Motorcycle Poll: Which 500cc twin would you buy?

| 10/27/2010 12:21:59 PM

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 Remember the mid-1970s, when twins were still hot and a 500cc bike was big enough for the road? Three of our favorites were Honda’s CB500T, Suzuki’s 500 Titan and Yamaha’s XS500. Cool bikes then, we think they’re even cooler today. So if you were going to buy one today, which would it be? Click the link and vote now!


12/27/2014 5:51:41 PM

Although I agree with the sentiment that CX's are great bikes, (I've owned a CX650E for nearly 30 years), I'd really like my '73 Triumph Daytona back. With updated electronic ignition and modern lubricants it might even be reasonably reliable!

d. baker
11/1/2010 6:34:33 PM

I want/need reliable easy to maintain vehicles because I'm the mechanic who drops stuff. For me that means Honda. A much better model is the CX500 (only a few years later). I'd take one of those over most modern cycles.

10/31/2010 5:04:01 AM

Maybe a little off-topic, but they made some great 500 twins in Europe during the seventies ass well. Brits, Germans, Italians all knew how to do it. My personal favorite of the era is the beautiful small block Moto Guzzi V50. It was a leap forward for the Mandello factory with which it seriuously re-entered into the 500cc arena after the big single Falcone became outdated. The small 90-degree V-twin is an evergreen, with many of them still running. Build quality was not a bigger issue than it was with the mentioned Yam, Honda and Suzuki. Even Nato had them in service for many years, and a large number of these Nato V50's survived, even now providing a reliable day-to-day ride. My personal favorite is the Monza version. Quick, gorgeous looks, great sound and a feast to ride. I have one with 70k miles on it and still going strong.

doug d
10/29/2010 6:08:05 PM

Which of these three is cool? It would have to be the T500 Titan. All three are heavy, vibrate excessivley, and require more than a little maintenance, but only the 'Zuk' could be called cool. Toss on a pair of expansion chambers, trim a little piston here and there, smooth the ports, add some clip-ons and rearsets, and you got an RD killer that you can even ride two up on. Plus you get the sensation of two stroke smells, and the constant smoke leaving little oil spots on your back. I wouldn't want to ride any of these long distance though. If I needed to take a trip on a half liter, I would rather take my KLR, its more reliable, vibrates less, gets way better mileage than all three, and is a lot more managable. But to take my lady out for a little fun and to turn a few heads I would choose the Titan. Hmm, what was my Ebay code?

10/28/2010 11:54:32 PM

Of course, hind sight is 20-20. We all say we would take the CB500T now but in the '70's it would have been different. The Yamaha had the bang-up-to-date-modern styling, the Titan hand the power and the pazzaz. The CB500T had reliability and, at the time, an uninspiring ride and outdated styling. It was the sensible bike to buy for sure. I'd compare it to today's bikes: The CB is the Nighthawk 750, the Yamaha is the R6 and the Suzuki, the GSXR600. There are a whole lotta R6's being sold but, 30 years from now, everyone will be saying they wanted the Nighthawk. -todd

don slicker
10/28/2010 8:41:28 PM

I have two 450's a CL and a CB. I also have a CB500t. I like all of them for the different bikes that they are. I did think that the 500t vibrated more than my 450's. A friend has one and took the top motor mount off and claimed it improved the vibration problem. I went ahead and tried that myself and so far have been happier with the bike. I guess I wouldnt do that if I was going to race the bike.

10/28/2010 3:48:48 PM

Late 70s,I needed a replacement for my 1970 Titan, which I stupidly sold. Figured it would start giving me trouble after about 20K. Ahh, I was young and wanted a new toy. I read all I could about the CB500 & XS500, then went and test rode the CB. Yep, it(at least the one I rode) vibrated. Motor was uninspiring(slow) compared to my now departed Titan. Bought the XS and never regretted it. Engine sang and it handled pretty well. Looking back, I wanted to like the CB for it's classic looks, but was really disappointed by the test ride. A few years back, found sveral XSs that I'd planned to bring back to life as one good one, but unfortunately, along with other projects that were saved up, were consumed by one of the recent wild fires here in San Diego. I'll find another plastic brownie someday.

10/28/2010 2:36:08 PM

Loved the CB450!! Whata great all around bike. It was my 1st "big" bike I bought a 1974 CB450 when I was 16 back in 1976. I rode that bike HARD and it NEVER let me down except that it blew a main fuse once. I carried a spare with me and was riding again in about 5mins. other than that no problems and many many miles. Yes its a twin and it vibrated (buzzed) a bit to the point of putting your hands asleep at speeds over 65mph but I put some nice foam grips on it and that helped tremendously Ive since gotten the resto bug and have a '75 CB500T (I bought it in running condition for $200)sitting in the garage right now while I finish up my '79 CB750F. Honestly, ill probably sell the F when its done and keep the 500T for just a great little cruisin (after I clean and rebuild the carbs)thru the countryside and occasional little Sunday side trips under 65 mph with the wife bike. They are just dependable as a stone, and bulletproof to boot! You just CANNOT beat a HONDA!

david freiboth
10/28/2010 1:15:03 PM

Your going to love this. I was basically given a pretty intact,original 500T in 1988. At the time I owned a '79 CBX (still do)so since the guys down at the Honda shop considered the 500T "the worse bike Honda ever made" I considered it my rat bike. Over the years I fiddled with a slight oil leak from time to time (long story) but it mostly sat in the back of the garage while I went through a Brit bike phase (I am currently Brit Bike free and in recovery attending Brit Bikes Anonymous meetings once a week - Matchless was my frustration of choice). I "rediscovered" the 500T a few years ago after I had gotten the Brit Bike monkey off my back, man, sold my cafed GS1000 and sent my trusty old CBX off for a frame off resto. Man, this is turning into a long story. Maybe I should write an article. Suffice it to say the CBX is fully restored and I am now afraid to ride it. <:( The 500T, My trusty old paint shaker, by default has become my touring bike (!) while we finish the house remodel and I save up for a proper tourer. And now it is being considered a classic??? Who'd of thought? I guess it proves the old adage, if you hold onto something long enough......

10/28/2010 12:54:50 PM

I think the Honda's had a better go of all round bike. Not much for long rides but still would do it if needed. I holed a piston on a Suzuki 500 once riding from Albuquerque to El Paso but it was a decent traveler and I felt it had better power for passing than the Honda (roll on's) But the Honda's were more reliable and you didn't have to carry a bottle of oil with you while traveling. They both vibrated, but at different frequencies, the Honda was more tolerable. All the Yamaha 500's (and 750's) I ever saw leaked oil like crazy, so I never got interested in them.And, in my opinion, they were butt ugly compared to either the Suzuki or Honda. I have '65 and '74 450's and think the 500 was a nice evolution of that design.

david wimprine
10/28/2010 11:07:44 AM

I owned several CB450 twins starting with a 1965 bomber an i have five CB450 Honda now two 1971 one 1974 and two 1969 still trying to buy a cb500 twin as you can see i collect old CB450 Honda i think they were one of the best bikes of there time. my son also has a 1973 and a 1974 CB450

10/28/2010 9:47:12 AM

I worked at a Honda dealership when the Honda CB500T came out. I remember them vibrating to the point the gage needles came off of one we sold. I am not sure why Honda bothered to do a remake of the old 450T when their 4cyl bikes were their top sellers. I have never cared for 2 stroke street bikes although I have owned several great 2 stroke dirt bikes. So I am not interested in the SUZ 500 twin street bike. My choice would be the Yam 500 twin, it is a good looking dependable street bike.

kerry buckey
10/28/2010 9:16:05 AM

I'd buy the same one I bought in '75 - the CB500T. Wish I still had it...

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