The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle
Ron Graf and his 1983 Honda CX650 Turbo.
Bike: 1983 Honda CX650 Turbo
Owner: Ron Graf
Occupation: Medical Assistant
Rides: Three Honda CX650Ts, a 1980 Honda CX500 Deluxe and a 1984 Honda CB650SC Nighthawk
It is a truism that there is a perfect bike for everyone, and for Ron Graf, the perfect bike is a Honda CX650 Turbo. He owns three. Ron started his Turbo collecting in 1991: “I had a 1980 Honda CX500 Deluxe, and I liked that V-twin sound. I liked the engine feedback. I was saving up for a Honda ST1100, but then I saw ‘The Ad.’”
The ad was for a CX Turbo, and the asking price was affordable. “I didn’t know Turbos existed, but the idea sounded attractive,” Ron recalls. The bike had a bad water temperature sensor, but after that was replaced, it ran fine.
Ron was almost immediately hooked by the power boost. He crashed the bike three months later, but started looking for another one as soon as he was up and about. “The mid-range torque is addicting,” Ron says. “I take it up on the highway, slow down, get off the boost and then hit the throttle, just to feel the boost. I love it.”
Ron enjoys riding his Turbos, and has put over 100,000 miles on his stable of Boostbikes. “It’s a comfortable all day bike,” he says. “The windscreen fits me. The TRAC anti-dive fork mechanism works well. You set it and forget it.
“I use Metzler high mileage tires,” he continues. “Tire choices are limited, and since I don’t push it in the corners, I’d rather spend less money on tires. You use a lot more brake going into a corner to set the entry speed, since if you brake once in the corner, it’s going to stand up. It’s a top-heavy bike. However, it’s easy to control coming out of a corner. By now I know when the boost is going to come on. That turbo power is unique and you have to get used to it.
“If you are boosting heavily and let off the throttle a little, it will keep accelerating, although to a lesser degree. You learn to feel how your right hand is connected to the throttle differently than on a normally aspirated engine. A good analogy might be, on a normally aspirated bike, your right hand is connected to the throttle by a wire. On the Turbo, it feels more like a rubber band.”
Here's a quick video demonstrating the sound of a Honda CX650 Turbo: