V-Twin Turbo: 1983 Honda CX650T

The 1980s, back when everything was turbocharged right down to your nose hair trimmer. The seller lists this 1983 Honda CX650T (T = Turbo, of course) as an XC650TC, which actually would have been a 1982 designation and this model wasn’t made in 1982 so I’m not sure where that came from. In any case, it’s listed here on eBay in Mobile, Alabama, and the current bid price is $4,002.

Just to clarify the “C” portion of the CX series, Honda did make a CX650C which designated a Custom, or cruiser-type of bike, but it wasn’t a turbo-powered one. Honda is well-known for having made some incredibly reliable and nice motorcycles for decades now, including some incredibly weird and funky ones. I have a couple of weirdo models, a 1981 Motocompo and an even rarer 1983 Honda Motra (“motorcycle truck”). I don’t have a turbo motorcycle, yet, and they got mixed reviews, even coming from ol’ reliable Honda.

The CX650T, or Turbo, was an evolution of the company’s CX500T and they were made for the 1983 model year. The idea was that a somewhat smaller bike with a turbo could open a can, so to speak, against much bigger and heavier motorcycles. It didn’t quite work out that way due to the incredible turbo lag which came on around 4,000 RPM and then all bets were off, especially with your insurance company.

Insurance rates are one of the stated reasons why these bikes went bye-bye, they were just not really that safe, especially for inexperienced riders. The seller says that this Honda is from Canada and as such, the 38,398 miles are actually 61,634 kilometers. it’s not a low-mile ride by any means but other than one big and super unfortunate cosmetic glitch, it looks great to me.

And, here is that cosmetic bummer. Of course, that can be fixed as we know by the restoration of the Statue of Liberty back in 1986 (what?) – anything can be fixed. The engine is very unusual, in that it’s a Honda 674-cc V-twin but it’s transverse-mounted like a Moto-Guzzi. Very cool and unique, eh? It had a reported 99 horsepower and with Hagerty listing a #3 good condition bike at $8,300, this one at $4,002 with no reserve is a stop-what-you’re-doing-and-BID-NOW type of deal. The seller has two other turbo bikes listed. Have any of you owned a turbo motorcycle?

Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    I can say without reservation, this was the crappiest bike I ever rode, and I’ve ridden a few ( hundred) I spent the summer of 2016 in Upstate NY, and the guy who I was staying with had a 500 like this. While it was fun cruising through the Catskills, the bike was awful. 1st, it revved way too high, like 6 grand at 55mph, so it buzzed, handled poorly, gas tank too small, and uncomfortable as Hell. Naturally, the views of the Catskills on a bike overshadowed the bikes down sides, but I’d never buy one. The turbo, I heard, was practically useless, as just as it “came on the pipe”, it was already redline. The “road rash” on the fairing is no surprise, I almost wiped out a couple of times, due to it’s finicky handling. I like just about all motorcycles, but put this in the “didn’t like” category.

    Like 10
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks, Howard! I’ve never ridden a turbo motorcycle and it just seems like an incredibly bad idea to me but they sure look cool, if that accounts for anything.

      Like 4
      • Howard A Member

        Looking cool should account for something, I relied on it my whole life with a goofy name like Howard.( cough) In case some weren’t there, or hooked on Sesame Street, at the time, “turbo” was this big hot button in the 80s. Even the toaster had a turbo, (that “bagel” button? Pure turbo). With big cube motors on the way out, turbocharging was a cheap way to make smaller motors perform, and still save gas when not in use. Trouble was, while the turbo seemed like a good idea, many kept their foot to floor, or in this case, full twist, enjoying the boost, but detrimental to the motors. Turbo powered vehicles had a short life, and like said, it wasn’t really needed.

        Like 1
  2. Tim

    Although very compromised from the Engineering perspective, the look of this bike oozed style for me as a teenager aspiring to be a bike designer. Plenty of sketches came forth from my drawing board in my bedroom as I tried to find the essence of what made the look of this just so ‘right’ in the early ‘80’s. I still think it’s a stunning visual design, even if so flawed as a machine. I would own this in a heartbeat if my wife would refrain from killing me because of it…..

    Like 3
    • Howard A Member

      Hey Tim, well, the Asians were masters at giving Americans what they thought looked cool, and it does look cool. Trouble was, looks, as they say, are skin deep, and it wasn’t really meant for touring, what most Americans wanted anyway. Besides, I’d take death by motorcycle any day over death by the rolling pin. :)

  3. John H.

    Never liked the goofy V-twin setup on these Bikes. The 700 cc V45 powerplant or the 650 inline four from the Nighthawk would have been a much nicer mill under that sweet 80’s bodywork. Fix the 650’s charging system, of course.

    Like 3
    • Terrry

      Already had it, remember the VFR bikes from the early to mid 80s?

  4. TBAU Member

    I’m probably not alone in enjoying the increase in motorcycles on BF recently. Small, relatively cheap, no rust issues ( usually) AND you can fix them yourself make bikes a potential reality for us BF dreamers.
    Keep the bikes coming….

    Like 9
    • Howard A Member

      Naturally, the bikes are our favorites, and limited here only by the staffs allowment(?) If Scotty had his way, this site would be ALL vintage motorcycles, with maybe a motorized concrete mixer thrown in.
      A quick note on vintage motorcycles,,parts. The innernet[sic] has helped greatly, but not many vintage bikes were sold, and the dealers and spare parts long gone. It can be a challenge. I’ve seen PILES of vintage motorcycles, with even bikes like this somewhere at the bottom, sidelined by a lack of parts. Electrical mostly, and the ones you find, are usually a fortune to buy.

      Like 1
  5. Stan

    Love the motorcycles too TBAU.
    No need for a turbo on a bike.
    The new Kawasaki screamer has a turbo i believe… its a wild machine with huge hp for experts only.
    The red white blue Honda paint looks awesome on their bikes.

    Like 2
  6. Mark-A

    Never been a biker but supposedly early Turbo bikes don’t work well, but same as everything as the Turbo itself & not just the actual bike handling/comfort etc has evolved its not a problem, just take a look at the Hyabusa, added this video as it explains the process & problems with the early adoption of Turbos on a bike.

    https://youtu.be/7EoLLNgJ3_Y

  7. Mitch

    In the early 2000s there was the Münch Mammut 2000. It had a turbocharged 2.000 cc engine with a Cosworth cylinder head and made around 260 hp, weighing about 400 kg. 250 were planned, but only 15 were built and only 8 of them were delivered to it’s customers, because of the high production costs. Man, this bike was pure madness on 2 wheels.

  8. Terrry

    The ’83 650 Turbo replaced the 500 Turbo for ’82.

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