Sportbike development has progressed at a brisk rate over the last few years. So it’s easy to forget how quick some of the bigger-engined machines were 35 years ago.
Take the late 70s Honda CBX: It has a meaty inline six measuring 1047cc and producing a whopping 105bhp. That’s still more than you get from the latest Honda CBR600RR, and enough for an exhilarating ride.
Despite the promise of slick Honda engineering and a hefty wallop of power, this particular CBX sat unloved on the showroom floor of a Parisian dealer for two years. It didn’t turn a single head, even though it was in original condition. And when Boulmich Moto dropped the price nearly two thousand Euros, it still didn’t shift.
It did get the attention of Olivier Renouf, though. Olivier is one quarter of the Bad Seeds Motorcycle Club—together with Boulmich owner Didier, and their friends Fabrice and Tom. And with a Photoshop mockup in hand, Olivier convinced Didier to put the CBX on the bench.
“The inspiration came from the drag bikes of the early 80s,” says Olivier. “When I showed it to Didier, he said ‘OK, let’s do it’.”
Didier also owns an independent workshop, L’Atelier Speed Shop, and this became the home base for the project. It was time to transform the CBX from classic sports tourer to drag-inspired brawler.
The new stance and bodywork are the most obvious changes, but there’s some trick engineering at work too. For starters, Bad Seeds have converted the CBX’s ‘Pro-Link’ mono-shock rear end to a twin shock arrangement.
That meant grafting on a complete Kawasaki ZRX1100 rear end. The swingarm’s been braced, and a new subframe’s been built to accommodate a pair of Öhlins shocks.
The front end’s equally burly, taken from a Suzuki Hayabusa. And the tire selection is purposeful: ultra-grippy Battlaxes from Bridgestone.
Raiding the parts bins didn’t stop there. The fuel tank’s a modified Harley Sportster item, and the seat’s adapted from a Honda CB900 Bol d’Or. A Suzuki GSX-R offered up its rearsets, and the exhaust is a second hand, six-into-one Kerker unit.
There’s a healthy dose of hand-made aluminum parts too. Take a look at the side covers—with graphics inspired by Japan’s An-Bu Customs. “I told them about it,” Olivier says, “and they said they liked it.” (The katakana type on them reads ‘Road Bomber.’)
The number board and headlight combo is hand-made too, along with the rear under-seat block-off plate and the tail light arrangement.
The bike’s loaded with subtle touches and neat upgrades. A keen eye will notice a row of Keihin FCR43 carbs, adorned with bright red velocity stacks. The braking system’s been treated to braided hoses with color-coded fittings. And the cockpit’s been trimmed right down—with clip-ons and new switches and controls.
The Bad Seeds ‘Road Bomber’ is probably the best use of an old CBX that we’ve come across. We’d hate to run into it in a dark alley though…