Panther Publishing 

Superbikes and the 70s

Panther Publishing

Superbikes and the 70s Book by David Sheehan

By Dave Sheehan 

Foreword by Les Williams

Now Out of Print 

What others have to say..

"...I read things about the Hurricane that I did not know! Wow!  Craig Vetter (designer of the Hurricane)

"...thorough, accurate, and good fun" Cook Neilson, Winner at Daytona on the Ducati 750 and Editor of US magazine 'Cycle' in the 70s

"...a totally absorbing book ...a must read... the best motorcycle book of this year thanks to the research and writing style. A real bargain at £19.95!" Ian Kerr

AUTHOR SIGNED COPIES AVAILABLE Please state on order in comments box if required

When rumours reached Honda that BSA/Triumph were developing a 750-cc triple, it galvanised the Japanese giant into creating the world beating CB750 Four. The British triples may have reached the market first, but the launch just a few months later of Honda’s four-cylinder ‘Dream Four’ (with electric-start, disc brakes and Candy-painted bodywork) caused a sensation in 1968. A new word now joined the lexicon: Superbikes. The opening salvoes in a horsepower war had begun!

Superbikes and the 70s, by Dave Sheehan,  captures the spirit of those heady days. It tells the story of a Britain emerging from the dull, grey years of post-war austerity into the colourful, gritty and psychedelic reality of the ‘70s. Despite a backcloth of dubious fashion, rampant inflation, oil embargoes and wild-cat strikes these lightening-fast, chromium-plated polychromatic motorcycles suddenly became affordable in an age of full employment. For motorcyclists the ‘70s meant reliable, beautifully-designed machines delivering record-shattering performance!

Superbikes and the 70s brings this all home. However, it isn’t just about the bikes. It’s about their times, too as reflected in its popular culture, politics, and the people key to the story of superbikes – the engineers and designers, the larger than life racers, like Dick Mann, Gary Nixon, Barry Sheene and Paul Smart, the dealers and salesmen, and the industry’s titans - Edward Turner and Soichiro Honda. It gets behind-the-scenes to give the full story of bikes like the Triumph and BSA triples (including the Vetter-designed Hurricane), the Honda CB750, the awesome Gold Wing and the outrageous six-cylinder Honda CBX1000 and Kawasaki Z1300 megabikes. There is also the seriously mad Kawasaki Mach III and Mach IV two-stroke triples, Ducati’s remarkable Daytona-winning 750 twin, Laverda’s hairy-chested Jota – and, of course, Milwaukee’s XLCH Sportster, the seed of the Harley come-back.

Written by Dave Sheehan, Superbikes and the 70s is well illustrated and packed with anecdotes and a wealth of thoroughly-researched detail. The author presents the story from the perspective of those involved at the time, the outcomes of whose decisions were by no means certain, with the result that the narrative reads like a thriller. A recurring thread throughout the book is Cycle magazine’s seminal ‘Superbike 7’ comparison tests in 1970 and 1973 which demonstrated that superbikes were changing - riders no longer had to sacrifice civility, comfort and reliability in the pursuit of handling, speed and acceleration.

Superbikes and the 70s is their story.

Contents and Bikes Covered


Foreword by Les Williams



Edward Turner and the Speed Twin the template

      for an industry  

Hopwood and Hele secretly develop a three-cylinder

      superbike to replace Turner’s twins

Honda and Triumph - the race to launch the first

      750 multi-cylinder superbike 

The Honda CB750 steals the show but BSA/Triumph

      hit the market first!  

Kawasaki develops a superbike, British triples break

      speed records, and CB750 sales soar      

Kawasaki’s Mach III the world’s quickest motorcycle,

      cycle’s ‘superbike 7’, and the Trident gets a makeover     

The Trident wins USA’s first 24-hour race and Doug

      Hele has five months to prepare the Triples for Daytona    

Dick Mann on the Honda CR750 beats BSA/Triumph

      at Daytona 1970 and wins again in ’71 for BSA/Triumph

The Kawasaki 750 Mach IV and the Suzuki GT750 - two

      takes on two-stroke triples  

Kawasaki launch the Z1, Cycle returns to Orange

      County for a superbike rematch     

Ducati 750 L-twin wins Imola 200, plaudits at the Superbike 7

      and Cook Neilson beats the Kawasaki fours at Daytona 

The collapse of BSA,the oil-in-the-frame fiasco,

      and the Meriden sit-in halts production of the Trident     

Craig Vetter designs the Triumph Hurricane in secret

      and the Trident finally gets push-button start 

The RE-5 nearly bankrupts Suzuki. The hercules W2000,

      Van Veen OCR1000 and Norton rotaries  hint at a

      Wankel-engined future  

The Honda Gold Wing a bike built like a car, designed

      in Japan and made in America 

The Yamaha XS750 a Japanese motorcycle made to

      appeal to the world’s biggest market - Europe! 

Norton Commando tops the first Superbike 7 and Poore

      nabs the inside covers for the Norton girls    

Harley-Davidson the motor company’s earliest days,

      H-D petitions the U.S. government, and Milwaukee

      launches the Sportster - H-D’s answer to its Limey rivals  

The horsepower war hots up, the Japanese release the

      CBX1000, GS1000, XS1100, and Z1-R, the Italians

      a one-litre triple developed on the backroads of rural

      Worcestershire... And Kawasaki launch the Z1300





BSA Rocket 3

Triumph Trident

Triumph Hurricane

Honda CB750

Kawasaki Z1

Kawasaki H1 & H2

Harley-Davidson XLCH

Ducati 750GT

Laverda Jota

Suzuki GT750

Suzuki GS1000

Suzuki RE-5

Norton Commando

Honda CBX 1000

Honda Gold Wing

Yamaha XS750

Yamaha XS1100

DKW Hercules W2000





SuperBikes and the 70s,  by Dave Sheehan with a Foreword by Les Williams 

Softcover, 234 x 171mm,  321pp plus 10pp prelims and Foreword, 81 illustrations 50 in colour, ISBN 97819092213128


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