Why are our Honda CBX1000s so good?

Why are our Honda CBX1000s so good? People regularly ask me, “So why are The Motorcycle Broker’s Honda CBX1000s investment grade motorcycles and others are not?” Here is a little insight into what is involved with safely buying an investment grade Honda CBX1000. Below is a typically well bought Honda CBX1000.

Honda CBX1000 prior to our work
Most dealers would sell this straight on

Most motorcycle dealers would sell this straight on, the engine sounded good and the motorcycle looked good, just requiring the stickers on the side panels.

Honda CBX1000 prior RHS
A beautiful looking Honda CBX1000

All of the paintwork is looking good and bright, the motor sounds good and looks good, all of those original parts like exhausts and shock absorbers are present and look great.

Top engine mount
Some paint failure on the top engine mount

Honda CBX1000 buying clues

Looking very closely the Honda CBX1000 buying clues are there about what lies beneath. Buying at a motorcycle dealer or motorcycle auction you would think it’s fair enough for its age. These machines are now forty years old and time has taken its toll even on the best looked after machines. We are very careful about what we buy as it is very easy to buy something that is a complete waste of money. However, we have thirty five years of motorcycle buying experience and sixteen years of experience regularly working on CBX1000s.

Honda CBX1000 is unique

The Honda CBX1000 is unique as it has specific weaknesses such as con rods that appear to be made of chocolate and have a tendency to be bent. The engine will run with bent con rods, but catastrophe is not far off. Valves are two piece and if the motor is run with tight valves, then they will snap. If the oil is not changed every thousand miles, and the filter every two thousand miles, then the cam chain tensioners become brittle and fall to pieces. These are all catastrophic failures and machines suffering from these maladies either require a full rebuild, at incredible cost, or should be avoided at all costs. Then there’s the carbs, they always require stripping and rebuilding with the correct parts, or the motorcycle will never run correctly. 

Cellulose paint

Before we look at the CBXs paint, let’s look at how cellulose paint ages. Cellulose never really cures like a modern paint, thinners are always evaporating. This means there is less material on the metal over time, which leads to the paint crazing and failing. The weather gets into the gaps, underneath the paint, corrosion starts and more paint fails. It’s a vicious circle of paint failing and deteriorating more and more as time passes. Much of the paint can look good to the eye, but as debris is cleaned off the paint will flake off because the corrosion has got in underneath. This is the nature of cellulose paint, it is also the reason why beautifully preserved motorcycles from dry states in the US and Australia arrive in more damp European environments and immediately start to fall to pieces and degrade. The Triumph tank below has crazed but there is no corrosion because it is in a very dry climate.

Cellulose paint crazed and cracked
This demonstrates very clearly exactly how cellulose paint ages.
Honda CBX1000 frame paint failure
You can see exactly the same issues with Honda’s 40 year old cellulose frame paint. This type of paint deterioration only progresses and spreads over time. The sooner it is halted and treated, the more of the original paint can be preserved.
Frame issues untreated
Under the bodywork the degradation of the paint is really quite severe, even though the motorcycle looks good with the bodywork on.

Classic motorcycle conservation

Our mission, with all of the motorcycles we supply, is to conserve them. We always try to preserve as much of the original paint as possible where it is not failing. Where our paint joins the original paint, we have developed our own unique ways of seamlessly blending them. Although we use modern two part epoxy paints, which have a different finish to cellulose, we have developed a way of making such paint look like cellulose. We also recreate the correct level of shine and orange peel finish in our paint, so it looks like the original cellulose paint from the factory. All of this takes a great deal of time and effort, especially as modern paints are designed to lay flat, leaving no orange peel and are much more shiny and intense than cellulose paints. Modern two part epoxy paint is much more stable than cellulose because it has an activator that makes the paint go hard, rather than relying solely on thinners to evaporate out through the paint. Once epoxy has fully cured, after thirty days, it is completely stable and will not degrade at all. All motorcycles from the 1960s-mid 1980s suffer from this problem, as they were painted with cellulose paint.

Frame paint preservation
We try to preserve as much of the original paint as possible.
Frame prepped
The frame is very carefully prepared.
Length of frame finishedLHS
It is impossible to see where we have blown in our paint and where the original paint is.
Length of frame finished
The forty year old paint is salvaged and is now stable.

Engine paint

Although engine paint can look quite good when every thing is on the motorcycle, once the exhausts, carbs, airbox and ancillaries are removed and the motor tilted forward, it’s clear how the paint has failed. Like the frame paint, if it is not dealt with correctly the rest of the engine paint will eventually fail. We have perfectly matched Honda’s engine enamel with our own formula of heat resistant paint which is fuel proof. We remove all failing engine paint and blow in our own with a airbrush. Our paint is indistinguishable from the factory paint, but this takes a long time in man hours.

engine paint failed2 1
It is easy to see how the original engine enamel is failing.
engine paint failed3 1
engine paint failed 1
More failing paint
engine paint complete 1
Our engine paint last for decades, provided the motorcycle is well looked after.
Frame and engine painted
Frame and engine are both beautifully painted and protected from the UK’s harsh climate.

Original Honda CBX1000 exhaust systems

We ensure that our machines have original Honda CBX1000 exhaust systems, standard indicators, mirrors, airboxes and all those impossible parts to find. In years to come when CBX1000s are much more costly than they are today, it will only be the ones with original parts, instead of replica parts, that will achieve such high resale values.

Better condition Honda CBX1000

We buy much better condition Honda CBX1000s to start with. How? We mostly buy our Honda CBX1000s on mainland Europe because they are in much better condition than UK machines and they usually have all of those hard to come by parts. Machines from the mainland are much less likely to have gearbox problems. UK bikes have such problems because at some point in their forty year life they have been owned by a hooligan who has been unkind to the gear box. Riders in mainland Europe are usually much more empathetic to their machines and keep them in garages, as houses have garages on mainland Europe. Most machines from the mainland are usually standard and have all of those impossible to find parts, such as airboxes and exhausts. Mainland machines have also usually been serviced regularly and well looked after. British riders have always been far more harsh and irreverent of their motorcycles than riders from the mainland.

The Motor

First the motorcycle is ridden for assessment after getting it up to running temperature. The motor is listened to through a stethoscope to identify any untoward noises and where they may be coming from. We then have a good idea of any obvious faults. Then a compression test, to see if there are any other problems or bent con rods. We have a great selection of veterinary endoscopes which are put down each bore to see if there is any damage. We remove the sump, which will tell you a lot about a CBX. These motors should have oil changes every 1,000 miles and filter changes every 2,000 miles. If this has not been done regularly then the two cam chain tensioners become brittle, hard and start to fall to pieces. If this is the case, then you will find bits of cam chain tensioner in the sump.

Sump thread
The sump will tell part of the story

We rebuilt much of the threads on this sump by melting aluminium into a cast we have made to resolve the oil drain plug problem these machines suffer from. We rotate the whole motor forward to remove the rocker cover. Valve clearances are checked and if any are found to be particularly tight, then we remove the cylinder head. We remove all twenty four valves and associated parts, replace them with new items, grind in the new valves and re-assemble. The parts alone cost over £1,000 for this part of the job. 

Valve clearances
Valve clearances are vital on Honda CBX1000s
Cam chain LHS

Once the valve clearances are satisfactorily set, the motorcycle must be ridden under load for fifty miles. The valve clearances must be checked and adjusted again. Then another fifty miles under load and checked and set again. If any adjustment is required after this ride, then another fifty miles must be ridden under load and then checked a final time. If the valve clearances are only adjusted once, chances are that as they settle down under load, they will shift and not be accurate.

Cam chain RHS
Checking cam chains and tensioners is vital on Honda CBX1000s

Honda CBX1000 carburettors

Carbs have to be removed and completely stripped, broken down into individual carburettors and rebuilt using the correct parts. The parts for this are over £500 and it takes about two days to do the job correctly. If the carburettors are not set up correctly on these machines, they will never run properly and engine damage can easily result.

Carbs out UK and rebuilt
Carburettors are critical on Honda CBX1000s


Clutches tend to be noisy and many parts are no longer available. Baskets, clutch centre bearing bush and springs are prone to wear and often require replacement. Parts can be incredibly expensive used and they can often be as useless as the components being replaced.


With machines bought in mainland Europe gearboxes are usually pretty trouble free, but they have been known to have problems. UK motorcycles often have problems with bent selector forks, damaged selector drums and machines that jump out of second gear. We have never had a problem with a gearbox from the mainland, but we have repaired many on UK machines for customers

Original parts

There are plenty of CBX1000s with replica parts all over them. We make sure ours, unless specified otherwise by the customer, have original exhausts, mirrors, shock absorbers, indicators and indicator stalks. Machines with original parts are the ones that will always achieve far higher resale values than those with replica parts.

Original Honda CBX1000 exhausts

Most machines that have original exhausts will require that original exhaust system to be rebuilt. The internal baffles will have corroded, expanded and started to detach from the outer sleeve of the silencer. Much of the external sleeve will have corroded from the inside out as these silencers were made from very thin steel when new- 0.8mmm. The chrome will have protected the steel from corrosion on the outside, except for where the old lead acid batteries vent on the right hand side of the motorcycle. The corrosive vapours from the battery breather will have rotted where the silencer joins the downpipes collector. These exhaust systems actually corrode from the inside out, which makes a lot of the damage invisible.

Rotted original exhaust
A fairly typical Honda CBX1000 silencer after forty years

We carefully strip the original exhausts of all plating. This has to be done very carefully as the leybeare solution that most platers use is way too harsh and will normally blow more holes in the silencers. The leybeare solution we use is much less aggressive which means putting a current through the silencers for longer but at a lower amperage, which preserves more of the original steel. We take the exhausts to pieces, rebuild the baffles and cut out any rot while retaining the factory stamps. We have built a robotic welding machine to recreate the herring bone weld that Honda used when these motorcycles were new. Replica exhausts have a different weld on them and have no factory stamps for copyright reasons. New steel is very carefully let into the remaining original silencer and carefully welded into place. The joins are dressed and the silencer welded back together on our unique machine. We then polish the entire exhaust system by hand and we re-chrome it. You cannot see where we have done our work and we photograph every stage, proving that the work has been done correctly. The exhaust should last another forty years now.

Honda CBX1000 exhausts stripped WHEB
Chrome stripping must be undertaken very carefully indeed, due to the thinness of the steel.

Seen below. The outer, circular part of this group of baffles (one of several) is spot welded to the silencer on the inside. The internal surfaces of the silencer corrode, especially at the spot weld,

New and old baffles blog1
Arrowed are the circular faces of the baffles that are spot welded to the inside of the silencer.

It’s a lot of work, but as the values of these machines increase, only the machines with original parts will make the big sale prices. It is a pre-requisite that the motorcycle is as original as possible, as history has taught us with classic cars.

A great classic motorcycle investment

The Honda CBX1000 is a great classic motorcycle investment. Only in 2012 I was selling investment grade pieces for £12,000, as this piece I wrote back then demonstrates. I was slated for my prices and ridiculed, but sharp investors paid those prices for the quality we delivered. They proved to be very shrewd investors indeed, as history has demonstrated. There are no corners to cut, the work has to be done correctly, the labour and materials have to be paid for. What is certain is that the cost of doing this level of work will only increase over time and will certainly never decrease.

Our Honda CBX1000s

Our Honda CBX1000s are investment grade, the work is all done in the purchase price and you know what your motorcycle is going to cost you. We offer a free one year unlimited mileage warranty on all our machines, free delivery and they are a joy to own and ride. Your Honda CBX1000 will come with a written and photographic due diligence file and workshop file, showing all of the work we have done to the motorcycle. You know that your investment is safe, will increase in value, will be a joy to own (instead of a bottomless pit into which you are throwing money) and will always sell at the very top end of the market.

The Honda CBX1000 below may look good and sound pretty alright. 

Honda CBX1000 prior to our work
Most dealers would sell this straight on

However, if you want one that will always be worth far more, is reliable, is an investment grade classic motorcycle then the one below is the right, investment grade classic motorcycle.

Our Honda CBX1000 completed
We offer incredible value with our investment grade Honda CBX1000s

The Honda CBX1000 on the blue ramp may look good and sound pretty alright, but it will be a bottomless pit into which you would throw money. You can find these at the top end of the market from any dealer or auction house.  However, if you want one that will always be worth far more, is reliable, is an investment grade classic motorcycle then the one above in the sunshine is the right classic motorcycle. They are the same motorcycle, but one is before we did our magic and the other is after we did our magic, giving it another forty years of trouble free motoring provided that the very simple servicing schedule is maintained.

Investment grade Honda CBX1000

We will find you a beautiful Honda CBX1000 for sale and we work our magic on them for a fixed purchase price. We will never ask for more than the agreed price which includes all of our work. If the motor requires a rebuild, then we do it at our own expense. If you want to buy an investment grade Honda CBX1000 six cylinder motorcycle, call The Motorcycle Broker on 01803 865166 or Email [email protected]

Paul Jayson
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