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Honda CB500 Naked Motorbike Review

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Honda CB500 motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

The Honda CB500 is a first big motorcycle you’ll never want to sell. It’s huge fun because it’s so confidence-inspiring, meaning you can take it anywhere and it’ll make you feel you can push your limits. Very competent: commuters and couriers love Honda CB500s for their reliability and all-round, top-notch performance.  In all aspects, the Honda CB500's a winner.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

The Honda CB500 motor’s incredibly smooth with loads of power across a broad range. Even more fun… There’s an unexpected surge of welly, just after 8000rpm, which makes the Honda CB500 take off. Power delivery’s clean from a responsive throttle. Furthermore, the Honda CB500's very reliable and you can rack up the miles with little care.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

Everything is stable and friendly, meaning the rider can hone their skills whilst chucking the Honda CB500 about with wild abandon. It’s comfortable, the suspension’s ok, the gearbox is smooth and both slow and high speed handling are excellent. Very versatile, the Honda CB500 will cruise up to 90mph on the motorway without a fairing.

 

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

Nothing too flash (the money went on the Honda CB500's chassis and the engine) just well-thought-out and well built. The Brembo brakes work wonders. The Honda CB500 clocks are large and clear but very basic. A good seat with a decent amount of room for a pillion, too; and there’s a grabrail. Comfort’s good overall on the Honda CB500 but it can be cramped for giant riders.

Honda CB500 (1994-2003)

Detail Value
Dealer used prices
£1,710 (2002) - £1,790 (2002)
Private used prices
£1,370 (2002) - £1,470 (2002)
  View full used price info
Engine size 499 cc
Power 57 bhp
Top speed 120 mph
Insurance group 9 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 4
Engine rating is 5 rating is 3.5
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 3.5
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 3.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4
Value rating is 5 rating is 4

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

So good, we almost need a fanfare. Honda CB500 engines go on and on and on, as many a courier will tell you. Weaker points are the easily-rusting downpipes and short-lived exhausts. Otherwise, the Honda CB500 is pretty damned good: far more refined, and with far more longevity, than its rivals (see below).

Value

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4

Excellent. The Honda CB500 is a hugely versatile machine that’ll surprise you with its ability. Competitors, such as the old Kawasaki ER-5 or Suzuki’s GS500E, may be slightly cheaper but don’t have the quality (or the extra horsepower) of the Honda CB500. Be wary of ex-training school/race bikes (the Honda CB500 had its own series!) which have been dropped/crashed a lot. Find a Honda CB500 for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 9 of 17

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Model History

1994: Honda CB500 launched. It had a drum brake at the rear and Nissin caliper up front. Naked version only available.
1997: The rear brake converts to disc and both brakes get Brembo calipers.
1998: Honda CB500 race series kicks off and a silver version of the bike becomes available to celebrate. A half-faired Honda CB500S version joins the Honda fleet.
2003: Both Honda CB500 models discontinued as they didn’t meet EU emissions laws. Replaced by the Honda CBF500.

Other Versions

CB500S: half faired version of the Honda CB500, introduced in 1998 and discontinued in 2003.

Specifications

Top speed 120 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 13.2 secs
Max power 57 bhp
Max torque 35 ft-lb
Weight 173 kg
Seat height 775 mm
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Average fuel consumption 50 mpg
Tank range 200 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 9 of 17
Engine size 499 cc
Engine specification 8v parallel twin, 6 gears
Frame Tubular steel cradle
Front suspension adjustment 37mm fork, preload
Rear suspension adjustment Preload
Front brakes 296mm disc
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 110/80 x 17
Rear tyre size 130/80 x 17

See all Honda CB500 motorcycles for sale

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CB500

1521 miles

£4,495

Honda
CB500

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£4,495

Honda
CB500

1 miles

£4,495

Honda
CB500

1 miles

£4,895

Honda
CB500

2500 miles

£1,895

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(15 reviews)

  • My Review

    Philip Heywood

    Average rating rating is 3

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I bought this bike as my company vehicle and as such it was used for eight months commuting to and from Macclesfield to Milton Keynes (250 mile round trip). With a weeks worth of clothes in the topbox and a laptop bungeed to the seat . The bike did suffer power wise on the bends and twists - but once on the motorway it was fine. Cruising at any speed between 70-100 is no problem and gives over 55 MPG. The only (big) problem I find with this, is severe hand numbing vibration - tightening the bar ends didn't have any effect. It's a great bike to ride in the wet (and snow) as the power in both quantity and delivery is very mellow, while the handling is great. The finish isn't great, but regular spraying with WD40 seems to keep most of the corrosion at bay. I don't really use the bike for 'fun' as I also own a Triumph Speed Triple, but the CB is great around less than perfect, bumpy little lanes and is probably faster than my Triumph in quite a few situations (don't tell anyone..). Easy predictable handling and power is often overlooked these days in the pursuit of power, but it's these very traits that make some bikes a lot quicker round the bends than their spec says they should be. The CB is one of these... It would be good to see the CB updated with a CC/Power Increase and maybe a more protective fairing - but I guess this is then getting into Deauville territory?

    10 January 2002

  • My Review

    rossmoore

    Average rating rating is 3

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Feels very stable, very reliable. Has just about enough oomph with no passenger on board. fuel efficient, cheap to insure. Not enough oomph, especially with a passenger. Jittery engine at low revs.

    04 January 2002

  • My Review

    icastledine

    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Very reliable bike, toured abroad (France) and in Southern Ireland on it. The finish holds up well if you look after it during the winter although I have had a new exhaust under warranty after the paint started flaking off it. The mirrors and vibration are the only problem. OK for day to day work and I can scratch with the best of them on track days but if you're touring then it becomes a pain. That is only if you're doing 500 or so miles a day.

    04 November 2001

  • My Review

    brayer

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Perfect for riding all year round any weather bike . Has been 100% reliable despite having a noisy gearbox, hasn't got any worse in 3 years though. Had a new cam chain tensioner at 12000 miles (common fault I've been told). I do all own servicing no problems at all. Only wish I had a faired one.

    09 June 2001

  • My Review

    dc001a6616

    Average rating rating is 3

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Smashing little bike.Will commute all week and then stay with the fast bikes on the twisties with the bike club at the week-end. Loves to rev and the real action lives above 5000 to the redline (10,500) with a little additional powerband at 8000rpm. Corners with real confidence and screams when overtaking at speed. The seat is comfy for 100 miles at a time and fuel is required after 170 miles or reserve chimes in. Being a twin there is a little vibration but this is minimal and gives a bit of character. To sum up a cheap really good all rounder and quite exclusive-a well kept secret.

    20 May 2001

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kevinm6012

kevinm6012says

Damn Fine 500.

I bought myself a brand spanking new CB500 in 1999, as a pat on the back to myself at quailifying from University after years as a skint student. As I hadnt ridden for a few yrs it was a breath of fresh air and i fell in love with the wee Honda straight away. Lovely creamy smooth power delivery and a nice kick in the arse at 8,000 rpm when it makes you grin lots as it surges forward. Will charge on to 115+ mph without complaint. Handling is excellent for rear twin shocks and forgiving if you overcook things, which is why its so popular with newer riders. I had the unfaired model but fitted a flyscreen which looked cool and help ease the upper body muscles on motorways if breaking the speed limits.(not that i did that of course!). This bike was obviously built to a budget and not quite up there with Hondas usual high standards. The standard black chrome exhaust was garbage and rusted like a bean can after 5,000 miles. So a stainless one is a must if not fitted already. The engine casings showed signs of pitting and furring after 10,000 miles even though i didnt use it much in winter. The CB500 was built in Japan with the rear drum brake as an indicator to this. Production was transferred to Italy in the late 90s and a rear disc brake shows it is Italian built. Although the Brembo brakes are good to a point, it is widely accepted that build quality was not as good when production moved to Italy. As a commuter/mini tourer/all rounder/novice bike I would recommend one though. The great engine,chassis, reliability,handling and comfort make this a damn fine 500.

04 February 2010 15:52

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