“If Honda was to bring out the CBX again, how would they make the bike?”
More than forty years ago, Honda introduced the CBX1000, a modern marvel with six cylinders, six carbs, 24 valves, two overhead cams, and 100+ horsepower at the crank. While it didn’t dominate the sport bike world as Honda hoped it would, the CBX has nonetheless become one of the most iconic bikes in motorcycling history.
Enter our new friend Henryk Koldras (@tyciczort), a Polish motorcycle enthusiast born and raised in Amsterdam.
“It started when I was 11. I got a small motorcycle from my uncle. He is a great man, love him so much. It was a Romet Pony, two-stroke, two gears.”
From then on, Henryk was hooked on bikes. As an adolescent, an encounter with a CBX left a deep and lasting imprint on him. But it wasn’t so much the looks of the big six-cylinder Honda that struck him, but the sound:
“It started in my teenage years. I only heard this bike once. And that was enough. Those six cylinders in a straight line, the high notes. It was like an F1 V10 car drove by. The symphony was just to die for.”
Fast forward several years, and Henryk, 25 at the time, came across a faired 1981 CBX1000 on eBay. While he would’ve preferred one of the earlier twin-shock models, they were significantly more expensive than the later Prolink (mono-shock) machines. What’s more, this ’81 Prolink CBX was for sale right there in Holland, so close he could drive to see it that same afternoon. In stock trim, however, he soon discovered some of the known CBX handling issues:
“When I just bought the bike there were couple of things. Corners were scary because the frame isn’t that stiff. Braking wasn’t that good. And the huge thin tires weren’t helping either.”
Still, he enjoyed the bike in factory spec for a couple of years before Covid threw a monkey wrench into the world. Like many enthusiasts, Henryk found himself with both more time and stress on his hands — the perfect moment to act on a vision he’d had:
“The bike was customized…because I had a kind of vision. If Honda was to bring out the CBX again, how would they make the bike?”
In carry out his modern CBX vision, Henryk wanted to keep it Honda as much as possible, drawing inspiration from the contemporary CB1000R and CB650R — Honda’s neo retro machines. The modifications are intensive and deep-reaching, including the tank/side panels/tail from a twin-shock CBX, 2015 CB1000R forks, CB650R headlight, and a huge 2013 CBR1000RR swingarm fitted with the help of frame guru Nico Bakker of Bakker Framebouw.
Henryk’s Polish buddy Grzegorz Gnap (Tapicer GNAP) handled the seat, complete with a CBX logo, and the bike was detailed with Honda’s “glory gold” paint code and rewired with Motogadget electronics. All in all, this is one of the most striking CBX builds we’ve ever seen — one that looks almost like a modern Honda concept bike — and Henryk says he’s proud of the fact that the original bike, though modernized, is still clearly identifiable:
“It’s still a CBX. People would say it’s a CBX. But it’s like a refreshed CBX.”
Below, we talk to Henryk himself for the full details on this reborn CBX1000, nicknamed “Mikasa” after one of his favorite anime characters. Also, keep an eye out, as Henryk is thinking of putting this stunning CBX up for sale at the end of this month!
Modernized Honda CBX1000: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
It started when I was 11. I got a small motorcycle from my uncle. He is a great man, love him so much. It was a Romet Pony, two-stroke, two gears. I remember that I really wanted that bike and he called me and asked which color I wanted. And every time I said a different color (you know how it works with small kids). So my uncle decided to just paint it in a rainbow style (perhaps that was the starting point for me liking to customize things). My uncle tore down the motorcycle and rebuilt it just for me. I rode it so much during the summers and from that point I was hooked.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
It’s a Honda CBX1000 Prolink out of ’81. Specific choice? Not really, I liked the 78-79 models much more, but they were more expensive. And in the end it turned out better than I thought.
• Why was this bike built?
It started in my teenage years. I only heard this bike once. And that was enough. Those six cylinders in a straight line, the high notes. It was like an F1 V10 car drove by. The symphony was just to die for.
So when I turned 25 I saw a CBX Prolink on the Dutch eBay, and I called the owner immediately. He laughed because he just posted the bike an hour ago. I didn’t ask many questions about the bike — I just asked if he had time that afternoon because I was that interested.
The bike was customized later because I had a kind of vision. If Honda was to bring out the CBX again, how would they make the bike?
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
If you google “cbx customs” you will see a lot of different pictures. Most will agree that the loonnngggg seat must be shortened. So that’s actually what I also did.
Also the new CB1000R and CB650R had a huge influence on me, as they are Honda’s new retro café racer bikes. And that was actually what I also was searching for in this bike.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Well, get a nice cup of coffee. Sit comfortably. ‘Cause it’s kind of a list. From the start, I wanted to keep it Honda as much as I could.
• That means that the tank, side panels, and the rear wing are out of a Honda CBX 78-79 (the model that I liked more).
• The original 78-79 had a classic round headlight. Which I like. But with the new forks and all the gold, a classic headlight wouldn’t look good. So here comes Honda again. The CB650R headlight would do just perfect on the bike.
• Front forks are Honda CB1000R out of 2015. I was happy that they were already gold because it went great with the original candy red tank and gold trim.
• The forks and the front wheel are Honda glory gold to be precise. I searched the color code so I could also paint the engine plugs in that same color. So the gold lines will flow all over the bike (but it also wouldn’t be too much).
• The seat I cut with a dremel in the length I thought would be good. It was really just measuring with the eye. And I asked a good friend of mine in Poland, Grzegorz Gnap (Tapicer GNAP) if he could make a simple design for the seat. But I wanted the CBX logo on it. And so he made a simple classic seat that matches the bike perfectly.
• Cutting the rear frame wasn’t a huge task to make the short seat fit.
• The greatest challenge was to fit the huge 2013 Honda CBR1000RRswingarm. The frame was too narrow. The chain wouldn’t be straight. This was a task that I could only trust to one person. That person had been making a specific frame for the CBX back in the day. That person had also made frames for MotoGP Moto 3. I am talking about Nico Bakker (Bakker Framebouw). Later on I will tell more about this process.
• The rear wheel was originally black. So there was basically one task to do: Honda glory gold.
• The electronics are all Motogadget. Great stuff. Great manual. Would definitely use them again if I do another build.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
I am an anime geek. And I always give my bikes the nicknames of an anime character. Only female characters.
On my last bike (WR250X) I even embroidered her name in Japanese letters on the side of the seat (Misa Amane, of Death Note). This CBX is nicknamed Mikasa Ackerman from Attack on Titan. Great series and Mikasa is the quiet type. She doesn’t scream or anything. But she’s super reliable and loyal. Just what a Honda motorcycle in general is (also the cars, like the NSX). But she has power and can strike like a real boss. That’s my CBX 🙂
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
It’s something else. It’s not the friend’s bike you once rode. This is a whole other level. And not because of the custom things. In general the engine that Honda made is out of this world. With four-cylinder bikes you feel an extra boost around 7-8k rpm. With this bike you have so much torque from the start that it keeps on going. This really surprised me because I thought you would have to work this engine. But this engine is ready and the engine will work you. It has a 4.5 liter oil capacity and it takes time to warm up. And this bike just loves touring. The longer she’s on the road the happier she gets. You can feel how the engine loosens up and it’s just enjoying itself.
When I just bought the bike there were couple of things. Corners were scary because the frame isn’t that stiff. Braking wasn’t that good. And the huge thin tires weren’t helping either. So now the new CBX is a little bit lower then the original. The tires are wider. The braking is much much better. And my goodness what a sensation it gives on the road.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Three things actually:
- The overall look of the bike. It’s still a CBX. People would say it’s a CBX. But it’s like a refreshed CBX. And not that it looks totally different.
- Nico Bakker did a tremendous job to rebuild the bottom of the frame. The swingarm fits. The chain is in one perfect line. Nico made a tailbone to fit the new prolink suspension of the CBR1000RR.
- And most important, the bike is in one straight line. It doesn’t fall forward or backward. And this you feel while riding.