Following the rapturous reception of their mould-breaking CB750 in 1969, Honda embarked on a program to capitalize on its success. Amongst the designs which followed was a series of scaled-down, lower-capacity 'fours' aimed at the rider who didn't want a 'superbike' or didn't feel the need for such performance. Of course, this was Honda and there was no way that any smaller version was going to lack performance or desirability.
The first of them to market, in 1971, was the CB500, a smaller and lighter visual replica of the larger bike with the same appealing looks. The overhead-cam 'four,' the five-speed 'box, the disc brake and full specification were still present, as were the great colors and upswept chrome pipes.
The new 500 got a very good reception from the trade press, Bike
magazine reckoned that the smaller machine might well be preferable to the larger one:
"For starters the 500 is a lighter machine with a smaller wheelbase. It therefore has a better power to weight ratio than its bigger brother and, significantly, it handles better through the curves. In fact, the 500 is faster up to 60mph in a straight line and its 80mph time is only a fraction of a second behind the 750."
Praise indeed which Honda, no doubt, noted and amplified with the CB400. The CB500 proved to be a popular bike produced for all markets.
The example for sale is to Japanese home market specification making it a comparatively rare machine. It is understood that this machine was later imported to Texas and eventually to California. Finished in the model's original deep bronze and black color scheme it has been restored to a very high standard throughout mechanically and cosmetically. Always garage kept, it will be a welcome addition to any stable.