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Discussion Starter #1
Hi gang-

This was the best forum I could find on good discussions/tips on vintage motorcycles. Previously owning a SV650 and riding a Monster for quite some time, I decided to sell and look for mid-70's Japanese bikes. I like the cafe racer style of bikes along with the "culture" that goes along with it. Seattle has a few vintage Japanese shops and neighborhoods/bars/etc that have adopted the "lifestyle" with it. Quite honestly, I just like the way these bikes look. Streamlined, simple, and some can be quite beautiful.

My question is, though, that I found what seems to be a 1975 Honda CB500T in very, very good condition. 70's Japanese bikes in Seattle are extremely hit and miss to find. It has just over 3K miles, no leaks (as of now), literally no rust, started with the kick start cold first time, etc for 2K. It could be done cheaper as a project but that's not what I want. Now, why does the internet and even places in this forum "hate" CB500Ts?? Are they truly mechanically terrible or do people just think they are ugly? I'll put some lower bars on it and call it good. Will I race? Never. It's a city bike for me. I have a feeling that the answer will be just buy what I want but I'm just double checking that I'm not getting a lemon of a bike.

Of course, all info is appreciated. Thanks!
 

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the bikes ar egreat until 79 when they started to get a bit complicated imo, I ride a 74 cb550 and it is a sweet sweet ride, enough get up and go but not big enough to take long trips on, since you are sporting around seattle ( I live in seattle as well ) it should not be a huge issue.

once the bikes are dialed in on the carbs and points if you are running them instead of the solid state ignition they are a dream to ride.
 

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The 500T gets maligned because it is:

1. Somewhat rare and therefore difficult to find parts for (especially when compared to the 500/550 Fours).

2. Generally considered to be heavy and relatively underpowered (in stock form) for it's size (again, when compared to similar sized bikes of the same era).

That said, if it is really clean and you're only going to street it, get it.

Does this one have the cool brown seat?


Eric
 

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The differences between the 450 and the 500T are mostly aesthetic.

There are some differences internally in gearing and the head (porting I think) and the bore, but most other parts bolt on without a fuss.

The other difference was that the 500T exhaust had that crossover chamber.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
quote:Originally posted by joe c

yeah, matt, your comparing apples to oranges. hes talking about the twin.

the 450 was the better of the 2 even now.

goog finds this one right off the bat.

http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2658202850084913687UZUGCk

but the
Joe C-

You say that the 450 is "better" and this is what I read here but nobody really says why. I'm a newbie, not a purist, is this bike mechanically worse? Will I kick myself for not finding parts on the things that will inevitably go wrong?
 

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quote:Originally posted by borzwazie

The differences between the 450 and the 500T are mostly aesthetic.

There are some differences internally in gearing and the head (porting I think) and the bore, but most other parts bolt on without a fuss.

The other difference was that the 500T exhaust had that crossover chamber.
The 500T had a higher flow oil pump as well. Some of the bottom end was redesigned.

Those torsion bar valve springs are neat. There's a certain order you can swap them around to get move valve seat pressure if you want to run higher revs. But the cam followers already have oiling problems and gall/pit easily. The followers work on the cam/valves at a bad angle, meaning they wear quickly. And if you hard coat them, it just means your cams wear faster.
 

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The torsion bar valve springs and the very difficult to route cam chain make the 450T and 500T a less desirable choice.

The torsion bar springs are not available at all, but there is a conversion that will cost you $1500 or so all said and done.
 

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the 500t isnt the torsion valve head i dont think. (dohc) i dont know exactly what makes them better, so to speak, but i know they are favored. im no expert on them by any stretch. spinneys sidecar seems to do well with a 500t motor though.

oil capacity is a big deal with these motors, i know that. extra capacity pump on the 500 will save you alot of headaches. that i know. it is probably actually the capacity it should have.

wish i ha more for you, but i dont.

jc
 

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both the 450 and 500 twins had the torsion bar spring heads. Neat stuff. Real 1960's Formula 1 car racing stuff. But they got the rocker arm angles all wrong.

Funny, because these bikes were designed in the era of Honda's 17000rpm inline 3,4,5,6 cylinder bikes.
 

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barring the few internal differences, google Todd Henning and see what a 450/500 twin is capable of...
 

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From what little I have read about them, the disc brake has a reputation for absolutely sucking hard.
 

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With a rebuilt caliper & master cylinder plus braided SS lines, I can lock up the front on my 450... in the dry. If I get caught in the rain though, my front brake power is, um, shall we say, significantly compromised.
 

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Cage,

I don't have any first hand experience with the 500T, But I don't see why it shouldn't be as good of street ride as a 450. I've been riding mine around (cb450) for over 10 years now, it's been as reliable as any other vintage bike I know of, more reliable than most in fact. Not as fast as the inline fours, but unless you're racing one you'll not likely notice. Plus you get the parallel twin exhaust note, which IMO is as cool as hell. FWIW, my bike had 8K miles when I bought it. No valve train issues so far. <knocking on wood>
 

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quote:Originally posted by CB550 Matt

the bikes ar egreat until 79 when they started to get a bit complicated imo, I ride a 74 cb550 and it is a sweet sweet ride, enough get up and go but not big enough to take long trips on, since you are sporting around seattle ( I live in seattle as well ) it should not be a huge issue.

once the bikes are dialed in on the carbs and points if you are running them instead of the solid state ignition they are a dream to ride.
+1 on the model years with 97 and up getting stupidly complex . A 75 500T is pretty cool . Can be a bitch to get parts for them but if you look you'll find them . There is a bit of NOS for the 450-500 twins out there . If the bike is a bit of a rat caffe it up and do it right . If it's in really good shape do minimal stuff since they are somewhat rare . Grab it and go !
 
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