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Honda CBX: Superbike Godfather

February 19, 2012 by Matt

Honda CBX CBX1000 Red

I’ve never been much into bikes, but this one almost made a believer out of me.

Actually, having never really experienced it, that’s not altogether true; however, I can confidently say it was the first motorcycle to actually interest me. The power, the ahead-of-its-time sophistication, the speed and the fact that it sported an inline-6 (my favorite engine configuration) all drew me in. I knew nothing about bikes at the time, and I had absolutely no idea that the ’78-’82 Honda CBX is far, far “too much bike” for a beginner to even contemplate, but I knew I wanted one. It was the equivalent of a 15-year-old lusting after a Lamborghini Countach, in other words.

Honda CBX CBX1000 Red

What made it so special? Well, just look at it. I defy any enthusiast of things mechanical to lay eyes on the six chromed exhaust pipes curling down and away from the cylinder head and not dissolve in paroxysms of desire. The bike has an undeniably vintage look, but that massive engine wedged underneath the fuel tank speaks volumes about its accelerative capabilities. Powered by a 1047cc, 24-valve, DOHC, 6-carb straight six developing 105 hp, the CBX could destroy the 1/4 mile in 11.5 seconds, and the engine’s size and refinement meant it could pull readily from lower in the rev range as well. Even if the engine’s girth meant it would never be quite as nimble as its lower-displacement, more compact stablemates such as the CB750, the CBX was beautifully flexible and brutally fast in its own right. I still want one.

Filed under: Honda, Motorcycles


  1. K Fox says:

    Humph. You had to pick the one bike…as an owner of an ’82 CB750F, I can tell you with assurance that this isn’t as fun to ride as you might think. Sure it’s powerful, but the engine is sooo wide that you simply can’t turn easily – if you lean more than just a little, it’ll drag or scrape something on the ground, possibly leading to the rear wheel coming out from under you. Hell, I’ve scraped the casing on my 750 a few times, and I’m one of those conservative, ‘sissy’ riders – but the width of these old engines is something you only appreciate after riding one. Scary would be a good description, as would heavy. But admittedly, so would fun. Though I still like the overbored 900 engine option – same 1,000cc’s as this, but in a narrower 4 cylinder package that can turn marginally better (scraping your peg on the ground is an eye opening experience, let me tell you).

    Fox (gotta get the CB out of storage now…)

    • Matt says:

      I believe it! As mentioned in the post, it was something of a fantasy bike. Had I actually ridden it, I’m sure it would have been one of those “don’t meet your heroes” situations (see: James May + Countach TG bit).

      After realizing that, I still wanted a bike, but I tempered my expectations a bit and decided I wanted one of the smaller Hondas, like your CB750 or a Nighthawk (CB650?). Still kinda regret not getting one.

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