Honda Interceptor 500
May 18, 2008 at 1:16 am #1388
I’m new to riding; I took the MSF BRC a few weeks ago and passed. I have been looking at a ninja 250 or 500 for my first bike, but I saw this on e-bay today:
It’s a 1986 Honda Interceptor 500. I’m not at all familiar with them, but the looks, technical details (V4!) and rarity make me interested in it.
My questions are:
1) Would this be a decent beginner bike? It’s small displacement, but 4-cylinder. How would it compare to, say, a ninja 500?
2) How maintenance intensive are they?
Thanks.May 18, 2008 at 8:12 pm #6416
After some research, it looks like it’s rated at about 66 horsepower, a fair bit more than a Ninja 500. It’s also a little (but not much) heavier. Some people think parts are hard to find. some seem to have no trouble.
Any opinions?May 18, 2008 at 9:20 pm #6417ShannonGParticipant
1986 seems pretty vintage for a motorcycle. Have you looked in parts availabililty?
Buying on ebay, I would be concerned about shipping costs, and not being able to see the bike in person before you buy.May 19, 2008 at 1:40 pm #6437smadaakramParticipant
i know nothing about this bike but that it looks bad ass!!!
just remember that if there is a question about power or reliability u can never go wrong with a 250 or 500 ninja as they have a awesome track record for both beginner power and reliability… and they both look great too!
~just my 2cents~
//@R!<May 19, 2008 at 3:52 pm #6439ShannonGParticipant
It is defintitely a wicked looking machine! Love the red seat.May 20, 2008 at 11:53 am #6466MattParticipant
Okay, since I owned a 1984 honda Interceptor 500, these are my thoughts:
Weight, it is heavy, but not too heavy. Moving it around in a parking lot i not hard, however, more than once I almost dropped it on its right side because I let it lean a bit too far right while standing on its left, and once it starts to go, it is heavy enough you’ve to work to bring it back.
Power, the power feels manageable to me. I kept the revs below 8 grand for the most part and never had any issues. But a review I read summed it up perfectly:
Below 4000 rpm, the engine isn’t happy. Between 4 and 7 rpm it starts to haul ass. At 7000 stop looking at the tach, in a blink of an eye you’ll be a bat out of hell with more important things to look at – like the tree you’re about to hit.
There is simply no comparision powerwise between this and a Ninja 250. On the twistys or on a track, in the hands of capable riders, I’m fairly condifent the Interceptor will leave Ninja 500 in the dust. On the race track it left more than a few 600cc bikes in the dust in the 80s.
The bike has two VERY big downsides:
1- Mechanical complexity. This is the big one. Few technitions actually know how to work on this bike. It has many technical standards that simply don’t apply anymore. For one, the sprocket seal is NOT removable without spliting the engine block. On most bikes today they are. The idiot mechanic at my dealership (HONDA dealership) ended up cutting off part of the engineblock to get at it, because he simply did not know what he was doing. My bike became a paperweight due to incompotent mechanics.
1.5 – parts. Getting parts is very very hard. Nothing on that bike is still made by honda. There used to be a replaceable cam chain (a part that wears out in 50 000 km, or 30 000 miles), but it is no longer made, so replacing that part requires dissassembling the engine. Frankly, it seemed like every issue I had with my bike was going to involve pulling apart the engine.
2- The bike was the first of the modern crotch rockets. By today’s standards it is tame compared to a 600cc race replica. But it was the first “racing bike with mirrors slapped on”. This is not a bike to be treated lightly or to be coddled. It wants to be ridden hard. And it will push you to ride it hard. I took mine for a trip through the local provincial park (awesome parkway roads!). The speed limit is 60kph, and after 3 minutes I knew right away that the bike was capable of doing 120 along the whole route. And it wanted it. I had a very hard time keeping my speed DOWN to 70kph (The parkway is patrolled vigoriously and speeders are never given a break – that and all the blind corners meant I could easily become part of the scenery at those speeds). I recently took the exact same trip on my 250. On the 250 there was no sense of urgency, no need to go faster. I’m pretty confident saying that the ninja 250 is doing a much better job of keeping my ego in check and keeping me riding within my boundaries. I’ve still overstepped my skill level a couple of times, and the ninja has saved my bacon… I am not so sure the interceptor would have been so forgiving.
I absolutely love the intercetor 500. It may be my perfect bike. The size fit me perfectly, I loved the way it drove, and the SOUND from that engine was completely unlike anything else under 700cc. But it was never meant to be a learners bike. Yes, it was only 500ccs, but it was the smallest of honda’s top of the line race replicas. It was Honda’s technical masterpiece. And it is now more than 20 years old. It is a hugely complex machine, with a dwindling supply of spare parts, and an even smaller supply of trained technitions.
I love the bike, but save yourself the headache (and heart ache) and make your first bike something more current.May 20, 2008 at 5:17 pm #6475BenParticipant
I heart the Interceptor 500 It’s my dream bike, but I’m going to have to agree with matt that you should have a lot of respect if its your first bike.
~Best Beginner Motorcycles AdminMay 20, 2008 at 6:02 pm #6483
* Sigh *
You guys are right. That’s more than I want to take on for a first bike. And finals are coming up soon, so I probably shouldn’t even be thinking about buying a bike now. I guess I’ll be looking for a ninja 250 or 500 when I get outta school in a couple weeks.
Oh well, the seller ended the auction early anywhay. I guess it sold locally.
It is a hella cool bike, though.
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