Of the two CB92s, purchased in late 2015 and shipped in the dead of winter to SoCal, the 1961 bike was re-sold locally to a good friend. Having owned one as a young lad in the UK, it seemed to be a good fit at this time. The engine will eventually come to the Casa de Honda for an overhaul, but preliminary indications it that the 3xxx miles showing were genuine and that the main issue to address was low compression on one side, probably due to corrosion on the valve or seats.
The 1960 machine had been listed on eBay just to gauge the response to putting it on the market, while the engine was hurriedly rebuilt. In the end, the engine was fired up about 6 hours prior to the end of the auction; but eBay blocks any last-minute updates so potential bidders were left in the dark about whether the bike was going to be a runner or not.
The previously-ordered square oil pump screen failed to arrive on the Wednesday, right before Thursday’s auction close, so the decision was made to reinstall the old round body pump and screen then close up the cases for installation. While the clutch-driven oil pump all went back into position easily, the clutch fiber plates apparently absorbed oil over the last 56 years enough to cause the tabs to swell up and hang on the clutch outer during assembly. Later versions used steel-backed friction plates which alleviate this problem, but all that could be done was to run each tab on the bench grinder a little on both sides. While a less than ideal situation, the plates had markedly less drag as they were installed.
Despite having a total knee replacement three weeks prior, the resident mechanic was able to move the assembled engine off the workbench onto a flat roller cart, then over to the awaiting chassis. Using a small floor jack, centered over the drain plug, the engine was hoisted into place and all mounting bolts installed securely. All that was left then was to hook up the exhaust system (megaphones), fuel and electrical systems. The new, but ancient 6v battery was given a 2 day trickle charge before installation, but the initial engine turnover seemed labored, so a 12v charger was setup on standby, if needed, as a jumper. The original ignition coil leads had been cut in half and additional spark plug wiring poorly attached. An aftermarket EMGO 6v coil was ordered from the 4into1.com site, with hopes that it would work successfully with the original points and condenser system. The coil came without any mention of which wires were + and – so the attached male/female connectors were used as-is in hopes that the polarity was correct. The original coil was dissected in order to remove the mounting bracket, which was then adapted to the new coil, making installation much easier.
The petcock and carburetor had already been cleaned and rebuilt, so all that was needed was a chunk of OEM 5.5mm Honda fuel line to bridge the gap between the two connections. The ignition switch came without keys, but a helpful eBay seller made up new replacements for the rare NA series lock. Initial checks of the electrical system seemed to be okay. Power was getting to the points, when flashed with a screwdriver, but there was no spark at the plugs while cranking. A few moments with a point file and contact cleaner cured the problem and tiny sparks began to appear at the side-gapped spark plugs.
Not having the kickstarter lever to kick the engine over, the battery-powered starter motor was the only option for start-up. Once the sparks were working, it appeared that no fuel was getting to the cylinders. A quick check of the carburetor idle jet dispelled any notion of a blocked jet causing the problem, so some WD-40 was squirted down the carb throat a few times and finally the little engine burst into life. The un-muffled exhaust roar got the attention of the neighbors rather quickly, as the engine continued to warm up over a 5-minute period. No nasty noises emanated from the engine, nothing was leaking and just a little bit of oil smoke puffed out of the megaphones during some 4 to 8 thousand rpm run-ups. Good enough in my book, so it was shut down to rest.
The new drive chain was not installed as the rear sprocket was of the 48 tooth size vs. a more normal 44 tooth type. The spare alloy racing sprockets were 42 and 46, so still non-standard sizes. It seemed best to let the new owner choose the sprocket selection and cut the new chain to fit that sprocket option.
The bike was more or less spoken for, even before the end of the auction. Despite over 1200 page hits and over 70 people “watching” the auction, only one paltry opening bid was placed, so the auction closed without an internet sale. The bike had been listed on Craigslist for a few weeks prior, so that opened a separate avenue for potential buyers. Sure enough, messages came through from a representative in Los Angeles who works for a collector living in Indonesia!
Armed with a short video clip of the bike up and running, the buyer gave his representative the green-light to proceed with the purchase of the bike, including a small box of spares. It has become possible to recreate the small rectangular tail light assembly by corralling parts from Thailand and the US. The lens was replicated (in two of the three styles) by Clauss Studios and the tail light bracket, base plate and sockets are Asian parts. A generous friend in Louisiana donated a new 6v double-ended tail light bulb, which is one item that is not available otherwise. The small hardware mounting bits came from Ohio Cycle who reproduced the sub-screws and other needed parts to mount the light to the bracket.
Honda sold a handful of 1962 models here in the US and some of those would have had the upgraded “short lens” CB72 tail light assembly used in 1962 only. The bikes continued to be manufactured and sold elsewhere through 1964. While we have record of the 1961 bike selling for about $550 in 1962, current values of a fully restored CB92 range upwards from $12k in the US and seem to be offered in the UK at prices approaching $20k. Because of the CB92 specific parts needed to restore one of these models, a full restoration can be a daunting task in the 21st Century. Facebook has various vintage Honda-related bike pages, including one for CB92s only. Connecting with those folks will be most helpful for parts and information for anyone contemplating ownership of one of these highly-collectible vintage Honda Super Sport machines. It was fascinating to re-visit a 1960 CB92 after the first one showed up in my life, back in the late 1980s. They were amazing creations in their time and their popularity has skyrocketed ever since.