Honda's CB500 – the four that shaped the future

Another take on the theme of the 550 Four, this time with a four-into-two exhaust.

No review of classic 1970s middleweights would be complete without due coverage of the Honda CB500.

Today the bike is overlooked and, amazingly, regularly ignored and even marginalised. To perpetrate any of these actions is near heresy — but why should this be the case?

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The reason is as simple as it is obvious. This was one of Japan’s first machines that truly punched above its weight and foretold the cult of the powerful middleweight sports bike. Thus the Yamaha R6, Kawasaki ZRX600, Suzuki GSX-R 600 and, indeed, Honda’s own CBR600.

All of these machines offer ballistic performance in smaller chassis than their one-litre brethren while bestowing lightning handling in easy-to-use packages. Even if the performance is light years away from the CB500, the concept remains the same — big power in a smaller motorcycle.

Read more in January’s edition of OBM

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