THE Honda CB500T
was introduced to the UK in 1975 and seems to have died in 1978.
The engine was of course based on the earlier CB450, introduced to America
in 1965. Changes to the engine include lengthening the stroke from 57.8mm
to 64.8mm, replacing the CB450's roller mains with ball journal type and
reducing compression ratio from 9:1 to 8.5:1.
The oil control rings on the pistons were also changed to a 3 piece design.
I am using the earlier type in our current road bike without any problems.
Carburetors were modified to prevent popping on the overrun, and a system
to recycle blow by gasses fitted.
Obviously the bike was restyled over
the last CB450's sold in the USA and used the front disc common to larger
Honda's of the period. Honda launched a massive advertising campaign in
the UK for 1975, to the extent that 4 pages were devoted to the CB500T
ad in 'Bike' August 1975.
The advert begins with a copy of the Motorcycle News road test, headlined;
"Touching just over the ton, through the speed trap proves its no
The test is typical of the period, criticism being implied rather than
stated, and begins with allusions to the classical nature of the styling.
Problems hinted at included soggy rear suspension, vibration, lack of
power and poor ground clearance.
You just know there is not much to say when the tester praises the front
disc brake. These are really truly appalling, why did we put up with that
horrendous delay in the wet? The single piston caliper seizes up at the
slightest hint of winter.
Saving the best till last;
'What deserves great praise is the bike's potential economy. Using a 50mph
maximum, equivalent to 4000rpm in top, returned no less than 73mpg. Overall
consumption of 51mpg took this gallon into account plus the speed testing
to give an accurate overall figure.'
I would agree, these bikes are very economical, particularly if as we
have done you raise the gearing.
Images from the 1975 advert and road test
DID you know that a CB500T was the 1,000,000 Honda motorcycle?
The bike was ridden of the production line by Sochiro Honda himself.
Some specifications from the MCN road test
Oil capacity: 2.8 litres
Alternator: 0.12 kw @ 5000rpm
Spark plugs: NGK B8ES
Primary reduction: 3.304:1
Gear ratios: 1st; 2.277:1 2nd; 1.521:1 3rd; 1.230:1 4th; 1.0:1 5th; 0.844:1
Final Reduction; 2.2:1
Maximum power: 42bhp @ 8000rpm
Maximum torque: 4kg @ 7000rpm
Fuel: 2 star or better (unleaded)
Tank capacity: 16ltrs
Wheelbase: 1410mm (55.5")
Seat height: 800mm
Dry weight: 193kg (425.5lbs)