In the late 1970s, the pulse of Honda's streetbike lineup seemed alarmingly faint. It had been almost a decade since the launch of the mighty CB750 Four, arguably the most important machine motorcycling has ever seen. Since then, groundbreaking new motorcycles, previously a staple of the once-adventurous engineering company, had been in short supply. There were no Hondas winning comparison tests, no Hondas setting new performance standards, no Hondas causing bystanders' chins to polish their shoes as jaws dropped in amazement. Honda's magic lantern, it seemed, had gone dim.