1967 Honda CB450 “Black Bomber”
Produced between 1965 and 1968, the Honda CB450 doesn’t appear very revolutionary. It’s a simple, slightly hump-backed parallel twin, a bike that looks like it’s trying to ape the Nortons and Triumphs of the era. And it basically was, although it upped the game in terms of technology: overhead cams and quality construction saw the twin revving to 10,000rpm, speeds that would see a British engine strewn all over the road. But, for such an unassuming little bike, what it represented was truly significant: it was the first bike Honda made that could really compete on the world stage.
Even more than the CB750 that followed, this was the bike that opened doors for Honda. The four-cylinder 750 was visibly different from the competition, but the CB450 was significant in that it existed at all: seemingly overnight, they went from a maker of cute little runabouts to serious competition for the established big bike manufacturers.
But the truth was that Honda had been cunningly strategizing their penetration into the American market for years, and the CB450 represented the tip of that spear. It featured high tech construction and tolerances undreamed of by most of their competition, and caught them completely unprepared to compete with the quality and technology Honda could provide for the same or less money.
From the original eBay listing: 1967 Honda CB450 Black Bomber for Sale
I rode the bike very little, as I bought it to collect rather than ride and then sent it off to my Honda dealer where they went through the bike stem to stern. They found some small issues as you can see in the picture of the service document. After correcting everything they serviced and tuned the bike. From there the put it to sleep pickling it for long term storage. They installed a new battery but did not add fluid, completely dry. The tires are sowing some cracking from age so if you decide to throw a leg over it, it would need tires, juice in the battery, and gas as everything was drained including carbs. The bike looks to be all original. It is hard to tell if some areas were repainted or touched up as the paint clearly looks like lacquer and not the paints used today. There is a small blemish on the brake side under the tank. Probably the size of a dime to nickel, as well as a small mark on the rear fender. All of these can be seen in the pictures below. Condition is hard to describe as everyone has there own ideas of what “MINT” is and personally I feel it is a term that is used too much. In my opinion “MINT would apply to less that one percent of the bikes out there… I have taken lots of pictures for you to determine if this is the right one for you. There is plenty of patina all over for the guys that love that stuff. I feel the bike shows very well and would be a great addition for a collector like myself or a vintage rider to blast around town on.
The original CB450K0 [that’s a “zero”, not an “O”] was powered by a 444cc twin that put 43hp through a four-speed gearbox, enough to drive the machine to an as-tested 102mph top speed, although the factory claimed 112.
The bike did not sell quite as well as hoped, but it remains a milestone machine machine for Honda. This one looks to be in very nice condition with lots of shiny bits and a great, carefully-used feel. It is, of course, painted classic black, the only color that was available at the time.