Honda’s super smoothies

Steve Cooper traces the evolution of Honda’s 175-200cc twin-cylinder commuter machines that transformed the daily ride-to-work experience at a stroke.

If ever a company got 175cc motorcycles right first time, and then every time thereafter, it has to be Honda.

Following on from the original pressed steel spine frame CD175, Honda reworked the model for the 1970s with the full loop cradle frame and single down tube. Photos: Mortons Archive – www.mortonsarchive.com
Following on from the original pressed steel spine frame CD175, Honda reworked the model for the 1970s with the full loop cradle frame and single down tube. Photos: Mortons Archive – www.mortonsarchive.com

The effective pioneer of the modern Japanese motorcycle, the company grasped the concept of small multi-cylinder machines early on, and by the dawn of the 1960s had transformed it into an art form.

Machines such as the 125cc Benly Super Sport paved the way, and the advent of the sublime, if understated, CB160 laid down a blueprint for a legion of small twins.

Perhaps more prevalent than any other of its ilk was the hugely competent CD175, which ran in various guises from 1967 until 1979. Conceived as a do-anything machine for global consumption, within the UK at least it was very much the commuter twin. Yet elsewhere around the world it won a legion of dedicated fans for whom the affectionately-named Sloper was a friend that just happened to have two wheels and an engine.

As Honda themselves said of the model: “It’s a great new all-rounder, at home around town or putting the highway behind you”.

Read more in November’s issue of OBM

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