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26 Responses to ‘Top Dog’ BSA Rocket 3 vs Honda CB750

  • whalesong999 says:

    I worked for a BSA / Kawasaki / Suzuki dealer through the '70s in the U.S. Loved the ride of a Rocket 3 and, of course, it's sound. I wasn't fond of the clutch cables as they would wear out too soon (teflon lined). It is the most favored memory I have of those days though a Kaw. Z-1 is right there also.

  • pizamoto says:

    Excellent choice of top dog comparo's. The Rocket 3 won Daytona 200 in 71 and the 750-4 in 70 both ridden by Dick "Bugsy" Mann. Lord, I wish I could go back to those days.

  • …A couple of great and historic motorcycles and no mistake – I think the Honda deserves to be voted 'Top Dog' on most counts but I think the panellists overlooked the aspect of character and the enjoyment and pleasure that that can give…the Rocket 3 has that in spades and has a kind of 'Street Righteousness' that no Honda could ever achieve…

    Allessandro de Tomaso – the famous Argentinian industrialist who put Benelli and Moto Guzzi back on the map and restored them to commercial success in the 1970's once somewhat brutally said ''The British gave the motorcycle life…the Japanese Killed it''…

    Honda made motorcycles that had a kind of 'Appliance' feel to them – like they were made in the same way as a fridge freezer….devoid of that essential quality that most Brit 'Iron' has and which so many still love to this day – My AJS and Matchless singles are not particularly reliable, leak oil, are slow and have poor brakes etc..but I love 'em and riding them always puts a smile on my face…they are simply so engaging…

  • Hugh Jaanus says:

    @ 17:34 he said that was the HONDER in action????

  • wow…. 750 honda cb 1975 ist mottorad God

  • Cripple guy says:

    They're are both way cool bikes . Very clean representatives of an era . The end of one and the start of a new era in motorcycle technology ..

  • Nice to see JW, one of the things I miss about my old work is our chats. Best, well once I'd have said Honda but now I'm off to work with BSA and Ariel parts, but actually I'd still say Honda.

  • Ian Fluker says:

    Thanks for your reply Keith. The CB 750 had its flaws, especially handling, but as a (close to) out-of-the-crate motorcycle for production racing it wasn't bad. A Rocket 3 production-based racer was certainly better than a CB 750 production motorcycle ridden in production races. But as every-day bikes for the average punter the Honda wins hands down. I say this as someone who was enchanted with "odd-ball Spanish single-cylinder things" like Bultaco's Metralla.

  • Honda is more reliable then any Brit bike especially that year Brit bikes

  • Steve Carr says:

    For my money I'll never turn down any vintage British iron, had a 69 BSA Lightning, 74 Triumph Trident and a 73 Honda CB750. The Jap bike while ahead in an engineering aspect was an appliance compared to my BSA and Triumph that had character and were more nimble. The british bikes were also better looking. If you wanted reliability then the Honda is your bike. I'll take british iron any day

  • ujmrider says:

    The Honda CB750's were actually 736 cc displacement folks, from 1969 – 1978. Good show any way,I enjoyed it. I miss my 76 supersport !

  • Kurt Jensen says:

    I'd love to see a 'Top Dog' Norton Commando vs Triumph Bonneville.

  • conan howard says:

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm nice front drum brake , way to go

  • conan howard says:

    I bought a 750 k2 , it was a million miles away from all the stuff that was around in the day. like getting on a rocket ship . I went to Ibiza on that bike and it never missed a beat. what a fab bike

  • New Product says:

    Fans of old British bikes seem to always cite handling and aesthetics as reasons not to like early Japanese four cylinder bikes and I'd be inclined to agree with their line of thinking.  A reliable, feature-packed bike is a nice thing, but I'd be willing to sacrifice that for a better handling bike.  I'd enjoy it more.  

    I suppose there are plenty of people who disagree though– the whole 'chopper' trend that has been going on since the late 60's evidences a large contingent of people who don't give a damn about corners and want the world to know turning isn't on their list of priorities.

    The "stuck in the 50's" guy really needs to shut his mouth here– yeah, BSA/Triumph missed every single opportunity to improve their designs from a technological standpoint, but in terms of looks there was never anything wrong until they had Ogle come in and screw everything up.

  • cooking the cams in the head bad idea nothing wrong with pushrods

  • the bsa chassis was rock solid ride one i am saying i did well trident early one

  • i can rebuild the honda way easier -bsa was nicer and fast ignition coils were crap

  • Gen Me says:

    lol…so who here would have the Honda CB750 over a rocket 3, fuckin idiots, no way even back at that time would anyone have chosen the Honda, it was availability and price that made them so popular, they handled like a wet sock, horrible bikes, Rocket 3 and trident were way better.  

  • Pete NA says:

    The Honda 4 was reliable, but not much else.
    A 1972 dyno test by "Superbike" showed 49.6 bhp, a far cry from 67, and the bike weighed 525 lbs. It had less cornering clearance than a BMW. 
    A Honda 4 was the scariest handling bike I'd ever ridden, even compared to other Japanese bikes (Kawasaki 750 2-stroke triple included).
    Back in the day, the were no performance match for my 650 Bonneville.

  • Ian Fluker says:

    Honda's 750 set the template for the UJM (universal Japanese motorcycle). It deserves its TD award. I checked its record in the Castrol 6 Hour Production Race …. a CB 750 came 2nd in the 1970 inaugural race (Triumph 650 1st & 3rd) and won the 1971 race – and dominated the first ten placings in the unlimited class. BSA had NO representative in 1970, 71 or 72 … I didn't bother looking further.

  • alimacdee says:

    Both nice bikes but Honda sold 500,000 of these! says it all really!

  • desarthur says:

    Well, I had a mate with a 68 rocket 3, and later on I had a T160. I can tell you quite definitely, on the road the Brit bikes would whip the Honda's arse! The Honda brakes were disc, but they certainly didn't work too well. People get all misty eyed about the Honda's nowadays, and they were a step forward in technology, but they were and still are as boring as all get out!

  • If all you have to carry a conversation is the "noise" that something gives you makes it best, then you have no reason to be in front of the world trying to get a lick in front of professionals.  A motorbike is so much more than just a sound or "Noise".  The bike doesn't look that great, and above so many other things, the sound just carries an opinion and IMO, it sounds like crap.  It's great that he loves his bike as we all love our own, but stating the best just because of sound is a huge miss.

  • Zagar Evans says:

    Well Im not surprised. What can I say, I own both a restored 1971 K1 750 and a soon to be going again 1974 T150V Trident… of both cultures. That 750 Honda on this show, needs some more fettling tho. The stripe is the wrong colour, should be black, the gold is too dark, should be lighter, the bottom tank chrome stripe is incorrect, it is for a K1-on, and the indicator lenses are later ones, they are too dark amber, early ones were lighter. But Im sure John Wyatt has corrected all that by now. Golly good show.   

  • Adam Medyna says:

    During seventies Honda was a top dog for me for sure with is brilliant engineering and reliability, but I never had a chance to ride Rocket 3.
    I didn't want to – she looked so terrible on paper : push-rods, drum brakes, no electric start,  all the package was uninspiring. But time changes things, today I recognize the Rocket 3 as a much better bike to ride with it's stability and much better handling, today seeing Honda as to short, to wide and top heavy with very poor road manners. Somehow Honda's 68 HP doesn't feel much stronger than Rocket's 58 either.
    What stayed the same is Honda's reliability and quality of workmanship – in Rocket's case quality varied a lot.
    If you got a good one it was very good, but a bad one was a complete dog.
    And not a top dog for sure :).

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