Karl Chad­wick

The Owner’s Tale

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CLASSIC RIDE -

An or­ange lemon; or are they? Looks are not out of the best de­sign stu­dio, how­ever I find it a bloody good bike; as good as any of my Bri­tish bikes in days of yore and in many re­spects bet­ter. Front brake is typ­i­cal of the era: lack­ing. How­ever, the rear cer­tainly makes up for it. Vi­bra­tion is not as no­tice­able as some twins, mainly I sus­pect due to the 180 crank and the Ja­panese lev­els of en­gi­neer­ing. It doesn’t have the surge at 6000rpm like its 450 pre­de­ces­sor so there’s no point in treat­ing it as a sports bike. I think the CB pre­fix was the cause of the ‘lemon’ rep­u­ta­tion and the poor sales. The CB450 lit the fuse and by the time the 500 ar­rived the con­cept had gone pop. Ex­pec­ta­tions were too high due to the rep­u­ta­tion of the 450 and the ‘CB’ des­ig­na­tion sug­gested a re­vamped ma­chine in all as­pects. Had it been des­ig­nated a C or per­haps CD the ex­pec­ta­tions would have been in align­ment with its char­ac­ter­is­tics and per­for­mance and sales may have been bet­ter. It goes well, no oil leaks, han­dles well on orig­i­nal rear units, good fin­ish. A pre­vi­ous US ver­sion I had looked bet­ter in me­tal­lic bur­gundy and just like it this one has been to­tally re­li­able over two and a half years.

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