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126 Miles Per Year! 1972 Honda CB450K5

While Toyota sells more cars, trucks, and SUVs than Honda does – or last year, more than anyone – Honda has to be the most versatile vehicle company on the planet. When their CB750 came out, it revolutionized the motorcycle market, but before that bike, came the CB450. This 1972 CB450K5 is listed here on eBay in one of the great capital cities of America: Columbus, Ohio. The current bid is $3,300, let’s check it out.

The biggest Honda motorcycle that I have ever owned is a CB360T but my best friend in school owned a nice, blue CB450 and it was cool, very cool. That distinctive sound was so different than my 750 Yamaha at the time, it just sounded tough. Honda made the CB450 from 1965 through 1974 and again a few years later as the Hawk and Nighthawk. Just to get it out of the way, Hagerty is at $3,900 for a #3 good-condition bike and $5,900 for a #2 excellent bike.

This was the company’s first real motorcycle, the first big one. They were great bikes but it became clear that they just couldn’t compete with the best British motorcycles, like Norton and Triumph, and Harley-Davidson ruled the roost, size-wise. In 1969, the CB450 gave way to the CB750, basically the first superbike, but it lingered on for years. If you think about it, there was almost any size that a person could ask for in a motorcycle, including Honda. The seller mentions that the sissy bar and backrest have been removed since the photos were taken, and it has also received new tires since then, too.

This particular CB450K5 appears to be in outstanding condition and the seller has provided many great photos – well done! This color is outstanding: Candy Bacchus Olive. Just reading about a color like that brings tears to my eyes, compared to the black, white, silver, and gray vehicles of today. The seller says that the last owner bought it in 1973 with 100 miles on it and has driven it sparingly over the last five decades, otherwise keeping it in their heated garage.

Gorgeous! The engine is Honda’s 444-cc DOHC (double overhead cam) twin-cylinder, which had 43 horsepower and the seller says that a few parts have been replaced to make it a reliable bike. It looks like an outstanding survivor to me, I would love to have this one. Have any of you owned a Honda CB450?

Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    A round of applause, hip, hip, hooray, yet another in a long list of Scottys, um, shall we say, less than conventional posts. It’s as if he has a special portal for the unusual. His posts NEVER disappoint.
    With as many as these that were sold, not all are relegated to that pile of scrap Asian bikes we see from time to time, someone was bound to keep one nice. Initially, as mentioned, this was a direct kick in the gut towards British twins. Yamaha did the same thing with the 650 twin. The 450 predated them all, and was Hondas biggest, and therefore best offering. The 750/4 changed all that, but for a 450, it could keep up with most 650s, and didn’t leak oil. My 1st road bike was a 1967 CL450, I got from a guy who owed me money, like $200 bucks. Got my 1st speeding ticket with that bike( 80 in a 55) when radar was in its infancy. To be honest, these are so-so bikes, with all the qualities of a twin, British or otherwise. Didn’t care for that bike, handled and stopped poorly, uncomfortable, and vvvvvvvibrateeeeeeeee. The CB would be a more civilized bike, I’d worry about the extra lights, as I think the system is weak to begin with, and with non-existent lighting coils unobtainable, hence sidelining many, it might be an issue. These aren’t arm straightening, slide your azz off the seat bikes, but 43 hp in a light bike was no slouch. Dependable for short rides, as the low miles indicate, Honda speedos rarely fail, but by ’72, 4 cylinders were all the rage, and the steam fizzled on twins. Great find!

    Like 7
    • geomechs geomechs

      The 450 engine was a work of art. It was the only time I heard of ‘Torsion Bar’ valve springs. Apparently it worked very well but I don’t recall anyone else using that concept. The main drawback was that the motorcycle itself was full-sized. I recall 465 lb for the first ones, the ones with the bulbous gas tank. That was a tad heavier than my BSA 500 Single and a whole lot heavier than my Norton. A couple in the neighboring town about ten miles away traded their Yamaha 350 on one and they rode it for thousands of miles before they packed up and left town. I have no idea where it ended up; the owners passed on some years later…

      Like 3
  2. Jim Schultz

    I had a 1972 CL 450. Basically the same bike as the one pictured but it was a scrambler version with upswept pipes. I loved that bike! Very reliable and handled very well. It could have used the front disc brake, I agree. I had a set of TT pipes I would put on it with shorty mufflers. It really sounded awesome.

    Like 4
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Jim, I too had the CL. I think the bulbous tank Geo refers to was just the CB, the CL had the smaller tank, the up pipes( one on each side, I think was replaced with 2 on one side later) and some gearing changes, but was by no means a “dirt bike”. You had to start somewhere, and like I say, we took many a lump, but was part of the fun. You HAD to know what you were doing to take those off road. Needless to say, we came a long ways in dirt bikes. This says “CB”, and I think became the CL with the 2 pipes on one side. Were the up pipes, 1 on each side, a kit? I never saw many 450s with the pipes I had.
      https://www.bike-urious.com/factory-scrambler-kit-1967-honda-cb450d/

      Like 2
      • geomechs geomechs

        I think that ‘67 was a major change. They got rid of the frumpy styling and started following the Brits and Americans with more teardrop shaped tanks. It also lost about 50 lbs in the process. I remember the CB450 with the low pipes and the CL450 with the cross-overs (and skid plate). I don’t recall just upswept pipes. There was an ad in Cycle that showed a CL450 being put through its paces in the dirt. The first thought I had was the rider must’ve been a shaved gorilla…

        Like 1
    • Terrry

      I had a ’69, the first year they came out. Great every day bike except they were a paint can shaker. They vibrated big time. Never had any trouble with it except the license plate would crack and eventually fall off due to the vibrations.

  3. Bamapoppy

    Have I had a 450? No, but I did have a CB350 and it rode like a dream! I even drove it to the North Carolina Smokies (which, looking back was quite arduous, dealing with the mountains and 18-wheelers). This one should not disappoint.

    Like 2
  4. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    My 74 CB450 was dependable, didn’t leak oil and as Howard said vibrated like crazy. Owned it for a few months and traded it for a new CB750 and never looked back.

    Like 4
  5. JustPassinThru

    I have never owned one.

    But, I have owned a CB700 Nighthawk, a 1984. Bought it three years ago; sold it two years ago. It appeared to be a well-preserved survivor, running strong, starting easy. A small four with a shaft drive, and hydraulic tappets. Honda was reaching out to the non-motorcycle crowd.

    To run it across town, was great. TRAVELING on the thing, was fraught with peril. Old bikes are nearly as complicated as old cars can be; with various cables, hydraulic lines, oil lines, oil consumption points.

    What did it for me was, the stator having burned a winding and that the engine was using oil and fouling plugs. Valve seals, no doubt…which meant, engine out, and heads off. Responsible repair would require a replacement of the camshaft chain…and both sprockets. That means the crankcase has to be opened.

    Since we’re in there, maybe we ought to do the rod journals and main bearings. And, hey! We’ve got everything off, let’s get the jugs off and check cylinder and ring wear!

    That’s right. A full rebuild.

    It wasn’t worth it to me, and I sold it to someone who wanted to ride short hops, and who said he knew a friend who could repair the stator. But I learned…even more than cars, an old motorcycle is a hole in the road that you try to fill with money.

    Like 3
  6. TBAU Member

    Cool as.
    I have the CB500T from 1975, same engine slightly bored and stroked by Honda to get to 500cc. It’s fast enough for me and you learn to live with the vibrations. Everything in the mirrors looks like a figure 8…but after you hit 6000rpm, you don’t need mirrors.

    Like 3
  7. schooner

    Had a ’71. Vibrated like crazy (buzzy rather than a singles low frequency vibes), put three clutch lifters in it over two years. Yes, the ball and rod were in correctly.

  8. Bill C

    I attended the Barber Festival in October. That really brought it home to me that Japanese bikes have perhaps surpassed British in collection/restoration. I’m 63, which means Triumph was nearly gone by the time I graduated High School. You probably have to be a bit older than me to have actually bought a BSA, Norton new. Not so if your first bike was Japanese.

    And those Honda’s’, Kawasaki’s’ , Suzuki’s on display were beautiful! And of course didn’t leak, vibrate etc etc. The King is dead, Long live the King!

  9. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this sweet 450 sold for $4,100! We may see this one again as that was a pretty good price.

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