Who doesn’t love turbos? They just make everything better. Why? Because as Jeremy Clarkson once famously said, “exhaust gasses go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster“. I would strap one onto just about anything with an engine, including a motorcycle. But turbocharging bikes isn’t anything new, in fact several manufacturers beat me to it. In the early 80s, the big four from Japan released a few forced-induction bikes like the well-known Yamaha 650 Seca Turbo and Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo, but there were a few other quirky machines that made it out. One such bike was the 1982 Honda CX500 Turbo.
The Honda CX500 Turbo was an innovative bike for the company and the industry as a whole. It was the smallest of the turbocharged two-wheelers at 500cc but with the addition of the turbo, the bike had 82HP to play with – a huge number for that level of displacement, and nothing to scoff at even in today’s standards. The bike also came with fuel injection, front and rear disc brakes, and a low maintenance shaft-drive. All those nifty features led to a bike that made for a great sport tourer…if you could get past the turbo lag. The bike was known to be comfortable and designed to look like the future in 1982 but the bike’s power delivery was a live-with-it or absolutely-loathe-it characteristic. The turbo never kicked in before 4,000 RPM so slow speed riding around traffic was a bit of a chore and then when the power did make it to the wheels, you had to hold on hard. It wasn’t fuel efficient and with a recession present at the time, this bike and others in the turbo-ed bike category didn’t stand a chance. The Honda CX500 Turbo made it to only one year of production.
Even with the unpredictable ride traits, this is an iconic bike that deserves a place in motorcycle lore. This bike (along with the bikes in its class) represented a time a when risks were taken, where designers and engineers had the upper hand, not the bean counters. This particular specimen looks to be in great shape, comes in the standard off-white paint with typical spectrum-style 80s graphics and paperwork. If you’re looking for a bike you probably won’t ride everyday but still needs to hit all the right buttons in terms of presence, history, 80s design, and plain old-fashioned weirdness, there are few better options than this from this era.
You can find this bike for sale with new tires, brakes, a Massachusetts title, and 17,000 miles on it for $5,500 here on Craigslist in North Stonington, Connecticut.