Opinions on first bike – yeah I know there are a lot of these already
April 26, 2010 at 11:34 pm #3907MikeCalgaryClassicParticipant
Hey guys, I just found a great deal on a 1971 Honda cb500 and I was wondering what you all think of it as a first bike. I have sat on it and the weight and seat height are good. My only concern is the 4 cyl engine. Is this going to create too many problems for me as a beginning rider? I don’t really have any concerns aside from that as I work in a shop that can easily get replacement parts and I know a great mechanic so any problems related to reliability aren’t really an issue for me.April 27, 2010 at 4:45 am #25982Gary856Participant
other than reliability, bikes that old usually have weaker brakes and worse suspension than their more modern counterparts. Maybe no big deal if you just ride it around town, but I would not want to ride a bike (or car) that old hard on a demanding road.
The older 4-cylinder are also considered much more tame than the new ones, so power-wise I’m guessing it’d be ok.April 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm #25989IBA270Participant
The Honda four bangers were great motorcycles! There are a lot of parts out there, and they DO require some care and feeding. You should understand if the bike has been rebuilt (and how many times) the condition of the charging system, etc. What kills mechanical things is lack of use….and obviously what wears them out is…use.
Gary is right on the money with suspension and brakes. Still, I LOVE the classics! What’s NOT to love?April 28, 2010 at 12:20 am #26006Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
This article is about rebuilding a 1973 CB500:April 28, 2010 at 12:39 am #26007TrialsRiderParticipant
CB500 in 1971 was a very pretty bike, I know I wanted one, ditto on the suggestion performance of the engine, brakes, suspension and tires would be somewhat mundane in direct comparison to a modern crotch rocket, and make no mistake, that is a very, wide, heavy bike having a tall center of gravity. Stick with standard bars until you get good with slow speed handling. Things to watch for in the vintage i4 is stretch in the engines internal chains, both valve and primary drive train stretch. If the previous owner was on and off the throttle lots, there will be drive train ‘lurch’ as a result of a stretched primary chain. Mufflers are almost sure to be non-stock as the heavy, double wall headers and original mufflers likely rusted out decades ago
rear shocks are likely just spring holders by now and the front forks have possibly never seen fresh oil, let alone new internals.
They take a while to wind up but given some space they are a very fast bike. Lots of cylinders is good for performance, bad for parts and service. Singles are elegant in their simplicity and multis are elegant in their complexity.May 6, 2010 at 6:32 pm #26229MikeCalgaryClassicParticipant
Got the bike yesterday afternoon. She seems to be in good running order although there are a few minor things that need doing. New rubber is an obvious first priority as the tires attached are old and badly cracked. Also, the front brake caliper appears to be jammed and I will need to get either a rebuild kit or an entirely new front brake assembly.
The previous owner did make a few modifications, including a ridiculous 70’s style king & queen seat with a high sissy bar (no problems for me with that, as i’m a big fan of ridiculous things from the 70s) and aftermarket gauges. Since i’m canadian I plan on swapping out the speedo for one in K/PH eventually. At this point, I haven’t ridden the bike yet, so I don’t even know if the speedo and tach are compatible with the existing speedo and tach drives.
I was wondering if any of you know of an online shop that would carry the parts I need? Pics coming soon, thanks for all your help.
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