That Honda’s CX500 has acquired a reputation as a somewhat dowdy commuter bike and courier hack does great disservice to the clever engineering that went into its design. The across-the-frame 80-degree liquid-cooled 497cc V-twin had its heads twisted inwards by 22 degrees to skew the inlets away from the rider’s legs. Shaft-drive offered another twist of practicality,
The engine layout dictated that Honda had to abandon their usual overhead camshaft design in favour of a high cam with pushrods actuating the four-valve heads. A five-speed gearbox sat under the crankshaft keeping the engine short but tall. That gearbox spun the other way around from the engine to help counteract torque reaction – more clever engineering.
The first models were twin-shock but later went to Pro-link monoshock while forks were at first conventionally hydraulic then became air-assisted.
The CX500 was Honda’s first ever V-twin and became one of their most enduring. It would provide the base for the 500 and 650 Silver Wing tourers and of course the turbo models.