Honda CBX1000

The six-cylinder CBX1000

The mammoth Honda CBX1000 was introduced in 1978 and stunned the world of motorcycling. Unfortunately once the initial fanfare had died down the bike failed to live up to much of the hype built up around it.

While not a bad bike it wasn't stunning either and the fanfare had created the expectation of something ultra-special which then led to people feeling disappointed with just 'average'.

The initial attempts to market the bike as pure sports bike failed as both the handling and brakes left something to be desired against the quality opposition, so it was later transformed in to a sports tourer, but still failed to attract big sales. 

Straight line performance was pretty good with a quarter mile time of around 11.5 seconds, but the Kawasaki Z1300, another six-cylinder bike was reputed to have the stronger engine, plus the advantage of shaft-drive. But that didn't help the Kawasaki to sell a whole lot better than the Honda.

Honda CBX1000 tank and instruments public domain image from Wikimedia Commons
Honda CBX1000 tank and instruments public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

Too many downsides

With a top speed of around 140mph the Honda CBX1000 was hardly a slow bike in its day, it was just that many people saw it as overkill, somewhat gimmicky, rather than a step forward in motorcycle design.

Other bikes like the Suzuki GS1000S were considered to be better handling and legislation over insurance issues in America didn't help sales there.

The six-cylinder engine did give it a quite distinctive exhaust note, though. But 105bhp from 1047cc wasn't enough for the size and weight of the bike. Most modern 600cc sports bikes now output more power with about two-thirds of the weight.

Personally I always liked the looks of the Honda CBX1000 better than the big Kawasaki, but I must confess if I'd had the money in the days they were both around I would have gone for the Kawasaki for the benefit of shaft-drive over a chain set-up. Both bikes dwarfed the diminutive Honda CB400F that I owned around the same time as these monsters were burning up the tarmac.

Honda CBX1000

Honda CBX1000 a public domain image from Wikimedia Commons
Honda CBX1000 a public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

Honda CBX1000 Technical Specs

1047cc in-line six-cylinder air-cooled, 24-valve, DOHC, producing 105bhp at 9000rpm

six carburettors

steel-spine tube chassis

five-speed transmission with chain final drive

dry weight: 545lbs (247kg)

manufactured from 1978-1982

A pristine Honda CBX1000

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