Lost «Cars » of the 1980s — Honda CX500 Turbo Hemmings Daily

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Lost “Cars” of the 1980s – CX500 Turbo

1982 CX500 Turbo. Image from YouTube video .

The 1980s saw a spike in the use of small-displacement engines among automakers, in part to their combination of and fuel economy. Even manufacturers were not immune to the of forced induction, and for four years, stretching from to 1985, all of the major Japanese manufacturers offered factory options. In 1982, Honda the first designed-from-the-ground-up turbocharged and the CX500 Turbo would go on to one of the most influential motorcycles of the

Though the 1978 Kawasaki Z1R TC was the first production motorcycle a turbocharger, it was little more a stock Z1R with a bolt-on kit. Designed more for purposes (to help the factory its aging Z1R superbike), the  Z1R TC developed a reputation as an ill-handling that was terrifyingly fast in a line, but not particularly enjoyable on a or twisty road.

When Honda set out its design for a turbocharged motorcycle, every of the bike, from the engine to the fairing, suspension and brakes was in to the equation. From the onset, wanted to launch the first turbocharged motorcycle with fuel injection, advance its of small-displacement turbocharged engines, and a “concept motorcycle” with a stout enough to handle the additional output.

Work on the began in 1977, and Honda quickly decided that a engine, as opposed to an inline-four, be the best option for both and simplicity. The engine would to be liquid cooled for reliability, narrowed the field of prospects to the CX V-twin engine that was developing at the same time.

were made to ensure the engine could withstand the of forced induction: The block were made thicker, pistons were specified and end and main bearings were The cooling system was designed to with the added heat of and even a larger-diameter clutch was to handle the additional horsepower. To against detonation, the compression was lowered from 10:1 in the aspirated CX engine to 7.2:1 in the variant.

In many ways, the mechanical of the CX500 Turbo’s engine the smallest of engineering challenges to Though information of turbocharging (and larger) engines was no other manufacturer had ever to add both turbocharging and electronic injection to a V-twin engine.

presented its own challenges, but both obstacles that seemed to exponentially, and at one point Honda was to have as many as 50 engineers on the project. By period standards, the was mind-boggling: The computerized fuel gathered data from sensors and an electronic air flow then processed this via two maps.

One, called the zone” map, chose based on RPM and boost pressure; the “throttle zone” map was determined by RPM and position. Adding to the complexity, were further adjusted to intake air density, intake air and intake air temperature.

The V-twin engine proved challenging to turbocharge, as the design can from “intake air stagnation” intake strokes. Honda’s was to develop a pair of plenum including a resonance chamber and a tank, that smoothed out the engine’s throttle response. the turbocharger design called for The smallest commercially available at the time of the CX500 Turbo’s measured 60 millimeters.

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While would have produced than) ample power, it would have generated turbo lag, so Honda with supplier IHI to develop a 48mm compressor just for the CX500 engine. The net result was 77 at 19 PSI of boost, compared to 47 horsepower the standard CX500 engine. In of performance, that gave the Turbo the ability to sprint the quarter mile in 12.38 at 106 MPH, on the way to a top speed of 125 MPH, it in virtually the same league as the superbikes of the day.

As for the rest of the bike, Honda no expense in making sure the Turbo stopped and turned as as anything else on the road, The frame received additional and the suspension used Honda’s Pro-Link aluminum swingarm and an air-assisted front fork. also employed its TRAC (for Torque Reactive Control) on the front fork, was intended to keep the nose of the from dropping when a grabbed a handful of front

Completing the package was a wind-tunnel fairing that gave the Turbo a futuristic look, in part by the ultra-modern fonts on its graphics (including the “obruT” just below the windscreen, those who pay attention to mirrors to the lane).

The CX500 Turbo’s injection and ignition systems provided a rudimentary self-diagnostic and included perhaps the first home” system deployed on a Though the bike was almost complex for a machine of the Reagan it was also particularly robust an early production cam chain issue was resolved) and quickly favor among motorcycle in Europe.

Riding the CX500 Turbo was an that blended equal boredom and terror. Grabbing a of throttle at corner exit little in the way of acceleration, at least the tachometer approached the 5,500 RPM

Then, the rear shock compress, the front fork unload and the bike would toward the horizon, feeling as if the had mistakenly hit a button marked Though a superb sport-touring (with minimal turbo lag for the hustling the plus-sized Honda a mountain canyon took parts timing and bravado. As riders soon found the CX500 was a challenging motorcycle to fast, particularly if one wanted to be as well.

The CX500 Turbo for just a single model before being replaced by the Turbo, which delivered better off-boost acceleration. the CX650 Turbo would last through the 1983 year, as a drop in motorcycle forced manufacturers to focus on most popular models. the CX500 Turbo and CX650 offered near liter-bike they also came near liter-bike pricing and given their challenging delivery and mechanical complexity, no wonder that Honda’s with forced induction was

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