One thing we do The driver’s ability is rarely discussed in the custom world. But maybe we should. Because a customer who takes a Gixxer with them to track days and drive fast laps will hardly be happy driving a retro roadster with Firestone tires and a flat spot in the medium speed range.
When we heard that Bolt Motor Co. had built a bike for a four-time world champion, we were intrigued. Their client was Jorge Martínez Salvadores, known as “Aspar”, and the bike is a 1981 Honda CBX1000 Inline-Six. It is over 40 years old, but undoubtedly well stocked.
‘Aspar’ is an official Dorna MotoGP legend, alongside the likes of Agostini, Doohan and Hailwood, and now leads the Aspar racing team. The man with the tricky task of designing a bike for him was Bolt boss Adrián Campos, who has a certain lead in this area: He also heads a racing team, but focused on F2 and F3 cars.
The first task was to choose the bike. Adrián and Aspar chose one of the best old school muscle bikes of all time, the mighty CBX1000.
Adrián is well aware of the history of this machine. “The CBX1000 was designed by Shoichiro Irimajiri, an engineer who is also responsible for the motorcycles Taveri and Hailwood rode when they won the 1966 and 1967 championships,” says Adrián.
“Irimajiri became the Managing Director of Honda and led the CBX project. It has a generously sized engine suspended from a steel chassis … and this six-cylinder is difficult to access. Just ask our mechanics! “
Despite these difficulties, the immaculately restored 1047cc air-cooled engine with six shiny Keihin VB-61A carburetors with bespoke intakes looks like new. And although the engine is only a few centimeters wider than the four-cylinder CB750, it looks extremely imposing.
There’s just over a hundred horsepower on tap, enough for Aspar. Back then, Cycle World made the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds and for the first time achieved a top speed of 130 mph on a production motorcycle. These numbers are still respectable today.
So Bolt left the engine internals alone and limited his drivetrain modifications to a lighter flywheel and new tailpipes – with three free-flowing and slightly curved mufflers on each side of the CBX.
“These are handmade exhausts,” says Adrián. “Aspar let us advise on aesthetics and workmanship, but the sound and sensations he was looking for were very clear to him. His face when he first heard the bike was priceless. “
The suspension is an even bigger variance from inventory. The original 35 mm fork tubes on the CBX were dimensioned too small, especially since the engine is “suspended” at the top of the frame. So Adrián and Aspar turned their Rolodexes and went hunting for MotoGP parts.
The forks are now Öhlins units from an Aprilia MotoGP bike with a Moto2 front wheel. The carbon fender is a one-off, but the Brembo front brakes are from a Yamaha MotoGP bike. The hoses are from Goodridge: “All of them processed, tuned, balanced and tested by the Bolt team,” says Adrián proudly.
You might expect clip-ons too, but despite the sporty Brembo controls, the handlebar setup is more relaxed. “Aspar was looking for a distinctive but comfortable motorcycle, so we opted for straight handlebars – for comfort and convenience.” .
The swingarm looks pretty nifty, and it is – it was looted from the same Aprilia MotoGP bike as the forks. (“Mounting this swingarm on a Honda CBX was no easy task, but the result couldn’t be more spectacular!”)
The rest of the rear bears little resemblance to the massive rear end of the factory CBX1000. The new subframe is narrow and is supported by CNC-milled supports. The removable rear section is practically flush, with a passenger seat underneath and a discreet LED brake light at the rear. “The tail was designed in 3D and manufactured so that everything fits together perfectly.”
However, Bolt chose to keep the CBX’s bulky gas tank. “We wanted to stand out from the crowd by assembling a classic tank,” says Adrián. “We are thus emphasizing the iconic six-cylinder even more.”
The well-known semicircle of the Motogadget Motoscope Pro gives Aspar all the information it needs while driving, and the German company also supplied the indicators, handles and various electronics to complete the brand new electrical installation. Every inch of the wiring has been checked or replaced, along with all of the electrical components.
Given the client’s racing pedigree, the final color accent has obvious connections to the track. “Aspar was looking for a tank that was inspired by the color Red Bull uses on its cars,” says Adrián. “We added the checkered flag to make it clear that racing will always be in its DNA and on its motorcycle.”
It must have been intimidating to build a motorcycle for a man with 37 Grand Prix wins on his name. But if anyone could, it would have to be Adrián and the Bolt crew. And best of all, you just know this machine won’t be dodging the back streets in second gear.
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