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Honda CB500 a great little machine.
I got my CB500 after a 'dry' spell because I had my license taken away and wanted something to get me back into riding. From the moment I first sat on it we just connected somehow and so the relationship began.
The bike was a unfaired 2000 W plate and had been used as a race bike and had then been put back onto the road only to be involved in a front end crash which resulted in the following damage. Twisted yokes, bent forks, broken clocks, dented tank, scuffed plastics, broken mirors, broken indicators and a smashed headlight.
Now being such a popular and reliable bike cheap parts were in abundance, the only hard part to come by was the instrument cluster. Honda sell them for over £600 new but you can get a second hand one for around £100. Scuffed plastics can be rubbed with wet/dry paper and a splash of paint added to restore colour. Headlight mirrors, indicators and yokes come to about £150 for the lot. The forks were straightend out with a hydroulic press and she was ready to go.
So how did it ride? Well the first thing noticed was the crisp sound of the left side exiting Micron exhaust system that someone had fitted that gave the bike such great personality. The low riding height and small low engine means that even short small framed riders can ride round town with little effort. Round town riding is also helped by the low down torgue deliverd by the 499cc parallel twin engine that only needs a small twist of the throttle and little revs to pull away (unlike small revy inline 4 engines fitted to many small bikes).
The single disc front brake is not overly grabby but more than capable of stopping the bike at high speed without over heating and fading. The riding position is an '80 mph' position (80 mph is not overly windy and is easy to maintain) but not so sporty that weight is put on your wrists and shoulders until you get up speed. As for speed if you let the revs get up in each gear 100mph is quickly reached with about 120mph top speed if you fancy trying it. Another good point is the high 6th gear allowing 60mph to be achieved at a little over a low 5000rpm, it will actually go as fast in 5th as 6th it just revs higher in 5th (ie just hitting the red line).
I took mine from Skegness in Lincolnshire across to the east coast then up to Scotland, first day we (friend riding on YZF-R6) made fort william, second day John-O-Groats, third day Berick upon Tweed and fourth day home. I am 6'3 and weighing 15 stone, the bike had a set of saddle bags containing a two man tent, clothing and a pair of shoes making it just wider than the handle bars. The bike was happy with the extra load and never missed a beat (rained solid for about 6 hours one day). Fuel consupmtion worked out to about 10p per mile with a range of 180-200 miles per tank (I liked to fill it after 160 miles). My only complaint was the seat was a bit hard and by the time fuel stop was getting near my ass was really hurting and had gone numb to the touch. Apart from that I can't fault it.
The CB500 then became my work commuter for the rest of the summer doing the 28 mile round trip each day (commuted on her from may-october) then got put in the shed and cleaned ready for sale as my re-introduction into biking was completed. When she goes I know I will mis her as It is honestly the best bike I have ever owned (iv'e owned alot). A fact sheet I was reading said Honda tested the engine for 200,000 miles and after dissmantling decided that there was still life left in it. It also holds a record as being the only model of bike to compete in 24 hour endurance races at Le-Mans and never suffer a breakdown.
An easy to ride, forgiving, cheap reliable bike that can still be made to get a shift on that is just damn brilliant at doing everything (apart from off road). Sounds like a Honda to me. I now have an XRV750 Africa twin and a 27 year old Suzuki GS250t for winter (refuse to own a car now) but miss using the little CB500 on that trip to work in the morning.