Spawned from the famous factory Honda multi-cylinder road racing machines of the 1960s, the 1969 CB750K0 Four forever changed the face of the motorcycling world. The authoritative journal of the day, Cycle magazine, simply called it the Four—because it was the first and only four-cylinder production motorcycle then available to the public.
And what a machine it was: in the first-ever head-to-head superbike comparison test Cycle conducted between the seven “all-out road burners” then available, the CB750 Four stood tall above the competition. By posting the fastest lap time on the track, shortest stopping distance and securing a coveted place among the few bikes capable of posting 12-second quarter-mile times, the Four proved to be a most impressive machine indeed.
And that was only the beginning. Following quickly in the tire prints of that first CB750 came a proliferation of air-cooled four-cylinder machines that covered the two-wheeled landscape from sport bikes to cruisers. This was no exercise in cookie-cutter proliferation; technical innovations abounded throughout this lineup, as functional advancements as well as styling treatments evolved at a rapid pace. Inevitably, other companies would follow with their own four-cylinder motorcycles. But it was Honda that led the way.
Within the space allotted here, we present a lucky 13 of these landmark machines—not the full encyclopedia of the trend-setting Fours from Honda, but a wide-ranging assortment of key machines that brings back many happy memories and still makes hearts race after all these years.