Of the more than 8000 copies of this automatic or semi-automatic transmission produced in 1976, 1977 and 1978, no engines have ever officially come to the Netherlands. Later there was some gray import.
Not suitable for Europe
The European market was not considered suitable for a "slow" heavy motorcycle with automatic transmission. But in the vision of the Honda marketeers, this engine was ideal for the American and Canadian market. The motorcycle in the photos comes from Canada and that can be seen from the speedometer, the most important scale of which is in kilometers, and in green the much smaller mileage counter. But he must be well established, because before he ended up in Gallery Aaldering's showroom, he lived with his previous owner for more than thirty years.
A kind of dashboard or display
The right 'counter' is not the usual rev counter but a kind of dashboard, an 1.0 display. In addition to indicator lights for oil pressure, high beam and direction indicators, there is also an indicator for the position of the gearbox (Neutral, 1 = city acceleration, 2 = city / country road) and a fuel meter. The last indicator is special because it indicates whether the parking brake is applied.
The automatic gearbox
Honda had deliberately not opted for a fully automatic gearbox, because those (then still) shifted fairly jerky at times that the rider could not determine tightly. In a car that wasn't a problem, but as a motorcyclist you could be shocked or out of balance. Behind the large lid is the torque converter which acts as a kind of slipping clutch. In such a coupling, oil is the power transfer medium. In order to have enough oil for the torque converter and gearbox, the CB 750 Hondamatic became the only CB 750 model that had a wet-sump lubrication system for storing the 5,5 liter of engine oil.
There were two oil pumps on board
One for engine lubrication and one for the clutch and gearbox. Because the halfautomate always kept 'pulling' a bit, there was even a parking brake fitted. The torque converter replaced the normal clutch, but the rider had to shift up and down himself. The further drive went through a two-speed gearbox that does not automatically switch while driving. The driver chooses which gear best suits the current driving behaviour. In the city, that is 1st gear for fast acceleration, and 2nd on country roads. But that wasn't all that much of a point. In only its 'high' gear, the Honda also did everything that was asked of it.
For the American way of life
The Hondamatic was 100% touristy. The saddle was spacious. The handlebars were wide and high. The Halfautomato was the 'USP', the Unique Selling Point. And of course it was a Honda. But the CBA had left some feathers. The power had decreased considerably due to a low compression ratio and smaller carburetors. As a result, the CB 750 A delivered less than 50 hp. With that he was more than 150 km / h fast. Although the Hondamatic barely caught on, even in the United States, where automatic transmission cars were the norm, the machine received another minor upgrade in 1977 with a four-into-two exhaust system.
CB 750 A2: A final detail change followed in 1978: the machine now also got the Comstar rims that were already used with the F2 / F3. Then the model disappeared from the market. No more than 8.100 CB 750 A's were sold in three years.
Meanwhile, such a large Hondamatic, there were also 400 cc twins with automatic transmission, recognized classic, scarce and an absolute enthusiast bike. There are just not too many enthusiasts who feel attracted by Honda's concept. This results in a CB 750 A not being more expensive than a comparable CB750 with a normal gearbox.
It drives ... strange
Riding a Hondamatic gives a kind of short circuit with everything you are used to from motorcycling. It feels most like ... Riding such a modern electric motorcycle ...