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“The CBX, outdated, out-moded and out-performed or not had two massive things going for it even by modern standards: it was impressively comfortable and roomy (especially for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…  🙂

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