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Beat the credit crunch with a Honda CB500

Published: 21 August 2008

Updated: 19 November 2014

Buying a used Honda CB500 may not seem like an exciting prospect but it could be the way to save enough money to keep you on motorcycles.

A CB500 could be all the bike you need if you want a cheaper way to get to work. The motorbike is renowned for bulletproof reliability, launched James Toseland’s racing career, and a decent Honda CB500 could be yours for less than £1500.

Classified adverts are full of second-hand CB500s and the CBF500 that replaced the earlier models, so finding a bargain isn’t hard.

A quick check on MCN’s website reveals a wide range of models available, with prices ranging from £650 for a 1994 CB500 with 29,000 miles on the clock, to £2200 for a 2008 CBF500 with 11,000 miles.

Don’t be put off by high mileage models – the bike is known for being one of the best in the business when it comes to reliability. That’s why city couriers ride them, and training schools buy them in their droves.

You may wish to avoid buying an ex-courier bike, though.

The only major problem the CB500 is noted for is downpipes that are prone to rusting, but parts used for regular maintenance won’t break the bank. A chain and sprockets set can be had for £88, four spark plugs for £12, pattern brake pads for £10, and an oil filter for £4. And it’s easy to do all the basics yourself.

If you’re a city commuter, chances are CB500 and tarmac may meet in the odd slow-speed spill, but that shouldn’t panic you either. Mirrors cost £13 each, indicators £11, and. each a clutch or front brake lever £5.

The bike isn’t confined to city use though. The twin-cylinder engine of the CB500 offers a good spread of power and is capable of speeds up to 120mph, making A-roads a more realistic possibility than they would be on other commuter-focussed machines.

A faired version launched in 1998 could be the better option if you regularly use A-roads to get to work.

You can expect to get around 50mpg from a good example on a typical combined cycle, and a group 9 insurance group means it won’t cost the earth to insure. But, if you don’t have a full license you’ll need to restrict the 58bhp CB500 to 33bhp.

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