Honda Superhawk CB72, CB77, CP77  

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Road Test: Honda CB77 - Superhawk 305


"A Japanese Twin with a Big Bike Punch"

CB77: Click To Enlarge

It looks like a 250; it feels like a 250. The difference is apparent only after a few miles in the saddle of this 305-cc sportster.  A mere 58 cc separates the two models. Yet, this very difference adds up to a worthwhile bonus in punch and acceleration. The 305, at 96 mph is fast - and decidedly quick off the mark, with a stinging quarter-mile in 16/s. This is over a second better than the 247 cc twin.


However much the 250 impresses, its bigger brother cannot fail to be that much better. It is everything one expects from Honda, together with a helping of big-bike punch that comes as a pleasant surprise. Closely allied with performance are revs - all 9000 of them. The CB77 thrives on [high RPM] and isn't happy until 5000 have accumulated on the neat revmeter dial.

CB77: Detail - KickStart
Folding kickstart, and behind top cover, the twin contact breakers driven from right-hand end of overhead camshaft.


In bottom and second gears, vibration is annoying, especially to the passenger who feels it through the seat. But this is much less apparent when the engine is pulling strongly, particularly in the higher gears. It is possible and extremely pleasant, to push along between 75 and 80 mph on the motorway, for mile after mile, with no sign of stress. When traveling at this sort of pace it is easy to keep the engine on-song in the flexible top gear, which can't be done on the 250 where it is often necessary to snick into third to keep the revs up. Only on stiff gradients and in blustery conditions is frequent cog swapping any real assistance to high speed cruising.

RPM Range 

Like all Hondas, the test model was happiest at intermediate speeds if frequent use was made of the gearbox. The main object is to keep the engine turning over above 5000 rpm. Below this the engine is definitely out if its element. The CB77 revs so easily and so reliably that the high engine speeds are no disadvantage. That is what the OHC engine is built for, and what it likes best. Gear change on the test model was lighter and more pleasant than is usual with the big Honda twins. Only a slight clunk was noticed when engaging bottom gear from the rest.


Top Speed & Gearing

One poor feature was a slight roughness in the transmission as the clutch was engaged. However, previous experience has shown that this is peculiar to the particular model on the test. The machine is slightly overgeared in top. 9000 rpm represents 103 mph, but patient repetition of electronically timed runs proved 96 mph to be absolute top whack under normal conditions. Nevertheless, 96 is not too much effort for the CB77 and there is a margin for the day when you are going downhill or there is a force 8 gale behind you. Then it is highly likely that you will pass the magic 100 mark.

CB77: Detail - Front Brake
The CB77 has a potent 8 inch two leading-shoe front brake.

High speed accuracy

Although some 4-mph fast at 30 mph, the speedometer became progressively [more accurate] until at 80 mph, it was almost spot-on. After 90 mph, perhaps because of high-frequency vibration, the instrument was optimistic to the tune of 10 mph.


For such good performance you expect good brakes. And you certainly get them on the 305.“Very smooth and progressive, with no tendency for premature wheel locking.” That's a description of the potent twin leading-shoe stoppers. They were much more efficient at high speed than the 34 feet braking figure from 30 mph would indicate.

CB77: Detail - Starter & Header Pipes
Electric starter bolts to front of crankcase. Engine unit doubles as frame structural member.


It comes as a surprise to anyone sitting on such a potent bundle of cc that the CB77 in endowed with an electric starter. It is a starter of the utmost reliability and efficiency. Since the auxiliary kick-starter operates in a forward direction it is well that the electric starter is so efficient - for the crank can not be used when a fairing is fitted. One press of the button and the unit fires up almost immediately. When the engine is cold the air slides must be closed - it will stall if the throttle is opened above a tick-over before the engine has warmed up. Best drill is to start on a wisp of throttle and allow the engine to run at 1500 to 2000 rpm for about 2 minutes, gradually opening the choke. The book says, “warm her up,” and warm her up you must.

CB77: Detail - Crankcase & Shift Pedal
An accessible dipstick gives an easy reading for the 3 1/2 pint wet-sump system.

Lubrication integrity

No topping-up of the oil sump was necessary throughout the 1000-mile test, and the power unit remained markedly clean.


With fully adjustable controls the Honda, is soon tailored to fit any rider. It is extremely comfortable and is superb for tucking in and getting down to it.


For night riding the main beam intensity was adequate for 50 or 60-mph cruising. A good feature is the clear top cut-off to the dipped beam.

CB77: Detail - Rear Hub & Shock
Rear shocks have 3 load settings.

Steering & Suspension 

Handling needs only slight improvement to make it perfect. There is undoubtedly still a trace of underdamping in the suspension. It would be passed off as unimportant on a lesser machine, but with the potential of the CB77 the tendency to wallow on bumpy corners can be rather disconcerting. Steering, however, is light and positive and the bike holds the road well.


Whichever way you look at the Honda, whether you like a high revver or not, there is one thing on which everyone must agree; the detail finish is excellent. From the twin-leading shoe brakes to the revmeter and speedo unit, everything is just so. For your 280 pounds you get an economical, high performance sportster plus a liberal help of the sort of quality you would expect only on a much more expensive machine.


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