RACING THE CB92R

By Scott “Scooter Scotty” Van Leuwen

            In 1966 I purchased a used CB92R Benly Super Sport Racer, and for the next several years I rode and raced it.  Although there have been several magazine articles which described the characteristics of the CB92 as a road bike, none focused on the racing version.  Even though the CB92R quickly became obsolete by racing standards, several were still raced well into the late sixties in production classes.  These are my impressions of the bike, formed from  my racing experiences. The CB92R was advertised in 1961 and 1962 as a dealer available racing version of the Benly Super Sport.  Specifications showed it came with megaphones, tachometer, a racing camshaft, racing seat, and handlebars.  It was rated at 16 horsepower, at 10,500 rpm, one horsepower more than the street model.  Additional racing kit accessories were available from Honda to further improve on its racing capabilities. See Race kit specifications on other pages.

 Power:  I always felt that the power of the bike was fairly advertised, compared to other bikes I rode.  Although rated at 10,500 rpm, it would easily pull 11,000.  With lighter valve gear, it could pull 12,000 rpm or more, but ran out of breath above 12,000, with its single carburetor.  Some riders found the necessary improvement by using a single CB77 carburetor.

 Handling:  The pressed steel frame and swinging arm, with leading-link front suspension, provided a stiff, stable platform.  Although I never knew whether my racing version had the optional racing shocks installed, it was very stable and predictable in the corners with a lightweight rider.  It was possible to pitch the bike over far enough, to dig a footrest into the pavement, this threw many a rider off myself included.

 Brakes:  Much has been said about the huge brakes fitted to the CB92, they were truly worthy of a bike of twice the displacement.  They could pull the bike’s speed down so fast as to try to propel an unwary rider over the handlebars.  The bike stopped smoothly, and straight, with a light touch of the pedal and lever.  What the CB92 lacked in technical sophistication, and sheer power, it made up in braking.  Out braking an opponent into a corner, made many passes possible.  In my opinion, the racing kit brake cooling vents were an unnecessary frill, but they made the bike look very much like the racing machine it was supposed to be.

 Accessories:  Available racing accessories from Honda included components for removing the flywheel and alternator, for better response and more available horsepower.  These worked well, but the total-loss ignition that resulted, caused the performance to suffer when the battery ran down, well into a race.  I always felt that the optional “red-wire” coil, which provided a hotter spark under these circumstances, improved the situation somewhat.  The higher compression pistons, with their thinner rings, also helped improve performance.  The plate available for removing the starter provided a needed weight reduction, whilst castellated nuts, and bolts drilled for safety wire were available, most riders provided their own.  The drilled fuel cap and safety wire nub on the fuel tank were well done.  I never liked the race kit footrests, folding footrests would have been better.

 It would be possible to go on at some length, on the racing capabilities of this stylish outdated machine, but time and space permit no such luxury.  I liked the CB92R as a racing machine, despite its short lifespan, and I enjoyed racing it.  It was a work of art on a racetrack, unlike some of its tubular brethren, and a joy to behold.  It was also a rare attempt at a factory advertising and selling a motorcycle for racing purposes.  Those alone should be enough to help retain its place in history.

Scooter Racing at Mid Ohio 2002