This is my Honda CX650 Turbo, or at least it was! Back in 1982 while Sony were producing the first ever CD player, and Technics were building the first ever computer drive power amp, Honda were working on some micro electronics of their own with the first ever stored program control fuel injected turbo charged motorcycle, the Honda CX500 Turbo! Yes, there were a couple of other Turbos about, like the Kawasaki and the Yamaha, but they still had carburetor engines without electronic fuel injection and the turbo added little to their performance as it was mounted so far from the exhaust manifolds as it had to be behind the 4 into 1 part of the exhaust. I can remember when they came out that I still had my CB400N Super Dream, new from 1981 and the cost of the turbo was way out of my reach. Then some years later in 1985 I came across a used Honda CX650 Turbo at Hallens my local Honda dealer in Cambridge England that had been returned for some warrantee work and had only 2300 miles on the clock, so now this was my chance to get a CX650 Turbo at a reduced cost with a warrantee! It was marked up for 2500 pounds and I traded my now four year old CB400N for it. The Honda CX650 range including the Turbo was only produced in 1983 and the whole range was scrapped in 1984 after years of the CX500 range which was never really able to overcome it's own weight (except the CX500 Turbo at 130 mph!). The design while archaic in some ways being that it is an overhead valve pushrod engine was also futuristic with it's four valve twisted heads where the valves were not parallel to the crankshaft. This enabled the carburetors to be tucked away in the center under the tank while the exhausts could exit the head out at the sides without being in the way of the frame and this is why the CX could not be an overhead cam design, as the cam chain/belt would have needed to twist because the cam shaft would not have been parallel to the crank. This made the design perfect for a turbo application as there was space for the turbo to be mounted up close to the exhaust manifold in between the two cylinders where the pressure and therefore the benefit of turbo charging would be the greatest. The UK market version of the CX650TC running on 104 octane leaded fuel could do 150 mph and with the turbo boost, 60 to 120 was almost the same as 0-60. While still not the quickest away from the lights, the high speed acceleration was just unbelievable! Even the last bit of acceleration from 140 to 150 mph would pull at your arms! What happens is that the CFI computer knows the engine and turbo RPM and limits engine RPM to 9000 where the increase is stopped like a brick wall! At lower engine speeds being a big V-Twin, the engine had the characteristics of a big thumper compared to the smoother inline four cylinder engines although being of such low compression there wasn't much of a thump at low speeds, but it gave the bike an interesting character! After about 2000 miles of riding it I had my first accident where a car driver pulled out in front of me! I managed to miss the car but layed down the bike. One side of the fairing was all smashed up! The car drivers insurance paid me some money, but not enough to fix the whole thing, so in the end I fitted an after market full failing that you can see in some of the pictures below. In fact, over the years that followed, I got more questions about that fairing with the twin headlights than the bike! It was made by an English company called FLF Fiberglass Products, but I can't find anything out about them now. I also heard that Rickman, one of the largest aftermarket fiberglass product manufactures in the UK that made the panniers that I fitted has also gone out of business. After a total of just 13,500 miles I finally sold my CX650 Turbo to a friend Brian at Ericsson for 250 pounds in 1994! At that point it had been standing for years and I was working in the USA and I just wanted to get rid of it. The turbo was seized and the fuel system was all clogged up. Most days Brian came into work scratching his head trying to work out what was wrong with the bike. Then one day he came in smiling from ear to ear and I knew that he too had now experienced that blazing top end acceleration! Of course now, I often look on eBay and see 500 & 650 turbo's for sale. The strange thing is that only about 2000 CX650 trubo's were ever made with only about 1000 coming into the USA, but I am just amazed to find that after looking on eBay today (7/13/2005) that there are two available, both in mint condition and with only a few thousand miles on the clock! Hmm, I guess I should have enough space?..... Because the CX500 & CX650 Turbo were so special, all sorts of memorabilia was produced to celebrate the bikes creation! Mugs, clocks, fridge magnets, model kits, wall plaques, books and so on, more in fact than for any other Honda bike as far as I know. So there are probably more people who have seen such items than the bike itself of which there were so few and now even fewer! These items are also still around today and I have found the pictures shown above here on eBay where you can find them if you wish to start a collection! In general I have found that most bikers think that the turbo was never a good bike which was why they died off, but only those who have never ridden one say that! Everybody who has felt the almost "instant" 60 to 120mph acceleration, not to mention 120 to 150mph that pulls your arms out of their sockets knows the real truth! The real problem with the bike was with the insurance companies because at the time, most all bike insurance was based on the bikes engine size in CC's. So for the same insurance cost as a sluggish CX650 SilverWing you could pull these screaming acceleration stunts and ride around all day at 150mph! So this excitement soon came to a sticky end as far as production street bikes were concerned as the insurance companies would just not take them on. What a shame! I still say it's one of the most interesting bikes ever made and still today it looks & sounds like any futuristic jet bike in the latest science fiction film! If anyone can send me a .wav file of the sound of that whistling turbo I would appreciate it! The only problem I ever had with the bike was with the fork seals which seemed to wear out in no time and spent most of the time leaking fluid. I never had this problem with any other Honda? To see my current bike of the last almost 10 years, click here.
Here are my own scanned pictures taken some 20 years ago on my Pratica TL1000 SLR. As you can see, I added some panniers and some of the later shots show the famous FLF full fairing! You can also see that the UK market CX650 Turbo had the same gold anodized boomerang comstar wheels that the CX500 Turbo originally had or it may be that all the early 650 turbos had that as this is how they are shown on the clock & fridge magnet above. Looks much better than the US market version with the plain aluminum wheels and black forks! Also the white color is more like the off-white as seen in my old pictures here.
Here are some pictures of a mint CX650 Turbo taken by Mike Lyons who sold this one on eBay in July 2005 for $4230 and who knows how to take a good picture of a bike!.
Here are some pictures of a mint CX500 Turbo taken by Keith (& others) who sold this one on eBay in July 2005 for $2350.
Just when you thought that was it, checkout this fantastic lineup all owned by Pete Kroll and his father Steve who sent me these pictures and who is clearly a serious turbo collector and rider! Wow, a pair of CX500T's and a pair of CX650T's all together in running condition more than 25 years after their production! Steve Kroll is the original owner of the 500 in the middle here, I wonder who the little guy riding is?