Honda CB77

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Honda CB77
Honda Superhawk 305cc CB77 1965. Light years ahead of anything else. Those were the great days of early Japanese bikes,even if I preferred the earlier Super Dream - Flickr - mick - Lumix.jpg
1965 Honda Superhawk CB77
Also calledSuper Hawk, Honda 305
ClassStandard, sport bike
Engine305 cc (18.6 cu in) OHC straight-twin, 2 × 26 mm Keihin carburetors
kick and electric start
Bore / stroke60.0 mm × 54.0 mm (2.36 in × 2.13 in)
Compression ratio8:1 (9.5:1 in early production)
Top speed168.3 km/h (104.6 mph)[2]
Power28 hp (21 kW) @ 9,000 rpm[2][3]
Ignition typeBattery and coil
TransmissionMulti-disc wet clutch, 4-speed, chain drive
Frame typeTubular steel
SuspensionFront: telescopic fork
Rear: swingarm
BrakesDrum, 41 sq in (260 cm2) area
TiresFront 2.75×18 in.
Rear: 3.00×18 in.
Wheelbase1,300 mm (51.0 in)
Seat height760 mm (30.0 in)
Weight159 kg (351 lb)[citation needed] (wet)
Fuel capacity14 l; 3.0 imp gal (3.6 US gal)
Honda Dream CB250

The Honda CB77, or Super Hawk, is a 305 cc (18.6 cu in) straight-twin motorcycle produced from 1961 until 1967. It is remembered today as Honda's first sport bike. It is a landmark model in Honda's advances in Western motorcycle markets of the 1960s,[4] noted for its speed and power as well as its reliability, and is regarded as one of the bikes that set the standard for modern motorcycles.


The CB77 had, at only 305cc, a relatively big engine in comparison to most other Japanese bikes of the period, although it had performance to rival much larger motorcycles from other countries.[citation needed] It quickly built a reputation for reliability, and was equipped with luxuries such as an electric starter.[3]

The CB77 was built on the experience Honda had gained in Grand Prix racing, and differed greatly from previous models. It had a steel-tube frame instead of the pressed frames of earlier Hondas,[5] and a telescopic front fork.[1] The parallel twin engine, the biggest then available in a Honda, was an integral element of the bike's structure, providing stiffness in a frame that had no downtube, and was capable of 9,000 rpm. It could propel the bike at over 100 mph; as fast as British parallel twins with higher displacements, and with great reliability. Cycle World tested its average two-way top speed at 168.3 km/h (104.6 mph), and its 14 mi (0.40 km) time at 16.8 seconds reaching 83 mph (134 km/h).[2]

Author Aaron Frank called it, "the first modern Japanese motorcycle... that established the motorcycle that we still operate under now, more than forty years later."[5]:59

Related bikes[edit]

Honda also produced a lower-powered 247 cc (15.1 cu in) version called the CB72 Hawk, which had a 54.0 mm (2.13 in) bore and 22 mm (0.87 in) carburetors but otherwise had the same specifications as the CB77. In 1962, Honda introduced an off-road bike, the CL72 250 Scrambler, with the same engine as the Hawk but with a different, full-cradle frame with a skid plate and other adjustments for off-road use. In 1965, the CL77 305 Scrambler appeared, with the bigger engine of the Super Hawk but otherwise similar to the CL72.[5]


Elvis Presley's 305 Super Hawk from Roustabout

In the 1964 film Roustabout, Elvis Presley rode a CB77 Super Hawk, rather than the Harley-Davidsons Presley would later be associated with, because Paramount Pictures wanted to avoid motorcycles' outlaw image that had originated in media coverage of the 1947 Hollister riot and the 1953 film The Wild One, especially given Presley's scandalous televised hip gyrations.[5]:42[6] Honda had cultivated a nonthreatening, wholesome image with their "You meet the nicest people on a Honda" advertising campaign, so the CB77 was ideal to make Presley's film persona seem just rebellious enough, but not too much.[5]:42[6] The film, coinciding with the 1964 Beach Boys song "Little Honda", was free publicity for Honda in the early years of establishing their brand in America.[5]:42

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance[edit]

Robert M. Pirsig rode a 1966 CB77 Super Hawk on the trip he made with his son and their friends in 1968 on a two-month round trip from their home in St. Paul, Minnesota to Petaluma, California, which became the basis for the 1974 novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values.[3][7][8] The novel never mentions the make or model of Pirsig's motorcycle,[9] but does discuss their companions', John and Sylvia Sutherland's, new BMW, an R60/2.[10] The R60/2, prized for its place in motorcycle literature, has changed hands and was regularly ridden.[6] Pirsig died in 2017, and in 2019, his wife Wendy K. Pirsig donated the CB77 to the Smithsonian Institution.[11] The donation included Pirsig's leather jacket and memorabilia from the 1968 trip, and some of his personal tools.[11]


  1. ^ a b Mitchel, Doug (2005). Honda Motorcycles: Everything You Need to Know About Every Honda Motorcycle Ever Built. Krause. pp. 18–19. ISBN 9780873499668. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Cycle World Road Test: Honda Super Hawk, 1, Newport Beach, California: Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.  – via Bondi Digital Publishing (subscription required), May 1962, pp. 8–11, ISSN 0011-4286
  3. ^ a b c Gingerelli, Dain; Everitt, Charles; Michels, James Manning (2011), 365 Motorcycles You Must Ride, MBI Publishing Company, p. 126, ISBN 0-7603-3474-9, retrieved 6 April 2011
  4. ^ Schilling, Phil. "The hawk above, the crud below." Cycle World Apr. 1999: 72+. General OneFile. Web. 6 Apr. 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Frank, Aaron (1 May 2003). Honda Motorcycles. MotorBooks International. ISBN 9780760310779. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Wasef, Basem; Leno, Jay (2007), Legendary Motorcycles: The Stories and Bikes Made Famous by Elvis, Peter Fonda, Kenny Roberts and Other Motorcycling Greats, MotorBooks International, p. 165, ISBN 0-7603-3070-0, retrieved 6 April 2011
  7. ^ Mehren, Elizabeth (11 October 1991), "Zen and Now : Robert M. Pirsig rode a 'Motorcycle' to fame. He's back with a bleaker tale of troubled times", Los Angeles Times, p. 1, retrieved 6 April 2011
  8. ^ Paul Crowe (2006), "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Photos", The Kneeslider
  9. ^ Pirsig, Robert M. (1974), Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance (1984 reprint ed.), Bantam Books, ISBN 0-553-27747-2
  10. ^ Richardson, Mark (2008), Zen and now: on the trail of Robert Pirsig and Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, Random House, p. 5, ISBN 0-307-26970-1, retrieved 6 April 2011
  11. ^ a b ""Zen Motorcycle" Takes Final Journey Into the Smithsonian's Collections" (Press release). Smithsonian Institution. 17 December 2019. Retrieved 20 December 2019.