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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

Honda
CB500

1521 miles

£4,495

Honda
CB500

811 miles

£4,195

Honda
CB500

12000 miles

£1,500

Honda
CB500

1 miles

£4,999

Honda
CB500

miles

£4,799

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(15 reviews)

  • wolf in sheep's clothing

    hillfish

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    This bike is a brilliant all rounder that is really rewarding to ride - it has great performance at 'real' roadspeeds and the twin engine is really torquey making it feel a lot more powerful than it would suggest on the engine spec - it really flys once you get the revs up! I have loved every minute of riding it whether commuting/fast A road riding, even camping trips - it can keep up with all but the fastest bikes if you really give it some and the handling is great. My only criticisms are suspension is a bit bog standard which comes to light on rougher roads, and it is a bit too lightweight for very long distances and sustained highspeed riding ie motorways - its a bit vibey at high speed plus light front end, say over 85mph. my first recommendations are: get a givi screen and a tail rack plus heated grips and it'll really work all year round in any conditions, I easily get 55-60mpg (sometimes higher) even when riding fast/mixed conditions which gets over 200miles before hitting reserve. if you need a cheap bike to do it all and not ever let you down get one of these, you'll not regret it - the scores of london couriers who use them can't be wrong!! my only other comment is what a shame they stopped making them..

    08 May 2010

  • fun, but easy on the wallet

    eternallytroubled

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Doesn't break, does the buisness! Relativly lightweight, goes and stops well, cheap to run, insure and service, lots of parts available. I found the following website very usefull: http://www.cb500club.co.uk

    09 January 2010

  • Cheap thrills

    Butta

    UK

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I bought this bike after five years away after a big accident. I love it and cant bring myself to trade it in for something bigger. Had it for three happy years now. Its fast enough for the streets of London. The engine is smooth and powerful enough to comfortably cruise at 90mph on the motorway. I have had it up to 120mph but this is not its forte. Much better to take the A roads and enjoy the corners. 200 miles to a tank. Above 8000rpm it can move along nicely and can surprise a few other bikers when they haven't shaken you. Others of course fly on by! I ride this thing come rain, hail or snow. It always starts, never breaks, tough as nails. The alloy on the engine is corroding due to the year round riding. I wash is about once a couple of months so am definitely not religious about it. The bike is 14 years old now so its gotta show a few signs of age for a year round bike hey!? Suspension has its limits but have replaced the front springs and oil to stiffen it up as well as replaced the crappy Hagon shock someone put on it. Bought it for £1250 three years ago with 10k on the clock. Cost £110 a year for insurance. It just doesn't make sense to get rid of this little beast!

    14 March 2009

  • Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Absolutely love this bike, it hardly breaks, and if it ever does you can guarantee that you (the rider) is most likely to blame. The bike is so forgiving, if you thrash it about it just gets on with it. MPG is brill, even in heavy traffic.

    27 November 2008

  • Workhorse

    hwhalley

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I have taken this bike two up touring (with all camping gear) into the alps and it has been completely reliable. I use it for a 100 mile round trip commute twice a week in all weather and to bust traffic in London. It is cheap to run, enough fun on smaller roads to make you grin and holds its value very well, there are always people wanting one after their test. BT45s are the best tyres for it. Frequent oil changes will see the engine last forever. 180 miles / tank cheap spare parts cheap insurance cheap servicing loads of mpg BUT I still can't wait to get a bigger bike after 5 years!

    24 October 2008

  • I bought this bike as my first big bike, like so many others. It's brilliant!

    mattcb500chef

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I've done 15000miles on it and its only done just over 480000! Seen some people with over 100,000 "!"""!!! Best tyres I have found to be are bridgestones bt 45's. It's so trouble free only gotta replace the clutch cable but tht can wait and i like to race the couriers lol I can beat most :). It's been to bout 140 and I've got 130 with my mate on the back on the motorway. 0-60 I've had it over in less than 5. I love it and can't wait to get a cbr600f next April. Strengths: Engine its a Honda!. Petrol consumption is wicked, at least 50mpg or bout 100miles per £10. Weaknesses: The brakes could be a bit better, but better than my old 250 wetdream lol.

    25 September 2006

  • Fantastic for first Bike or commuter...

    johnny5655

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I bought my CB500s the day after I passed my test. I did think about getting a 600 but common sense kicked in and I parted my cash and bought it. After a year's ownership I haven't looked back, it's economical, servicing is cheap and it's mega reliable. OK, it's not the fastest bike in the world but for a 500cc it's great. I've shocked some bigger bikes quite a few times! I've never had any problems with it. It's fun to ride and a great bike to learn your skills on as it's really forgiving. I recommend it to anyone! Strengths: It's fast for what it is, economical, reliable, brilliant bike. Weaknesses: Brakes could be a bit sharper (but they're fine) Gearbox is a bit clunky in 1st and second.

    27 May 2006

  • My Review

    ssol97

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Great introduction to larger bikes. Easy to learn and very forgiving. Quick enough round town and M/ways, nippy on the twisty stuff too with gr8 handling. Feels like its never going to trip you up other than a slight run in with some black ice and a mini roundabout. Brakes could be better. Corrosion on downpipes is a bit quicker than expected although it was ridden all thru' winter. Buy one !!

    22 June 2002

  • My Review

    SIEGE007

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    First bike since passing my test. Good solid handling machine, found this out during my bike training course with MAC. Good powerband. A bit blustery at the higher speeds requiring you to hang on.

    13 March 2002

  • My Review

    dave whitcombe

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    This is my first proper bike and it is excellent. It handles well. The only thing I dont like is the exhaust. I think I will change this in the future.

    17 February 2002

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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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