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Arresting Development… Honda’s CYP77 Super Hawk Police bike

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The white CYP77 bike, sold in the UK last month, was originally rebuilt/restored by yours truly, MrHonda, back in 2002. Somehow, someone else, named Bill seems to have gotten some credit for the work, but the photos shown on the auction site are no different than the way it was shipped to CMS in Holland, back in 2002.

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This is one of the bikes that shouldn’t have gotten away from me, but I was married at the time and we were headed for Hawaii, so extreme downsizing was in order, plus the extra cash was well welcomed.

The CYP77 was always on my “bucket list,” but the chances of landing one of these rare beauties is one in a million, even back then. To some extent, this one landed in my lap (actually delivered to me from Houston on Thanksgiving Day weekend) and when all was said and done, I really only had a couple thousand dollars invested in the final product.

It’s really a complicated story from start to finish, but we’ll try to do the digest version here, now. It all started with a phone call from a friend in Texas who asked me to look out for a CYP77 Police bike project. Not long after that, I ran across a cryptic ad, offering two CP77s for sale, up in Canada. I passed along the information to my friend and didn’t think much about it again until he sent photos of the finished product, about a year later. It was stunning and made me want one even more. My friend then told me that he bought TWO bikes and had enough parts to build a second one, but decided that one was enough and “was I interested in buying the project?” Heck yes, I thought, but I had just made a move from San Clemente to Silver City, NM and it cost quite a bit to make the move, setup in a rented house and swap out my PT Cruiser for a truck and car so we could get around in our new location. How could we work out a deal, I wondered? My friend said he was interested in restoring a Honda CB92 Benly, if he could find one. Well, those don’t grow on trees, even back then, however just before I left California, I met a man at a vintage swap meet who said he had some kind of “Benly” project bike in storage and was tired of tripping over it and wanted it out of the way. I mentioned what to look for in order to determine if the bike was a CA95 Benly Touring or a way-cool CB92 Super Sport 125.

It was just a passing exchange and I didn’t follow up with him to find out just what the bike was and what he wanted for it, as I was all about the move to NM coming up. Well, fast-forward to the week AFTER we had moved to NM and I got a call from the guy in LA… “Bike is for sale, what will you give me for it?” After explaining that I wasn’t in California anymore and had spent a lot of money on the move, he said to make an offer, so I told him “$500,” sight-unseen, after he read the serial numbers of the bike, which was, indeed, a CB92! He said, “Come and get it!” which setup a whole chain of events, including calling my friend Ray, in OC, and asking him to front the money and to go pick the bike stuff up in his Honda mini-van. He generously granted my request and had the bike/parts in his garage about a week later. I still had no idea of what I bought, but for $500, it had to be worth that much in parts, alone.

Next step was to drive the 750 miles back to Orange County, over the weekend and get back to my new job on Monday morning. My wife was keen to go back and see her sister for a day, so off we went, blazing back the way we had come, just a couple of weeks previously, from San Clemente. After about a 12 hour drive, we arrived back in San Clemente in my newly acquired Toyota Tacoma truck and stopped in at Ray’s house to see what I had bought…. It started out to be a bit of a horror show, as he rolled out a real CB92 Benly Super Sport, but it had a CB160 engine stuffed into the chassis and was sporting a huge drag racing slick on the rear wheel! The frame had been cut away, slightly to clear the dual carburetors, but otherwise it was fairly unmolested. Next to the chassis was a spare engine; the original CB92 engine that came from the bike, complete and intact. Out of a box, Ray produced a nearly new CYB72 racing seat! That was worth $400-500 even back then. The CB92 had a racing seat installed, dual factory megaphones and other CY92 racing goodies on the bike or in boxes. Wow! This was the best deal I had encountered in years and it was just what my friend John, in Texas, was looking for. I paid Ray for the money he loaned to me and we loaded up for a quick trip to my wife’s sister’s house, where we spent the night then rolled back out Sunday morning, headed back to NM again. The first thing I did was sell the CYB72 racing seat for $400 on eBay, to get most of my investment back, as soon as we returned to NM.

I called John and told him that I had what he wanted and that I was ready to make a deal with him on the Police bike project. He agreed and said he would drive it out from Houston over Thanksgiving weekend. He knew that the CB92 was worth quite a lot and could have been easily sold, so he threw in a running 1967 CB77 bike, along with the Police bike and all the parts needed to build it. I didn’t know what the CYP77 looked like, but the big bonus was that he had purchased almost all the “CYP77-specific parts from CMS in Holland, when they were available, while he was building his first Police bike. He bought two of everything, knowing that he might build both bikes.

Well, it was a Thanksgiving to remember and I was thankful for the exchange that was being made, although looking at the disassembled CYP77 gave me pause to consider just what I had gotten myself into. The only “problem” with the bike project was that it came without a motor, but John had rounded up a CB77 engine to rebuild. What I really needed was at least a set of cases that had CP77 stamped on them. I can’t recall the details now, but either John found a case half or someone did for me and I was able to build a bike that had CP77 on the frame and CP77 on the engine cases, even though they were not from the same year of production. In the meantime, I sold the spare 1967 CB77 on eBay for $1200 to another guy from Texas, who drove up and took it home again. More $$ for the project!

I was still digesting the whole project and what would be needed to build the bike correctly. One unique factor on the Police models was that they had a Type 2 (360 degree) firing engine, like the 250-305 Dreams, but they used the CB cylinder head and camshafts which had more cam timing and dual carburetors. Once you have the correct crankshaft, you can manage the rest of the conversion by using the regular Dream engine parts, including the point cam and points/point plate. The CYP77 used a specific ignition coil on a bracket that fit the Super Hawk frames and a condenser that mounted near the coil which was different than the ones used on a Dream. Getting the camshaft timing corrected for the 360 engine only required grinding off the master camshaft spline which indexes the camshaft for the 180 degree motors. Turning the camshaft 90 degrees brings everything into correct time for the 360 crankshaft. It took awhile to find a decent Dream crankshaft, finally buying one out of Thailand, but it came in with surface rust which needed some deep cleaning to remove.

While I was working out the engine build, I inventoried all the chassis parts and then selected the painted parts to be sent out for powdercoating. The nearest place for powdercoating was in Tucson, AZ, which was 200 miles away, but that was the only option, so we wound up making two round trips to AZ for the powdercoating work. I continued to work on the engine rebuild and then turned my attention to the wheels. Honda started building the CYP77s in 1963 and they used regular 18” wheels from the CB72-77s at the time. Later-on, they decided to go to a 17” wheel/tire combo, using 3.50x18 tires on both ends vs. the 2.75-18/3.00-18 standard CB wheel setup. The CYP77-specific parts list has some really unusual items on it, including hand-cut fenders to match the 17” wheel radius and a special tool box that moved the starter solenoid out of the way of the siren cable, as it snaked its way through the chassis to the rear wheel.

Fortunately, John had rounded up all the body parts, but he didn’t have the 17” wheel sets. Digging deep into some catalogs, I discovered that some Honda XL100s used a wide 17” wheel for the back and they happened to use a 36 hole hub, so that was the answer to that problem. I had a NOS aftermarket spoke kit for a YDS-3 and had purchased a spoke threading tool on eBay, moments after I realized I needed one and moments before the auction was to expire! I was on a roll with this bike and it all fell into place. Cutting and rethreading 72 spokes was a bit laborious but once the wheels were assembled and the fat tires installed, it was all worth the effort.

After a week or so, the powdercoating was retrieved from Tucson and the bike really started to come together quickly. I shipped the little solo Police bike seat off to a VJMC member who did a nice job of recovering it, similar to the original style. I had hauled a lot of spare CB77 parts with me, in the move from CA, so they all came in handy when it came time to do the final assembly of the bike.

Working in an unheated garage, through the winter months, I was able to build the whole bike in less than 4 months, starting from scratch. I hadn’t built a Type 2 Super Hawk bike for at least ten years previously, so it was a treat to fire it up and hear the unique engine sound coming from a CB77 type bike. The altitude at our place in NM was about six-thousand feet, so I had to jet the carburetors down a step at a time until I got it right for that altitude. Final jetting ended up being #125 main jets, rather than the original #135 mains for normal Super Hawk use. Once dialed in, it was really fun to drive. Amazingly, I was able to drive the bike to the local DMV office where the woman gave the bike a once-over, verified the serial numbers and handed me a license plate and title. If you look at the auction photos, you will see that the NM plate is still on the bike. I was able to drive the bike around the area with the full red lights and siren setup, with no problem.

The bike got about 300 miles put on it, running through the local mountains and around town. I took it to a local car/motorcycle show and it got a lot of odd looks and positive attention, once I told them that it was a “real” factory-built Honda Police bike. Alas, all things must come to an end… my wife and I decided to leave the high and dry desert plains of NM for the moist and warm islands of Hawaii and that necessitated the sale of cars/bikes and everything else that wouldn’t go with us across the Pacific. Mike Buttinger, of CMSNL in Holland had been tracking the bike’s progress and made a more than fair offer for the bike. I arranged transportation to SoCal, courtesy of a local motorcycle shop owner and then the bike was crated and shipped to Holland that Spring.

I made a trip to visit Mike in Holland in 2007 and caught up with my old Police bike again, sitting in his expansive office space, in the company of an RC162, CR72, CR93 and my old 1953 Benly J, which had been restored so well that it won the “Best of Show” in the big Staffordshire event. I was proud of how the bike turned out and happy that it was so fun to drive while I owned it. Life takes many twists and turns and since then I have been divorced and returned back to my San Diego roots, where I continue to enjoy my 1961 CB77 and keep the local vintage Hondas on the roads as much as possible.

I have owned CB77s from just about all the years of production, including rare CBM72s, Type 2 CB77s that were not Police bikes and the real CYP77 Police model. About the only thing left to discover and restore would be a CM72 (domestic 250 Super Hawk/Dream hybrid) and one of the “all chromed” CB77s that Honda shipped to the US, as a treat to the dealers for all the business that was generated in the early 1960s. There is supposed to be an “all chromed” bike in So Cal for sale, but I haven’t gotten through to the owner so far. Who knows? That one might be next on my Super Hawk “bucket list.”

Bill “MrHonda” Silver

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