In the Rapture story, trumpets sound for the dead to rise again for better prospects elsewhere. Left to rust and die, Dutch custom motorcycle builder Arno Overweel of Rno Cycles brought this 1979 CBX 1000 Turbo back to life to challenge all comers on some ethereal, Asgardian superbike racetrack.
While the end result of his project obviously speaks for itself, what makes this execution special is Arno’s understanding of, and deep respect for, the lofty and important pedestal Honda’s CBX sits on in motorcycle culture. Likewise, the care he took in creating something entirely singular and visionary while successfully maintaining the essence of the original stock is the mark of true mastery. His approach awakened a completely new and authentic soul for the bike that Honda designers may never have imagined, yet retained the integrity of it’s heritage. It takes a supreme restomod alchemist to balance on the razor fine line that separates ingenious from contrived.
Since the beginning of its developmental life, Honda’s CBX undeniably possessed a certain “something” that needed to be experienced within the context of its’ production era to be truly appreciated. In the early ‘80’s, I frequented a Honda dealer that had a CBX promotional poster in the showroom and (being still too young for street bikes and on-demand images on the internet not yet a thing), I’d drop by on my way home from school just to gaze at it. And it haunts my dreams still…
The air-cooled 1,047cc, 105bhp, 24-valve, roaring inline-six motor, came in like a lion as the new, new thing; a hypnotizing presence that simultaneously captivated and awed. Which is exactly what Honda intended. By the late 1970’s, Honda had gone full court press on their automobile business, letting their motorcycle division lie fallow and boring; content to piggyback on the coattails of legendary Freddie Spencer’s international success. The development and launch of the CBX was to deliver a sharp, ass-kicking exclamation mark to end the parenthesis of what had become Honda’s apathetic innovation curve.
Given that kind of a backstory and the CBX’ antecedence in Honda’s lineage, it’s probably fair to say that many custom builders would look at reinterpreting an original CBX Turbo with some trepidation (the phrase, “Don’t f@ck it up!” likely echoing in the background as they break out the angle grinder). Add to this the fact that Arno is a custom bike builder who doesn’t consider himself a “restorer.” By his own admission, Arno states that “restoration is simply not my passion.”
To his credit, Arno resisted defaulting to his over-the-top signature style. The easy out would be to reach into his innovative wheelhouse. Instead, he showed restraint, finding inspiration where the DNA of the CBX began to germinate – AMA Superbike racing. With an approach centered around an aggressive cockpit, vintage style number plate and a belligerent front end, it would almost seem that Arno simply let loose that which already lay dormant deep within the CBX’ soul.
But that, as they say, would be too easy.
To see more from Rno Cycles, go here: https://www.rnocycles.com/
For more photography from Floris Velthuis, go here: https://www.instagram.com/florisvelthuis/