’s casual gear. They do a wide array of stuff from the Team Classic clothing, to a cool corporate black and red range, to Stefan Everts’ off-road inspired gear, through to cool casual shirts, T-shirts, tops and jackets.




DUCHINNI D388 LID Want an open lid with a dash of vintage style: then how about this? Its ABS shell meets the ECE 22.05 standards and it is fitted with an anti-scratch pull-down internal sun visor, goggle strap and removable/washable lining. We love the look of the ‘rust’ and ‘iron patina’ graphics! These sell for £89.99 or you can have the black leatherette-covered shell and luxury vintage-inspired textile lining (but no sun visor) for £99.99. All come in sizes XS-XL.

SEALEY TRX-STAR SOCKET SET With the catchy name of AK618B, the TRX-Star socket set has joined Sealey’s Premier Black range of hand tools. They feature a fully polished black chrome finish with machined and lacquered surfaces and also incorporate knurled rings for extra grip with oily fingers. The 14-piece set is supplied on a socket rail. AROUND

10 / classic motorcycle mechanics


These Weise Boston jeans are traditionally styled, made from stretch denim, come in black or blue, in sizes to fit men and women and have a two-year warranty. They are lined with aramid fibre panels at key locations, main seams are double-stitched for strength and CE approved knee protection is included. Men’s sizes from S-5XL (30”-44” waist) black only in short leg length, S-4XL (30”-42” waist) and ladies’ sizes 8-22.




OptiMate have updated their O-01 battery connection leads, with the addition of two built-in mounting slots, so the external end of the lead can be fastened to the frame with a cable tie or Velcro, to prevent it flapping around when not in use.

Hurrah! These attach via M6 ringlets at one end and the two-pin SAE connector at the other that can be used to plug into OptiMate battery chargers, testers, monitors and accessory power devices.




Matthew Richardson has given us 25 TT winning machines and their stories in this book. From 1907 through to 2014 there’s a huge story going on here with recollections, i d images, i extracts of interviews, period anecdotes and facts... it’s all there. Lots of interesting details of the riders and their machines, set against the backgrounds of the time. Two-stroke and four-stroke are both covered and for once the sidecar boys get good coverage as well. If you like racing it’s going to be hard to put this one down!


Apparently, this is the design of ‘The Maniac’, Andrea Iannone. The HJC RPHA 11 is described as an ‘aerodynamically superior helmet’ with ‘excellent ventilation, ultra-plus comfort and outstanding safety features’. It’s also got a multi-cool interior with advanced anti-bacteria fabric and enhanced moisture wicking for quick drying and comfort! It’s set up with an anti-fog and comes with two visors (one a light smoke): XXS (52-53cm) to XXL (62-63cm) and all sizes in between.

£199.99 £35



The Walton jacket is a tough, 100% leather riding jacket made from cow hide, giving it a supple and lightweight feel. The key areas are triple stitched for extra strength and have a subtle reflective patch on the back. CE armour is included for elbows and shoulders. Sizes S-3XL. Good night John-Boy.

Brian Long gives us more two-stroke/ stinkwheels than you can shake a dipstick at with this book. From commuters’ machines to factory race bike and from tiddlers to tourers, it’s a damn good read. Covers more Suzukis from 1955 through to 1978 than most of us have ever heard of. With 170 pages packed with facts and images, it’s a must for anyone who’s a fan of the Hamamatsu brand. / 11



Riding kit worn, tools twirled & tyres turned RICHA ATLANTIC JACKET/TROUSERS The Atlantic jacket and trousers are well made with some brilliant features: abrasion-resistant Armacor on the key impact zones, 3M reflective panels, sealed front and rear vents, chunky YKK zips (that are also water-resistant where necessary), 11 pockets, D3O armour (including a back-protector), and a thermal liner that can be zipped out and worn on its own – the waterproof liner is securely sewed in. The front zip’s storm flap design appears to trap water well before it can make its way to the weak-point of any jacket – the main zip – and adjusters on the jacket’s arms and waist, plus the trousers’ waist means you can get a good fit. The laminated construction of the jacket means it can feel stiff and it tends to ruck up at the front, pressing on the chest. But the overall construction is solid-feeling, giving confidence in the build quality. There are niggles – the jacket’s thermal liner is comfortable, but it hangs about 4in lower than the zip that joins to the trousers. Not only does this make it more awkward to join the two, it means the liner rucks up all the way around once you’re zipped together. Some basic braces are supplied with the trousers if you don’t want to zip them together. The Atlantic’s neck doesn’t go tight enough to seal fully around your throat, so try a waterproof neck tube. The jacket’s cuffs work well but the bottoms of the trousers are a snug fit over touring boots. Once in place though, you’re well sealed and comfy.


£6000 (jacket)





Fro From


If you’re looking to replace those gnarled Allen keys with summat a bit nice, have a look at these offerings from Beta. Beta tools are the choice of several top-flight MotoGP teams due to the fact that the quality of their tools is superb (not cheap) with the most popular 5mm key at about £15 you might need to leave the brochure hanging around just pre-birthday time. The pictures are of my own sets, Metric and Imperial after about eight years’ use. I use them on an almost daily basis and on a few occasions I’ve held my breath when I’ve been confronted with the occasional recalcitrant exhaust bolt. They’ve never been beaten or lost the definition on the hex. They have a lovely feel and the sliding Tee-bar allows use in either direction, a spring loaded friction pad retains the Tee-bar in its set position while allowing easy movement. Would I recommend them? Yes I would. And for any cynics out there I bought these with my own spending money and I am tight! I love ‘em! ■ Pip Higham

12 / classic motorcycle mechanics

I’ve had these gloves for two years now and I’m wondering why I didn’t get them earlier. My hands are significantly cooler even on the hottest days and the venting takes away a significant amount of sweat that would otherwise make for soggy gloves. Being comfortable on a bike makes for a safer ride. The knuckle zone is reinforced, as is the palm and, crucially, there’s double stitching in the key areaseasily worth the money for the joy of cool hands at the height of summer. From £29 £29.99 99 www nevis uk com ■ Steve Cooper



Classic Motorcycle Mechanics October Issue  

A better motorcycle journalist than I (aren’t they all?) once told me that he thought that the Honda CB750 was the most important two-wheele...

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics October Issue  

A better motorcycle journalist than I (aren’t they all?) once told me that he thought that the Honda CB750 was the most important two-wheele...