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Endurance racing

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2000 Honda X-11 


My most dangerous transport. The X-11 is a little-known bike but it’s a beast, believe me. Even now, 20 years on, it is one of the fastest standard naked bikes. It has 130 rwhp & 98ft/lbs. Totally rebuilt in 10/2013 with a Blackbird engine and many modifications.

UPDATE: The X is no more! Written off in a crash in March 2016, pics are on the page below :(



The Joy of X is dead... I crashed it in Dubai 2 weeks ago, sadly it went instruments-first into a concrete wall on a medium speed mountain bend, and it’s history... :( :(.  Below, some pictures of the damage. I myself was ok!
    Frame snapped BOTH sides..
    Rear subframe bent vertically downwards...
    Nothing left of instruments except speedo dial driven into the steering head!
    Only this bolt is holding the front half of the frame & forks to the rest of the bike...
    Rear mount screwed as well.
    3 front engine bolts all bent..

Below, my only video of the X “at speed” on the same road I crashed on...



New front and rear Bridgestone tyres, plus new front brake pads. Remapped the PC3 via a Dyno run, which gave the X about 7 more top end HP (now 130.8) and much more lower end grunt (98 ft/lbs!!). And better fuel consumption as well!


New radiator fitted and general cleanup and flush of cooling system.  Power Commander had new map uploaded, should be a bit more economical, thats all.


New Tyre again, and the rad is failing (leaking/missing plenty of fins..), ordered a new and expensive OE Honda one... Nothing else on the X to report!


New Dunlop  rear tyre, plus new chain...


New Dunlop tyres again, plus the front Fireblade wheel is now fitted with no issues.


New tyres @ 82k miles, Dunlops, 190/50 rear, D211 front (obsolete) as the current ones are “unavailable”. Bloody UAE, only here... Binned the idea to lower the ride height, it feels fine now with matched tyres!!

Front blade wheel project ‘ongoing’, waiting for wheel spacers, I have the rest...


The Fireblade rear wheel project is done, next the front as well!


The Fireblade wheel project is nearly done, my spacers fit and it all lines up;


Lost one front brake pad due to worn caliper plus worn pad (eek!). Hence the Joy’s callipers have been replaced with a secondhand pair in much better condition. The project to fit a Fireblade 3-spoke rear wheel is almost complete also, just awaiting the wheel spacers. Last task after that is working out the brake torque arm location. I also plan to shorten the rear shock, as I think the ride height is too high now. I’d like even heavier fork oil as well...


New rear tyre for the X. Had to fit a 190/50 as 180/55 are “not available” from anyone out here, grr. Started a possible project to fit a 929 or 959 fireblade rear 3 spoke wheel, as they are 6” rather than 5.5” wide, and can thus fit a 190 tyre properly. So, far, it looks quite feasible. Also, I’d get a better rear brake out of it.

Also fitted a Power Commander III USB (the newer ones don’t fit). Got a suitable preset map, and it has actually improved the lower speed running a lot, although the upper end seems the same. Economy has gone down though...


My recently rebuilt but 14 years old front forks developed an oil leak. The stanchions were both quite pitted from it’s days in the UK, so I bought 2 new stanchions from some Polish guys who are remanufacturing them, plus new bushes and seals, since I was rebuilding them anyway. I also stripped off the powdercoat that was put on the fork lowers by a bunch of amateurs, and instead rattle can sprayed them dark metallic grey. It’s all back together now and seems Ok. I also changed the oil from ATF to Motul “heavy” 15W synthetic, which again seems better with the Hagon springs.


Replaced plugs, fuel filter, and fuel pressure regulator (for the newer BB type, 52 instead of 42psi). Changed rear gearing to 16:46, which is now closer to correct for a naked with BB gearbox.


Speedohealer fitted and the speedo is now within 1% accurate as far as I can check. Two new tyres fitted as well. Also, bought & fitted a Puig flyscreen (type ‘naked’) which fits pretty well and makes a really noticeable difference at high speeds. I may perhaps trim it slightly so that it fits better but its no big deal...


The X now has a nice brand new carbon fibre Yoshimura RS3 4-2-1 exhaust, and a 16T front sprocket, which has made the gearing more-or-less ok (with 44T rear). The ’old’ RS3 exhaust has been put on the BB. I have also adjusted the rear spring preload down slightly. A speedohealer to fix the speedo error is on the way as well...


The X is back together and running. New Hagon fork springs, Shock Factory rear shock, taper roller headraces, LED indicators, all the plastics, grab rail and tank repainted metallic black. Here it is on it’s shakedown run;

The speedo is well out, due to the BB engine’s extra gear. Also, the front sprocket needs to be changed to a 16T, the standard X11 gearing becomes too high with a BB gearbox. Notice that the rear is slightly high, thats due to the 5mm longer shock which I specified.


Much progress.. The frame, swingarm, rear subframe, wheels, footrest plates, engine covers etc. have all been soda blasted & powdercoated either black or dark metallic grey. Wheels rebuilt with new bearings, disks & seals, forks rebuilt with new seals (the bushes were ok). Most of the frame can be reassembled. Awaiting a new rear shock and new steering head bearings.

Frame in grey.

New disks.

Powdercoated wheels.

Footrest plates after soda blasting.



My “new” BB engine has had it’s inlet cam swapped to the X11 one, and it’s valve clearances done (as usual with a BB engine, almost nothing needed doing to them). The top end is back together. Drilled out and Helicoiled the broken/jammed engine mount bolt (and bought a new replacement). I also found that the old engine had snapped it’s bottom engine mount bolt when I took it out! The old X is totally stripped to it’s component parts, I just have to decide how to put it back together again now, and how/what colours to paint the bits. The wheels will get black satin powdercoat for sure, but the rest I’m still debating.

Old engine out of frame...


Oh dear, broken mount bolt on the “new” engine.


Frame now bare, what to do?

BB engines never need their clearances adjusted much...



Ok, my “new” Blackbird engine is in the workshop, initial checks and superficial stripdown suggest that its in very good condition,

-although it does have one snapped off upper mount bolt in situ—however this should be easy to fix! Started cleaning it all up ready for install—I don’t see any reason for any major stripdown.


A complete Blackbird engine is en route from Spain for the X!  I decided that the flaky gearbox was getting too bad and it’s not worth rebuilding, knowing it’s done 70k miles & more. Cheaper to get a whole engine! I’ll do a bit of ‘selective assembly’ no doubt, for example I’d like to keep the X’s inlet cam, but the BB’s 6 speed box.. We’ll see how it goes when the engine turns up...


The carbon fibre sleeve on the Yoshi exhaust failed at the rivets (they always do...) so I bought a rebuild ‘kit’ from Yoshimura (good quality) and rebuilt it with a stainless sleeve instead.  New rear tyre a few weeks back as well.


Replaced the rear sprocket. Was going to change the chain and front sprocket as well, but they really seemed pretty good so I didn’t see the point. Changed the front tyre 3 weeks back — need a new rear tyre soon...


The X now has a bypassed 02 sensor and all the bits mentioned below are done. It’s significantly faster than before, which surprised me, I expected the difference to be smaller. Also had to create a better intermediate exhaust bracket with the mig :)  Needs a new front tyre now.

24/09/11  - Major update

The poor old X needed major surgery as it’s camchain was rattling. It has been partially stripped and will get new camchain, new tensioner blades, and it’s valve clearances done (only 1 is out, after 65,000 miles and never being adjusted...and that one not by much). Also fitted the Yoshimura RS-3 exhaust, which was a swine, because the monkey last owner had snapped 4 exhaust studs. I managed to helicoil 3, one of the remaining 4 also broke as I removed the old exhaust, so I had 2 that I couldn’t drill out or do anything with..  MIG to the rescue!  - I MIG’d a piece of new stud onto the old bit stuck in the head!! Horrible but the best one could do without pulling the head & major work. Also installed the Teclusion tweak box that will richen the fuel for the exhaust/airbox alterations. I will disable the 02 sensor as well. PAIR valves to be replaced. Airbox replaced with a blackbird one. Fitted new battery. Fitted new rad fan.


Only routine stuff like oil changes, nowadays the X is in Dubai, but nothing has changed. I still haven’t fixed the Yoshi etc. on the bike! I also have a few other bits such a a new camchain to fit, and an “enrichening kit” to get rid of the flat spot the 4-1 will give it...


Fitted new battery a couple of months ago. Delinked the brakes because I was annoyed by the behaviour of the rear (front was ok). I used a kit custom made by a member of the X11 OC. Also bought myself a Yoshimura carbon 4-1 for the beast, but not fitted that yet..


Nothing much to add. Fitted 1 new rear tyre, Conti Road Attack this time, the sport version just seemed to wear a bit quicker. I readjusted the carb synchronisation with a proper vacuum gauge and that has improved low speed running quite a bit, it was miles out.  Changed the oil/filter for full synthetic. Joy of X also needs a new battery, so one’s on order..


No updates lately, as nothing goes wrong with a Honda! Well, except when your neighbour backs into it with their car… damn.. Still, the insurance have paid for the parts so Joy of X is under minor repair this week. When it went over it fell on the kerb and went right through the ignition cover plus marking the clutch cover, so various new parts are on the way… I might just add a pair of slip-ons just for fun!


Well I’m pretty used to it now, having fallen off twice so far, once due to the silly steering lock turning round in the road, and once when I span the rear exiting a pub on a turn and it slid too far out of line…not much harm done but I had to get a new footrest plate as the footrest mount broke off (ebay is wonderful…).

However, I still think it’s a GREAT bike, and I’ve done quite a few miles now (about 6k I think) since I got it. Fixed quite a bit of the general engine noise by replacing the cam chain tensioner, people say that X11 ones (unlike ‘birds) don’t fail but it seems they’re wrong, X11 ones last longer but mine definitely made a clear difference.


Ok, first update! –I’ve adjusted and changed quite a few things on the “Joy of X” so far, namely, I’ve replaced the chain and sprockets, replaced a missing engine bolt plus both control cables (clutch/throttle) which made a BIG difference. Replaced the headlamp bulb with Xenon, which is also much better, the equal of a 100W normal one. Changed all the brake pads. Reset-up the rear brake pedal. Tweaked the rear brake stoplight switch which was ‘sticky’. Wore out both Bridgestone BT 014 new tyres it was fitted with and I have to say they are CRAP - (a) they wore out in no time and (b) their ‘feel’ in corners is useless, even though their actual grip is fine. I replaced them with a pair of Conti Sport Attacks and they are instantly much much nicer, and seem well suited to the X.  I also put two new (black not chrome) rear view mirrors on it.

Oh yeah, and I monstered a few of those pesky Scooby drivers too – hard luck guys.

To do: change the brake fluid maybe, find out where the rattle over slow bumps comes from, do better wheelies, is a stoppie possible on a linked brakes bike, that’s the question??? …. And … shut down a few more hot hatches and 4 wheel drive thingies…


Still getting used to this beast. As my kids said when I turned up on it…”Dad, that’s BEASTY!” and it is, believe me. Why they were panned by the press is a mystery to me, other than they did not/do not “fit” the current fashion streams for bikes, e.g. retro naked, or sportsbike, or supermoto, blah blah...  Usually people describe them as “naked Blackbirds” but in fact they are quite a lot different than the Blackbird. The X handles very well (for a big bike) and has a good riding position for a tall guy like me (you may be leaning too much if your arms are shorter). Suspension is good even though not very adjustable, and so far I’ve not been able to fault the linked brakes, which I’d assumed I’d hate!