1981 Honda CBX
This bike has never been started
This is as close to new as it gets. Believe it or not, this 1981 Honda CBX has never been started.
Photo by Rick Schunk
1981 Honda CBX
Claimed power: 100hp @ 9,000rpm
Top speed: 138mph
Engine: 1,047cc DOHC, air-cooled inline 6-cylinder
Weight (dry): 633lb (287kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 5.8gal (21.9ltr) / 25-40mpg
It’s not an urban legend: Honda really did donate hundreds of its six-cylinder motorcycle to high school shop classes, and this 1981 Honda CBX is one of the few survivors.
Let’s see a show of hands. How many of us would head back to school if the Honda CBX was a teaching aid in the mechanics shop?
Hard to believe, but in 1981 Honda distributed hundreds of its advanced CBX and V-twin CX Turbo six-cylinder motorcycles to vocational and technical schools across the U.S. The machines were donated on the assumption they would be used to teach students the ins and outs of motorcycle mechanics. But working on such a technically advanced motorcycle was surely beyond the scope of the average student.
It has been 30 years since the introduction of one of Honda’s most memorable motorcycles, the CBX. The 1,047cc inline six-cylinder motorcycle was introduced in 1978, and sold as a 1979 model. At the time of its release, Honda was on a mission to prove its superiority.
“That was an advanced motorcycle for the time,” says Minnesota CBX and Honda enthusiast Jeff Winter. “It was, in fact, mind warping. Honda had been tied up in developing a car business and had let its motorcycle designs stagnate a bit. Honda had used the single overhead cam 750cc K-model platform for more than a decade, plus it introduced the flat-four Gold Wing [GL1000]. But the CBX was a mass produced inline 6-cylinder motorcycle with a great deal of technical innovation.”
A step forward
The Honda CBX was meant to be a benchmark in the super-sport category of motorcycles. With 103hp at the crank, the bike was something of a hot rod, and while the motorcycling press praised the CBX, the machine did have its shortcomings, chiefly in the handling and braking departments. For 1979 and 1980, Honda kept the CBX in its sporting format. Air-adjustable front forks were added to the 1980 model along with adjustable rear shocks to improve handling.
The 1981 and 1982 CBXs went in another direction with a slightly detuned engine and the addition of a fairing and saddlebags — these were sport-tourers. To help tame the CBX and make it an enjoyable ride, Honda replaced the dual rear shock swingarm with a single shock Pro-Link system, strengthened the frame and put on beefier brakes. It was a short four-year run, and 1982 was the last year for the CBX.
Jeff never owned a Honda CBX when they were new, but he was well aware of them when they were first introduced. In 1991 he bought his first CBX — a machine he still owns. It is a very early 1979 model (built in 1978), purchased with just over 7,000 miles on the clock. It now shows more than 22,000 miles. That CBX started him down a path of collecting and repairing the CBXs.
Page: 1 | 2
| Next >>