1980 Honda CX500


Fantastic bike with a little work


Original components were all badly aged, as would be expected of a 32-year-old motorcycle.

After refurb, have had zero problems at all.

General Comments:

These are fantastic machines, if you take the time to get them at least back to original condition or preferably better. A lot of the common complaints (e.g. poor front brakes) are easily and fairly cheaply fixed.

I bought my bike, a 1980 CX500C, in very poor condition for $300. I totally overhauled the bike, and now it is just amazing. The tuned-up engine and replacement ignition accelerate the thing quickly and smoothly to 65-70 mph, where it will happily and steadily cruise all day, even in the hottest weather. The front disc brake with single-piston caliper hauls the 460-lb motorcycle back to a stop surprisingly quickly - the stainless brake lines and new master cylinder make a huge difference.

It starts instantly in any temperature and never bogs down. You can ride right off from cold starting (unusual in bikes from this era and even today)

Handling is pretty excellent. I have new shocks and rebuilt forks, and the forks are lowered 1" in the trees, which quickens the steering just enough. The center of gravity is fairly high, but it doesn't matter once you're moving. The tires (new Kenda K671s) are excellent in all conditions, with tons of grip.

The seat is comfortable, the bike looks nice (with the addition of a new paint job), and sounds nice because of the new mufflers.

Total cost for the build was roughly $1000. It took a few months, during most of which the bike was rideable. No work was outsourced - I did everything myself.

Full list of modifications:

Front brake caliper rebuilt. New pads and fluid. Replacement (improved) master cylinder. Stainless steel lines.

New mufflers (stock Harley Dynas). These are reasonably quiet and very deep. Excellent sound.

Ignitech replacement ignition module. This replaces the aging CDI unit on pre-1982 bikes, and solves problems with that and the stator (both chronic problems with the CX). It also has an improved curve programmed, which improves performance, ease of starting, and smoothness over stock.

Thoroughly cleaned carburetors, properly synchronized.

Rebuilt front forks, lowered 1" in the trees.

New rear shocks.

Valve adjustment.

New engine water pump seal (also a chronic problem).

New fluids all round.

New tires.

New paint.

Cleaned and lubricated cables.

Restored seat (original foam and repaired original cover).

New ultrabright LED signals and stop/tail light.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd July, 2012

1980 Honda CX500


Unmatched reliability on a budget


The bike would hit a wall at about 5000 rpm and not accelerate any further. I traced it down to the resistors in each plug cap, and replaced the resistors with a section of copper, which solved the problem.

The temperature gauge would always indicate the bike was overheating - turned out to be a loose wire in the headlight bucket.

Aside from that, the bike has been flawlessly reliable.

General Comments:

The bike is fairly top heavy, which can be tricky to learn on, but isn't terrible. The powerband is fairly linear, being a V-Twin, which is good for commuting or learning to ride.

The riding position is pretty comfy. The seat on mine had plenty of cushion, and the handlebars reach to a very natural placement for your hands.

The brakes are pretty weak as far as modern standards go. I wouldn't expect much, as the old school single disc front is trying to slow down a fairly heavy bike.

The suspension on my CX was very soft, and I suspect it was due for a fork oil change up front. I could bottom out the front without much trouble under heavy braking.

Fuel economy for my CX was average. I typically got anywhere from high 30s to mid 40s for my mpg. I expected better for a 500cc v-twin, but I blame that on aging components.

This cycle would be a great for someone who is looking to learn how to ride, or for an experienced rider looking for a reliable commuter. My favorite part about my CX is that it required almost no time to warm up - it is ready to ride as soon as it's started without worrying about bogging or hesitation.

Overall, I would definitely recommend at least test riding one to see if you like how it rides. These are really well built, and are a tank of a bike.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th April, 2010