Hyabusa CBX by Roland Skate

Restomod Honda CBX

Pipe Dreams: Six of them…

In 1978, Honda unveiled the CBX, powered by a 1047cc, 24-valve six-cylinder engine that made 105 hp at the crank. At the time, Honda had been making steady progress in two-wheeled technology, but many journalists and industry insiders felt the company’s machines had begun to lack excitement since the launch of the CB750 a decade before.  The CBX would change all that. Said Cycle magazine after extensive track and dyno testing of the new machine:

“The objective — to build the fastest production motorcycle for sale anywhere in the world — has been met… The CBX engine is as responsive as a racer, the nicest cycle motor to ever reach the street.”

Restomod Honda CBX

Enter Australia’s Roland Skate, a carpenter by trade who’s become the country’s go-to CBX guru. His passion for the mighty six-cylinder Honda came fast and early:

“I bought my first CBX in 1982 for a 22nd birthday present for myself. In her short life she had been abused, but I bought her and abused her more. I couldn’t kill her and we fell in love. After a few years they started breeding in the shed and I built a CBX race bike and the bug had bitten. (My CBX race bikes are for another story.)”

Restomod Honda CBX

After a workplace injury required a change of profession, Roland set up his own workshop.  Today, the CBX isn’t just his passion, but his livelihood, and many of the country’s six-piped machines pass through his capable hands:

“CBX’s are sent to me from all around Australia and I am happy with my niche.”

Restomod Honda CBX

The build you see here was built for Johnno, a former road racer in his late 60s with plenty of fire left in his belly. He and Roland were like-minded when it came to modifications, eager to build a CBX that could keep up with modern gear without sacrificing too much comfort:

“So he wanted something with performance, but also with presence (six cylinders) and a more comfortable riding position than modern sports bikes.”

Restomod Honda CBX

The donor was a tired ’81 model with full fairings and Honda’s Pro-Link monoshock suspension. Roland upgraded the suspension, brakes, and wheels in a single fell swoop, outfitting the CBX with Hyabusa front and rear ends. He lengthened the ‘Busa forks with the help of his mate Dave Cousens at Cousens Engineering to keep the bike’s geometry intact, and also braced the frame. Then came the engine, heavily breathed upon for a wealth of usable power and torque. Says Rol of the finished build:

“This bike is great to ride. It has a solid tractable 110 rwhp, which is more than 30% up on stock and more power and just as torquey as a 1250 Suzuki Bandit. With her stripped of excess crap, she is much lighter than stock, so she can surprise a few modern bikes in a traffic light drag and with the modern brakes tyres and suspension she is both nimble and sure footed. Not to forget the intoxicating CBX howl through that titanium pipe and the induction roar through the CR’s. What is there not to like about this!”

Restomod Honda CBX

Nothing, Roland, absolutely nothing!  Below, we get the full details straight from the builder, as well as a short film that gives you a window into what makes this CBX guru tick.

Restomod CBX1000: In the Builder’s Words

Restomod Honda CBX

G’day I am Roland Skate from Australia.

I bought my first CBX in 1982 for a 22nd Birthday present for myself. In her short life she had been abused, but I bought her and abused her more. I couldn’t kill her and we fell in love.

After a few years they started breeding in the shed and I built a CBX race bike and the bug had bitten. (My CBX race bikes are for another story.)

Restomod Honda CBX

I am a Carpenter by trade, but my passion for the CBX became widely known, so I would work on lots of people’s CBX’s. A workplace injury meant that I needed to change my profession, so my workshop was set up and CBX’s are now more than my passion, they are also my livelihood. CBX’s are sent to me from all around Australia and I am happy with my niche.

The Hyabusa / CBX in this article of BikeBound.com started life as a very worn out 1981 Pro Link fully faired tourer. Johnno, (the owner), started work on the bike with his son. They were living in the suburbs, Johnno moved to a rural property and then was spending time working on the property and didn’t have time to finish the bike and in his words the work involved was a bit outside his expertise, so he contacted me. This was a great project and Johnno a great client. We had similar ideas on most things in this build and I didn’t have to compromise as Johnno wanted quality.

Restomod Honda CBX

Johnno is in his late 60’s and was an ex road racer and still had some fire in his belly. So he wanted something with performance, but also with presence (six cylinders) and a more comfortable riding position than modern sports bikes. A bike that can keep up with his mates’ modern bikes, but something different to the masses. Johnno and I are quite like-minded on modifying CBX’s, so we hit it off well.

Restomod Honda CBX

The Hyabusa front and rear ends fitted fairly straight forward. The front forks had to be lengthened 80mm to give the right ride height. Most modern front ends are shorter than a CBX. Fitting a shorter front end would greatly steepen the front end and drastically reduce cornering clearance. Some damaged fork legs were purchased, cut and machined and a joiner fitted and presto an undetectable lengthened set of forks. My mate Dave Cousens at Cousens Engineering in Dandenong made the fork extensions.

The swing arm required some machining to make her fit and then a shock mount and added frame bracing and seat cowl to Johnno’s design was performed by Ron at Kustombitz in Croydon Victoria.

Restomod Honda CBX

The engine features a Falicon lightened and polished crank, Falicon rods. JE 10.75:1, pistons to take her out to 1147cc. A port and valve job. Carbs are 29mm CR specials. Exhaust is a JP Moto Gear titanium 6-2-1. Cognito moto gps dash. LED halo headlight. VF 400 seat, 79 CBX fuel tank. Over racing rearsets. 520 chain with offset sprocket made by K & J Junginger in Germany.

Restomod Honda CBX

Custom electrical by HC Automotive in Mt Evelyn. Paint work in Johnno’s mind should emulate the colours of the old Honda racers of the 60’s with the red, silver, and gold. The painting was done by Jeremy Waghorn from Lilydale. Headlight and dash brackets made from stainless steel, by Shane Taylor of Lilydale.

This bike is great to ride. It has a solid tractable 110 rwhp, which is more than 30% up on stock and more power and just as torquey as a 1250 Suzuki Bandit. With her stripped of excess crap, she is much lighter than stock, so she can surprise a few modern bikes in a traffic light drag and with the modern brakes tyres and suspension she is both nimble and sure footed. Not to forget the intoxicating CBX howl through that titanium pipe and the induction roar through the CR’s. What is there not to like about this!

Johnno taking delivery of his new CBX / Busa!

This you tube video goes a bit of the way to what makes me tick.

 

You can find me on Facebook: Roland Skate CBX restorations, suspension work and dyno tuning

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