’80 Honda CX500 Deluxe
Economical, reliable, easy to ride, comfortable and a little odd looking. All those and more describe the Honda CX series of motorcycles. When thinking about the CX motorcycles, the first question is why? Honda already a fantastic middleweight machine in the CB550-4, so what was the need to build something new? The answer…because they’re Honda and they can.
Back in the mid 70’s thru the early eighties the mid size (under 650cc) motorcycle was king. Really. Each of the Japanese manufacturers had no less than five models in that class, and I’m not talking about the baby bikes either, freeway legal real size motorcycles. Remember, this was at a time when gas was expensive and motorcycles were being touted and bought as the real alternative to driving your gas guzzling car everywhere all the time. Mid-size bikes were also very sporty, the 2 strokes from Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki were easily quicker than than many of their larger brethren and fun to ride to boot. Eventually though, the desire, the need, and yes, the lust for more speed and power took over. The days of the easy to ride and economical middleweight motorcycle were numbered.
So, back to the CX500. The CX was designed by Soichiro Irimajiri, the man that penned the original Goldwing and later created the stunning six cylinder CBX. The CX was targeted at younger riders that were looking for something different and with the CX500, that’s exactly what they got. The CX has often been compared to the MotoGuzzi V50 from Italy and in a number of respects they are quite similar. V-Twin motors, shaft drive, close in power (both right around 50hp) and designed as an everymans motorcycle. But the CX went farther with water cooling and a more modern engine design.
When the first CX500 prototypes rolled out, testers commented that the motor was too smooth (no personality) and the carb’s tended to hit the riders legs, neither, a good thing. The V-twin motor got a bit of a redesign…the cylinder ‘V’ angle was tightened up to narrow the motor, the cylinders were twisted some so the carburetors wouldn’t bang into your shins and the exhaust was redesigned. Now you have the CX motor that we all have come to know and some of us to love. I think the CX has probably one of the most unique exhaust notes in all of motorcycling. It’s not a sound that will stir your soul or intimidate the driver in the car next to you, but it is unique and distinctive. Pooka,pooka,pooka,pooka…..
There is a lot you can do with a CX500 commute to and from work, ride it to school, travel the country on it, go after the bad guys or turn it into a really cool cafe racer. The CX has developed quite a loyal following over the years and deservedly so. It is a much better motorcycle than many think.
I found a very nice CX500 Deluxe on ebay yesterday. This 1980 model is completely stock in excellent condition with only 11,000 miles on the clock. There is no rust ,the paint is good and according to the owner, runs great. So what makes this a ‘Deluxe’ model? Not a whole lot really. They changed the rear wheel to a 16 incher instead of the standard 18″ rim for a more cruiserish look I imagine, changed the seat to accommodate the wheel change and to go with the new look, and Honda designers changed the headlight/ instrument cluster from the ugly unit used on the standard CX to something more normal and better looking. This bike does really look nice and at an asking price of $2495, a good value. The CX500 is a really well made motorcycle that, given basic care should give you many happy miles. Click on the pics for more info and more views of the bike.