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Honda CX500

Honda CX500
ER Classics Desktop 2022

The Honda CX 500 is a motorcycle with a two-cylinder 496 cc engine. First production year was in 1977. At the very beginning there were some problems with the cam chain tensioner. But when those were resolved under extreme leniency, the CX became what it remained: indestructible.

How good were those things?

The Honda CX 500 belonged to the standard equipment of the mercilessly driving London motorcycle couriers. Because they were very manoeuvrable due to their favorable center of gravity and great experience in almost all conditions (and because there was a handy technician who could replace the timing chain with the engine just in place, so that the Honda CX 500 only spend half an hour there had to be taken out of service. And for America there was a 650 cc version. You don't see that often here. Characteristic of the ex-Americans here is that they only have a single disc in the front wheel. That single disc is really too little for the best chubby CX.


There was a time when a perfect Honda CX 500 was almost worthless

That was the moment when all kinds of often technically less gifted threw themselves into transforming the brave V twins into bobbers, customs, rat bikes and the like. In the meantime, neat, original Honda CX 500s are no longer worthless and their appearance, which for so long was perceived as ugly, is now viewed as stubborn.

The Honda CX 500 was a very modern touring motorcycle for its time

Mainly because it was driven by a cardan shaft instead of a chain and had water cooling. To compensate for the crankshaft overturning moment, part of the transmission line turned in the opposite direction. The V-twin block was actually old-fashioned, because it was just a pushrod block. There was a trick in it. In order to keep things slim at the height of the heads, the cylinder heads were turned 'inwards' with the inlet sides. In its day, the CX 500 had only one real competitor: the Moto Guzzi V50. It was nicer to look at, but considerably less quality than the Honda CX 500.

The CX is a rock solid engine

It is not rare to come across a copy with 200.000 km on the clock. Many different models of this engine have been released: the touring model, the custom, the turbo, the sports version and as a kind of mini Honda Goldwing, the Silverwing. With the three engines 500 cc, 650 cc and 400 cc (specially for the Japanese market) and the differences between the European and American/Canadian versions, there are a total of almost 30 variants of the concept.

The last year the Honda CX 500 was built in its original form was 1982

Compared to the 1977 model, it had, among other things, a small diamond on the headlight unit, black instead of aluminum star wheels and a chrome radiator cap.

Also read:
- Honda CB450 DOHC (1965-1974)
- The Honda CBF900 Bol d'Or. Also a classic
- Honda CBX550 F. With those weird brakes
- A Honda CB 750 SOHC (1969-1978)
- Honda DN-01. Already carefully searched

Honda CX500

9 Comments

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  1. I have driven a Honda CX 500 Turbo for a number of years with great pleasure. It was truly an almost technical marvel for its time. Knew friends and enemies. The latter couldn't cope with the big turbo hole and the relentless acceleration once it was up to steam. The enthusiasts I associated with were able to play flawlessly with the turbo effect after a (short) learning curve: wonderful device! Also respectable, how a pushrod block rotated 10.000 rpm without shrinking, always ran perfectly thanks to the perfect processor-controlled injection. The only shortcoming of the 500 series (less than 2.000 units) was the vulnerable alternator: the stator windings died after about 40.000 km due to the extremely high oil temperatures. The problem has been solved with the subsequent 650 Turbo.
    I still regret selling it, although my next one: Ducati ST 4 with tuned 916 block turned out not to be a wallflower either…

  2. An acquaintance of mine switched from an R75/5 to a CX500 in order to have something more modern under his ass, but the advantages of a V-twin and retaining cardan, self-maintenance, etc. don't get used to the 'high' speed that the Honda was running: that could never go well… Time has proven the opposite, although: Honda was in an identity crisis: CB's models expired, the racing flopped (NR) but the eve of the DOHCs arrived: 750 and 900 KZ/F-bol d'or and…. CBX/6. Great time, used by the CX, an 8 valve, pushrod water cooler V2 with cardan and double disc in the front!!

  3. Had a cx from 78 in my possession for many years and made a lot of km in my driving school. Wonderful motorcycle to drive. With 187.000 on the counter sold to a student who then added a good 40.000. Then it was up.
    In short, an almost maintenance-free engine that could go with you everywhere

  4. My cousin had a CX650. That thing always had water in the oil. Looking at the cross-sectional drawing of the block, this was only possible if the 'snot hole' of the seal of the water pump was closed. And so it turned out to be. A previous owner and miscreant appeared to have sealed the hole to get rid of that drip!!! Opens 'grott' and then the water flowed out!
    Block opened to replace the seal and immediately replace the timing chain. The thing has served for a long time and it ran quite well. The sudden worsening of the phenomenon of 'tank slappers' turned out to be due to very heavily running pivot points of the rear suspension. That repaired and lubricated, the major adjustment was done and it was a true sunshine to drive with great engine behaviour. Had a lot of fun with it

  5. My father-in-law had a burgundy red one from '78, which managed to run on only 1 cylinder..
    Whatever they replaced, whatever we did… stick with it.
    Until the thing was handed in to Joost: “make it a planter”..and a BMW came in its place.

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