Tag Archives: honda

Honda CBX550 FII (1982)

I have just had the old CBX out for an MOT before it goes off to it’s new owner in Kent. I had forgotten just how much fun these old fours are.

It’s a tiny bike, even with the fairing perched in front of you. Not a clunk from the gearbox and an awesome noise from the original exhaust (OK, it has a small leak which helps with the sound a little).

A very revvy engine and good brakes (for their time). Honda tried these “in-board” disc brakes for a time in the early eighties in an attempt to deal with the performance of stainless discs in the wet. It worked, but there are horror stories about how difficult it is to service and change pads…

Both of these shots were taken by Phil Masters, a professional photographer who was working with Roland Brown on the day that he tested the CBX550. We are indebted to Phil for these two excellent pictures.

This is the bike that MCN borrowed for a week or two back in August 2008 – if we’d known that they were going to thrash the b******s off it, maybe we would have thought twice about lending it to them!

It came back safe and sound though – not many owners can prove that their 25 year old 550 is good for 117 mph! That was 750 territory in those days.

MCN ran a feature on this bike split into three parts and published on August 6th, 13th and 20th 2008.

They put it up against a CBR600RR (gulp) and the series was entitled “What difference does 25 years make?”


Standing 1/4 mile:
CBX: 14.02 seconds @ 96.4 mph
CBR: 11.48 seconds @ 126.8 mph

Top Speed:
CBX: 117.35 mph
CBR: 160.04 mph

On the dyno:
CBX: 53.02 bhp, 31.70 ftlb
CBR: 108.07 bhp, 44.59 ftlb

“The CBX, outdated, out-moded and out-performed or not had two massive things going for it even by modern standards: it was impressively comfortable and roomy (especially for pillions) and, better yet, it had bags of character. And maybe that’s why today’s bikers, more than ever, often have a superb modern bike – but also either own or lust after a classic from their youth too.”

That’s us then…  🙂

Honda CB175 K6

I have written a lot about modern bikes recently, so let’s go back to the 70’s.

The Honda CB175 was my “step up” from the CB125S that I learned to ride on (and passed my test on (in 1974…). As a twin with twin carbs, it was the sporty side of Honda that was a reflection of the cooking CD175 commuter.

The CB175 had a 360° engine, meaning that the two pistons went up and down together and had a very smooth firing order. Given a decent exhaust, the engine “roared”! [The later CB250 had a 180° twin with the pistons in opposition. This gave better primary balance but an offset firing sequence which gave those models their off-beat exhaust sound.]

This one is a K6 and has been in the family for the last 5 years. I’ve just sold it to a guy from the Honda Owners Club who wants to do a proper resto on it.

This is really just an excuse to post these pictures…

This was my K4 in 1976. I did many miles on this bike. It had Dunstall Decibel silencers (there’s an oxymoron if ever there was one!)

Here’s the K6


In my quest to find the perfect sports touring motorcycle (just an excuse to ride lots of fancy new expensive bikes actually…), I spent a couple of hours on a Honda VFR1200F today. The bike was from Hatfields of Crowthorne, it was dry and sunny but cold.

OK – I stopped at Bulldog for a coffee 🙂

First impressions: don’t like the colour but other than that, it looks a bit BMW-ish. I think it’s the fairing with the round badge and the swingarm/drive shaft assembly.

The heated grips were awesome – too hot in the end. The bike was really comfy and suited my riding position. I took it down the M3 and it absolutely flew along. With only 600 miles on the clock, I didn’t thrash it (too much) – suffice it to say that the exhaust valve gives a VTEC-ish kick when actuated and the sound changes from a V4-fart to V4-howl!

The mirrors were clear at all speeds.

The steering and handling were what you’d expect from a new bike, although I did have a bit of trouble riding around the mini-roundabouts in Crowthorne as the transmission was really jerky at low speeds. Is it a(nother) Honda fueling issue? Don’t know but I didn’t like it. It does the same at low speeds in high gears.

Better than the K1300S that I rode the other day?
No (see comments on jerky transmission).

Would I like one?
Yes please.

For £12K+?
No thanks.

Hondaman “My CB750” Book

Mark Paris (Hondaman) is a stalwart of .net (www.sohc4.net) and has spent the last 4 years writing his own book on the CB750. It is a “coffee table” book and includes pictures submitted by members of .net over the years. Mark is hugely experienced (almost as much as Bryan Jones…  Wink) and has put that experience and his time into this book – urged on by the members of course!

As with any “print to order” book, it is not cheap. Less than an OEM pipe for your CB, but still not cheap.

After discussing a UK “distribution” to try and reduce shipping costs, Mark has discovered that the company will deliver a “print file” to a local outfit (after commission of course) so that it can be printed locally on local sized (A4) paper.

Please post on here if you are interested.

The cost will be at least £50 (sorry) and may be more like £60  Shocked

As he says, we are working on a DVD version – personally, I like a good old-fashioned glossy book!

Update: You can buy this book direct from the printers in A4 size and have it shipped direct. Go to lulu.com

CBX550 (Updated 08/08/08 – cool date eh?)

This bike is a little gem.

Recently tested by Roland Brown and featured in a Classic & Motorcycle Mechanics test (April 2008), it was whisked off by our friends at MCN last week for a “Comparative Technology” test. 25 years of progress. So that’s our CBX550 up against a CBR600RR then!

Not to worry; no racing was involved. I don’t know (yet) exactly what was involved but it was “mentioned” that a run at Bruntingthorpe saw 117mph on the electronic gizmo. Not bad for a 25 year old bike.

As soon as I know the details of any MCN article, I’ll post here.  Watch this space.

UPDATE (8th August 2008)

Just got back from a week in France on my Sprint ST and they’ve published it while I was away. I haven’t even seen it yet…