I have to admit I’ve got a soft spot for 80s super bikes. I guess this comes from watching your elder brothers and their mates ride away on Bol d’Or’s, GSX’s or Z’s as a ten year old. But even without such memories, one has to admit that bikes from this era are quite special. They can be seen as a transition between more basic 60s and 70s engineering and the beginning of high-tech era in the 90s.
These bikes often were of the big & heavy kind while their brakes and frames were hopelessly overburdened. Giving these lumps the beans required far more commitment than today’s sport bikes do. But damn, they were impressive!
Now, if my liking for straight-six engines is added to this calculation, it would be easy to come to the conclusion that a Honda CBX would make me the happiest rider on earth. But unfortunately, I never liked Honda’s six-cylinder experiment. 'Impressed by the engineering, unimpressed by the looks' describes my feelings best.
But the French have a saying that tells us, freely translated, that only idiots don’t change their minds. So at this year’s Biker’s Classics in Spa-Francorchamps, one particular example of Honda’s sixer managed to put some cracks into my biased opinions. The owner of this race-prepped CBX seemingly didn’t invest too much money in the noise dampening of his self-made exhaust. On every single lap, the sound of this bike gave me the goosies in areas I don’t want to describe further. That deafening sound from hell led me to question my views.
And now, these images are sent to my mailbox! How am I supposed to keep up my principled views?
Federico Lozada und his partner German Karp from Argentinian Herencia Custom Garage built this 1979 CBX 1000 for a customer. Starting with a frame that has been widened by two inches in order to make place for a Yamaha Fazer swing arm and it’s coupled mono shock. The top frame tubes, the engine mounts as well as the rear sub frame have been modified as well while a 2in x 1in reinforcement brace stiffens the frame.
The original gas tank is upgraded with a gas cap from a crashed Honda VFR 400. The side covers remain stock while the original tail piece is shortened and attached to the seat. The whole seat-tail section can be removed by pushing a single button on top.
The front fairing is made out of aluminum and houses three rows with four LED units as well as a Koso speedo.
The wiring is reduced to a minimum and coupled to an Antigravity lithium battery. An aircraft-style switch on the radiator mount gives energy to the coils while a small, nearly invisible pushbutton on the left side cover awakens the engine.
The 6 to 6 exhaust is made in-house and was tricky to manage, but as it was the only specification given by the customer, Federico and German granted this wish. The shape of this exhaust system forced the two Argentinians to get rid of the stock side stand and use the crash bar holes on the motor to mount a new one.
With this bike, Herencia Custom Garage managed to drop my biases once and for all. Although it’s very unlikely that I’ll roll a CBX into my garage someday, I now know that it’s possible to match the sound I have in memory with the right looks.
Images by Pablo Franco for Cubik Graphic Studio