Honda CB500T

The Honda CB500T is Seventies twin with character: throwback flavor, classic styling, retro engine

| January/February 2006

Honda aimed the CB500T at a refined crowd that presumably would appreciate a bike with throwback — some would say outdated — engineering

Bad to the Bone it wasn’t: Honda aimed the CB500T at a refined crowd that presumably would appreciate a bike with throwback — some would say outdated — engineering.

Honda CB500T

Years produced: 1975-76
Total production: N/A
Claimed power: 34bhp @ 8,500rpm
Top speed: 101mph
Engine type: Parallel twin
Weight (dry): 193kg (425lb)
Price then: $1,545
Price now: $800-$1,800

OK, let’s get one thing clear right off the bat: Yes, we do know the difference between the Honda CB500T and the Honda GB500.

The GB500, Honda’s single-cylinder retro-classic of the late Eighties, is already an acknowledged classic. And yes, we do consider the CB500T an Under the Radar classic.

Could the CB500T, a Seventies twin, hold a candle to the GB500 from a performance standpoint? No. Did it generate as many words of praise as the GB? Not even close. If you set the two beside each other, would you pick the CB over its updated offspring? Probably not, unless you’d also choose Janet Reno over Janet Jackson.

So why are we spotlighting the old twin, a bike that drew comparisons to the bland-as-paste Ford Granada?

We like bikes with character, that’s why, and the CB500T has it. A Granada? Let’s just say you won’t find one on anybody’s list of classic cars.

Dave Mac
8/1/2013 9:38:38 PM

I was working at a Honda dealership when the 500T was produced. The first and maybe only 500T that was on our showroom floor viberated its speedo needle off the first time the bike was test ridden. I was dismayed that Honda hadn't done a better job of increasing the cc without letting the engine shake excessivly.

Tim Kern
7/23/2013 2:45:37 AM

OK, so you hate the CB500T. But you can't just make stuff up. It didn't have 34 hp; even the first CB450 had 43, for pete's sake. It didn't have a "retro" engine -- it was only 10 years old in 1975, and its torsion bar (not "hairpin") valve springs were as-yet unmatched. Further, if the CB500T's front brake was such a dog, why did it work on the CB350-4, CB400SS, CB450, CB500-F, CB550, and CB750? True, it has a particular spot where vibration is awful (on mine, it was right about 55mph); but at other speeds, it showed smooth mirrors (and on mine, that happened, for one example, at a steady 80). I also had a 1967 Black Bomber, and I preferred the later version's 5-speed. Just get the facts right, and write whatever you want; opinions are personal. But facts are facts.

mick bates
12/6/2012 11:10:54 AM

The 500t was not a bike that was produced to set the world on fire, it was a bike that had class and was a touring bike, a physically large bike that was produced at about the same time as the 400-4, This bike was probably regarded as the best handling Honda had ever produced. I was and still am very proud of my 500t. Nearly every motorcycle magazine that reported on the 500t dismissed it as a bad bike, but like todays bike journalists that are only interested in speed and having all bikes looking similar with racing bike performances and looks. This may not have been a popular bike but of all the people who actually owned one, rather than the journalists who rode them once, they were much loved bikes and many would still own one today, Unfortunately they are nearly three times the price today that i paid in 1976. Remember that summer.

David Freiboth
9/2/2010 11:11:56 PM

Before reading this article I always felt compelled to qualify CB500T ownership by pointing out that I have also owned from new an early '79 CBX. I almost always characterize the 500T as my rat bike as it was basically given to me over twenty years ago and was once referred to as, 'the worse bike Honda made," by the guys at the Honda shop. After reading this article I don't feel as much of a need to apologize for being seen on the Brown Bomber. Try as I might over the years to deny my affection for the 500T I kept it around as I collected other bikes. There was just something about it that looked right particularly after I replaced the stock handle bars with lower CB400F units - the only deviation from stock. Now after quitting Brit bikes cold turkey I have turned back to my trusty rat bike as the mount I take touring with my wife who, late in life, decided she wanted to learn to ride. So off we go, she on her tarted up 250 Nighthawk and me on my buzzy 500T. Sounds like there may be an article in this little story......

4/26/2010 11:22:58 AM

Gosh, now I feel a little better about that 500T ive got in the garage. It IS kinda becoming a little known classic in my opinuion as well. The brown seat though... ah well. LOL

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