Honda CX500 Turbo is the World’s first production motorcycle to feature a turbocharged engine. The CX500 rolled out of the assembly line in 1982.
Honda CX500: The Base Platform
The Honda CX 500 turbo (or Honda CX500TC) was developed based on the bulletproof Honda CX500 from the previous years. The is because the CX500 was shaft driven and had a liquid-cooled engine. Therefore, Honda figured the CX500 would be the best base platform as it could handle the extra 40% increase in power and heat through turbocharging. On top of this, the CX500 featured Honda’s very first V Twin engine which had four valves per cylinder. In general, the CX500 was an innovative platform for Honda since the beginning. On top of this, Honda wanted to work on a 500cc mid-size engine platform. They wanted to show that the turbocharged 500cc engine could stay in par with larger displacement engines.
Development of the Honda CX500 Turbo
During the development phase, Honda found it challenging to have the turbo system with the motorcycle’s V twin-engine configuration. However, Honda managed to develop the Honda CX500 Turbo in the end successfully. Furthermore, they managed to file 230 innovative patents along the way. According to Honda’s specifications, IHI developed the turbocharger. It was placed in front of the engine to cool the turbochargers when the bike is in motion.
The fairings of the bike consisted of ducts and channels to force the air into the turbocharger.
CX500 was also the first Honda bike to feature computer-controlled fuel-ignition. The operation controlled by a mini-computer in the tail and several sensors also had a fail-safe system in case something goes wrong.
On top of this, the bike featured Pro-Link rear suspension and TRAC (Torque Reactive Anti-dive Control) system to safely down the torque and power onto the tarmac.
1982: The Launch Of Honda CX500 Turbo
Finally, In 1982 the Honda CX500 Turbo came out to the market, and it was the world’s very first turbocharged motorcycle.
Upon the launch, even some technical and maintenance trade schools bought over a few units of the CX500TC to study on the innovative technologies utilised in the bike. With an engine capacity of the only 500cc, the bike could produce 82 Hp, which was close to other Honda bikes with massive displacements. However, as the CX500’s turbo starts to spool at 4,000 rpm, the motorcycle would be rocketed so quick like a spaceship. The riders could feel the raw power of the bike compared to bigger bikes which they found it exciting.
1983: Launch of Honda CX650 Turbo
In 1983 the more revised CX650 Turbo (or CX650 TD) later replaced the CX500 Turbo. As the name suggests, the CX650 featured a 650cc engine. The engine power output bumped up to 100Hp.
In the 650 the compression ratio was increased, and the maximum boost was reduced for smooth riding. The fuel injection system got an update and the rear suspension attained a manually operating damping control mechanism. Besides these changes, cosmetically the CX650 turbo differs only a little from the CX500 turbo. The Material used for the fairing switched from GRP to ABS plastic on the CX650 Turbo. Within the one year production period, Honda built only 1,777 units, making it highly collectable now!
The CX series, since the beginning was more of an innovative platform for Honda. The 1982 CX500 Turbo until today stays as one of the most sophisticated and exciting motorcycles in history. The development of this innovative CX500 Turbo is among one of the most outstanding examples of how Honda always tries to advance in Motorcycle technology.