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I. Helterskelter has given permission to reproduce the following article, published in the June edition. The Used
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Written by Chris Chapman
Naked, Naked, Naked. What a wonderful erotic word. One more time - Naked. I love naked
things, like my wife, Onion Bhaji without the unnecessary minty, crappy sauce and my Honda CB750F2N, or Retro to
It all began in the autumn of the year 2000…
All the best bikes I've had, have been bought under memorable circumstances. Like the Yamaha I bought from a bankrupt
carrot cruncher, or the Kawasaki bought from a lieing cheating so-and-so (I had to get the frame straightened 'cos
it was twisted to f'ck). The Honda was bought to do a job of work - despatch riding. A bullet-proof engine, low
maintenance (to keep costs down), longevity and a bargain basement purchase price. That was a tick against every
item on my list of despatch tool needs.
People told me not to go despatching in winter, but I figured there would be more
work for those that could withstand the cold, rain and short daylight hours. So I persevered. My office was to
be a burgundy Honda CB Sevenfifty Retro of 1996, with less than 9,000 miles on the clock. There was a mini rack
thing fitted and it sounded (and looked) fine.
Initially the Honda was just a tool for work. Nothing more. After filling forms, swiping credit cards and exchanging
autographs the deal was done. The infamous Nation-wide dealership I got the bike from didn't allow test rides.
Can you believe it? But they offered an exchange if not 100% happy. I wanted the hydraulic tappets and easy maintenance.
I wanted the smooth engine and comfortable wide saddle (to keep the farmers at bay).
When I picked the Honda up, and rode it home, it took about two nano-seconds to
realise that the handling was seriously bad! Back tyre. The back tyre was badly squared off, although it did still
have plenty of tred left. I should have checked but I didn't. But, so should the dealer if they'd been conscientious,
eh? To cut a long story short, the dealer finally agreed to replace the tyre free-of-charge. Damned right too!
Despatch riding is a bit of a game. Not a good game, though. It's lousy money, work is short and to survive you
need to be on call 24/7. When I realised what a total mugs game it is, I packed it in. Three days - the shortest
career in history? So, now I was stuck with a 500lb Honda. Great. Fantastic. Forget all the stuff you read about
them being dull. I totally love mine. In fact I like the bike so much, I built a website - better than a cheesy
Try www.cb-sevenfifty.org.uk (You've already found it, so tell your friends about this site. Chris)
Nakedness is all well and good, but sooner or later we all feel the need to get dressed. So it was that I picked
out a tasty little fly screen for the CB. It's surprising how much protection can be found hiding behind an itsy
bitsy fly screen. Below 30mph - no difference. Above 30mph - no fuss, reduced wind blast and a higher cruising
speed. The great thing is that the fundamental minimalism of a naked bike is barely (tee hee) compromised by fitting
such a little bit of plastic.
Now dreams of despatch-rider glory are dead and buried. What remains
is one smug biker with a very capable Honda. But, to add some balance to this moto-equation, I should point out
some of the pitfalls. Trouble is I can't think of too many! You have to fit a good quality O-ring chain, or you'll
find yourself adjusting the flaming thing three times a week! The front mudguard is too short, so it's worthwhile
fitting an extension. And, the bike doesn't merit much cred' among the sports bike crowd. So, what. Some people
would see that as a real advantage.
Editor of www.cb-sevenfifty.org.uk