The 1960s saw a revolution in the world of motorcycles, with Japan paving the way for some beautiful machines that still remain favorites among enthusiasts. There has been a lot of argument on the technical performance of these Japanese motorcycles, but one thing is agreed upon by every lover of the ride; these bikes touch souls.
This revolution was important as it came as a big hit to British and American manufacturers who refused to change their ancient ways. With each of the bikes in this list, you’ll surely find something that resonated with modern bike makers, using some elements from these classic motorcycles in new designs as well.
As we move towards a new era of motorcycling, let’s take a look back at what really started this journey, and what made riding a thing for the masters, of those who want to explore the world and be on the road. Advtribe is bringing the retro back.
What the Classic Japanese Bike offered To Us In The 70s
Honda Super Cub
After Honda established itself in America in 1959, the Honda Super Cub was one of their first designs to hit the market. This Japanese bike is so loved by people that it is still available in the market, and remains one of the bestsellers in Japan. And who can ever forget the wonderful ad campaign ‘You meet the nicest people on a Honda’ that was used to promote this beautiful ride?
Not just a mechanical wonder, the Super Cub is also considered a marketing marvel and remains to be one of the most loved Japanese motorcycles from the 60s.
Honda C77 Dream
Even though the legacy of the Honda C70 series was started in the early 50s, it was in 1961 when the C77 Dream revolutionalized the motorcycling world. The low-rise pressed steel handlebars and a tire pump below the seat made it one of the most comfortable rides for the long haul back then.
The C77, and almost all bikes of the C70 era are considered highly valuable collectibles these days and are sought after by the most enthusiastic riders all over the world.
Following Honda, Yamaha too entered the mainstream biking world with a bang. The YDS-3 with its 250cc parallel-twin cylinder and looks that would kill, became an instant classic. Though technically on par with Honda, this bike was considered to be sportier and was loved by those who loved the thrill of riding.
With this and its impeccable customer service, Yamaha quickly became one of the top runners in the motorcycling game.
Kawasaki H1 Mach III
Then entered a smaller player into the market; Kawasaki. With not much name but a 60-horsepower street engine, this bike gave the Brits and Americans a run for their money. Embracing the 2-stroke engine, it was also one of the most feared motorcycles and was given the nickname The Widowmaker for how dangerous it was.
With the end of the 60s, the Japanese wanted to take on the big guns like Harley Davidson in the 70s. When Kawasaki Z1 entered the market in 1972, it was called a two-wheeled muscle car and for all the right reasons. The 82-horse power, 903cc beast quickly became the most loved bikes of the time.
The ‘New York Steak’ as it was lovingly called, is one of the coolest bikes to have come out of Japan.
With the RD400, Yamaha became the first major motorcycle manufacturer to make a bike with cast wheels. This retro bike which was available in Yellow and White was featured in a lot of movies and was one of the best selling bikes of the 70s. It was also the safest ones in its class, making it a reliable partner on the road.
The end of the 70s introduced the motorcycling world to this masterpiece of a motorcycle. Having six cylinders and a 1047cc engine, the CBX sounded like a firefighting airplane. Receiving multiple makeovers over the years, the CBX has now become one of the most famous offerings by Honda.
These were just some of the classic Japanese Bikes that manufacturers gifted us in the 60s and 70s. Some argue that this was also a wake-up call for manufacturers all over the world.