School Bikes: The 1981 Honda CBX

Any student would have had a real job of it trying to tune a Honda CBX. Yet in 1981 Honda donated many such bikes to high school shop classes.

| November/December 2009

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 the 1981 Honda CBX Jeff Winter found at Richfield High School in Richfield, MN 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.”

Kiya Badrpay
8/2/2012 11:48:24 AM

I have a 1981 honda cbx super sport that I want to get running again, how could someone get in touch with Jeff

Laura Boers
1/17/2012 2:46:41 AM

we have an original WI 1981 school bike with 2 miles that IS FOR SALE.

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