The Honda CX500 and Variants : Good and Bad

Buying Tips

Good things:-

1. Economical (50-60 mpg). The CX500 has a tank capacity of almost 4 (Imperial) gallons and gives a range of about 185 miles including reserve. 150-170 miles on the main tank is common. Ridden easily, you could just about wring 200 miles out a tankful. Note however that the Custom models have smaller tanks than this, whilst the Eurosports have slightly larger tanks.

2. Reliable - no major engine work for 30,000 or 40,000 miles.

3. Very comfortable to ride, especially for the passenger, as the pillion seat is particularly wide.

4. Easy to maintain yourself.

5. They don't overheat in summer traffic, and the cylinder heads do help to keep your knees warm in winter.

6. They are easy on tyres, and the shaft drive is a dream, with almost no maintenance at all.

7. There is a dedicated CX/GL Club following in most countries, with members invariably helping each other out with advice and spares.

8. Classic insurance, and no road tax once your bike is 40 years old.

9. You get plenty of attention from ex-CXers! It's common to ride round and see people prick up their ears at the distinctive sound of the engine. Many is the time I've seen car drivers, now married with teenagers in the back, look wistfully at my CX as I ride by. You can hear them thinking "Blimey, a CX500, I used to have one of those!"

Watch Out For:-

1. Early models (before 1981) had cam chain tensioner problems, which should have been sorted out with a free modification. CX500A models onwards are fine.

2. The alternator stators are prone to partially fail at extended mileage, especially on Turbos.

3. Rather top heavy, especially with a full tank - but you do get used to this.

4. The variants with just one single front brake and disc, are distinctly underbraked. These are mainly North American models, and imports.

5. Spares are just starting to get a little hard to track down. You can easily get consumables like filters and cables, but an elusive engine or frame part can be more difficult.

6. They do not like getting airborne, even a little, due to the torque effect from the inline crankshaft. I often thought that if you went seriously hump-back-bridge jumping, you could barrel roll a CX back onto its wheels - but I've never dared try it.

7. Once the rear underside of the water pump housing starts to leak coolant, changing the mechanical seal is an involved task.

8. The underside of the swinging arm is prone to rot at extended mileage, or after neglect. This can sometimes be welded and plated, but a new replacement is in the region of £400. I have heard of some suppliers doing exchange swinging arm units for about £120.

9. The engine definitely needs crash guards (engine bars), as the cylinders poke out far enough to be seriously damaged in a spill.

10. They can be reluctant to start after a long layoff, especially winter hibernation.

11. The Eurosport monoshock units need annual strip and greasing, or they can stick, causing a poor ride and MoT test failure.