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What is a Honda CB1?

It first arrived in the US around 1989. Not massively popular when introduced, probably something to do with the fact that it cost as much as a CBR600. It lasted only another model year, till 1990. Minor differences separated them, a centre stand here, a badge colour there. They both came in blue and made around 45'ish horsepower. Not really what the US market wanted, unfortunately.

The Japanese market CB-1 on the other hand lasted a lot longer. It too arrived in 1989 but lasted through until around 1993 when it was replaced by the CB400SF (a bike similar in looks to the CB1000 "Big One"). These CB-1's came in a multitude of colours including black, navy blue, green, grey, red, yellow and so on. They too only made around mid 40s power but due to Japans strict licensing laws they sold a lot better. Similar to the US market bikes but with subtle differences here and there. A stainless steel exhaust as standard (the mild steel one on the US bike being a source of many rust coloured problems to its owners), alloy rear peg hangers and a KM speedo being just a few.

After a few years a number of these CB-1s made their way to the UK where they soon found favour with commuters, couriers and those short of leg. The -1 was recognized, by the discerning, as a bike whose performance belied its looks. Who cared if it couldn't do 150mph, it handled well, was exceptionally reliable, cheap and had an engine to die for. The gear driven cams, when spun up and revved hard, make an unforgettable noise (lets not forget the engine was derived from the original CBR400) and progress can be rapid if not stellar. All in all a bike for forgetting about ego and "My one's bigger/better/faster than yours" and riding just for the sake of it.

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