World - July '90
When the CB-1 used in
this evaluation showed up in the cinder-block shrine that is the
Cycle World garage, much coffee-besotted bench racing ensued, with
this little blue bolide as its object. The consensus? Mostly that
the CB-1 is just about a perfect model of a real motorcycle.
The multi-day, all-singing,
all-dancing standard-off, in which all ten of the bikes seen here
were flogged so hard their little tongues hung out, over all kinds
of roads, in drizzling rain and in pouring sunshine, resulted in
a somewhat modified opinion: the CB-1 is a real motorcycle, its
just three-quarters scale.
That is by no means
an indictment of this bike. Small isn't necessarily a negative attribute.
As it happens, in spite of its 53.9-inch wheelbase, and 30.5-inch
seat height, the CB-1's smile-per-mile quotient is right up there
with the best of them, thanks to its taught suspension, a riding
position comfortable for all but the tallest riders, and an incredible
little engine that just begs the rider to turn the throttle.
In fact, in order to
extract any sort of performance from the CB-1, its throttle must
be twisted with some vigor. The liquid-cooled, four-valve-per-cylinder,
short- stroke engine's rev limit is a spine-tingling 13,500 rpm,
and it doesn't really get into the fattest part of its power curve
until about 10,000 rpm. If you have any mechanical empathy at all,
turning any engine into five-digit rpm numbers takes some getting
used to, both in terms of seeing those big numbers on a tachometer
dial, and in terms of hearing the exhaust note such speeds yield.
After a bit of time however, the CB-1's test riders found themselves
assured that the engine not only could tolerate such speeds, but
that it thrives on them, and felt less concerned about zinging the
tach needle around to the redline. Once that happened, and once
they got used to using the bike's clean-shifting six- speed transmission
to keep the engine where it made max horsepower, they discovered
that the CB-1's brakes and chassis are every bit a match for its
willing little engine.
The bike's frame is
of steel tubes bent in perimeter style, its steering head aligned
to provide a sportbike-like 25.1 degrees of rake and 3.9 inches
of trail. Its non-adjustable fork uses 41 mm tubes, and its single-shock
rear suspension allows only spring-preload adjustment. Both ends
provide a kind of Everyman's spring/damping compliance designed
to work with the most common denominator. Which means it's a bit
soft on both ends, especially for backroad honking.
is quick and direct, with no surprises. Braking performance is,
by virtue of a twin-piston caliper that grips a 12.2 inch vented
rotor, excellent, and in keeping with the general overall fine balance
this bike provides.
What we really wish
is that the CB-1 was a 750, and that it was bigger overall. Nevertheless,
its an entertaining piece, a pint-sized standard that delivers quart-
List price: $4298
Weight: Tank empty 394 lb.
Fuel capacity: 3.3 gal.
1/4 Mile: 13.16 firstname.lastname@example.org mph
Top gear time to speed 40-60: 4.3sec
Measured top speed: 119 mph.
Average fuel mileage: 42 mpg
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