A CBX1000 cafe racer from Sydney’s MotoRRetro…
In 1966, Mike “The Bike” Hailwood won the 250cc Gran Prix championship on one of the most radical machines of the era, Honda’s RC166 six-cylinder racer. Designed to outpace Yamaha’s dominant two-strokes, the 250/6 was cast magnesium with six 22mm Keihin carbs, 24 tiny valves, and a seven-speed transmission.
“It revved to over 18,000 rpm and produced 60 horsepower—enough to propel the 260-lb. machine past 150 mph, producing an exhaust note that was like ripping sheet metal. Righteously fast, the 250/6 was also remarkably ill-handling. Honda hired Hailwood to tame it.” —Motorcyclist
Tame it he did. With a longer/stiffer frame, Hailwood had 10 wins in 10 starts, and also won the 350cc championship on a 297cc version of the Honda 6.
In 1978, the Honda CBX1000 appeared, the company’s first six-cylinder production bike, incorporating GP technology from the original Honda 6 race bikes. It had six 28mm carbs, 24 valves, and 105 horsepower on tap. While CBX handling wasn’t great, the engine was a marvel.
Enter the boys from Sydney’s MotoRRetro, including co-owner Vaughan Ryan, Georgio Rimi (business partner, co-fabricator, machinist, and “chief shit stirrer”), and the talented Julian Lopez (mechanic and electrical wiz).
The workshop is truly multifaceted, specializing in repair/restoration/restomods of classic cars, manufacturing cast-iron wheeling machines, reverse engineering and prototyping discontinued parts, and teaching students the ins and outs of fabrication and restoration.
The bike you see here is a 1978 Honda CBX imported from the US — “a big heavy 70’s muscle bike in need of a diet and restyling” — but Vaughan says the seed of this project goes back to a Hailwood replica he built years and years ago:
“Approximately 6-7 years ago I embarked on this build, however the seed was planted many years prior when I built another CBX (A Mike Hailwood Honda 6 replica) for a client. Halfway through building the Hailwood replica, I fell in love with the idea of it as a stripped down caferacer. A raw unapologetic beast with no plastic and handmade bodywork.”
Vaughan says the donor had 9000 original miles, and he rode it around for six months before sinking in his teeth. As the bores were glazed, the block was machined to the next size up, and a total engine rebuild was carried out, including a rebuilt clutch, electronic ignition, and a new charging system compatible with a lithium battery.
The rest of the build sheet is equally impressive:
• Ducati 1098R frontend with modified steering shaft and custom top triple clamp.
• Detabbed everything unnecessary from the frame.
• Widened and braced the rear swingarm, fitting 5.5-inch-wide Ducati 999 rear wheel.
• Designed and handmade the fuel tank, seat base/pan, rear café racer tail, rear hugger, headlight mounting brackets and instrument cowl, foot rests, and modified Pipemaster exhaust system.
• All new motogadget wiring loom and instruments, etc.
• Velocity stacks.
• Ohlins rear shocks.
• Dropped nearly 50 kg (110 pounds!) from the bike.
Vaughan says the biggest challenge was retrofitting so many modern Ducati parts to a 40-year-old Honda — enough that this CBX has become something of a Japanese-Italian hybrid:
“I suppose it’s a Duconda or a CBX 1098R. Problem solving and the creativity of how to go about it is the greatest problem with any build.”
Vaughan says he did most of the prep work for the paint and polishing, while Garry Hall applied the paint, Roger Warsop from Retroline Signs handled the pinstriping and gold leaf, and Hy-Tone Motor Trimming built the saddle.
The result is one of the most stunning CBX’s we’ve ever seen. And best of all, it could be yours! The MotoRRetro is hitting the auction block. Head over to Shannons to learn more and register to bid!
Follow The Builder
FB pages @motorretro
Photos by Andrew Jones: @machines_that_dream
Does any other bike on the planet even come close?
Saw two CBX1000 raceing at a AHRMA event in 2007 . Mid Ohio or Daytona can’t remember where, too old.
Sure sounded good but the Britten really left an impression at Daytona.