That’s the Sspirit!
With the lock down regulations released it is time again to let out the bulls.
Our friends from San Sebastián in Northern Spain have not been idling in their workshop over the past few months.
Right on time
Just before the virus spread a customer entered their garage and saw a 1981 Honda CBX pro link safely hidden beneath a cover. This was a project the Cafe Racer Sspirit crew wanted to keep for themselves and build something special to their own liking.
However when the client saw the bike it sparked his interest and he sprinted over to the bank to withdraw money just before the lock-down started. When he was let into the secret plans for this project, he was easily convinced to purchase this icon of the eighties and invest in the modification
This offered the Spanish crew a perfect opportunity to move forward with the plan to, as they describe it, “build a powerful and interesting and ‘beastly’ CBX with interesting components.” Sounds like a raging bull about to be let loose in the arena.
To both builders and customer is was clear the bike has a lot of great stuff built in from the factory that was worth keeping. So choices were made to go for a limited modification. Replacing ‘just’ the forks, the swing-arm, the brakes and the exhaust system. All elements that were probably considered fine in the last two decades of the 20th century, but not up to modern day caféracer standards. Especially if you aim to create a high performer.
Not exactly. Considering the limited amount of modifications on the CBX the budget spent was quite substantial. Even with the purchase of the donor bike included the total level of the investment rose to a hefty € 18.000.
Although you can buy a very decent modern bike for that kind of money, chances it will make people’s head turn when the spot these wheels are substantially slimmer than when this beast full of authentic character roars past.
So yes, we would happily face the wife’s wrath and convince her that this is a solid investment.
Confronting the bull
Grabbing this beast by the horns did not automatically mean it was going to give in without a proper fight. Challenging the builders to a stand down whenever it could the Honda decided to give them a good kick with the hind legs when it got the opportunity.
The Cafe Racer Sspirit team had to struggle to get the swing arm and rear shock to fit in decently. Or rather “tricky” as they prefer to word it.
We get the same feeling when they mention is was ‘interesting’ to get the water printed carbon to fit on the machine. In our garage handbook this is equivalent to a lot of cursing and swearing. However the end result always makes up for the sweat which is spilled and you end up looking at it with a beer and going “Fuck yeah! We nailed it!”
Help from outside
The exhaust system was outsourced to GR Exhaust systems. We are glad they did that, as the six pipes are tastefully mounted, ending up in a muffler with a size that is in balance with the rest of the bike. There is the discernible Honda CBX sound politely announcing the incoming projectile. Check out the video to get a little taster of this
Whilst on the subject; the parts which were replaced came from:
• a Triumph 1050 Speed Triple
– front end
– rear shock
• original headlight had to make way for a modern LED version
• Rizoma grips
• Motogadget speedometer and blinkers
• Highsider mirrors
• Tarozzi footrests
• Pirelli Supercorsa tires
Last, but in this case literally not least, the cowl was replaced by a 1st generation CBX 1000 version. A nice little touch underlining the age in which the bike was born.
In addition a lot of stuff was custom made by the San Sebastian team. We note:
• A custom seat
• Handmade license plate holder
• All mounts for electrical parts such as headlight and blinkers
• The mounts for the front fender
“So what makes you particularly proud looking back at this production?” we ask the main man Hugo López Urteaga. “Well”, he replies after a moment of silence, “believe it or not. It is the phenomenally designed six cylinder engine that really makes my heart skip a beat. We just upgraded an already well designed ‘80’s bike to modern day standards. But it really can hold its own very well.”
“It goes without saying that we made a very conscious decision to mount the Triumph Speed Triple parts to the Honda. We really were aiming for a big improvement in the way the CBX would handle.
The owner and we as a team are elated about the way the Honda now handles in all conditions. Riding at relatively low speed in urban conditions or crossing the red line on the highway, you feel relaxed and confident about this thoroughbred bull’s behaviour.