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News May 2023

Honda CBX1000 windfall, May 28


Owners of Honda CBX1000s in the USA might be thinking Christmas has come early, given the recent extraordinary prices paid for early naked versions.

The machine you see here, in prime condition and claiming a fairly low 14,000 miles (22,500km) has sold for a staggering Au$$56,700 (US$37,000, GB£30,000) – a new record set with Bring a Trailer.

We covered two other sales earlier in the month. The price tsunami started with the sale of a machine with just 21 miles (33km) for Au$47,000 (US$31,750, GB£25,100).

About a week later a second machine with 18,000 miles (30,000km) sold for Au$39,000 (US$26,000, GB£20,800).

See the Motorcycle Specs backgrounder.

Norton Cafe Racer launched, May 27

Norton v4cr

The revived Norton factory has launched a new cafe racer, based on its V4 powerplant. Dubbed the V4CR, it claims 185 horses and 125Nm of torque from its 1200cc 72 degree engine. Price? Don't know yet, but it won't be cheap. More at the Norton site, here.

Ducati auction, May 15

Ducati 916

A 1998 Ducati 916 biposto is one of the highlights at the upcoming Shannons auction. Showing a little under 14,000km (9000 miles) it's carrying an estimate of Au$28-32,000 (US$19-21,000, GB£15-17,000).

See our Ducati 916 profile;

Plus the one that was in our shed;

And the contemporary Classic Two Wheels road test.

CeeBee day, May 14

honda cb750

A quick front brake caliper rebuild and an afternoon cruise...a good way to round off the weekend.

See our Honda CB750-Four profile.

Shed-finds – will they run? May 13

barn find

There's something weirdly attractive about watching people go through a shed full of abandoned motorcycles and see if anything will run...kind of the mechanical version of waking the dead. Here's a recent one from Ride Apart.

Blade Benchmark, May 12

Honda fireblade

Honda's first-gen FireBlade of 1992 was an important benchmark in the development of sports bikes.

See our profile and the accompanying video review.

Plus the Classic Two Wheels period road test.

Flashback: the Great Key Conundrum, May 10

Yamaha SRX600
              Honda XBR500

Pondering the great disappearing key mystery...see the story here.

Isolastic innovation, May 8

norton isolastic.

Anyone who has owned a classic Norton Commando will be aware of the teeth-rattling vibration they can produce and the factory's attempted fix for the issue – isolastic mounts for the engine/transmission.

What we haven't seen till now is the period (circa 1975) USA ad for a Commando 850 Roadster explaining the innovation.

It begins: "The big-bore vertical twin is an ideal superbike engine. Almost. It has tremendous torque over a wide power range  – plus a low center of gravity and narrow profile that sits deep in the frame. This gives the bike itself a doubly low centre of gravity, and results in the kind of road handling that has made Norton Famous. But the vertical twin has an impolite habit. Vibration."

So now you know...

There's a Commando in our shed...see it here.

And see our Commando profile.

See the Classic Two Wheels period road test.

Honda CBX1000 & the devil in the detail, May 7


This stunning 1979 European model Honda CBX1000 sold recently in the USA, via Bring a Trailer, for Au$47,000 (US$31,750, GB£25,100), which we suspect may be a record for this model. In mint condition, it had just 33km (21 miles) on the odo.

That price is about 50 per cent up on what's previously been realised for good examples with modest but not super-low miles on the odo. An additional factor is the USA market is stronger than the Australian at the moment, and we doubt it would have reached that level here.


Another clean example, this time a 1980 US variant with 18,000 miles (30,000km) on the odo, is now up for auction. We would expect bidding to pull up at a much lower level. (Ed's note, May 12: this bike exceeded our expectations with a sale price of Au$39,000 (US$26,000, GB£20,800)


Something we noticed with these bikes is the devil is sometimes in the details, such as the instruments dictated by legislation in different markets. First is the full 240km/h item from the Euro market machine and second is the 85mph unit from the US market bike.


The latter came about in 1979-82 when the USA had mandated a 55mph national speed limit and that instruments should not show more than 85mph. It was a short-lived experiment but has an impact for anyone considering an older import.


We highlighted a similar issue in our feature on the first model Suzuki GSX-R750. Most markets ran with the two-dial dash shown.


However Japan market units ran with a three-dial set, including a 180km/h speedo. This example has been retrofitted with a UK market gauge.

See the GSX-R750F feature here.

Meanwhile, we'll work on bringing you a CBX1000 profile in the near future.

Feisty Suzuki, May 6

Suzuki T20

Suzuki's mighty T20 250 two-stroke twin promised the old 'ton'  or 100mph (160km/h) and a respectable 15.1sec quarter mile time – enough to give some bigger four-strokes a fright back in 1966.

Of course the company was soon to launch its big brother, the 500 Titan – see the profile here.

Favourite Bimota, May 4

bimota sb2

From Ian Falloon: I'm now getting going with the book on Bimota for Veloce. This will be a complete history similar to the MV Agusta book. This is my favourite Bimota, the SB2.

See our SB6 profile.


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