Just like the Duracell bunny, Honda’s CXs go on and on and on
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY Marion Thirsk
HONDA’S CX IS BACK in vogue in a big way. Once derided as the dispatch riders’ weapon of choice, the unfortunately nicknamed plastic maggot has turned and is now highly desirable. Significant numbers of CXs were made and it would appear they’ve been biding their time waiting for their moment of glory. It’s impossible to ignore the new wave of CX powered café racers hitting the streets, with some machines changing hands for serious amounts of money.
Marketed as a long distance sprinter, Honda’s CX500 shaft-drive water-cooled twisted twin was specifically designed for high miles and low maintenance. In time-honoured Honda tradition, early CX500s had camchain and tensioner issues, mainly with the manual tensioner which was soon replaced by an automatic item.
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The CX continued in various guises including Custom, Silverwing tourer and Turbo options from 1978 to 1983, rising to 673cc for its final incarnation. Honda’s fuel-injected CX650 Turbo twin offered an impressive 100bhp, making 140mph possible, whereas the 64bhp CX650 Eurosport was considerably cheaper and easier to live with. There was also a lighter weight CX650 Custom version for America, with a different frame, tank and rather nice wheels.
Featuring a larger bore and stroke than the 497cc CX500 and marginally lower compression, the CX650 Eurosport has loads of low- and mid-range torque. A cross between a tourer and sportster it was a bit niche, although many find the styling more agreeable than some of the other CXs. The V-twin is set at 80 degrees rather than the usual 90, making it narrower (if taller) than its rivals. The heads are twisted in, enabling the carbs to be tucked in and hidden under the tank to give rider’s legs more knee space. Keeping things simple but effective, each head has four valves operated by short pushrods.
Read more in the May issue of CBG – on sale now!