Bikes we love

What I want: Honda CB500F (or X)


The more I think about it –– in price terms especially –– the more I feel it’s likely I’ll end up getting a 250cc bike. But I could be easily dissuaded. I am always applying for higher-paying jobs and if one of those Chinese lanterns (1) should happen to result in a greater income stream then a whole raft of models will come into the picture.

One of the motorcycles that is already there, that I would consider bending over backwards to get my hands on even in my current financial state, is the new 500cc offering from Honda. Technically, we’re talking about three new offerings: the CBR500R, the CB500F and the yet-to-be-released CB500X. But according to all the press I’ve seen they are all the same bike with different faces.

The faces appealing to me most are the F and X versions. I’m not a huge fan of racer-styled bikes, especially when they don’t really possess racer-styled engines. That feels just a little too much like the kid who shows up at a baseball game wearing his team’s uniform. It’s cute if a kid does it, but a grown man doing it is retarded. I am not a sport racer, nor do I have any ambition to be, so I don’t see why I should be riding around on something that makes me look otherwise. I wouldn’t drive a car that’s been all decorated up to look like a NASCAR vehicle.

So, my heart gravitates toward the other models. A Honda CB500F, it seems, would be almost the perfect bike for me to start out on. Gentle enough that I can get over my jitters but with enough power that I can keep it around for a fair amount of time without getting bored. As one story I read noted: it is hard to get bored on a machine capable of 135 mph.

Indeed, all the reviews I’ve seen have been relatively positive. The only criticism I’ve spotted has been a tendency for it to not excite sport journalists who have wet dreams about gigantic sport bikes. Which is not really a criticism in my eyes. I think about the cars (2) I would prefer to drive –– a Honda Accord or a Volkswagen Golf –– and it seems to be the glory and power of a huge machine would be lost on me. I like utilitarian things. Reliable things. Durable things. Safe things.

And because of that I am also intrigued by the X model. See above what I said about playing dress-up; I can’t imagine the CB500X would be a legitimate adventure bike, but it might possess a tad more ruggedness and the riding position I prefer. If it is anything on the consistently praised NC700X I’d be very happy.

All I need now is £5,000 (US $7,522). Anyone want to give that to me?

(1) I send out applications quite frequently; the utterly dismal nature of the British economy –– especially in Wales –– is such that they are just as frequently unsuccessful. I imagine the applications as being like Chinese lanterns: little beautiful things that I send out into the nothingness, from which I will never hear again.

(2) Note that I said cars. When I lived in the United States, however, I always drove a pick-up truck. I went through two Fords and a GMC but always wished to have the money for a new Toyota Tundra, because they are built in San Antonio, Texas.