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

  • Honda CBX parked in front of Richfield High School
    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
  • speedomter/odometer of Honda CBX
    A portion of the cockpit of the Honda CBX.
    Photo by Rick Schunk
  • Honda CBX parked on walkway in front of building
    If you found a vintage bike in mint condition would you use it or display it in a museum?
    Photo by Rick Schunk
  • printing on gas tank of Honda CBX
    Right down to the lettering, Jeff Winter’s “school” 1981 Honda CBX looks brand new — which it basically is: The engine’s never been fired.
    Photo by Rick Schunk
  • Honda CBX print ad
    Early ads for the Honda CBX honed in on the CBX’s biggest asset, it’s 6-cylinder engine.
    Photo by Rick Schunk
  • Jeff Winter posing with his Honda CBX
    Jeff with the 1981 Honda CBX at a recent show.
    Photo by Rick Schunk

  • Honda CBX parked in front of Richfield High School
  • speedomter/odometer of Honda CBX
  • Honda CBX parked on walkway in front of building
  • printing on gas tank of Honda CBX
  • Honda CBX print ad
  • Jeff Winter posing with his Honda CBX

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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