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1978-79 Honda CBX

Cbx Thirty years ago, my father brought home a new baby. This one didn't eat and fill diapers; it drank fuel and breathed fire. This baby could make you leave brown stains in your tighty-whities but still leave you smiling. It was first vehicle I ever fell in love with, and it only had two wheels. 

Growing up, my dad ran a motorcycle shop and spun wrenches as needed, so that probably explains a lot about me.  Most kids went to amusement parks to ride the fast rides. I, on the other hand, hopped on behind my dad and held on for dear life as he fired the rocket I came to know as the Honda CBX 1000. In the late 70's superbike war, it was like showing up to a rock/paper/scissors contest and pulling out the nuke.

The CBX was the first Honda motorcycle with 6 cylinders--a 1047cc, 24-valve, twin-cam air-cooled inline-6 with six carburetors. It conservatively produced 105 horsepower out of the box, and it's not hard to get more power out of this engine. The bike covered the quarter-mile in 11.36 seconds when stock.  The one drawback to the bike was its heavy 680-pound weight, meaning it didn't corner as well as some of its vintage competitors such as the Suzuki GS1100.

Sadly, the bike never caught on as Honda had hoped. Two years into the experiment Honda tried to move the bike in a sport touring direction and de-tuned the engine slightly while adding a sport fairing.  These later CBXs are far less collectible, though still cool in their own right.

Cbx_engine_viewAdding the CBX to the arsenal was a statement from Honda. Honda's designs were solid and performance was acceptable, but their bikes had become blasé with no new impressive designs since the CB750 first hit the market. When designing the CBX's 6-cylinder engine, Honda simultaneously developed a 4 cylinder, 1000cc motor that could have gone in the same bike. That 4 cylinder made 5 fewer horsepower, but was much faster on the track because of the greatly reduced weight. In spite of the 4 cylinder's advantages, Honda chose to go with the 6. Why? Because it was cool. It made a statement. When you pulled up to a stoplight, the bike growled; when you opened it up, the 6 simply roared. Consider it an early attempt at shock and awe. It was sexy. The motor was the message.

Long term the CBX had issues--primarily, it needed extra love and care to keep running. The build quality was solid, but there were some potentially catastrophic flaws. Add to that the fact that Honda was developing a similar displacement V-4 (the Interceptor) that upped the ante in power and performance, and the CBX's run was almost doomed from the get-go. The last ride I took on the back of my dad's CBX came on the fateful day that the camshaft snapped while we were riding down the highway at 65 mph. It was a sad day, one I'll never forget. For more than a decade, that bike sat in the garage, waiting for the time and money to be opened up and repaired.

The story doesn't end there though; the flame never went out. My father slowly began buying CBX parts on the internet about seven years ago--a new speedometer here, turn signals there. He eventually purchased an entirely new motorcycle, part-by-part. Crazy? No, that's just motorcycle lust. My father painstakingly assembled his dream bike, putting on all the cool parts he couldn't afford back when he was raising a family. The final piece was the custom adjustable Bassani exhaust that allows you to tune the volume and tone--a tone that will let the neighbors know you are coming from six blocks away if you like.Cbxdad

After a lot of hours of hard work, my father began the task of getting a new title to his "new" 1978 Honda CBX. Eventually the State of South Dakota relented, and gave him a new title (in 2002 I think), bringing the story full circle. New in 1978, and new in 2002. When I checked the odometer a few months ago there were only 1475 miles on the bike.

Last weekend my dad called and told me he took it out for a ride for the first time in a few months. He related how good it was to be on "his" bike. He has a garage full of other cycles, yet you could hear the joy in his voice.

A few months after getting the title to his bike, my dad entered his new bike into a car show, bone stock. He took first place in the bike division! The candy apple red, with gold accent stripes, and six bulging chrome exhaust pipes are nearly irresistible.

--Big Chris


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Disclaimer - I know absolutely nothing about motorcycles. I like them, but I don't know anything about them.

Having said that, this is a *gorgeous* motorcycle. That front view, with that big engine block, and all of those exhaust pipes ... ooh, boy. This is a pretty, pretty bike.

Oh, and that sound ...

A 1047cc engine producing one! hundred! five! horsepower!? Hokey smokes, Bullwinkle!

Can we possibly drop this engine into a CRX or a Kei-car or a VW Karmann Ghia, and make the ultimate pocket rocket?

With a few internal mods and new exhaust you can push it over 120hp pretty easily. A lot of these bike motors ended up seeing untimely deaths in drag bikes. 15 years ago my dad was offered more money for the motor alone (by a drag racer) than he paid for the bike new! And that was WITH the broken cam shaft.

I could see that engine making a terrific go-kart engine. Can you imagine a tiny little chassis, you and that engine? I'll bet it pops out a lot of torque for being only a liter.

85Nm of torque at 8000RMP for the 1978-79 CBX.

Umm...Yeah...that should be 8000RPM. No Rocky Mounted Police on CBX's that I'm aware of.

The last Acura RSX-Type S produced 210 hp out of a 2-litre I-4. Normally aspirated. A few folks turbocharged them and got nearly 500 hp... for a little while.

I think and hope this is the immediate future for the combustion engine. Smaller size, higher octanes, better efficiency, going into more sensible-sized vehicles. I read the Wright Brothers' Flyer ran on 37 octane gas... think what we could do with 107!

Just found this site today, and have been working my way back from the first page... I've owned some great "lust" vehicles over years - everything from a '66 Jag XKE, to a '71 Honda 600, to a '76 Honda Goldwing 1000 - but a Honda CBX has been THE lust machine I have always wanted to own before I get salvaged into the carbon stream again... oh, and a '66 GTO, WITH the six-pack!

The Honda CBX is near the top of my long lust list as well.

I owned a red 79 cbx back in the day....loved that machine...with minor mods was able to road race california twisties with the best of them, sold it when my kids were born and after 20 some years found another by chance...minor cleanup and its as good as the first one...this one will not be sold...EVER! If you ever have a chance to own one, dont let it from your grasp!!! They are and always be the king of hair standing up on your neck!


well 1 and a half months ago my dad stumded across 3 of them a got the all after a lot of work we got them locking like brand new and to day i found were the location of mick cole cbx witch he raced in the castrol 6 hour soon to be brough by my dad :-) i no who hard it is to find and so soon we will have that sitting in the shed ya so that all ps we have a cb1100rc, a h2 750, a frances barnet, honda drean, the rest :-0

Jack - the CBX's did have a cafe fairing in that vintage, so that may be what you are talking about - they were OEM. Definitely a negative aesthetically if you ask me. But it was a step in the direction of the Honda Interceptor, so there was a reason for it.

--Big Chris

i have two of these cbx 6 cylinders,one in a 1974 martin frame the other is for parts parts.any

I was lucky enough to find a brand new held-over '79 (also red) in 1980. I had the bike for less than a year and sold it when someone offered me more than I paid for it. I've had so many bikes since then, and my likes and dislikes have changed so much I probably couldn't stand to ride a CBX now for more than a few minutes. Chain drive, high revving bikes just aren't my thing anymore, but back in 1980, the CBX was the bees-knees of the motorcycling world! I worked at a grocery store back then and one day I rode the X to work. I used to park it right in front of a big picture window in the store front and you could see the bike through the window as you entered the store. I was stocking shelves one day right near the entrance and two guys walked in. They both stopped and gawked at my bike, and one guy said to other "that's the kind of bike you can leave for work on 15 minutes late and get there 15 minutes early."

In 1986 Honda was blowing out non current 82 CBXs for under $2000 ea Yep, full dressed and all! Put 5000 miles or so on a 79 as a demo when I was selling retail. Your right, best sound on 2 wheels! Did 60 in 1st, 80 in second and 100 in third @ 10,000 rpm!Did,nt handle if you pushed it and those 37MM forks always spooked me when doing 60mph wheelies! Alternator brushes every 10,000 miles like clockwork! I heard Honda put a load on this motor and revd to 10,000 for 24 hrs! They really should bring back a modern version!

Ihave one of these sitting at the house. and after the divorce.that is what I miss the most

I'm a Totally Disabled Veteran who was "Blown Away" by the 1978 Red Honda CBX the first time I saw & sat on a Brand New Showroom Model at our local Honda Motorcycle Dealer, I was 16 & had been riding Dirt-bikes for 8 yrs.

I just began working out a deal with the salesman, when my Dad stopped me & told me he was afraid that the CBX was not good for my First Street Bike. I reluctantly took his advice & bought an awesome Yamaha 500xs Sport-Bike with the money I had worked and saved for, but in my Heart & Mind I yearned for someday soon when I would buy the CBX I Truly wanted. I joined the Military shortly after High School.

However, I did not plan on getting Injured in the Line of Duty. My Dream of owning a CBX is still on my Mind all the time, my screensaver is an Awesome Picture of a New 1978 Red CBX.

I would very much like to obtain a CBX & have it "Disability Modified", I see they can do just about anything these days. If anyone out there can Help Me Fulfill my Dreams or know someone who could, Please feel free to Email me at

Sincerely believing in a Miracle,

Joseph James

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