< AllMoto's Motorcycle Investor mag


allmoto logo

Motorcycle Investor mag

Subscribe to our free email news


Honda CBX1000 revival

(by Guy 'Guido' Allen, October 2023)

Honda cbx1000

Fun and games re-awakening the six

Some months ago we had a sudden rush of blood to the wallet and bought a 1981 Honda CBX1000 at a Shannons auction.

There's long been a desire to add an inline six to the shed and this fit the bill without being as costly as a first naked model. There were three iterations of the CBX – one naked and two faired versions, with both the latter running a Prolink single shock rear end.

While it was an interesting flagship, the model line suffered disappointing sales, to the point where in the USA final versions were being flogged for whatever the dealers could get.

Comedian and well-known collector Jay Leno bought one in a fire sale all those years ago – his first new bike – and still has it. See the video.

Ours had sat for an unknown period of time – my suspicion is it was months rather than years. A few attempts at starting showed it wasn't about to play, so we took a closer look.

honda cbx1000

Strip off the seat, tank and sidecovers and you're confronted with pretty conventional architecture for the period, albeit with a lot more going on in the engine department. Mine was showing signs of fuel leaks, and so we replaced hoses.


The vacuum fuel tap located centrally under the tank (where you can't get at it easily) is a notorious weak spot and we bypassed it. Plus we replaced the manual tap.


With all or at least most of the old fuel flushed out, we turned our attention to the spark plugs. The correct range is an 8 in NGK, though for some reason someone had fitted colder 9-range units. That was always going to make starting more difficult, particularly on a cool day in Melbourne. For the time being we've installed 7s at Mick Hone's suggestion ("You're not racing it, are you?") and see how they go.

I had also been chatting with Spannerman about this – he's a regular over at InfoMoto. Rather than hammering the bike's starter and sprag clutch, and given the size and nature of my fleet, he suggested it was time to get a set of electric starter rollers. Good call.

bike starters

What I ended up with was a gadget built to order in Australia by a mob  perhaps inevitably called Bike Starters. The more powerful 2.5kW unit costs $1260, plus the battery (a car-sized unit which you buy separately). It turned up promptly, looked very robust and we set out to give it a go.

Essentially you roll the bike back into the cradle, and put it in second gear. Sitting on the machine, you hold the front brake and operate the starter with a foot switch and ease out the clutch – and pull it in quickly once you have signs of ignition. In the case of the CBX it feels a little like you're riding a hippo on a roller skate, but it's easy enough to manage.

honda cbx1000

And yes, we did get ignition, eventually! It did the usual thing of starting on one or two, then having others chiming in. I let it run up to full operating temp before shutting it down.

It started instantly the next day. However it needs further work to make it sing as it still sounds and feels pretty ropey.

The next step will be to hand it over to Gassit Motorcycles (my local workshop) for a carb clean-out, brake refresh, roadworthy check and some fresh rubber, plus they can fit the new exhaust system.

We'll let you know what it's like once we have the monster registered and on the road...

See the epic Classic Two Wheels road test of the first-gen CBX1000

More features here

See the bikes in our shed


Produced by AllMoto abn 61 400 694 722
Privacy: we do not collect cookies or any other data.

allmoto logo

Try our books...

Travels with Guido







Email newsletter


News archive


Our Bikes stories

Travels with Guido columns


About AllMoto

Email me