A Badly Maintained Honda CB72/77

I mentioned in my first ever paper about my interest in Pirsig in 2005, that I owned the same Honda Superhawk model as Robert Pirsig did on his 1968 “Zen Ride” – mine was the CB72 his was the CB77, but they are mechanically identical in all respects other than the cylinder bore which made mine 247/250 cc and his 305 cc.

I had a schoolfriend who had a BSA Bantam, and I bought the Honda from his brother. I acquired it aged 17 in 1973, but only had it until I went off to university in London at the end of summer of ’74 – the same year ZMM was published. I hadn’t really thought the bike through. My friend had one so I fancied having one. We had a house with no driveway or garage, so I kept it at his place rather than leave it parked on the street. Suffice to say, I took it for one long trip from the NE of England to the Farnborough Airshow via London that summer, and the bike never made it home. I ended up leaving it – seized – near my friends brother’s place, coincidentally not far from Farnborough in Deepcut. The quote to fix it was more than a student’s annual budget. Although I became an aero-engineer in 1977, I never read about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance before 2002.

I clearly never read the care and service manual either.

Lots of good things happened on that trip, but the bike wasn’t one of them. I did however learn a valuable lesson in life, long before I discovered Zen and the Art.


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