230 Patents: 1982 Honda CX 500 Turbo

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This gorgeous 1982 Honda CX 500 Turbo here on eBay was sort of a pinnacle of engineering for the company as it battled Yamaha for sport-bike dominance in the 80s. Frankly, I just dig it because they shoved a turbocharger onto that little runt of a motor to extract some impressive performance for the day, adhering to the familiar Honda formula of big speed from small engines. Thanks to Barn Find reader Jim S. for the find.

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As one of the first bikes to feature computer-controlled fuel injection, the CX 500 Turbo was an innovation tour de force, leading to 230 patents being registered over the course of its development. From anti-dive control to engine cooling, Honda’s engineers pulled out all the stops to make this one of the most sophisticated – and satisfying – sport bikes on the road.

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Of course, like all things with boost, power doesn’t come on gradually but instead bites you in the seat of the pants. While this experience is no doubt fun, I suspect it can be unnerving on a two-wheeled conveyance. Frankly, this sounds like a fantastic bike to ride on the wide open plains where you can tap into the benefits of turbocharging anytime you want. A city bike, this is not.

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As the seller says, this thing will scream once you hit 6,000 RPMs. I love this bike for that reason and its terrific 80s style, with loud colors and Turbo lettering shouted off the exhaust pipes. With only a little over 7,000 miles, this CX 500 Turbo is a nice, original example of a significant motorcycle with lots of life left. If I had a house with a garage, I’d be giving this one a serious look.

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Comments

  1. Sukey

    Gorgeous

  2. Paul R

    Reverse engineered Moto Guzzi.

    • Dave Wright

      Yep…………wonderful engineering but there is nothing new under the sun. They were unappreciated compared with other super bikes. The Honda 6 cylinder looks like an Alfa Romeo engine stuffed into a motorcycle.

    • Barry T

      But more than likely more dependable than a Guzzi.

      • Rspcharger Rspcharger

        Whats wrong with a Guzzi? I’ve been commuting 60 freeway miles a day on one for many years with no major issues. 40K on a 2005 Breva & 16K on a 2013 V7.

  3. ClassicCarFan

    I remember these from my bike days….. I always thought that these were “clever engineering answer to a question nobody really asked”….. It’s a real challenge to turbo-charge an engine with fewer cylinders, especially in this V-twin layout where the inlets/exhausts of the two separate cylinders are physically so far apart.

    I guess Honda just thought, you know….we’ll take on that challenge. And not surprisingly, they could pull it off. Honda is a fantastic engineering company, has been for years.

    When I rode bikes (early-mids 80s? ) we always considered that the other three big Japanese manufacturers made cooler, more edgy, hooligan bikes. Honda was a little bit “Captain Sensible” in those days – but the quality of their engineering was typically superb.

  4. Howard A Member

    I have a friend that had the “SilverWing”, and quite frankly, I didn’t really like it one bit. It had quirky handling, seemed heavy, engine buzzed at highway speeds and not really a lot of power. The way I figure, a road bike should have power on tap. I’m sure that bike would have benefited from a turbo, and maybe Honda knew that. While this looks like a fun bike ( aren’t they all?), it’s still a twin, and to me, a road bike should have no less than 4 cylinders, ( or 3 in the case of the Trident, or Rocket 3). 6 cylinders is too much, but 4 seems to be the magic number for bikes. For a sport bike around town ( if you dare nowadays), this would be perfect.

    • wera9666

      Honda also made a (even more rare) 650 version of this bike with the Silverwing engine. They were both instant classics in their own way. Actually really smooth and quite powerful for their displacement and era.

  5. wera9666

    Had 2 and wish I still did. So fun. Millennium Falcon like turbo rush. Bike would still make a great sport tourer. Really comfortable. Gotta stop…getting teary eyed…

  6. sparkster

    Yahama is spelled Y A M A H A.

    • wera9666

      In the turbo era, Yamaha (of whom I am a big fan) was clearly a big disappointment. Their 650 Seca Turbo was slower then the normally aspirated Seca and let’s just call the styling unpopular.

  7. mtshootist1

    Well, I rode a brand new one of these, in Cheyenne, once when the Harley Honda dealer was putting on a display at the mall. I liked it so. much, that I was going to buy a repossessed 500 CX Turbo from a bank there, about a year later, got the financing all arranged, came back to buy the bike, and the bank had let some idiot ride it, who dumped it. tearing up the fairing They said they would be happy to sell it to me for the agreed upon price. I told them to stuff it. The turbo was difficult to control, the bike was a dog, until that turbo kicked in, and then hang on! The damn turbo though would kick in when you really didn’t want it to, like accelerating through a curve, the turbo would kick in about three quarters through, and people would lose control. I wound up buying a Honda VF1000R which is a rare bird in itself, and a whole lot faster and less quirky. I still own it, having bought an 85 model in 86 brand new. It will do 170 mph with no problem, box stock.

  8. Dan10

    I owned one of these from 1998 until 2011 when I totaled it going way to fast. Put 50,000 miles on mine. You need to be a bike mechanic to own one of these. They have a fatal flaw that will cook the stator every 15,000- 20,000 miles (factory stator). This requires the motor come out and split the crank case in two to access it. Many years ago this repair was often more than the bike was worth. They needed an oil cooler to deal with heat generated by the turbo. The resin on the stator can’t take the heat. Replacement stators now have better resin and seem to do OK. Super fun bike that acted like a two-stroke. Seven surgeries later and I gave up riding. I do miss it though.

  9. Dan10

    It is my understanding that Honda actually took a loss on these bikes as they cost more to manufacture than dealers could sell them for. A way for Honda to show off what they could do. This bike was light years ahead of any bike on the road at that time. No choke on this bike and it would start instantly in any weather. I lived in MN at the time and would ride until the temp got below 40. No matter the temp, hit the starter and vroom instantly.

  10. Dave

    Interesting machine no doubt. Kid at my college had a turbo Honda back in ’89-93, not sure if same model as this one but how different could it be? I had a 500 Interceptor. While we never outright raced each other it was obvious we were always competing. He was a talented rider for sure. On the mountain back roads I had him. On the highway I had him until the turbo spooled up and then sianara. My brother claims he got humiliated by a GSXR750 and I believe it, those things were more than college boys could handle. Either way, if I were a collector I’d take a look just because turbo.

  11. PAW

    As a long term owner of CX500T and XN85 I feel inclined to share some real life experience with both. Both bikes of my are 100% original low mileage examples.
    – Honda is actually a touring (not sports) bike with excellent seat and driving position, factory fairing makes a lot of turbulent noise with 185cm driver (6ft fo SI illiterate). Powerless off the boost and boost comes with a rush as is typical to all Turbos of the time. Factory stator expected to cook around 20-25tkm. For a 500cc bike an excellent acceleration from 100km/h upwards on top gear (on boost).
    – Suzuki is a sports bike with heavily forward leaning driving position. Good fairing in higher speeds. Unfortunately a heavy frame flex when accelerating on boost out of a curve. Clearly faster than 500T

    When comparing to modern bikes of their genres Honda is clearly better of the two in 2016 money.

  12. Alan (Michigan)

    http://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/mcy/5539123535.html

    If you missed the first one…..

    How much did it end at?

  13. Bill daly

    I own two gl500s, I also have a buell lightning,a triumph thruxton, an 850 lemans and two ninjas. I ride the gls more than any of them. What nice machines.

    Like 1

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