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Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

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GlenAnderson
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Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by GlenAnderson on Mon 17 Oct 2016, 10:42 pm

As the title, really. Has anyone here got direct experience of both "our" CB500s and the current generation of Honda 500 twins? 

My '94 example is very low mileage (just a whisker over 9000), but beginning to show its age and, whilst I am very fond of it, the lack of fairing is really beginning to affect my enjoyment of the bike. I could easily see myself fitting a Skidmarx fairing kit and doing a few tidying-up jobs to keep it going for a good few years yet, but am very tempted with the idea of a new CBR500R... The temptation to wave my chequebook (well, Visa card) at an all-new machine, get all the benefits of reliability, warranty etc. and not have the grief, cost (in time as well as money) and aggro of fitting aftermarket parts to a 22 year-old bike is seriously strong.

On paper, the new machine is slightly down on peak power and torque over our older bikes, but I know that's often deceiving. Modern fuelling and ignition control often means more flexibility and better economy and in "real world" situations less power often means a better ride. Also, though the new model is pretty much quoted as being the same weight, it felt lighter and more compact than mine when I sat on the demonstrator today at my local Honda place.

I know I can book a demo ride, but I thought I'd ask on here if anyone else had ridden one first.

I welcome your collective thoughts - good and bad!

Cheers, Glen.
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liverpool_f_
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by liverpool_f_ on Tue 18 Oct 2016, 9:16 am

I was very surprised to see it had less torque than our models but you are indeed correct. I thought it was supposed to be a torquier lower revving motor but I guess not. The motor looks so tall when you look at it, may I just imagined it had a much longer stroke.

On a side note, (and possibly because I am very biased) but you mentioned saving money by buying the new model and not spending cash on the old model. Unless the fairing costs £5k, the new bike will cos bundles more. Also, reliability wise, your bike is 20 years old, but does it ever actually let you down reliability wise?
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trevor machine
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by trevor machine on Tue 18 Oct 2016, 9:58 am

I guess what we're trying to say is don't even go there, dude. Laughing
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GlenAnderson
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by GlenAnderson on Tue 18 Oct 2016, 10:19 am

By "saving money" I suppose it's best illustrated as I can afford £100 a month on a new machine that will, hopefully cost me nothing more than that over the four years I'm making the payments, and I'm questioning the good sense I'm spending £350 on a fairing and another £300 on a front fork rebuild (on a bike worth £1000 whether the work is done or not) when I don't have £650 to hand, am struggling to summon the enthusiasm to do the work amidst all the other jobs I've got on my plate currently. I know alll about the economics of riding/driving older stuff; I've been driving a 1959 Land-Rover since 1992, and I've owned my BSA since 1978. I know full well that buying a new bike will cost me more, but it's not just about the ultimate cost, it's about the affordability of a small monthly payment for something that is, really, just a toy versus larger unplanned ones where I'm often forced to say to myself the money needs spending elsewhere first.

Like I said, the demonstrator felt smaller and lighter than my current bike, just sitting on it, and I wondered if anyone had actually ridden one to compare.
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ceejay
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by ceejay on Tue 18 Oct 2016, 10:21 am

I thought the reason the performance is lacking is because they were made to meet the A2 license restrictions (47bhp). The NC750x in some ways is more of a modern day version of the CB500 if you look at the target market (practical, efficient run around) but even that heavy low tuned lump probably lacks the CB500 performance.

But I think it just depends on the person, I see it as a major plus point that the CB500 is old, cheap and basic but you're asking for people with direct experience of both which I don't have so I cant comment too much  Smile
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GlenAnderson
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by GlenAnderson on Tue 18 Oct 2016, 10:49 am

I know what you mean. The NC700 does nothing for me visually, and it's a good deal physically bigger and heavier than I want. Not to mention dearer. The current CBR500R fits the bill size/weight/looks wise, but I'd not want to find it lacked performance in "real world" use. I'd not be bothered if it were 10mph slower top end, where I never use the performance anyway, it's more about the everyday useability, where "our" CB500s excel, that I'd not want to compromise.

I suppose I'll have to book a test ride.
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by eternally_troubled on Tue 18 Oct 2016, 10:52 am

I'd just written long bit, but by pressing the back button I lost it all. (I am an idiot).

In summary: Take a test ride with an open mind and not an open wallet Wink
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GlenAnderson
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by GlenAnderson on Tue 18 Oct 2016, 3:47 pm

@eternally_troubled wrote:I'd just written long bit, but by pressing the back button I lost it all.  (I am an idiot).

In summary:  Take a test ride with an open mind and not an open wallet Wink

Yes, I think that's best.

The big problem is that my CB was never meant to be a "project". It was bought to give reliable, trouble-free "emergency" transport, and to be a fun toy to use whenever I fancied it. I already have the aforementioned Land-Rover, two BSA Bantams, a 1960s Austin lorry and a huge victorian house to look after and, as the Honda is now starting to look like it might be going to demand attention both in the workshop and the wallet departments of the Anderson empire then maybe, after two years and a couple of thousand miles of largely faultless service, it's time to move it on.

It's either that or, like I say, I'll have to bite the bullet and throw a few hundred quid and a couple of weekends of my time at it...

First world problems and all that eh? Laughing
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by Jameshambleton on Tue 18 Oct 2016, 5:40 pm

Feels like a cbf125 from my brief experience, my friend she has the cbr and she wouldn't buy another. She had a bandit 400 before and she says the cbr is boring and dull, given the chance she'd buy something else.
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by eternally_troubled on Tue 18 Oct 2016, 6:03 pm

@GlenAnderson wrote:
@eternally_troubled wrote:I'd just written long bit, but by pressing the back button I lost it all.  (I am an idiot).

In summary:  Take a test ride with an open mind and not an open wallet ;)


Yes, I think that's best.

The big problem is that my CB was never meant to be a "project". It was bought to give reliable, trouble-free "emergency" transport, and to be a fun toy to use whenever I fancied it. I already have the aforementioned Land-Rover, two BSA Bantams, a 1960s Austin lorry and a huge victorian house to look after and, as the Honda is now starting to look like it might be going to demand attention both in the workshop and the wallet departments of the Anderson empire then maybe, after two years and a couple of thousand miles of largely faultless service, it's time to move it on.

It's either that or, like I say, I'll have to bite the bullet and throw a few hundred quid and a couple of weekends of my time at it...

First world problems and all that eh? :lol:

That's a good collection of stuff you have there ;) (even I don't have quite that much!)

Personally, I think there's less to go wrong with a well-maintained (or even a badly maintained) CB500 than a modern bike, so you might be better spending your mo!ney on fixing/improving the CB500 - mine has had little more than routine maintenance and has only been 'taken off the road' properly by the time taken to fix the rusty hole I found in my swing-arm earlier this summer! Nothing else since 2008 when I got it.
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GlenAnderson
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by GlenAnderson on Wed 19 Oct 2016, 4:42 pm

Got an hour's demo ride booked on a CBR500R for tomorrow, and the same on a CBR650F on Friday.
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by GlenAnderson on Wed 19 Oct 2016, 5:11 pm

@eternally_troubled wrote:
That's a good collection of stuff you have there Wink (even I don't have quite that much!)

Personally, I think there's less to go wrong with a well-maintained (or even a badly maintained) CB500 than a modern bike, so you might be better spending your mo!ney on fixing/improving the CB500 - mine has had little more than routine maintenance and has only been 'taken off the road' properly by the time taken to fix the rusty hole I found in my swing-arm earlier this summer!  Nothing else since 2008 when I got it.



I do take your point. My CB has had nothing in the last couple of years, beyond the initial recommissioning I had to do after I bought it. It's a tool though, not a hobby in itself, and was never meant to be any more than that. I've enough toys to tinker with if I want to, and loads of way more pressing things demanding my attention. I bought it for a grand, with a whisker under 7000 miles on the clock at 20 years old. It had two new tyres, a service and a front brake overhaul, and has done a little over 9000 miles now in total. A fork seal is leaking now, on one side, and I've the bits to do it (seals, gaiters etc), but not a whole lot of time, and if I were keeping the bike I'd probably get the stanchions rechromed rather than just doing the seals; that means another couple of hundred quid and the bike in bits for a week or two. Whilst I like it, I don't know if I like it enough to throw that kind of cash and time at it, rather than just replacing it. I'm rapidly approaching 50 and I've loads and loads of stuff I want to get done, and diverting myself with this CB isn't on the list. 

To use the tool analogy; I've put several new handles on my dad's old claw hammer, over the years and will continue to do so forever. Much like I've repaired, maintained, fiddled and faffed with the BSA Bantam he bought me when I was a boy, despite it being pretty rubbish really, because I'm ridiculously sentimentality attached to them both. However, if I broke the cheap hammer I bought from Screwfix a couple of years ago I'd not hesitate to just go buy a replacement, and it's the same with my current CB; it's been great, and I do like it, but it's just a bike and I'm not sentimentally attached to it. I didn't own one "back in the day" and it wasn't on my bucket list or even the top choice on my list when I was looking; it was just cheap, local, and worth a punt. I have been very pleasantly surprised at it's abilities and how easy it is to live with though. If I could buy a new one exactly the same, then I would. 

Like I say, if the new one turns out to be a bit rubbish in comparison, and jumping up to the 650 means too much money and more performance than I need/want, then I'll bite the bullet and fix my current one up again and rethink in another couple of years, or when it next presents me with a job to do. 

I do appreciate your varied thoughts though, thanks everyone for taking the time to reply.
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by wornsprokets on Wed 19 Oct 2016, 9:06 pm

Glen, honda build quality is not a patch what it was 20yrs  ago.... for example  ive a 96 fireblade and build quality is brilliant.... theres a guy on you tube with a repsol fireblade  and it gives out about paint& plastic fixings instead of old steel ones for fairing... i also heard of few 08 fireblade engines go bang....(crank failure) so new is not always best... cb500f  looks bit cheap looking too...(that guy on you tube zippys world) "honda build dissapointing."...they reckon now yamaha as just as good build quality as honda... stil to your old jap built cb...
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by Jameshambleton on Wed 19 Oct 2016, 10:25 pm

My 13 reg cbf is a covered in rust and I cleaned it so much. I let my cb5 rot through last winter with no washing and it looked just as good as I got it after I used TFR on it. Remember that most Honda's aren't built in Japan. The new cb125f is built in China just for perspective.
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by louis_sutton on Thu 20 Oct 2016, 12:39 am

Watching this thread keenly-only two years until cb's fall foul of the ultra low emission zone in central London and I need a new(er) bike!
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ceejay
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by ceejay on Thu 20 Oct 2016, 8:30 am

I will too but thought that was 2020? Either way it's pretty annoying.


Edit: Just read a little on the subject and the good news is if I keep my CB500 until 2039 it can once again grace the streets of London as it will be eligible for classic bike tax (I think) and therefore exempt from the charge  Very Happy
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by louis_sutton on Thu 20 Oct 2016, 11:14 am

Hehehe. Yeah the mayor bumped it forward a year to 2019 (not sure when in 2019 though). So time to get something with the dark arts of injectors...

Course, I suppose the irony is we can buy something that  complies, then rip the cat off and power commander the engine, rendering it far less compliant
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liverpool_f_
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by liverpool_f_ on Thu 20 Oct 2016, 11:33 pm

I see there is a new proposal of the "T charge" starting next year for pre euro 4 vehicles in the congestion zone. So a cb in the congestion zone during congestion times will cost you £10 for your troubles! They are not cutting us too much slack on this one.
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by ceejay on Fri 21 Oct 2016, 2:05 pm

I started a new topic on this before we deviate too far from this thread... : )


http://www.cb500club.net/t4870-london-pollution-charges-and-the-cb500


Would like to know more about this t charge!
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by GlenAnderson on Fri 21 Oct 2016, 7:38 pm

Righto... I suppose I had better report back.

Yesterday, after work, I took myself on the short ride to the local Honda dealer on my '94 CB. Believe it or not, I don't generally ride it hard at all, and had no yardstick to judge it's performance limits so, on the way I did a couple of tests. As you leave a village nearby, the speed limit goes from 30 to 70 and the road climbs steeply uphill. I simply went from bumbling in fifth, to top at 40 and opened it to the stop. The result? 70 mph. Then I had a standing start from the lights, on the flat, so I nailed it. I won't admit to my terminal velocity, but rather than go as fast as it could, I stopped when my license started to glow and marked the point with a landmark. I know well enough how brisk my bike feels in "normal" riding, how it pulls through the gears and what it goes like when cracked open at 75 (ish) to overtake something, so I decided that was enough.

Then on to the dealers where, after the obligatory paperwork, I was let loose on this:



Full tank of fuel, and the instruction to "take as long as you like, just be home by the time we close". 

Sweet.

After a familiarisation with the controls, the only oddities being the lack of light switch (they're on all the time), no choke (EFi), and the positions of the horn and indicator buttons reversed from what I'm used to, I went for a trundle around the cones of their CBT course to see what it felt like at very low speeds.

Well, first impressions were that it is very much lighter than "our" CBs. It felt more like a 250 than a 500. Throttle response was a bit harsh coming on and off the juice, but there was a lot of slack in the cables to the twist grip and it wasn't any worse than my current bike. So off down the road I toddled. I retraced my steps to repeat the (highly scientific) tests I'd carried out on the way there. The result? 82 mph on the speedo up the hill and exactly the same speed at exactly the same point on the traffic light drag. The horses were either smaller in 1994, or have wandered off to graze elsewhere in the intervening years. I think my current bike is a good example of the breed, with only 9000 miles on the clock, so I was very pleased to find the performance of the new bike to be at very good match for the old one. Indeed, it's noticeably better at times, notably pulling uphill and picking up it's skirts at 80 and squirting past dawdlers on the motorway.

After that I took a trundle down the dual carriageway to Canterbury. The CBR is more stable at speed than the old CB, with the fairing doing a good job of deflecting the bulk of the wind around the rider and keeping the buffeting right down. The sides of the fairing flick the worst of the airstream away from your hands too. Vibes at speed were much less too - in fact they were less noticeable everywhere, but the biggest difference was at motorway speeds where I find my CB's make my hands sore after a while. 

Once in town I had a bit of stop/start traffic to deal with, then ventured around a few country lanes. I found a quiet spot and hauled on the anchors; blimey, they're good. The ABS just kicking in at the last minute didn't unsettle the bike and it certainly stops better than mine! In traffic, and around the lanes, the bike was manageable and light. The initial feeling of it being more like a 250 had receded, and by then it just felt nimble and easy to manage. Extricating myself from the lanes, and onto a bit of fast single carriageway saw some good opportunities to test the bikes overtaking abilities and they're more than a match for the older bike.

I carried on my big circuit, pausing to take a few pictures for your delectation, and arrived back at the dealers after about an hour and a half and seventy miles or so. 

Pics:









So, what did I think?

Well, the original aim of seeing if performance was lacking compared to our bikes was certainly determined. It is as quick, definitely, and quite often quicker. Whether that is anything to do with our bikes being marketed at a time where higher figures meant more sales, and the current ones being sold to fit under a legislative limit, I couldn't say; whatever, the new 47 bhp is very much a match for the 1994 58 bhp. 

Fit and finish is hard to judge on the basis of what is still a brand new machine, but it didn't look bad to me. maybe the quality of the finish will degrade quicker than on the older bikes, maybe not. What is certain though, is that the current bike is very much cheaper in real terms than ours were when new. Back in 1994 I was earning a very respectable £750 a month take-home, and a new CB500 was about £3200 (I know, because I can remember just how far out of reach new bikes were for me back then!), that's more than four months take home pay. By comparison, the £5600 list price for the new bike is little more than two months worth now. With that taken into consideration, I think it represents very good value.

I wasn't massively struck on the digital speedo/rev counter, but it seems to be the norm these days. A gear indicator would be useful, but I suppose less so as you build familiarity with the bike. In-gear revs were a little lower than on our older bikes: 6000 rpm at an indicated 80 on the new bike as opposed to 6800 at the same speed. The newer bike was also more flexible than the old one, with the EFi doing a better job of the fuelling as you'd expect, but also with less vibes if you inadvertently found yourself in too high a gear at low speed.

The fuel economy was, to be honest, the biggest surprise. Given I was riding it very much harder than I would normally do, and deliberately pushing it way beyond my usual relaxed style, I was astonished to see the entire round trip returned 75 mpg. Put that against the lifetime average of my current bike of 44 mpg, ridden much more sedately, and I would honestly think the new bike capable of nearly doubling the economy of the old. That I had not expected.

So, would I buy one?

Yes. If anything befell my current bike I'd not hesitate. I still have to work out the figures, before I make a final call, and it very much depends how much I want to run down my savings with the deposit, but I am due both a modest pay rise in the new year, and for a share-save to mature, releasing both a lump sum and the £50 a month I currently plough in to it. It means, I think, that if I can temporarily round up a deposit roughly equivalent to that which my shares are expected to release, and make the extra payments until February/March, I can repay the piggy bank with my shares, and end up with a new bike for about a tenner a week more than I currently have going out now. 

I also got offered what, on the face of it, was a generous about of money for part-exing my old bike, but it was also made pretty clear that the sticker price would be "adjusted" somewhat if I didn't trade in... So I may make an attempt to sell the old bike first , before I pull the trigger.

Anybody interested in a low owners (the original, a dealer and me), low miles (9086 as it stands tonight), 1994 CB500, in red, with a rear rack, good tyres and chain, a headlight upgrade and a slightly leaky fork seal? Very Happy



All the best, Glen.

P.S. If you've got this far, well done!
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GlenAnderson
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by GlenAnderson on Fri 21 Oct 2016, 7:39 pm

Oh, and I cancelled my ride on the CBR650F. No point.

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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by sullivj on Fri 21 Oct 2016, 7:51 pm

Interesting write up - thanks Glen
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by Jameshambleton on Fri 21 Oct 2016, 8:34 pm

Great read Glen, but remember that horsepower is perspective to top speed and not acceleration. My cb5 kicks out 51.3bhp at the rear wheel and a lot more torque 38nm (acceleration) than stock 33.9nm thanks to the +2 rear sprocket. I'd guess the dealer offered you £450 for your bike?

Considering you rode the cbr did you find it's very much so a commuting seating position than a sporty one?
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by wornsprokets on Fri 21 Oct 2016, 8:57 pm

Great write up glen, well done,  is the new cb500f/ cbr 500r.... wheres it assembled?  Probably thailand?
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Re: Has anyone here ridden one of the current CBR500R or CB500F models?

Post by ceejay on Fri 21 Oct 2016, 9:17 pm

Nice write up - want a go on one myself now!

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