1958 Honda CB92 Benly
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The 1958 Honda C92 Benly showed the world that Honda was serious about performance and took the idea of smaller, higher revving cylinders further than the earlier C70 Dream. The 1958 C92 twin-cylinder 125cc Benly produced 11.5hp at a then-amazing 9,500rpm.
Essentially a smaller version of the C70, for 1959 the C92 received an electric start and a dual seat (still a single seat on some Japanese models) to become the C92 (CA92 in America). Alongside this was the CS92 (as mentioned above) with high exhausts. But the most interesting variant was the CB92 Benly Super Sport 125 (B indicating sporting), which was also released in 1959.
The first Super Sport
Some of Honda’s early roadsters were rather bulky and unattractive, but that certainly wasn’t true of the CB92. From its big front drum brake, its low handlebars set behind that racy flyscreen and the humped fuel tank with its rubber pad at the rear, the Super Sport is purposeful and aggressive. With its pressed-steel frame and leading-link forks it’s undeniably dated, but even now it looks good in a way that very few bikes of similar age can approach.
The Honda’s compact, air-cooled engine gives few visual clues to its performance. It has a chain-driven single overhead camshaft and a 360-degree crank. Like the more softly-tuned C92 and CS92, this model gets its 124cc capacity through oversquare dimensions of 44mm x 41mm. But the sportster’s higher, 10:1 compression ratio and bigger, 20mm Keihin carburetor help increase its output by 3.5hp to a claimed 15hp at a heady 10,500rpm.
Riding the 1958 Honda CB92 Benly
Like many CB92s, this bike had been raced in its early days. When bought by its current owner it was complete, with just over 20,000 miles on its bores, but scruffy and fitted with a racing single seat and megaphone exhausts. The owner — whose father was a Honda dealer in the 1960s, and who’d already restored 10 previous CB92s — managed to track down the necessary parts through a network of contacts. By the time he’d finished, the bike looked almost like new.
I’m 6ft 4in, so I’d wondered whether I’d be able to fit on such a small machine, but I needn’t have worried. Although the Honda weighs just 242lb dry (which is 22lb less than the base-model C92) and has a compact 49.6in wheelbase, the knee cutouts in its tank gave plenty of room. The footrests are pretty high, but the low seat is long enough (despite having no provision for a passenger) that I could sit well back, allowing a crouch forward to reach the flat handlebars.
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