We do write a lot about Honda CX500 Cafe Racers, hence CX Cafe Racer in general. Why? They are awesome, relatively cheap to start with and have something unique, when it comes to their engines! Today, a “Low and Mean” Honda CX500 Cafe Racer from 1978.
Honda CX500 Specs
The Honda CX500 has to be arguably one of the most far sighted creations of a motorcycle to be released over the last 30 years. Unique in concept, progressive in engineering, and incredibly long lived, in fact it was a milestone in motorcycle design. Just have a look at the spec; water cooling and shaft drive, a low maintenance 4 valve per cylinder engine and of course tubeless tyres. The first motorcycle to have them fitted as standard. think of the effect when it was launched back in 1978.
Confirmation of some very radical thinking shone through in every feature of the CX. The angle of the vee twin engine was only 80 degrees, and not the customary 90, thus allowing the bike to be a lot narrower. As a consequence that omitted 10 degrees did result in fractionally more vibration, but this however was not really sufficient to worry about. Even the cylinder heads integrated a slight twist to angle the carbs inwards to prevent them striking the riders knees.
Of course due to this twist, the fitting of overhead cams were impossible, so the four valves per cylinder were operated by push rods. Yet in spite of this setback the CX still had a 9750 rpm rev limit. The clutch was also geared to rotate in the opposite direction of the crankshaft, thus cancelling out any torque reaction. It also had a brilliant elevated riding position in addition to a massive seat and handled very well for the standards of the day, having a top speed of around 105mph which was pretty respectable at the time and of course it was extremely competitively priced.
Major criticisms when it was launched ended up being incredibly few and were restricted to its weight which at 467ibs for a 500 the CX was a bit of a porker. Furthermore the mass was carried high up due to Honda’s designer Soichiro Iramajiri placing the crankshaft higher than the gearbox. As a result the CX was a little top heavy, but this did little to dent the testers rave reviews. Even the camchain tensioner gremlins that troubled the very early versions did very little to dent overall sales.
Building a Cafe Racer Yourself?