Classic Motorcycle Mechanics


The 1980s was a special time for motorcycling, but the years that interest me the most are 1982 – 1984, the turbocharger era…

It was an era when the Japanese went nuts over forced induction. Yes, the machines that the short-lived bikes were based on were largely old tech: push-rods, air-cooled, two-valves per pot and carbs. Soon they would be replaced by normally aspirated machines with better performances.

You’ll spot below that the machine missing from my test is the Suzuki XN85. In my opinion the Katana-styled 673cc 85hp bike was an epic fail and the most unreliable and poorly selling turbo bike ever. They used to break down all the time and the turbochargers would seize, with a replacement cost almost as much as a new bike! I had one for the test and it was there on the day, but (you guessed it) the immaculate example, with only a few thousand miles on the clock, broke down before I got to ride it.

The Japanese manufacturers went about building their turbo bikes in vastly different ways and none were truly dedicated models, but the Honda CX 500 and 650 could be considered to be the closest to a dedicated platform, despite being based on the CX. This was because a huge amount of testing and development went into the CX500 and 650. The engines were heavily modified and the 500 was the first ever bike with a dedicated computer-controlled engine management system and it worked well. The CX was fuel-injected and had multiple sensors measuring boost, air-flow, air temperature, engine temperature, rpm, throttle

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Classic Motorcycle Mechanics

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics1 min read
NMM Shop Updated!
The National Motorcycle Museum has updated their Museum Legends online retail shop in time for Christmas 2019. The shop boasts thousands of classic motorcycling related items, as well as NMM’s own museum branded clothing. Full of Christmas gift ideas
Classic Motorcycle Mechanics2 min read
Ducati 1098
December 2006 and the first units of Ducati’s new, flagship sportsbike arrived on UK shores. Yes, 14 years ago (that’s close to the VJMC’s 15-year rule) and the Ducati 1098 still looks gloriously fresh today. But let’s cut to the chase. The 1098 had
Classic Motorcycle Mechanics3 min read
It’s All About The Deal John...
I do love a deal: who doesn’t? In my dull existence I’ve dealt bikes for work, I’ve swapped an engine for a new pick-up bed and on a couple of occasions I’ve swopped my personal toy (on one occasion my Pontiac Firebird 400 and on another, my beloved