Rebuilding Motor Skills With a Classic 1982 Honda CBX

Mike Common’s physical therapy was a six-cylinder engine rebuild.

Mike Common's 1982 Honda CBX, classic motorcycles
Mike Common's 1982 Honda CBX
"CBXs aren’t necessarily complicated; it’s just that there are so many parts."©Motorcyclist

NAME: Mike Common
AGE: 58
HOME: Montreal, Canada
OCCUPATION: Toyota mechanic

I never really liked Honda’s CBX. Too complicated. Too heavy. Too expensive. Or so I wrote, in a letter to the editor, when they first came out. And yet, as time passed, they became more attractive. Where could a build of one take me?

A serious accident on my Yamaha SR500 left me with a seven-month convalescence. My neurologist recommended a mechanical project to rebuild my motor skills, so there was a CBX in my tiny garage one month after I left the hospital, followed soon after by a bunch of boxes—enough boxes that Visa security phoned to make sure I was aware of all the many transactions. Yes, and please don’t alert my wife!

The whole build had the feeling of something that was just meant to be. I found the bike an hour from my place. The owner rode it over to me and wouldn’t even accept bus fare to get home. He was just glad to get one last ride and happy that his CBX seemed to be going to a good home.

CBXs aren’t necessarily complicated; it’s just that there are so many parts. Think you’re good with a Rubik’s Cube? Have a go at balancing a rack of CBX carbs. They’re diabolical! CBXs aren’t necessarily that expensive either. Bargains are out there if you search. The oversized piston kit cost less than the labor to bore the cylinders. The GSX-R suspension was cheap over the Internet. Folks I’d never met before—or since—on the CBX forum were giving me parts.

My riding buddy, Gord, who rebuilds helicopter engines for a living, gave me a lot of help with the motor. My friend Roland volunteered to do all of the final welding after I tacked everything into place. A portion of my wife’s lawn chair (shh!) became my rear subframe. I used the foot of a car jack for the upper shock mount—nice fit, actually. It was that kind of project.

It’s an outright blast to ride—definitely not a bike you’re likely to see at every other red light—and it attracts interest like no other I’ve owned. I haven’t smiled this much in years.

More Me & My Bike:

1972 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV, two-stroke bikes
"I’d never owned a bike before, but luckily a coworker was well experienced and happened to have a bike for sale. After advising that a 750cc two-stroke wasn’t a beginner bike, a deal was quickly struck for the exorbitant price of $650." –Mitch Feingersch
1972 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV©Motorcyclist