The Honda CX500 — Classic Japanese Motorcycles — Motorcycle Classics

4 Фев 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи The Honda CX500 — Classic Japanese Motorcycles — Motorcycle Classics отключены
Norton water-cooled Classic

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Honda CX500

power: 48hp @ 9,000rpm

Top 106mph (period test)

type: 497cc overhead liquid-cooled v-twin

Weight 441lbs

Price then: (1979)

Price now: — $1,700

“First the Future!” Coming from else, those words just be more tired But coming as they did from ad men announcing the new-for-1978 Honda they demanded at least a bit of

In today’s world of massive, cruisers and 150-plus horsepower it’s easy to forget middleweights once ruled the While there were of big bikes around in the late the middle ground of 400cc to machines was a hotly contested where Japan’s Big Four their wares to mostly younger riders. By 1977, offered four mid-sized in two- and four-… guise, had no less than seven, six and Honda four.

The beefiest of Honda’s middleweights was the Four. A smooth, capable based on the Honda CB750 in 1969, it was decidedly old-school and the machine to entice a new generation of Enter the Honda CX500.


Keen to preserve its as a pioneer in motorcycle design, a garnered most notably by the and the water-cooled, horizontally-opposed GL1000 in 1975, Honda assigned the of designing a new middleweight to Shoichiro the man responsible for the Honda GL1000 later, the legendary six-cylinder CBX .

Working from a clean Irimajiri and his team came up a machine that drew nothing from the past and looked to the future of motorcycle What they came up was unlike anything ever by Honda: a water-cooled, shaft-driven Water-cooling was hardly new, but it had been applied to a V-twin.

The with shaft drive, but so far had only used it on the massive Yet Honda had never produced a and this was to be a twin like no

To begin with, while was singing the praise of overhead-cam the 48hp CX500 made do simple pushrods. This the engine height low and dispensed the complexity of running separate cam to each cylinder. To make interesting, Irimajiri twisted the 22 degrees inboard to pull the in closer to the middle of the bike and out of the way.

This had the benefit of splaying the pipes out for a stronger visual of power.

To help lower the of gravity, the counter-rotating (to fight the engine’s twist under five-speed transmission was located below and to the right of the engine. All of was hung as a stressed unit a spine frame, supported by telescopic forks at front and shocks at rear. Importantly, the was the first production bike with tubeless tires.

better than it looks

from the press was mixed. its huge 4.9gal tank and big hanging out in the wind, testers themselves less than about Honda’s revolutionary In a February 1978 review Guide editors said, first look at the machine was a letdown,” while Cycle singled out the CX’s engine, it “looks like an air compressor.”

But they climbed on board, turned to praise for the bike’s suspension and excellent handling. “We consider the CX500’s handling as Cycle Guide said, Cycle’s May 1978 issue it for its excellent ground clearance and calling the bike’s steering neutral and light, it seems to sense your desire to slight course corrections.”

Buyers were a bit skeptical at and early problems with the cam tensioner and alternator probably help fire CX500 But Honda stuck to the model, and as ticked on the CX500 built a following of owners, many the twin as a long-haul touring or daily commuter.

In 1979 the CX500 lineup was expanded to with the addition of the Custom and models, which proved so the standard model illustrated was dropped in 1980. 1981 saw the of the Silver Wing and Silver Interstate, featuring a rear-mounted box on the former and a full factory-made on the latter, while 1982 saw the of the baddest CX500 of them the 82hp CX500T turbo.

The last hurrah came the uprated 650cc CX650 in (a 97hp turbo was also after which it was dropped to way for Honda’s new line of liquid-cooled which were yet another in a of pioneering motorcycles from

Overall, the CX500 was a good for Honda, and a well-earned reputation for bulletproof means the CX survival is high, so there are still of good examples out there. all bikes will have had the chain tensioner fixed punch marks in a triangle to the engine’s serial number the fix was done), and aside from the biggest issues are dirty systems and improperly adjusted which had a tendency to go out of spec especially on early models.

Middlweight rivals to the Honda

1978 Yamaha XS500

38hp, 110mph

— Air-cooled

— Dual disc disc rear

— (dry)

— 40-50mpg

its bigger brother, the legendary XS650. the two-cylinder XS500 introduced in 1973 as the Yamaha ) never really caught on.

For starters, it developed a reputation as wildly unreliable, with of a balancer and cam chain arrangement needed constant attention, and dissipation issues that valves to burn up and cylinder to crack.

The vertical twin’s didn’t make many flutter when it was introduced, as the bike posted below-average speeds in its class and reviewers problems with drive-train and dodgy throttle response on models.

On the plus side, the boasts many of the features made classics of the XS650 and the XS750. Its combination of a 180-degree with a vibration damper, start and twin carbs for a smooth and easy ride, and its lines are clean and were fashionable in the day. It’s a handsome bike today.

Yamaha logged the complaints the 500, made refinements and to produce it until 1979. A high survival rate they weren’t nearly as as many believed, as nice surface regularly.

1980 Guzzi V50 Monza

— 109mph

— 490cc


— 5-speed

Dual disc front, single rear

— 353lb

— 45-55mpg

Based on the V50 Moto Guzzi introduced in as a down-sized option to its successful V-twins, the sporty Moto V50 Monza was an attempt to inject excitement into a bike the market simply didn’t attractive.

Where the standard V50 was austere and devoid of any gee-whiz the Monza had the go-fast styling of its big brother, the LeMans. Its 490cc pumped out a respectable 48hp same as Honda’s CX), and most Italian sport it was endowed with excellent something you couldn’t say about all its competitors.

An aggressive seating position and high-speed manners inspired runs up to the bike’s claimed top of 109mph, while Guzzi’s linked brake system left front and rear are linked to the foot pedal; the lever operates the right caliper) with triple was more than adequate to the bike’s modest bulk to a stop.

Unfortunately, the Monza’s for quirkiness — coupled with a price north of $3,000 — guarantee success for bikes the CX500, which offered the promise of Japanese reliability for a grand less. Low production and sales mean survivors are few and far but they are out there, and most are in good shape thanks to owners.

Read more the other motorcycles mentioned in article: 

Norton water-cooled Classic
Norton water-cooled Classic
Norton water-cooled Classic
Norton water-cooled Classic
Norton water-cooled Classic

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