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Yes it was knackered when I bought it.. most ex-courier bikes sold off by garages in London are.. but that didnt put me off.
I bought mine when my (purchased new after my CBT test) Hyosung Cruise 2 125cc's engine melted within 2 years of purchase. That was 6 years ago.
It looked a mess: 48000 on the clock, 1 broken engine mount (Al case hole), rusty downpipes, 1 tire almost bald, the other not far behind, ugly mirrors and a rusty rear box carrier, broken indicators, scratched paintwork (especially the engine protections bars) and clocks that only partially worked. I still paid £1000 for it because I needed a commuter and could find nothing else decent near me at the time.
I replaced the indicators with a small pair from Honda that make it look a little more modern (£20). Replaced mirrors for an OEM pair at around £20. Added a black plastic shield designed for the US Night Hawk model (looks real good on it and was easy to fit) £50. I removed the box carrier and swapped it at the garage for a rear handle (which the bike had been missing). I removed and repainted the crash bars, then sprayed the entire engine block with HT Al paint and hand painted the black frame with Hammerite black gloss (£20). I got the engine mount re-welded for £50 at a specialist Al welding garage in Brentford. Replaced both tires at a total cost of £160. The rusty pipes are still good (6 years later) as they only smoke a little in the cold till they warm up. And I just live with the fact that the odometer mileage reset no longer works as clocks are very expensive to replace and not really worth it in this case.
I also had to have an ignition driver (located inside the clutch cover) replaced shortly after buying the bike as it would not fire properly on cold days and that was probably why the garage was so keen to sell it - got them to do it for free once I figured out where the fault was (which took me 3 months, including a wasted trip to Honda in Chiswick who, it seems, cant fix their own bikes).
I have commuted daily on it, in all weather, since (6 years), doing a total of around 15000 miles. And have had to replace the chain and sprockets on it twice (possibly due to a faulty rear wheel bearing causing the first chain to only last 3000 miles) at a cost of around £100 each time including fitting, the front brake pads 3 times (around £30 each time with fitting), the front disc once (heavily scored by a cheap set of non-Honda pads) at a cost of around £80 including fitting, rear shoes twice (£30 each time) spark plugs and air-filter twice at a cost of around £50 each time, front head lamp once (£5), indicator relay once (£6), battery once (£28), fork seals (£80) and oil and filter every 6 months at the main change in the season (around October and April) which I do myself at around £30 a time.
I weigh 120Kg and it can pull me and my rucksack around with no problem at all. I rarely do more than 50Mph because I'm an in-town commuter but can easily accelerate to the legal limit on a motorway in a just a few seconds. The front brake disc is excellent with the rear shoes being total crap. I tend to brake with the engine/ gears and the front brake when needed.
THE MOST RELIABLE MACHINE I HAVE EVER OWNED. Since the ignition circuit was changed, it has not failed to start once - in the dry, wet and even snow. Never overheats. You can jet wash it from top to bottom and it wont even notice - turn the key and off you go.
Very economic to run, especially on short trips in urban traffic. Mine will do a 12 mile round trip through traffic mostly, on a pound, hence averaging around 60Mpg.
The seat is hard and small (for me) - I'm just glad my kid fathering days are over given the amount of squashing certain parts of me get when riding..
Its a little low (for me) even with the shocks on the highest setting.
The ride can be affected by moderate cross-winds which makes me conclude that its also a little too light (for me).
The chain needs constant attention - I have to clean and oil it twice a week. And that invariably messes up the rear wheel so I also have to frequently clean that with an engine degreaser.
The entire bike vibrates briefly as the engine powers through around 5000 rpm (where the power curve really starts to kick in) and am not sure if that is due to wear on the gearbox - but I seldom maintain that RPM as I can commute quite easily without exceeding 4000 RPM.
I've taken my wife riding on it in the past and its really not a good idea to do so.. the CB is definitely a 1 man bike, unless both you and your riding partner are very small.
Dont fit OEM mechanical parts. Get Honda originals if at all possible. And that goes doubly so for brake parts.. Honda have dropped their parts prices for the CB and they are far more affordable now than they used to be.
Dont trust garages to fit good parts - if in doubt buy them yourself and get a garage to fit them. I've had too many experiences where mechanics will gladly fit a crap part and charge you the same as for a Honda original. Be warned.
Use a good semi-synth oil + oil filter every 6 months regardless of the state of the oil and the mileage driven. Dont put all 4L in (like most garages do), 3.5L is more than what the manual says and the engine operates better.
Never underestimate a CB5 in traffic or at the lights..