Honda CX500 Turbo Motorcycle

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Honda CX500 Turbo Motorcycle
Manufacturer Honda
Production years 1982
Production location Japan

In 1982 Honda introduced the first production turbo motorcycle, the CX500 Turbo (also known as CX500T). The CX500T was based upon the Honda CX500 and, along with the turbo, also had a very complex fuel injection system with multiple redundant fail-safe systems.


How it works

The Turbo's powerplant was based on the water-cooled V-twin with four pushrod-operated overhead valves per cylinder used in the shaft-drive CX500 introduced a few years earlier - itself a groundbreaking design. The engine case was retained nearly intact from the original CX500, having been designed from the outset to accommodate turbo-charging. The turbocharger, at peak boost providing approximately 19 psi of over-pressure, nearly doubles the power output of the engine when on-boost (the CX500 Turbo produced 82 bhp, compared to the standard CX500's 50 bhp). The engine case is one of the few items carried over from the original CX500; the suspension, brakes, frame and fairing all differ significantly from the earlier CX500.

The CX500 Turbo, although capable of superb acceleration when on-boost, suffers somewhat from an abrupt and large step in power when transitioning from off-boost to on-boost. Furthermore, being the first production Honda motorcycle with fuel-injection, the engine control system is complex and, by current standards, was quite bulky.


Although a good example of Honda's engineering capabilites (as turbos are more ideally suited to large, multi-cylinder engines that give a smooth exhaust flow), factory turbos fell out of favour with the motorcycling public for various reasons, causing Honda to cease production of the CX Turbo after the 1983 – in total, there were only approximately 5400 CX500T’s built.


In the Science Museum's Records

Inv. No: 1982-1069