More than any other production series, the Honda CB bikes are considered the quintessential UJM. Vertical cylinder configurations came in single, parallel twin, inline four and the rarer inline six in nearly every engine capacity conceivable. Every motorcyclist we’ve ever met has either ridden, owned or lusted after one at some point in their lives.
The advertising in this series by Honda Japan pulls away from the urban utilitarian bubbliness of the earlier campaign for the Super Cub, instead forcing the bike and rider in brightly saturated open spaces and harsh light. The effect is a clever nod to the lone Man With No Name imagery of the Western, but without going so far as disingenuine aping for marketing’s sake. This stylistic device for marketing the sporty CB line also speaks to the now legendary reliability of the CB under harsh conditions with tens of thousands of miles on the odometer.
What we really love, more than anything, is the utter lack of copy cluttering up the photographs. The images are allowed to exist on their own. Without words, we can interpret the moment and experience of “Honda” for ourselves, which is what makes these ads so powerful. Seeing an advertisement like any of these today would be shocking.
Just as images we think the shots would resonate deeply with anyone, biker or not.