Honda's 6-cylinder motorcycle
Honda CBX 1000
Years made: 1979-1982
Claimed power: 103hp @ 9,000rpm
Top speed: 140mph
Engine: 1,047cc DOHC air-cooled inline 6
Weight (wet): 600lb (272kg)
Wheelbase: 58.9in (1,496mm)
Width: 23.63in (600mm)
1/4 mile, sec/mph: 11.66/117.6
Price then (1979): $3,988
Price now: $4,000-$8,000
With a vast history of racing machines utilizing 5- and 6-cylinder motorcycle engines, Honda didn’t need to dig too deeply to create the technology for the Honda CBX 1000. They may not have been the first kids in the 6-cylinder motorcycle game, but in their usual fashion they quickly took the reins. Making its debut as a 1979 model, the Honda CBX 1000 showed the world again what Honda was capable of. It had only been a decade since Honda set the CB750 loose, and the CBX seemed a fitting follow-up.
Suspended from the frame and acting as a stressed member, the 1,047cc, inline-six on the Honda CBX was a double-overhead cam unit with four valves per cylinder. Six 28mm Keihin carburetors meted out the fuel and air, with an accelerator pump for heavy throttle activity. Never intended as a fuel miser, the brawny six returned MPG ratings in the low 20s. The capacious 6.1-gallon tank could only carry a rider some 150 miles or so, hardly far enough to grow weary of the well-designed and properly padded saddle. A 5-speed gearbox sent power to the rear wheel via chain drive, and Honda Comstar wheels on the debut model were finished in silver.
On the road, the CBX’s handling belied its girth and dimensions. “The CBX is a mountain road flyer beyond anyone’s wildest dreams,” quipped an editor in the February 1978 issue of Cycle magazine. Period reviews lambasted the “throw away” shocks on the CBX, but even then the bike rode well at any speed. Top speed was calculated to be 136mph and was among the best of the day. With a full tank the Honda CBX 1000 weighed in at 600 pounds, making it some 50 pounds heavier than the equally loaded Sei. The CBX also packed an extra 28 ponies, so the weight difference was mostly cancelled out. The 1980 version of the CBX made 14 fewer horsepower and the loss was keenly felt.
Technically capable as it was, the Honda CBX 1000 was not a sales success. “They intimidated the hell out of some people,” says Dave Ditner, tech editor for the CBXpress. 1982 was the CBX’s last year. MC