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underrated aspects of the cb500

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trevor machine
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underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by trevor machine on Thu 06 Apr 2017, 9:45 am

One thing I like about the bike that doesn't seem to receive much mention is the suspension. I suppose it was one of the last twin shock bikes - and I think in some ways, for road riding at least, there's not much wrong with a dual sprung system. Unlike so many mono shocks the system is up and out of the way of road debris, it has far fewer moving parts, and unless you're riding at the absolute ragged edge, doesn't seem to perform much worse than the more modern mono shock type. So I actually have no problem, really, with the cb500's rear suspension. I suppose you could say that the chrome is prone to corrosion - or the spring steel beneath it, at least. But it doesn't take too much effort to keep it looking vaguely fresh, even if ridden all through winter. Does need regular clean and GT85 type spritzing though. One other comment - those dual springs do date the bike, and combined with the comparatively narrow back tyre profile, there are a fair few motorists who think "ah yeah - old gadge wimp bike ahoy, let's kick dust in the bastard's face and leave 'em for dead." Fine by me - I inch leftwards, let the audi wankers by, then drop a couple of cogs and give chase. Most of the time you keep 'em in sight (which pisses 'em off no end), then filter slowly, smoothly and ever so nonchalantly passed at the next lights.

But what of the front suspension. This I like, too - perhaps more even than the rear. What  I've found is that, on more weird and stressful undulating lanes - and when wanging it on a bit - the bike will make what seems to be a quite assertive complaint. But in fact it's actually just shrugging its shoulders. There's some clever damping going on, it seems. On a few occasions I've thought shit I've asked too much of the bike and now it's going to have a fit, maybe even tank slap, or just spazz out and give me grief. However it never does - both bikes just give that same shrug, a brief bit of a once down, once back up dampening, and just as quickly as it came, the moment's passed and all is well with the world again. It's probably not just about the suspension - obviously the bike's geometry (rake, trail, wheelbase, etc. etc.) is playing a huge part in its behaviour at such moments. But whatever - I like the suspensions compliant, resilient nature and particularly the aforementioned "shrugging" thing, where it says oi what you up to now M8, alright alright, let me just sort it out for ya, there yer go.
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wornsprokets
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by wornsprokets on Thu 06 Apr 2017, 10:11 am

Good write up trevor as always Smile
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trevor machine
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by trevor machine on Thu 06 Apr 2017, 11:29 am

Thanks man - I also should've said, it's far from one of the last twin shock bikes, of course. I mean shit, Triumph are ruling the world with them it seems. But, bracketing retro shite, the cb500 was kind of the last hurrah for this trad form of rear suspension. From then on, only bikes that wanted to look old-fashioned used it. Maybe the cb500's was a styling exercise too, however. Perhaps there was a really big pile of those Showa shockers somewhere - and what we're actually riding is a hybrid parts-bin-special come "give it a bit of retro charm" marketing. I dunno. In any case, it works well - far better than "adequate" (as first inspection might suggest), and iirc a lot of the lads in the thundersport 500 don't seem too dissatisfied with it, and clock up a minute forty for a lap of Cadwell. The slowest guys on the grid for the supersport 600 class often don't make that.

I suppose those racing guys aren't running the original Showas, mind you. And have probably had a bit of a meddle with the front forks too - if rules allow. Don't think there's much can be done whilst staying this side of race-legal though - perhaps just heavier oil?
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by Fair Weather Rider on Thu 06 Apr 2017, 12:25 pm

The CB500 is just a good all round bike, ever since I sold my first one, I regretted it.

It's now Happy Days.
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wornsprokets
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by wornsprokets on Thu 06 Apr 2017, 1:13 pm

I like way the cb can be a basic bike to look at , but they can be a long distance bike that can be used  as tourer...or dispatch courier bike ....or flip of a coin....a thunder sport racer.... also i think under seat  storage is pretty amazing.... as  for suspension have u seen cost of a good monoshock these days.... when i bought my pair of tec shocks i nearly bought two pairs by mistake as they were so cheap
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Jameshambleton
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by Jameshambleton on Thu 06 Apr 2017, 7:05 pm

trevor machine wrote:
I suppose those racing guys aren't running the original Showas, mind you. And have probably had a bit of a meddle with the front forks too - if rules allow. Don't think there's much can be done whilst staying this side of race-legal though - perhaps just heavier oil?

YSS shocks (fat people shocks), or hagon's. rfy and Tec are not eligible
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trevor machine
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by trevor machine on Sat 08 Apr 2017, 10:22 am

How come they're ineligible, James? Do they have remote gas thingys and/or too much adjustment available, deviating too far from the bike's stock oem suspension?

Follow up question - being a bit on the lardy side I think YSS might be the way to go if I ever have to fit new. But I don't like over firm, like I sometimes think the hagons are. Do you reckon the yss are plush-ish or firm-ish?
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stormbringer
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by stormbringer on Sat 08 Apr 2017, 1:20 pm

trevor machine wrote:How come they're ineligible, James? Do they have remote gas thingys and/or too much adjustment available,?

Follow up question...Do you reckon the yss are plush-ish or firm-ish?

Reading along here. My scale's been inching its way up lately...

With the YSS'es, I seem to remember there was a length issue - drop-in-replacement not available. Or should I swiftly self-diagnose myself as potential Altzheimers ?
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Jameshambleton
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by Jameshambleton on Sat 08 Apr 2017, 1:23 pm



6.0 Suspension
6.1 Front Forks must remain as homologated by the manufacturer.
6.2 Front Fork springs may be changed for aftermarket items available from Hypapro or
Hagon, No other modifications to the fork internals are permitted other than the spacers and
or washers as fitted to any of the 3 original fork types.
6.3 Front Forks may be positioned in the yokes at any height.
6.4 Any quantity or type of fork oil may be used.
6.5 Rear Suspension Units must remain as homologated (Standard Showa) or direct
replacement aftermarket items from Hagon of the correct extended length. The adjustable
damping version of the standard, Hagon, shock is also permitted.
6.6 The slim line Hagon shock designed for the CB500/4 is not permitted.
6.7 The YSS of Taiwan shock detailed here is also permitted.
Shock type, Emulsion (Nitrogen and Oil)
Shock length, 350mm as std CB500
Damper rod shaft, 12mm
Piston Diameter, 30mm
Adjustment, Threaded body Pre load only
Spring, Progressive 46-17-25-220 additional heavier spring is available 46-20-30-220
(46mm= ID, 17= spring rate, 25= spring rate, 220= length)
Part number, RE302-350T-20
Standard shocks that are modified outside of the above parameters are STRICTLY forbidden.
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Melitos
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by Melitos on Sat 08 Apr 2017, 7:55 pm

Hi

I just fitted YSS ECO shocks on my bike some weeks ago, unfortunately no miles yet so I cannot comment how they behave on the road. These are YSS midrange shocks, Bravo is the basic model and then there are some high-end models with external gas reservoir.

Somewhere in the inter-webs 380mm YSSs were advertised to fit CB500, but 350mm is the correct length, and those are also available (I have those). The spring on YSSs seemed actually thinner and longer than standard spring, but spring compression can be adjusted.

BR,
Antti
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stormbringer
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by stormbringer on Sat 08 Apr 2017, 10:09 pm

Back to thread subject: Underrated aspect of the CB500

To me, its the basic design itself.

Look around you; the world at large yearns for more features! The washing machine, the kitchen fridge, the car, the livingroom TV and the stereo. More buttons, internet-connection, cruise-control, bluetooth & satnav, blablabla.

With bikes, I think the trend is 'programs'. Anti-wheelie-programs, anti-stoppie-programs, seven different ride-modes, cornering-control, launch-control and whathavewe. Add to this tire pressure monitoring, engine-self-diagnostics, auto-dipped-beam-control, automagic turn-signal-cancelling and a lot of other things I lack the imagination to - well, imagine.

I believe 'convenience' is generally a good thing. However, convenience also cushions the user. Shrouds him from the world.

Do I want to be cushioned? Spared an experience that might just possibly be disturbing? Exciting? Would I really like the convenience of having the bike do a perfect and completely safe wheelie on my command? Leave it to the electronics to do what in reality should be me mastering the bike (for the sake of argument we'd probably have to replace the CB with something a bit more fire-breathing, but you get the idea...).

No thank you!

The CB does not cushion me. It is a tool. Nothing more, nothing less.
And that trait is what I think is the most underrated aspect of the CB500.

Some may find the design sparse. I find it to be honest. But that's just me.
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Jameshambleton
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by Jameshambleton on Sat 08 Apr 2017, 10:24 pm

@stormbringer makes a very good point, the reason why I love older bikes is because you can fix them and work out issues instead of just plugging them in and having loads of distractions thinking about what traction control setting you need ect ect. or electronic adaptive suspension that locks solid when the sensor stops working.
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by Beresford on Sat 08 Apr 2017, 10:36 pm

Maybe other bikes can do this, I haven't experienced enough to know, but the CB500 has a wonderful characteristic in that the line through corners is infinitely adjustable using just the throttle and engine braking. Too fast ? Ease off and the line tightens beautifully. Clear road, open her up and the line widens to give a nice clean corner exit. I like that.
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by stormbringer on Sat 08 Apr 2017, 10:42 pm

Melitos wrote:Somewhere in the inter-webs 380mm YSSs were advertised to fit CB500, but 350mm is the correct length
Actually it's in the YSS catalogue:

From this it can be seen that shocks in both 350 and 380mm are available - and in four different technologies (G, Z, E and D):

also, with different features:

Prices range from 179 euro for the D222-P (chrome, looks rather like the Showa OE) to a daft 599 euro for the G362-TRCL.


Last edited by stormbringer on Sat 08 Apr 2017, 10:59 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Add prices)
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trevor machine
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by trevor machine on Sun 09 Apr 2017, 3:54 am

On the subject of programmes and complexity, the manufacturers have presented these to potential customers as useful features, and as technological advancements that we the consumer have demanded.

This is not at all the case. Such developments are nothing to do with what customers want and everything to do with requirements for cleaner burning engines.

Manufacturers are faced with a contradiction. On the one hand they have to develop less polluting motors, but on the other, there is the expectation from buyers that each generation of machine is lighter and more powerful. This latter point is what generations of bike customers have come to expect and is the basic criterion at the heart of the continuous development that has driven manufacturing in the last century or more (!).

However, to obtain this, with ever-leaner burning engines, the resultant bikes will not run properly. Yes, you can have a bike weighing 200kg and making 150bhp - but it cannot also have low emissions, at least not without being unable to fuel properly through town AND on the open road. The only way to do this is to have e.g. three or more different sets of computer programmes directing the electronic fuel injection. One for slow stop/start riding, one for faster technical riding where the bike has to enable a "maintenance throttle" through bends, and probably a third one for higher speed cruising where surging must be eliminated.

What pisses me off a bit is that there's not more honesty from manufacturers and from those that market and review this new contemporary machinery (i.e. the biking press).

Rider modes and various other "aids" are presented as the technological advancements that potential buyers have been seeking. In effect a simple case of neo-classical economics - i.e. demand and supply. But this is patently not true. They are in fact a very awkward and problem-prone solution to the aforementioned contradiction in demand, where two very different drivers for development are in play. In short, the emissions issue is resulting in heavier bikes that are essentially more difficult to ride - not only because of that extra weight but also because of the fuelling issues arising from leaner burning engines and the technological digital complexity required to get the motor running adequately in contrasting riding contexts.

No one in the right mind wants to have to toggle through three or more different "rider modes" - they're not rider fucking modes, for fucks sake. Fuck these marketing euphemisms. They're computer programmes. Don't call them rider modes as if riders have demanded them. They're quite crude compromises in the digital realm arising from the emissions / power-to-weight developmental contradiction. But they're presented to bike buyers as the special techno breakthroughs that they've been seeking for decades! Hallelujah - finally, at long last, a screen filled with information and some new extra buttons to add to the bike's switchgear!!

Yeah great - just what was needed as the bike heads towards a section of interesting technical rural bends.

The writing in these contemporary bike magazines is hilarious when it comes to the depth of denial regarding this issue. Yes, of course, the manufacturers are the advertisers and so it's not at all surprising that the mags and papers are never properly critical and honest. They get flown out to Spain for the latest launch, and blah blah blah. FTS. More surprising perhaps is the way so many of these on line "vloggers" are also uncritical though. A test ride and a few cups of free coffee from the dealer and they're full of clichéd superlatives for the latest model.

Take the new cb500 - it's significantly heavier and makes markedly less power than the 1990s incarnation. Bar fuel consumption it is by all accounts a worse bike. A WORSE BIKE. It's a step backwards. It's the inversion of continuous development.

But have you heard anyone mention this in the reviews - either in the paper publications or online? It's as though the '90s CB500 never existed!! What the hell. The degree of group-think going on here is borderline macabre. Like some daft sci-fi plot. The 90s CB has been airbrushed from history and instead there's a dominant discourse that's unable to acknowledge the past and can only praise the present. Most of the time I just smile and think what shite it all is, but very occasionally I do sort of find it quite frightening.
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by Grarea on Sun 09 Apr 2017, 7:47 am

It is just all about selling stuff isn't it?
Everything revolves around selling stuff.
Adverts, reviews, blogs, vlogs, (other things that I don't know what they are).
Everything has an angle. The world is committed to an economy that needs selling stuff.
I whimper and sob at words that don't mean anything on an advert.
Or words that mean something but not what it is meant to mean.
As said, the lies and falsifications and 'selling and idea' rather than something that is good.
Everything that is sold is 'awesome' 'amazing'  top rated 'the best' I mean they can't all be can they?
Makes life so complicated.
I just recently bought a tumble dryer. Well, the long and the short of it is that it isn't meant to completely dry your clothes. ..............

But back to the CB.
I like to learn skills. I like to improve. I don't really want to have things handed to me on a plate.
I like the simplicity and honesty of my cb500. If it goes wrong, it is my fault.
Excellent, I can learn from that.
If something breaks or wears out, I can replace it. (Unlike my last van that noone could work out what the actual problem was (too many sensors and computers).

Most people only know a solution to a problem as being 'buy a new one'.
So they look what is being sold to them.
They have been indoctrinated into it rather than 'make something ' (which is often cheaper, quicker and more fun).

I like the chat here, I like that mods can be done to make the bike suit the rider.
I fully intend keeping this for a long time.
It suits me great. I am looking forward to improving my riding on it and getting to know how to fix it.

I tend to follow things on a few years later when they have sorted out the gremlins.
So, I expect my next bike will be an electric motorbike but in 10-20 years.

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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by sullivj on Sun 09 Apr 2017, 7:56 am

stormbringer wrote:
With bikes, I think the trend is 'programs'. Anti-wheelie-programs, anti-stoppie-programs, seven different ride-modes, cornering-control, launch-control and whathavewe. Add to this tire pressure monitoring, engine-self-diagnostics, auto-dipped-beam-control, automagic turn-signal-cancelling and a lot of other things I lack the imagination to - well, imagine.

Add in linked brakes and heated seats, and you've almost described my BMW R1200 RT perfectly!

Don't get me wrong, it's a great bike for touring long distances, BUT it has very little character. With the electric screen raised to the uppermost position, you are also cocooned from the wind, adding to the lack of 'feel'.

If I want to feel like I'm actually RIDING a motorcycle, I jump on the CB. You have to think about how you're riding it, and that's what I like. 

THe BMW is so clever, you can almost turn your brain off, and let the electric gizmos get you out of trouble, but where's the fun in that?

Add in the fact that you can buy 15 good CBs for what the BMW cost, and you have an obvious winner in the best bike competition!
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trevor machine
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by trevor machine on Sun 09 Apr 2017, 8:47 am

Grarea wrote:But back to the CB.
I like to learn skills. I like to improve.



Yes! Exactly. This is pretty much my thinking in a handful of words.

I also don't think I've "earned" a better bike yet, if that makes any sense. Got a friend - only 24, just passed full license - bought a '14 striple on HP. I said ffs, just get a 10 year old sv650 and actually earn your wings before indulging your squander lust. Wouldn't be told. He's not a bad rider. But he's not good either. I mean, I'm way off being good - but I'm better than him.

Improvement is everything to me - there's kids slinging cb500s round Cadwell in a minute forty (!!). Doubt I could do it in twice that. But the 500 is an ace teacher - and I pass all-the-gear-and-no-idea dickheads in dainese leathers on gxsrs, who are great until reaching a bend, and suddenly they almost come to a stand still. WTF. My 500 makes them look stupid as I breeze passed, crap-spattered hi-viz on and seven quid chinese soft panniers with bits of shopping in. Stitch that ya poseurs. Laughing
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by eternally_troubled on Sun 09 Apr 2017, 9:15 pm

Grarea wrote:It is just all about selling stuff isn't it?
Everything revolves around selling stuff.


Yeah, that's how it works - capitalism and all that.  Selling stuff that no-one needs to people who don't even know that they don't want one.  Most people would be better saving their money for a rainy day, except that can't do with out a 'new' <insert name of consumer product or motorcycle>....

Anyway, back on topic, I think the most underrated aspect of the CB500 is fun.  No one really intended a 500cc workhorse commuter motorcycle to be fun, but either by good design or good luck the CB500 came out right at the sweet spot of power, weight and frame geometry which works really well and is, well, a lot of fun.

I suspect that quite a lot of the 'fun' aspect derives from the the fact that more 'work' is required to go fast on a CB500 than, say, a GSX-R 600 or CBR600RR or whatever. Also, because of the relatively light weight, stable geometry and fairly smooth power delivery you are encouraged to push the limits, which is always fun in itself.
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by stormbringer on Sun 09 Apr 2017, 10:38 pm

@trevor machine: Good observation on the reasoning behind all those programmes. And yes, @Badseeds has one of the new CB500s - he describes it as being 'gutless'.
I fully trust his evaluation, and it makes sense that the situation is caused by emissions regulations. To remedy the issue at hand - crippled engine performance - there's PowerCommander, which, when installed and setup correctly, will reverse all the eco-crap and bring back proper performance. I've had a look at this ECU-fuelling-remapper in preparation
for a possible future with a fuel injected bike...

@sullivj: Yes; the R1200RT is a demonstration of technological mastery. Do you ride it much?
Your mention of clever electronics and turning your brain off illustrates an issue I have with modern-day-vehicles in general. The constant influx of ever more clever aids is presumably meant to increase safety, but as humans come, we'll just figure out new ways to misuse these features in grotesque ways, in effect reducing safety. So you have lane assist and queue control? Why not have a go at reading the paper - or have a powernap?
In short: All this automagicity does not bring more safety. It enables ever dumber people to commandeer a vehicle without swiftly getting removed from the human gene pool.

And I will have to share the road with these blubbering idiots!!!

If I had my way, periodic MoT on vehicles would be replaced with strict periodic driving skill tests. Say, a bi-yearly brush-up on existing traffic regulations, and an update on new and modified stuff. To keep the license holder's knowledge current. Followed by a rigorous test of license holder's driving skills. To weed out those not fit for the job.

Driving is dangerous business. It is NOT your birthright.

Yes, I know. I'm ranting.

@trevor machine: your crap-spattered hi-viz & soft panniers scenario would be something to see.
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trevor machine
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by trevor machine on Mon 10 Apr 2017, 6:17 am

stormbringer wrote: @Badseeds has one of the new CB500s

I...I...wow. Honestly? I find this quite disturbing.

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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by sullivj on Mon 10 Apr 2017, 6:24 am

stormbringer wrote:

@sullivj: Yes; the R1200RT is a demonstration of technological mastery. Do you ride it much?

No. I've only done about 2,500 miles in the six months of ownership.

Taking it away in June, and likely to cover 1,000 miles in 10 days. That's when the comfort factor really starts to become useful.
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Grarea
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by Grarea on Mon 10 Apr 2017, 6:33 am

The constant influx of ever more clever aids is presumably meant to increase safety, but as humans come, we'll just figure out new ways to misuse these features in grotesque ways, in effect reducing safety. So you have lane assist and queue control? Why not have a go at reading the paper - or have a powernap?
In short: All this automagicity does not bring more safety. It enables ever dumber people to commandeer a vehicle without swiftly getting removed from the human gene pool.

And I will have to share the road with these blubbering idiots!!!

If I had my way, periodic MoT on vehicles would be replaced with strict periodic driving skill tests. Say, a bi-yearly brush-up on existing traffic regulations, and an update on new and modified stuff. To keep the license holder's knowledge current. Followed by a rigorous test of license holder's driving skills. To weed out those not fit for the job.

Driving is dangerous business. It is NOT your birthright.

Yes, I know. I'm ranting.
I completely agree.
One of the best safety devices for driving ever thought of was the spike stuck on people's steering wheels.
It focusses the mind.

We are in an in between world right now aren't we where any idiot is capable of passing a test
and drive around in the bliss that they are safe in their box no matter what they do.
Next step is to rush through automatic cars. I was completely against them, but I reckon they would be safer than this.

I agree. Tests should be harder and periodic. I reckon every five years.
We all know people that are not confident driving.
Why should they be allowed to potentially harm our children and us?

Phew, thanks for that.
Rant over.
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trevor machine
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by trevor machine on Mon 10 Apr 2017, 7:27 am

sullivj wrote:

stormbringer wrote:

@sullivj: Yes; the R1200RT is a demonstration of technological mastery. Do you ride it much?



No. I've only done about 2,500 miles in the six months of ownership.

Taking it away in June, and likely to cover 1,000 miles in 10 days. That's when the comfort factor really starts to become useful.

Yes - as much as I love the 500, I have had to revise certain daydreams and plans to ride further afield on it. Of course, the bike itself wouldn't complain for a second and would probably relish the prospect of some prolonged mile munching. However, the seat to peg measurements especially are a bit too cramped for me personally. 10-20 years ago I wouldn't have noticed - but these days I do feel it a bit more. I've done a few trips on it, and I was quite glad to get home...and I didn't really feel like riding it much for a few days after either (!).
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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

Post by trevor machine on Mon 10 Apr 2017, 7:46 am

eternally_troubled wrote:
Anyway, back on topic, I think the most underrated aspect of the CB500 is fun.  No one really intended a 500cc workhorse commuter motorcycle to be fun, but either by good design or good luck the CB500 came out right at the sweet spot of power, weight and frame geometry which works really well and is, well, a lot of fun.

I suspect that quite a lot of the 'fun' aspect derives from the the fact that more 'work' is required to go fast on a CB500 than, say, a GSX-R 600 or CBR600RR or whatever.  Also, because of the relatively light weight, stable geometry and fairly smooth power delivery you are encouraged to push the limits, which is always fun in itself.

That line I bolded reminds me of the quote at the front of the book of lies where an old review of the cb500 is cited, from the time it first came out - and the reviewer gets off the bike and says to a colleague from a competitor publication "Was it supposed to be this good?!?"

But yes - that's a good point about having to work for the bike's power and ability to progress. It's arguably more rewarding than the point-and-squirt type bikes.

RE the "fairly smooth power delivery" - I'm often surprised by riders who will yawn sarcastically at many Honda bikes' linear power curves. Whether the 500, viffer, blade or bird - there is often an accusation that they dose out power in a borderline bland way. No sudden bump as a powerband kicks in, etc. etc. However, this linearity is bloody hard work to engineer into a bike, and if you read any of the autobiographies of Foggy, Whitham, Niall MacKenzie, etc. etc. they often appreciate a bike that doesn't have any unpredictable characteristics, or nasty surprises (like e.g. so many of the old 500cc 2t GP bikes). In fact, there are quite a few amateurs who prefer linearity to peaky - it quite simply makes riding a circuit faster easier.

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Re: underrated aspects of the cb500

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