CBX Racing

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Re: CBX Racing

Postby EMS » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:01 am

Warwick Biggs wrote: Very much your typical 'C' model Prolink except for the absence of panniers. What was Honda thinking?

R.


It is not a mystery, really. The CBX after 1980 was not a competitive bike anymore. The inline 4 DOHCs were almost as fast, almost better handling and much more affordable. The performance segment brought the CB1100R with 115/120hp in the unrestricted version, which the CBX could not run with. Besides that, Honda had changed the product strategy away from the inline 4 and was working on the V4 designs which were soon to come. It made sense to utilize the CBX engine for something different than a superbike and turn it into a "Sport-Tourer", which seemed to be one of the ways customers were leaning. Kawasaki did the same thing. Although the KZ1300 six was available in the naked form in Europe until 1989, in the U.S., they changed the bike into the Voyager in 1984. BMW had set an example in 1976/77 already with the first full-fairing "Superbike" the R100RS. And, believe it or not, BMW was the major competition target of Honda on a worldwide base.
The reason for bringing out the Goldwing was not to get ahead of the other Japanese manufacturers, but to compete with BMW and their R90.

That all being said, I do like the Prolinks. Of the CBXes I own, my 81 is the one I ride the most. It is a great 2-up bike, has a little luggage capacity and some weather protection. As soon as you go for more than 200 miles a day, the Prolink is superior to a CBX-Z or A. The handling, especially 2-up, is far better han that of the early Xes. Of course, if you want the "show effect" and want others drool over your bike, stay away from an 81/82.
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Re: CBX Racing

Postby Warwick Biggs » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:14 pm

But really EMS, it's ugly. Looks like a cop bike or ice cream vendor. No wonder they had warehouses full of unsold bikes. 'Nice people,' namby pamby, pudding and pie.

The 1100R, Honda's first attempt at a production racer was developed in Australia in a rush by Jim Budd for our proddy racing where the CBX had mixed results (see some of my earlier links to film of the Castrol 6 Hour races). It won at Calder but at Amaroo they all embarrassingly expired. Houston, we have a problem. Honda's logic was understandable but their aesthetics demonstrated the behind the scenes desperation.

The Z1300's also had serious design problems and suffered from over heating, even with cooling jackets and bigger sumps in the last models. Steve Leembruggen of Old Gold motorcycles has tried to resurrect one for our historic racing but without methanol it over heats. The early 80's were a difficult time. I travelled down the west coast of the US in '81 and recall being surprised at how grim the economy was. Honda was also mucking about with turbo's and yes, the V4 was in the works but the industry in general was over stretched and out of sync with the economic cycle. The early V4's had serious 'issues' too and Honda just about squandered its engineering reputation.

Tell me 'the lump' as bad boy racer isn't much better looking than the original. What could have been...

R.
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Re: CBX Racing

Postby Syscrush » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:27 am

Warwick Biggs wrote:Very much your typical 'C' model Prolink except for the absence of panniers. What was Honda thinking?

I suspect they were thinking "We made this crazy bike and everybody loves it but sales aren't meeting expectations. Let's change the formula to un-ask the question of raw performance and make an incredibly smooth and comfortable machine for travelling almost any distance at almost any speed."

With all of that said, I much prefer your "after" pictures. :lol:

My Venhill quick action throttle kit is apparently in the mail but not sure I will have time to fit that

Wait, weren't you looking for solutions to decrease throttle effort not long ago? Isn't a quick action throttle exactly counter to that goal?
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Re: CBX Racing

Postby Warwick Biggs » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:31 pm

I need a lighter, quicker throttle and the Venhill kit allows me to tailor the cables and routing, in theory.

Just back from Broadford for the Hartwell Seniors races. Riders have to be 45 plus to enter and the ages of bike and ride are combined with the main event being the 100 Plus Cup. I came fifth.

Young pro Campbell won on an ESO Special. Mark Lithgow came second on his 85hp GPZ550. I nearly rammed the pair of them as we tipped into the first steep uphill sweeper. I was forced to run 17/38 gearing for reasons to be explained and with 108hp and starting from right in the middle of the grid, the lump shot thru' the field off the line but as the front row closed up on the corner I was boxed in and had to back off. Moses might have parted the waters but I couldn't separate those two at the front as young Keith usurped Mark's pole and the inside line and forced Mark to back off, with me nearly rear ending them both.

I held the leaders across the top straight but was red lining in top as we fly over the blind and very bumpy crest of the hill where the bike gets flicked into the air at around 120mph. Holding the revs at around 9,000rpm then down 2 gears for the blind 90 degree 'crash corner' and the lighter bikes are already starting to gap me under brakes and with higher corner speed. Down the hill and thru' the quick right left where I have to run up on the ripple strip to try and straight line the 2 quick bends in readiness for another blind right hander over another hill and I'm already feeling the strain of muscling the lump into position so it won't run wide and off the track at the corner exit. Then braking hard down another steep hill to a very slow and seemingly never ending 180 degree U shaped bend where my limited ground clearance is an issue. A short burst of acceleration to another never ending U but this one is blind and the exit off camber and back onto the start finish straight with another 6 laps to go. And did I mention that I was suffering from food poisoning from crappy take aways? Well we finished and altho' I was shown the blue flag often enuf' only one rider managed to slip past me in one of those long U bends. I have to put that down to the low gearing as nobody could touch the lump up the straights.

And in those 2 180 degree U bends my ultimate fate was determined with 'the lump' just giving away too much ground clearance. The first and last time I rode here 2 years ago at the Southern Classic, I was on 18" wheels. I commented then that it is a real rider's track and it is with the ideal bike being a proper racer like a TZ350 or an RS125. Since then I've lost another inch of ground clearance and it is questionable whether the extra grip of the slicks is worth it on such tight circuits.

We were late to Friday practice after fitting a new clutch and the 19 tooth front sprocket and 520 chain conversion with Roly struggling with dodgy lithium technology on the dyno confusing the lambda readings. Once I was set up sharing a garage with Mark who had his GPZ and an immaculate 750 gixxer prepared by his mechanic of old, Chad, I quickly discovered my first problem. The tyre warmer would not fit past the ground down prolinkages because the axle had moved forward with the 19 tooth sprocket. After much cursing and vigorous use of my longest tyre levers I managed to remove that sprocket and fit the smallest, a 17 so I could at least get out on the track for the afternoon sessions. Where I quickly discovered the ground clearance issues. Back in the pits I dropped the forks half an inch in the clamps.

Saturday dawned cold and wet and I quickly discovered in a few of the support races that the bike was far too heavy in the steering. My arms were aching and it was still suffering plough on front end push. So I halved the difference and moved the forks back up about 7-8mm and that is what I ran in the main race on a deeply frosty Sunday.

What I am finally beginning to realise is that I cannot push the lump any further. It is at the limit of what a relatively stock CBX can do. With every change it is one step forward and 2 steps back. I can't overcome the laws of physics and the naysayers are correct - the CBX only really works on the faster high speed circuits like Phillip Island. It is a joke, an oddity on circuits like Broadford. Pics to follow soon...
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Re: CBX Racing

Postby Warwick Biggs » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:31 pm

I need a lighter, quicker throttle and the Venhill kit allows me to tailor the cables and routing, in theory.

Just back from Broadford for the Hartwell Seniors races. Riders have to be 45 plus to enter and the ages of bike and ride are combined with the main event being the 100 Plus Cup. I came fifth.

Young pro Campbell won on an ESO Special. Mark Lithgow came second on his 85hp GPZ550. I nearly rammed the pair of them as we tipped into the first steep uphill sweeper. I was forced to run 17/38 gearing for reasons to be explained and with 108hp and starting from right in the middle of the grid, the lump shot thru' the field off the line but as the front row closed up on the corner I was boxed in and had to back off. Moses might have parted the waters but I couldn't separate those two at the front as young Keith usurped Mark's pole and the inside line and forced Mark to back off, with me nearly rear ending them both.

I held the leaders across the top straight but was red lining in top as we fly over the blind and very bumpy crest of the hill where the bike gets flicked into the air at around 120mph. Holding the revs at around 9,000rpm then down 2 gears for the blind 90 degree 'crash corner' and the lighter bikes are already starting to gap me under brakes and with higher corner speed. Down the hill and thru' the quick right left where I have to run up on the ripple strip to try and straight line the 2 quick bends in readiness for another blind right hander over another hill and I'm already feeling the strain of muscling the lump into position so it won't run wide and off the track at the corner exit. Then braking hard down another steep hill to a very slow and seemingly never ending 180 degree U shaped bend where my limited ground clearance is an issue. A short burst of acceleration to another never ending U but this one is blind and the exit off camber and back onto the start finish straight with another 6 laps to go. And did I mention that I was suffering from food poisoning from crappy take aways? Well we finished and altho' I was shown the blue flag often enuf' only one rider managed to slip past me in one of those long U bends. I have to put that down to the low gearing as nobody could touch the lump up the straights.

And in those 2 180 degree U bends my ultimate fate was determined with 'the lump' just giving away too much ground clearance. The first and last time I rode here 2 years ago at the Southern Classic, I was on 18" wheels. I commented then that it is a real rider's track and it is with the ideal bike being a proper racer like a TZ350 or an RS125. Since then I've lost another inch of ground clearance and it is questionable whether the extra grip of the slicks is worth it on such tight circuits.

We were late to Friday practice after fitting a new clutch and the 19 tooth front sprocket and 520 chain conversion with Roly struggling with dodgy lithium technology on the dyno confusing the lambda readings. Once I was set up sharing a garage with Mark who had his GPZ and an immaculate 750 gixxer prepared by his mechanic of old, Chad, I quickly discovered my first problem. The tyre warmer would not fit past the ground down prolinkages because the axle had moved forward with the 19 tooth sprocket. After much cursing and vigorous use of my longest tyre levers I managed to remove that sprocket and fit the smallest, a 17 so I could at least get out on the track for the afternoon sessions. Where I quickly discovered the ground clearance issues. Back in the pits I dropped the forks half an inch in the clamps.

Saturday dawned cold and wet and I quickly discovered in a few of the support races that the bike was far too heavy in the steering. My arms were aching and it was still suffering plough on front end push. So I halved the difference and moved the forks back up about 7-8mm and that is what I ran in the main race on a deeply frosty Sunday.

What I am finally beginning to realise is that I cannot push the lump any further. It is at the limit of what a relatively stock CBX can do. With every change it is one step forward and 2 steps back. I can't overcome the laws of physics and the naysayers are correct - the CBX only really works on the faster high speed circuits like Phillip Island. It is a joke, an oddity on circuits like Broadford. Pics to follow soon...
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Re: CBX Racing

Postby Syscrush » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:54 pm

Warwick Biggs wrote:What I am finally beginning to realise is that I cannot push the lump any further. It is at the limit of what a relatively stock CBX can do. With every change it is one step forward and 2 steps back. I can't overcome the laws of physics and the naysayers are correct - the CBX only really works on the faster high speed circuits like Phillip Island. It is a joke, an oddity on circuits like Broadford. Pics to follow soon...

So, what's next?

Keep rockin' the CBX for funsies? Or concentrate on just the faster circuits? Or look for a more suitable bike and look to improve your standings?

Thanks again for yet another wonderful write-up - it's always a pleasure.
Phil in Toronto
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Re: CBX Racing

Postby Warwick Biggs » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:27 pm

It is my lousy riding that is at the heart of my frustration and not helped by choosing the heaviest and least agile mount. That is why I acquired the NC30. To improve my skills without all the additional difficulties associated with a 36 year old dynosaur.

Having said that I don't think I was in he right frame of mind for racing at Broadford. I certainly didn't get fired up and my new slicks showed very little wear on the left side where I crashed in my previous outing so I was obviously weak on that side and that happens sometimes after a crash. Confidence has to be re-built.

Following are a few shots first in the pits where endless fiddling goes on. Mark virtually rebuilt the little GPZ and the gixxer was stripped too. I pulled both back and front ends apart on the CBX. The other pic is me getting passed under brakes by an immaculate well ridden 750/4.
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Re: CBX Racing

Postby Warwick Biggs » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:28 pm

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Re: CBX Racing

Postby Warwick Biggs » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:32 pm

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Re: CBX Racing

Postby Warwick Biggs » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:38 pm

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Re: CBX Racing

Postby Warwick Biggs » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:21 pm

Nobody curious about the ESO Special? Or how a short stroke JAP speedway engine can out accelerate a low geared 108hp CBX? Keith's old man is not only a retired architect but the inheritor of the "weather beaten old wolves" tradition of ESO and Jawa and his son's mentor and chief mechanic. He has continued to develop what is a simple single cylinder OHV motor into a superbike beater. See the ESO story here http://66.84.0.143/~ahrmanwc/eso.htm So, for a start its on methanol and its bored out way past 500. And it is the bane of all the Manx Norton and G50 racers which it smokes. How does it beat short stroke desmos? Ask Keiths old man.He might tell you.
R.
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Re: CBX Racing

Postby Warwick Biggs » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:20 am

OK, why are old bikes of interest? In fact is history important at all or just sentimental romanticism?

Nobody is interested in the ESO even tho' it is a CBX beater so I am going back a bit further. Here is a pic of my father's father, George on a bike around the end of the Great War. I think it is a Triumph.

George was a member of the 11th Hussars, a cavalry regiment that discovered that horses were no good in the trenches. At the time this pic was taken he was a bodyguard to King Farouk in Egypt altho' he later became a pioneering engineer in Western Australia. His brother was an engineer with the Sunbeam factory and worked on Henry Segrave's record setting car. My father is an engineer also and was a pioneer of modern rocketry. I on the other hand spent hours today trying to fit some dzus clips to my NC30 until throwing them in the bin and resorting to cable ties. So I am no engineer and not even a half decent mechanic.

Which I think proves that history is bunk, progress never a given and old bikes are just old bikes. We don't seem to learn much from history either so my conclusion is that CBX enthusiasts are just a bunch of sentimental romantics and CBX racers, gluttons for punishment.
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Re: CBX Racing

Postby Mouse » Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:12 pm

I was into vintage car racing some years back and would help out a fellow who had a Triumph TR3a and a frayed shoe string budget. His car was as un-compedative as it comes but he had a blast driving it. He never cared that he came in last most of the time, he just enjoyed having the chance to drive his car as fast as he possibly could in a race setting with other like minded people. I also saw people there at the races with loads of money, very compedative cars, who bitched and whined about everything. They seemed to be never happy nor enjoying themselves. I wondered why they even bothered racing.

Only you can decide what you want out of racing.
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Re: CBX Racing

Postby Syscrush » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:29 pm

I really love that photo. It kinda makes me want a fez and goggles.

My mom's dad took a motorcycle from Hawkesville, ON to Winnipeg, MB in the 1930's. He lived and worked out there for years but missed his old girlfriend enough to ride that same bike back to propose to her. Her dad imposed one condition: get rid of the bike. I'd give almost anything for a photo of Daniel on his bike, but there are none - he was worried that it would be some kind of bad influence on his kids.

And then it turned out that of his 4 sons, 4 ended up riding motorcycles. It seems he needn't have made the effort to conceal what they knew was in their blood.
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Re: CBX Racing

Postby Warwick Biggs » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:40 am

I like the idea of a genetic pre-disposition to ride bikes but I suspect that it just confirms my theory about sentimental romantics.

In 3 weeks I will be racing the NC30 in a 3 hour Endurance race at Mac Park. The enduros aren't run much anymore which is a pity. Back in the 70's races like the Castrol 6 Hour, Calder 3 Hour and Adelaide 3 Hour were a magnet for young riders keen to test their skills on production bikes. Many Oz and Kiwi riders cut their teeth in these events where you had plenty of time to watch the faster riders and develop a rhythm. In the UK there was the Trans Atlantic series that was much the same bringing a number of young Americans into successful road racing careers. In the absence of professional coaching it was the best way to learn how to ride. And the Japanese factories watched closely and used these events to develop and market their sports bikes like the CBX.

Hopefully, I can use the opportunity of a 3 Hour race to improve my own riding altho' it's an open question whether I can physically go the distance, even with a fit young partner to share the riding.

I'm fitting road tyres (17" Pirelli Diablo Rosso 111's) so that if it rains we can stay out and not be back and forth between slicks and wets. I wouldn't even contemplate racing the CBX in the wet. You'd have to be crazy. I don't think we will be giving away too much to slicks in the dry. I'll have to fix up a fuel derrick so we can refuel quickly. I'm guessing around 4-5 tanks at around a litre a lap.

As for racing a TR3, I remember seeing an infamous photo of one years ago in the UK Autocar magazine. It was actually going fast enuf' to get the wheels in the air over a hump and the back axle had tied itself in a knot without the weight of the vehicle to keep the wheels pointing in the right direction. The landing was not likely to end well. I think it had the back end off the Herald. Not one of England's finest designs. Obviously, the owner was another incurable romantic. It seems we are a large tribe.
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