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A tale of four taillights… analyzing the taillights on the CB72-77 Super Hawk

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In the beginning….there was the Super Hawk. Born in late 1960, they are still referred to in Japan as 1960 models, but all the bikes and serial numbers ever seen all start with a “1” for the 1961 model year. The first releases had an interesting parallelogram shaped tail light lens, which was given part number 33701-268-000. While used in Japan on almost all of the CB72-77 and CP/CYP77 models, it only made an appearance once in the US, during the first year releases. Interestingly enough, the tail light bracket for these bikes carries a “270” product code, not the usual “268” designation. The seldom-seen “270” code is for a model called the CM72, which also donated the upper fork covers on the 1961-63 CB72-77s with the “big fork” 38mm front end. The CM72 was a hybrid Super Hawk/Dream model, built in 1961-2, which featured a CB chassis, C type Dream engine, solo seat and high handlebars.

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In 1962 Honda was scrambling to rework their tail light designs to conform to various export standards, so a new design was released with what is now known as the “short lens” shape. The lens depth was about 1 7/8” and the design was a melding of a circular shape in the center, surrounded by a curved rectangular shape about 2/3rds above the bottom of the circle. 33701-268-810 was the part number assigned to this series of lens which was only used in the 1962 production line-up in the U.S. Not only was this lens used on the CB72-77 bikes, but appeared on the new CL72 Scrambler and on CA72-77s, as a replacement for the tiny rectangular light assemblies that came on all early Dreams. The same lens has been seen on Cub 50 models, both step-through models and Sport Cubs and likely used on the CA95 Benly and C200 90cc editions, as well.

The short lens shape necessitated use of an angled bulb socket to allow use of the conventional automotive #1157 12v tail light bulb which could be obtained easily outside of the Honda dealerships, in case of failure. With the bulb angled up from horizontal, the light disbursement was diffused somewhat causing a lowered visibility from the rear, which is not what you want for a motorcycle tail light.

For 1963, the tail light sockets were redesigned to hold the bulb horizontal, which extended the reach of the bulb further into the lens, thus the lens was extended to 2 11/16” depth and the part number changed to 33701-268-600. This light/lens assembly was used universally on most all of Honda’s U.S models, including the 50s, 90s, CA95, CB/CL160s, CB450s and all versions of the 250-305 twins through 1966. These lenses are referred to as “long lens” designs.

A final change occurred in mid-1967, starting with the Dream models apparently, because the 33700-271-010 part number for the tail light assembly references the late-model Dreams. However, For CBs this change started with CB72-1008068 and CB77-1052463, which is late in the model run for the CB77s. The last CB77 serial number is CB77-1056423, thus only the last 3,960 305 Super Hawks had this light installed. The light assembly was installed on all of the late 1967 CB77s, sold with the chrome-fenders. Late model CL77s also had this tail light on the chrome-fender versions.

The lens, itself carried a 33701-041-000 part number which references to a Honda C50 Cub, which is not a model sold in the U.S. Most Honda enthusiasts refer to this light as the “oval taillight,” which was used on late Scramblers, Super Hawks and a few Dreams. The light assembly did continue on into 1968, as seen on the new CB/CL350s, CB/CL450K1, SS/CL125A, S/CL-CT90s, CL/CA175 editions. The CL175K0 models which featured this light assembly had a 216-010 code tail light bracket, which applies to CB160s, so some late CB160s may have had the oval light, too.

So, that’s the story of the fabulous four tail lights used on the Honda Super Hawk series. BTW the CYP77 Police model used the same -000 tail light as the 1961 U.S. models, all the way through 1965.

Bill “MrHonda” Silver

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