1958 Honda CB92 Benly
The first Super Sport
Some of Honda's early roadsters were rather bulky and unattractive, but that certainly wasn't true of the CB92.
Photos by Roland Brown
Honda CB92 Benly
Years produced: 1959-1962
Total production: 24,251
Claimed power: 15hp @ 10,500rpm
Top speed: 75mph (est.)
Engine type: 124cc single-overhead cam, air-cooled parallel twin
Weight (dry): 110kg (242lb)
Price then: $495 (1961)
Price now: $5,500-$14,000
MPG: 110 (est.)
Flat-out on a long, straight road just outside Daytona Beach, I’m doing my best to squeeze every last drop of speed from the racy 1958 Honda CB92 Benly. In an attempt to cheat the wind as much as possible I’m hunched down over the silver-painted tank, peering through the tiny flyscreen, my chin almost touching the friction steering damper knob above the top yoke.
Between my knees the parallel twin engine is straining every sinew, beginning to vibrate just a little more as the revs get higher and higher. In front of my eyes, set into the headlight, is the angular speedometer, whose needle is flickering slightly as it goes through 70mph ... 75 ... 80 ... Until the Honda just breaks 85mph before I finally decide that’s enough and shut the throttle, mindful that surely no elderly roadster should take such abuse for long.
Fast for its day
In reality, the Honda CB92 Benly Super Sport — to give the bike its full title — was not quite as fast as its speedometer was suggesting. Its true best was about 75mph, even when ridden by a smaller and more aerodynamic jockey than I. But that’s still very impressive for a 125cc roadster when you consider that this bike was built in 1961, and that the model was introduced way back in 1959. If anyone wonders how Honda rose to dominate the motorcycle world so rapidly, almost half a century ago the CB92 provides the perfect illustration.
Quite simply, it’s a brilliant little motorcycle: handsome, fast (for its capacity), beautifully engineered and very well equipped. When it was launched, the Super Sport wasn’t merely the fastest 125cc bike around; it could also embarrass many much larger machines on both road and track. The CB92 — along with its same-sized siblings the C92 roadster and high-piped CS92 tourer, plus other models including the 250cc CB72 — helped make Honda’s name in the early 1960s, and paved the way for the bigger bikes such as the CB450 twin and CB750 four that came later in the decade.
The inspiration for Honda’s early twins had been German firm NSU’s 250cc Rennmax parallel twin, on which Werner Haas had won a second consecutive world championship in 1954, the year that Soichiro Honda visited the Isle of Man TT during a trip to Europe. Honda’s first twin-cylinder model, the C70, duly appeared three years later with a similar capacity and angled-forward parallel cylinders, though without the Rennmax’s gear-driven twin cams.
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