The Honda CB500 Four — Classic Japanese Motorcycles — Motorcycle Classics

5 Июн 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи The Honda CB500 Four — Classic Japanese Motorcycles — Motorcycle Classics отключены
Honda CB 400 Super Four

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Café: Motorcycle Classics Honda CB500

Honda Four

Years produced:

Claimed power: 50hp @

Top speed: 100mph (est.)

type: 498cc OHC, air-cooled four

Weight:  420lb half tank fuel)

then / now: $1,460 (1972) / — $2,500

“The man’s motorcycle.” That was magazine’s take on Honda’s four, the Honda CB500 Smaller and lighter than its big brother, the trend-setting Honda Four, the new for 1971 Honda Four took all the 750’s attributes and focused them a smaller, lighter bike in many ways was better its much-lauded forbearer.

Not that the 750 had detractors. In its day, it was the undisputed of big-bore bikes and was responsible for the Superbike category. Four four pipes, electric no-fuss electrics and an imposing gave the CB750 Four a in the market that other could only hope to

But for all the good things the 750 was, it was one machine. Tipping the scales at 500 pounds all in, the 750 required a willing to wring the best from it. at five-tenths, it was serene, but at anything attitude its slow steering, center of gravity and ample combined to make it a bit of a handful.

issues disappeared with the CB500 Four. Handling of the new four was excellent, aided in no part by an almost 80-pound over the CB750 Four, the 500 at a comparatively svelte 420 pounds. the 500’s engine was significantly than its big brother, thanks to its displacement and over-square design bore than …), kept cylinder height giving a lower center of

Where the 750 was often faulted for handling, the CB500 Four was for being stable and predictable if still a bit slow-steering. Part of stability was due to the 500’s frame, drew heavily from the 750 but extra gusseting to tame flex. Honda’s excellent forks helped keep the wheel on the ground, but the rear drew complaints, with one calling them “the point about the 500,” the shocks on a test bike had after just 1,000

While top speed was lower the 750 (100mph-plus versus approximately for the 750), it broke the “ton” only two-thirds the 750’s and could post quarter-mile a scant half-second slower the 750. Cycle Guide a best time of 14.13 for the 500 versus 13.74 for the 750.

In ways a scaled-down CB750 the Honda CB500 Four engine did some notable differences, a Morse Hy-Vo chain to the transmission, and wet sump lubrication, the oil tank used on the dry sump More than just specification differences, those made the 500 quieter and easier to qualities Honda knew its appreciated.

As seemingly perfect as the was, the transmission was a bit more suffering from false between second and third, and and fifth, and generally stiff that often got worse as the unit heated up. During one Cycle Guide testers got so they removed and modified a pawl to make theirs better.

Brakes were a single-disc apparently identical to the 750’s but 1.2 inches smaller (10.5 versus 11.7 on the 750), and a drum brake lifted from the Honda CB450 And while testers raved the 500’s front brake ( World said the 500’s disc supplied “the stopping power in the motorcycle they also faulted the for being overly sensitive and to lockup.

Ergonomically, the Honda CB500 was considered a bit of a mixed bag. the rise and pull of its handlebars both appreciated by some and by others, just about hated the 500’s then-standard ignition switch location of under the gas tank on the left with the off position neither nor horizontal, but right in-between. also complained about a throttle with long necessitating a re-grab of the twist to get full travel.

Road hated it so much they the grip with tape to it up for better leverage.

The CB500 was another home run for Honda, left it pretty much from its introduction through before bumping displacement to for 1974. The “new” 550 also a reworked and improved transmission, a new clutch and several other modifications. The 550 stayed in Honda’s lineup until 1977. By time, the CB was decidedly old school, and was readying its newest middleweight, the shaft-driven, water-cooled Honda V-twin .

Survivors are plentiful and, just recently, cheap. CB500 Four seems to be in the middle of a fact reflected in rapidly prices. Even so, they’re a bargain, with usable readily available for $1,000-$1,500 and nice bikes for $2,000-$2,500.

body hardware is getting and stock exhaust systems are unobtainable, most other are easy to find. Light in with a willing engine, handling and Honda reliability, the 500 is a like the boys at Cycle it’s a thinking man’s

Half-liter rivals to the Honda Four

1974 Benelli

• 45 hp @ 9,400rpm / 100mph (est.)

SOHC inline four

Honda CB 400 Super Four

• Drum front, drum

• 462lb (dry)

• 40-50mpg

Talk about flattery. for the 1974 model year, the Benelli Quattro took to new heights. Looking for all the world a Honda 500 Four dressed in Italian shoes, the Quattro a 498cc engine of 56mm x bore and …, exactly the as the Honda.

It also featured a Hy-Vo primary chain, as did the and except for its bank of Del’Orto replacing the Honda’s Keihins, it was a ringer for the CB500K mill: about parts interchangeability to this day.

The Seventies tough times for the Italian industry, thanks in no small to the success of bikes like the Four pouring in from Japan. boss Alejandro De Tomaso was on turning the tide of the Japanese De Tomaso announced the Quattro in alongside its bigger, scene-stealing the 6-cylinder, 750cc Sei (“six” in

Unfortunately, De Tomaso had neither the capacity nor the financial strength of his competition, and neither bike was a real success.

Quattros available in the U.S. for a few brief in the mid-1970s, making them to find today. Production albeit haltingly, until

1977 Suzuki GS550 

• @ 9,000rpm / 105mph (est.)

• SOHC inline four

• Single disc front, rear

• 443lb (dry)

Save for Benelli’s rip-off, 1977 there was no half-liter, competition to the Honda CB500 That was the year Suzuki the Suzuki GS550, its first of 4-… models (prior to the GS all Suzukis had been 2-strokers).

as the proverbial rock, the Suzuki is a good looking machine solid handling. There’s a reasonable supply of low-mileage out there, although rust-prone mean most have 4-into-1 systems, like on the GS550E shown here. MC

Honda CB 400 Super Four
Honda CB 400 Super Four
Honda CB 400 Super Four
Honda CB 400 Super Four


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