1989 Honda CB-1 from Netherlands

Summary:

Loads of hilarious and usable bike for little money

Faults:

It has turned me into a Honda extremist.

General Comments:

It's the type of bike that you buy with heart, not mind. It's old, it's slow (by today's motorcycle standards anyway). It still DESTROYS modern day cars at the lights) it's not terribly stylish or unique in looks.

But none of that matters. Why, you ask?

Cuz it's a CB-1. That's why.

But Hondas are boring bikes without character, you say?

Poor, misguided peasant... Read on and see the light.

It is boatloads of fun. I come from the supermoto scene and got fed up with all the maintenance and annoying small faults that kept popping up. I still wanted something nimble and fun, without tons of useless power but built like a tank.

Enter the CB-1. It revs like a minigun, it sounds like you're sitting on top of a fighter jet when you give it the beans and it corners like a housefly. The bike is near perfect bone stock (see below).

ENGINE

The raison d'etre of the CB-1. A 399cc inline 4 that howls like a wolf on crack. It isn't very powerful, but that's the charm of this little engine. You can rev it like crazy without going the speed of light. The power is -usable- in the real world and tons of fun to play with. The stock engine is a 2 faced b*tch. Down in the revs it's well behaved and super smooth and kind. Open up the tabs and scream past 10k and it turns into a crazed Sonic the Hedgehog that had too much energy drink. It refuses to break down. I'm probably dead and gone before this engine is. Old skool Honda build quality.

HANDLING

The 2nd party piece of this small package. The CB-1 corners like crazy. I've almost crashed several times on the -inside- of corners because the damn thing changes lines so fast my XTX felt like a slug in comparison. Slow or fast corners, it doesn't matter. The downside is the stock suspension. It's quite soft (just like on the Hawk). This also has a bad effect on the braking power. Just slap some progressive springs in the front and maybe a CBR 600 shock in the rear and off you go. This also complements the quite awesome single disc stock brake. Being an old bike, make sure the front brake is well looked after: poor maintenance affects braking worse that dual disc modern bikes. And install some steel braided lines. World of difference.

BUILD QUALITY

Honda. Nuff' said. I could nuke this thing and it would keep going.

LOOKS

It's not an exciting bike to look at. But it also doesn't look aged, like the Zephyr or older BMWs. It's kind of timeless in its simplicity. It's also an excellent basis to make a custom bike from what I've seen. Customising a CB-1 is heresy, mind you.

COSTS

Cheap to buy now (relatively). I can see these things become really expensive in the years to come. Parts are pricey, but there's plenty of imitation parts as well. You can do a lot of maintenance yourself, saving repair costs at the shop. Insurance is laughable, I almost get paid by my insurance for riding this bike. Fuel consumption is very decent.

CONCLUSION

Cheap, loads of fun, built like a tank and I even like the stupid baby blue color. If you want a simple but exciting all rounder with loads of bang for your buck, get this bike.

I for one will never sell this bike.

Pros

- Build quality.

- Fun in the real world.

- Value for money is great.

- Join the CB-1 cult.

Cons

- Soggy stock suspension front and back.

- Riding position if you're too tall (past 1.90m).

- Parts will become harder to come by.

- Dead easy to nick.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st April, 2017

1990 Honda CB-1 from United States of America

Summary:

If I had to own just one, this would be it

Faults:

This was my track bike and street bike for years, so it spent most of its time bouncing off redline. It developed a tiny head gasket leak (to the environment, not into the oil) around 31k miles. No other faults.

General Comments:

Handling is incredible from the factory, but is much improved with upgraded suspension front and back.

Braking is superb and only gets better with a stainless line up front.

Comfort is sufficient, but seat height is low, so seat to peg distance is small.

Technology is great with gear driven cams and liquid cooling, and the whine from the intakes is sublime.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th December, 2009