Never Un-Crated: 1981 Honda CBX-B

Amazingly, this isn’t the first motorcycle we’ve featured that was discovered new in its crate. This 1981 Honda CBX-B appears to be a dealer delivery that was never un-crated, rendering it a brand-new, never titled road bike that’s now up for auction here on Obenauf Auction Services site. One would assume the bike has no obvious defects other than possible cosmetic blemishes from shipping, but I suspect it’s darn near mint. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Patrick for the find. 

The CBX was a high-performance bike, one of the first with a six-cylinder motor that made it capable of impressive quarter mile speeds and a top speed of over 130 m.p.h. This is technically a CBX-B, based on the crate’s shipping tag, which indicates it lost a few horsepower compared to the earlier models but also gained some improvements in the ride and handling departments. Some might say it’s less raw than the 1978 bikes (which may be true), but the CBX in most forms was still considered one of the best sport bikes of its time.

The CBX-B received the Pro-Link rear suspension, air adjustable front forks, dual ventilated front disc brakes, and a more robust frame to handle the additional weight these improvements resulted in. A fairing was also included on the CBX-B, and it appears some of the add-ons are still wrapped in plastic inside the shipping crate (it looks like saddlebags are also included, but I could be mistaken).

Of course, finds like these always invite lots of questions. Why was it never unpacked? Who kept it in the storeroom, undisturbed, for all of these years? And what value does it carry since what makes it so special is the fact that it’s never been used? Do you ever ride it, or is it just destined to become a fixture in someone’s living room? So many questions, but there’s no doubt it will always be exciting to find a vintage motorcycle still packed in its factory shipping crate.


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  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    If I bought it it would be out of that crate the day it arrived at my house. I’d assemble it and put it on the road. I’d use it sparingly and treat it well. Nice find.

    Like 21
    • Howard A Member

      I bet there’s a ton of these uncrated bikes in a warehouse in Baltimore (or whatever) Ok, a CBX is probably not too common, but plenty bikes went unsold. This one, IDK. It’s already over the cost of a nice running one, I’d have to think there will be a multitude of problems with a machine that sat 35 years. Brakes, forks, carbs, heck, maybe the motor is slightly stuck. It’s a cool find, but not at this price. These are wildly uncontrollable bikes, and most owners respect that so used ones aren’t trashed. I think you may get more than you bargained for with this.

      Like 8
      • Rich Gerhold

        Wildly uncontrollable? Seriously?

        I’ve ridden well over 80 CBX’s in my life thanks to my late father being a proverbial robber baron in the ICOA…. Never found a single one that was “wildly uncontrollable”….

        You sure you were riding a CBX?

        An uncrated CBX wouldn’t be of any real value to be put together, it would need restored which would frankly lower the price to make it functional.

        Like 6
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Hi Rich, the bike I was riding before I bought my CBX was a 1971 Shovelhead, that I still have in the garage. Riding that CBX was wild for me! Take care, Mike.

        Like 1
      • Paul Grumsha

        I would bet 10,000$ I could get it back together and running without any problems in 2 hours!

        Like 3
  2. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I get Ebay updates on the CBX when they come up. School bikes show up more often than the regular used scooters do. But, they are assembled. Not sure what that tells ya. And this one is being sold with no title. ‘These are wildly uncontrollable bikes’. Thanks Howard you nailed it. I still have my 1981 I bought new in 81. I am GLAD that bike can’t talk. Was going to list it here this year but I could not pull the trigger. Next year for sure.

    Like 3
    • Howard A Member

      Hey Mike, I believe the CBX was touted as the fastest production motorcycle made, with 1/4 times in mid 11’s, at 119 mph. That’s mighty impressive for a stock bike. A word of caution, don’t Armor-All the seat.
      Yeah, in Spring I’m dumping the GW, and plan to move back to the midwest next year. UP of Michigan, to be exact. Maybe see ya’ then.

      Like 5
      • canadainmarkseh Member

        Had a coworker that had a 79, the year before they detuned them a bit. He told me that it could hit 70mph in first gear. By the way they were detuned because GreatBritain band them and the only way to get them in was to detune them. We have an army surplus store here in Calgary that has a ww2 Triumph still in the crate. The owner had about 15 of them many years ago and sold them. When he got down to 2 he left one in the crate and the other he rides. The crated one is used as a counter. I peek between the boards every time I’m in there.

        Like 15
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Let me be the first to welcome you back, I know you will make a great Yooper!!!!!! I agree, they were fast, at the time the National speed limit was 55 and hitting that in 1st gear was no problem. The problem was the speedo only went to 85, who knows where you were at shifting out of 2nd and beyond. P.S. you going to buy a sled when you get to the UP ? Take care, Mike.

        Like 4
      • Pat

        Ever hear of a Suzuki GS 1000?

        Like 2
      • Gerry Rhoades

        I damn near slid off the seat of my 79 X in a wheelie just like that, damn Armor-all!

    • On and On On and On Member

      Hey Mike, take a close look at the cardboard its stored in. I’ve had cardboard in boxes in the basement for years and don’t look that bad unless they were water damaged. Just thinking. Just sold a Honda V65 Sabre I had. Another SCARY fast bike.

      Like 4
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Hi Greg, Glad to hear from you! That Honda V65 Sabre would be scary! I used to putz around at the Honda dealer in town. Putting bikes together from the crates. A guy would come in and take the wood crates. Make some kind of cool artwork out of the timber. Jap wood ? Take care, Mike

        Like 2
      • Scott

        The V65 Magna was even worse than the Sabre, with those long front forks, high bars, soft-ish suspension and a throttle so sensitive, hitting expansion joints would make you accelerate in a weird undulating way. Kind of like someone who can’t keep their foot steady on the gas pedal in a car. I never got used to it…and i rode A LOT.

        Like 3
    • Rich Gerhold

      School bikes can be hit or miss. Some school bikes were never touched, and are essentially a brand new engine. Others were worked on and may have mismatched internal components that the average engine mechanic might overlook. My late father had 3 school bikes that were the prior, true zero mile engines that were in wonderful shape. One was used for my current bike, one went into his Purple Turbo, and the third went into a stock rebuild.

      Like 2
      • David Severns

        To Rich Gerhold:
        Knew your father back when he was flying jets. We swapped many a CBX and gun story in the day. Sorry to hear of his passing. Great man.
        Dave S.

  3. STM

    Not a great daily as keeping the carbs synched might be a pain and they are not the most fuel efficient and despite the 81 widening the narrow wheels and tire choices might put a bit of a damper on things. Great weekender if it goes for a reasonable price.

    Like 2
  4. Rob

    There are tons of bikes andmotorcycles like this out there. They used to stand in stacks at the dealer back home, I remember a pile of probably 20 uncrated of up to 15 year old bikes and sleds stacked outside. They only wanted to sell new. I never figured it out.

    Like 2
  5. half cab

    Local Honda dealer in Tupelo found an un crated ATC200X. They bought it n put it together n sat it in the showroom. Draws alot of attention from the off-road crowd.

    Like 3
  6. FordGuy1972 Fordguy1972 Member

    This bike’s story is similar to a bike I came across years ago. A serviceman bought a 1983 Triumph TSX, in it’s crate, in London and had it shipped Stateside. He put it in his mom’s basement and left it there for 13 years. He then had it uncrated and assembled and drove it 11 miles. His wife insisted he sell it (you’ve got kids, sell that death machine!) and I bought it. I never rode it, just trailered it to local shows. One of 371 made, last year Triumph was in business. I kept it a few years and then sold it to a guy in North Carolina who has it in his Brit bike museum. In a way I regret selling it but you can’t keep everything and I did make money on it. It bought me a new 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan which I still have so I was happy that. Above is a picture of my Triumph TSX, a good-lookin’ bike.

    Like 13
  7. Gruntrucker

    Some things are better left in the crate.

    Like 1
  8. Gaspumpchas

    up to 8600, somebody really wants this. Good luck!

    Like 2
  9. geomechs geomechs Member

    With a little digging, you are quite likely to find a lot of these still in the crate. Although it will be denied by many, the early 80s was when the builders across the Pacific did their best to take over the market, and their best ammo was dumping them, en masse. A dealer would order five of one model and he’d receive eight. He’d order only one and receive three. The distributors wouldn’t take any back, making the dealer stuck with them. A number of dealers folded up because of that. They couldn’t handle the inventory. Somehow the CBX is the most common to show up still in the crate, although I’ve seen Honda 900s, Yamaha Virago 900s, and Kawasaki Voyagers (?) still in the crates. I might add that the CBX was a straight-line bike; go like Jack, the Bear, as long as it was straight ahead. Take one into the mountains and you had your work cut out for you.

    Like 4
  10. Steve

    The sad thing is, it will devalue if de-crated. Maybe build a glass around this and make it a display piece.

    Like 3
  11. Bill Gordon

    I bought a new first-year CBX during the winter and brought it home in a borrowed pickup. I found that my driver’s license had ‘lost’ my motorcycle endorsement and I had to retest. I convinced the registry office that I had previously held the m/c endorsement but could not prove it. They allowed me to take the written test before lunch, get my temporary permit, fetch the CBX, and return after lunch for my road test. I drove the CBX the twelve miles to the DMV for the road test. I was 5’6″ and less than 130 pounds fully dressed. The test was a number of circles and figure-eights between the curbing on an 18′ wide public roadway and you could not put your foot down. The circles were difficult enough without experience with such a large machine (upgraded from a 400-Four) and the figure-eight transitions were…. Fortunately, a local police car came down that roadway and I stopped. When it cleared, the DMV inspector asked me how many figures I had completed… I shrugged my shoulders and said ‘I thought you were counting”. He signed-off on my test, whew. The CBX was scary beyond words – sold it after a season.

    Like 4
  12. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Great story Stud! Thanks. Take care brother, Mike.

    Like 1
  13. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    I knew about the CBX straight 6, never saw many and never rode one, what I didn’t know was the 1979-80 or so Kawasaki KZ1300 Voyagers were also straight sixes, I picked up a basket case that was taken apart to paint, then left to sit. I’m going to restore it one of these days LOL. One of these years I am going to retire, yeah that’s the plan.

    Like 3
  14. Healeymonster

    My buddy had offered me his old CBX when the new ZX11 came out. I passed because it handled poorly IMO. We had some great twisties on the way to Alice’s Restaurant in the Bay Area and this thing would have not survived.

    Like 2
  15. Comet

    I can remember when these were new. For some reason, the touring models lingered at dealerships. I remember deep discounts on unsold new bikes one or two years old. These bikes were (are) beautiful. I was quite enamored with the pearl white models. I wish I would have bought one, but you know what they say about hindsight.

    Like 2
  16. Junkyard Hunter

    Doing some research, the first address on the shipping label (the 19525 address) comes back to Lake County Educational Services Technical Campus, so in theory, this bike could have been destined to become a teaching tool. The second address on the shipping label, (the 1111 address) is gone. Whatever was there isn’t any longer. Google maps shows the property to be a transitional care facility and it looks somewhat new. I suppose it’s possible that there could have been a dealer there at one time that’s long since been torn down and replaced with this campus.

    Like 2
  17. michael h streuly

    47 bids 9400.00 dollars. Worked at a honda dealer when they came out wanted a 79 model then still want one now. The ones with the fairing and saddle bags where ugly as hell like this one.

    Like 2
  18. Mike

    Honda tech back in the 80s we only had 3 of these that I remember come through the dealer ship. Scary fast is also the way I would put it. We sold a lot of v45 and v65s. Major issues with trying to get insurance on the v65, Guys would come in and buy a v65 only to come back and tell us they were uninsurable. New I liked the v65 magna very smooth ride and very fast also. The other fast bike I remember was the 500 RFVC single dual carb dirt bike. Radio Four Valve Combustion. At service trading they said with street tires it could hold it’s own with the 750 fours. They called it a Real $$$$$$$ Viscous Cycle. It was so light weight it would pull the front wheel at 55 mph.

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