Arriving 12 months after the CD the twin carbed 12v machine also featured something of a Honda trademark, an electric start. With sufficient va va voom to embarrass a 350 Triumph owner, the little CB was something of a watershed for Honda. By then a mainstream UK player the sporty 175 twin effectively defined exactly what Honda was about; top end machinery at accessible prices.
A decade before such machinery with overhead cam would have been the preserve of the racer or the extremely well heeled yet here it was in your local dealer’s showroom.
The CB175 neatly bridged the gap between the 125 and 250 machines offering significantly greater performance than the former while only a little slower than the latter. Factor in a low all-up weight and an advantageous insurance bracket and it was almost a done deal.
Whether commuting, riding for pleasure or venturing further afield the tiddler twin was pretty much the epitome of reliable Japanese miniaturisation at the right price. Almost bombproof the engine, both then and now, really only required basic servicing allied to the obligatory oil changes.
If the lubrication was ignored the cam would eat into the head castings that also acted as the bearing surface. Although not an issue now it took some time for Joe Public to appreciate just how reliant Hondas were on good oil and frequent changes. With those boxes ticked the CB175 would run just like the proverbial watch. And so did the model; the series ran from 1968 through to 1973 when it was superseded by the generally similar CB200.
With prices starting at less than £500 for a running project it’s hard to ignore a bike that has so many of the seminal early Honda virtues. A grand will get you a good tidy runner and perhaps another £750 would deliver an almost original example to your garage. And if the bike’s appearance looks just a little passé and too generic for you there’s always the exquisite CL175 street scrambler to enjoy. Style and Honda quality; what more can you want?Enjoy more Old Bike Mart reading in the monthly paper. Click here to subscribe.