1980 Honda CX500D

The Bike

This one has slightly less than 7000 original miles on it. And it’s in mint condition, with only a couple of scratches in the paint. Even the rubber grommets, tires, etc. are like new!After setting so long, there are always a few minor things that need done to bring a bike back to like new condition. But working on them is half the fun.

After a week of evening puttering, the bike is ready for a short road trip up the mountain. It’s a gray day. The light is flat for photography. But it will have to do for now.

First Impressions

CX500 on Casper Mountain
Casper mountain.

This bike is slightly more top heavy than the Virago. Probably the taller engine and larger gas tank are the cause. But the bike handles great. It’s especially stable in a sharp turn while breaking. And it’s stable on the straight line.It’s hard to compare it against the BMW I owned such a long time ago. But it seems to be a smooth and quite bike. Probably more so than the BMW.

It’s also about 50lbs lighter than the Virago. I didn’t think that would make much difference. But this Honda is much easier to horse around, without power, than the Virago.

When this bike was first introduced, it got negative reviews on appearance from the press. I personally find the bike’s looks unique and they appeal to me. Maybe it’s my western culture where the buffalo is a cultural icon. And it’s even the major image on our state flag. Somehow, the angular lines and the character of the CX remind me of a buffalo.

The long curving pipes also remind me of a Triumph Bonneville, another of my dream machines.

wyoming buffalo
A few of our local buffalo.

Working on this bike is a real pleasure. The seat and tank are easily removed. And with the flying V twin design, almost everything is easily accessible. And the electrical system is simple which is a real plus.Looking at the CX’s simple and robust design, it’s also obvious why, with routine maintenance, these machines get up to 300,000 miles with few problems. Let’s see, with 7000 miles in 27 years, this machine should last another 1126 years! 😉

Ah, maybe not, I’ll probably ride it a little more than that.

Honda made variants of this bike for about a half dozen years. And most of the important parts can be obtained new. Used parts are easily obtained from the salvage yards.

With these bikes lasting so long, and the availability of spare parts, there should be a good supply of CX’s traveling the road for some years to come. And there should also be a few in mint condition, like mine, setting in someone’s garage just waiting to be discovered.

Honda CX500
Lean, clean machine.

At 500cc’s, this bike is about half the size of what I’m used to riding. It seems to loose it’s wind at about 80mph. That’s about 15 to 20mph lower than the larger machines. But it’s more than adequate for my solo riding, which is done closer to 60mph than 80.It’s got noticeably less low end torque than my larger displacement bikes. And it’s power comes on at about twice the rpms as well. Redline is at 10k. It will take some time to adjust watching the tach spin about half again as fast as on the larger machines and not search for a higher gear.

It’s the first water cooled bike I’ve owned. And it even has a mechanical fan and a temperature gauge. That’s a real plus in my desert environment.

Parting Thoughts

I having so much fun finding and working on these pristine, older machines, that I probably won’t ever go after a new one. For the same money, I could own half a dozen gems. So, I’m still looking for other opportunities. And I’m still yearning for that thumper.


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