1975 Super Sport 400. CB400FWe won’t dwell too much on the Honda Cub/Supercub here since it’s clearly a scooter. But it deserves a place in the classic pantheon, not only because of the enormous numbers sold, but because of it’s longevity and toughness. And the fact that we met so many nice people on a Honda! So hats off to the Cub! But Honda did very well with models such as the CB400F, or 400Four, Honda CB450 Black Bomber, CB 77 Superhawk, CB 500 and Honda Dream.
While Kawasaki didn’t exactly set the world on fire with it’s lightweight four-strokes, there are several very decent, competent and quick models to admire. In fact the KZ series has a handsome, recognizable look from the KZ200 and 250, through the KZ400 and 500 to the KZ1000.
Later, Kawasaki rolled out the GPZ250 and 305, bringing a modern look to its lightweight lineup.
Suzuki came to the four-stroke game last among the Big Four. But they made good on that late start by bringing us the GS series. And starting with the Suzuki GS 400, a dizzying array of lightweights followed in the 425’s, 450’s, and the Suzuki GS500. Handsome bikes all, and like the Kawasaki KZ lineup, the GS series has a recognizable lineage all the way to the mighty Suzuki GS1100. Honourable mention must be made of Suzuki’s attempt at a rotary enigined motorcycle in the RE5. Though not a success, it showed Suzuki has imagination and engineering to match the other big Japanese manufacturers.
In the 1970’s Yamaha had developed a range of twins and some singles that became the mainstays of its four-stroke lineup. After emissions legislation had effectively put the kibosh on two-stroke bikes and development, (except for racing of course), Yamaha needed competitive street machines.
So have a look here at the Yamaha XS lightweights such as the XS250, XS360 and XS500. As well, there were a couple of excellent thumpers of note; the Yamaha SR500 and little bro 400. These two bikes led to development of the revered SRX600, a truly modern classic Yamaha motorcycle!
I also found this website while browsing around the ol' web. It's primarily about classic Japanese off-road motorcycles and it's entertaining as well as informative.
Considering the site you are on now does not cover off-roaders,I thought I'd give a shout-out to www.classicjapcycles.com as it fills a gap in the Japanese classics pantheon that I've left wide open.
I cannot find the name of the sites' creator anywhere I've looked so I'll leave it a mystery. If you're into those old dirt-busters from Japan, have a look.
Here's a home-page quote from the mystery author... "My intention with this website is to create a place where those interested in the older motorcycles, manufactured in Japan, can stop by, have a read, take a stroll down memory lane, or make use of some of the more technical info for use on their own classic.
I am a collector and restorer of these motorcycles, and have been playing with them since the 1980's. A teenager at the time, I couldn't afford to buy the latest and greatest bikes, so my option was to purchase what I could afford, rebuild them, ride and have some fun. That's when I realized that working on them was often as fun as actually going for a ride. Take a machine that is dead, perform surgery, and bring it back to life..what a concept!! The skills I learned also benefitted some of my riding buddies, who on occasion, would break down in the middle of nowhere.....and guess who got the honour of getting things mobile again??
As time went on I got the oppertunity work at a motorcycle shop, and learn from the "godfather" himself, which was a great experience on many levels, and a time I have fond memories of.....thank you Barry! As time went on, I went to college, got married, got a house, became a father, and enherited a lot more responsibility. During this time I got away from motorcycles completely, although I kept one or two hibernating in my shop just incase. Then, six months after my son was born, I thought it would be a great idea to get him his first bike..a 1974 honda z50. It was in pretty good shape, but wasn't running....and there the viscious cycle began all over again. Once I began working on it I realized how much I missed motorcycles...and I havn't looked back since.
Enough about me, back to the website. As time permits, there will be a history page, outlining Japanese motorcycles in the early years. There will be pages on specific models, such as those in mine, and other peoples collections. There will be pages dedicated to those motorcycles which brought technical advancements into the fold, and to those that just plain stunk. There will be some technical pages, links, resources, and maybe even a blog, as time permits. I hope everyone has a great time here, but if not there is a x in the upper right hand corner of your screen...please feel free to click on it. You can contact us at the below address for questions, comments, or to submit your classic bike to the showcase."
You can visit the site by clicking on any photo