Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
CB 450 MK 2 - 1969
Spearhead of Honda's assault
The Japanese attack that would deal a fatal blow to the European markets and the local motorcycle industry took off in 1969, with the 750 four-cylinder Honda. The first direct hit Â– the 450 Honda Â– exploded at the end of 1965 in the seemingly impregnable kingdom of the British big twins.
New Features for a Production Bike
The kings of the road were still Triumph and Norton. These ultimate descendants of a long line of overhead-valve twins with separate gearboxes had nothing but their image and capacity. The first large-displacement Honda dealt them a cruel blow. The 450 Honda offered a host of sophisticated and original technical features. Following a technique inaugurated in 1960 with the CB72, the firing order of the two cylinders was staggered at 360 degrees, balance was improved and the new 450 Honda could turn at a spine-tingling 10,000 rpm. It had twin overhead camshafts and torsion bar valve springs, a feature previously seen on the unorthodox Panhard Dyna cars of the 1950s.
The Finishing Touch
Another unorthodox feature was the use of suction carburetors; the finishing touch was the fitting of an electric starter. This mechanical jewel cost little more than the rough-hewn Triumph 650 Bonneville. Honda built up its public image and the CB450 remained in the catalog for ten years with regular improvements.
Engine: 445cc (70x51mm) air-cooled twin cylinder
Power Rating: 45 hp @ 9000 rpm
Valves: twin overhead camshaft driven by chain
Fuel System: two 32mm Keihin suction carburetors
Transmission: 5-speecl; chain final drive
Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swinging fork with twin dampers (rear)
Brakes: twin leading shoe drum (front); drum (rear)
Weels: 18 inch (front & rear)
Weight: 386 lb
Maximum Speed: 93 mph
The 1969 MK2 version of the CB450 features the five-speed transmission launched in 1967; the 450 featured in the Japanese catalog was styled like the 750.