Author Topic: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question  (Read 671 times)

Offline Oggie400F

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Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« on: June 24, 2019, 11:15:04 PM »
I'm in the market to add another bike to my garage. I've been looking at the 500 and 550 fours but can't decide which would be better.
What's your opinion people?
What are the pros and cons of both and how much am I looking at needing to pay for a bike in very good condition?
Plus, if anyone knows of a good one for sale, let me know.
Or should I be looking at the 750/4 market instead?
Thanks.  :)
I'm a Radiographer............I can see right through you!!

1999 VFR800 fix in Pearl Prism Black
1978 CB750F1 in Candy Presto Red
1976 CB550F Supersport Brat Bike in Black
1976 CB400F in Varnish Blue - project bike in many bits.

Offline Erny

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Re: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2019, 11:20:26 PM »
Depends what you prefer, what usege you plan..

I have now both, 750 K7 and 550 K1, both USA models. These I can compare

Obviously, 750 pulls stronger but 550 is much ligher, much easier to handle on the road, when moving in garage.
For riding in 2, I recommend 75, for city riding definitely 500/550

That's my view as per my experience
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Offline matthewmosse

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Re: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2019, 11:26:46 PM »
I found the 750 too big to really relax into and enjoy, partly as it was not my bike so not comfortable caning it  was part of it. Plus I'm faily small so the 500 suits me better. Cb500 slightly shorter than the 550, my 550 was a k3, fantastic on fuel, but reputation of not liking being stood idle for any length of time. Looks wise the cb500 and early 550 are my favourites.
Got a 500/4 with rust and a sidecar and loadsa bits. nice and original and been round the clock

Offline Nurse Julie

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Re: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2019, 11:41:01 PM »
No comparison whatsoever between 500/550 and the 750's. I ride 400/500/550 and 750 four's and the 500/550's are sort of similar but the 400 and 750's are not comparible to anything else in the model range. Regardless of which you go for, to get a good one, I mean really, really good, you will pay top money. Anything less than really, really good, should be cheaper to buy but may cost you more in the long run.
Edit...
I should also have said it depends on the age and model of each engine size as to how they perform.  A 1969 CB750 is a totally different bike to a 1977 model. A 550 K is different again to a 550F. Honda were forever evolving with each newer model, not just in looks but engineering too.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2019, 11:56:55 PM by Nurse Julie »
Im a Nurse, trust me, this won't hurt.....much !!!

LINK TO MY CB400/4 ENGINE STRIP / ASSESSMENT AND REBUILD...NOW COMPLETE
http://www.sohc.co.uk/index.php/topic,14049.msg112691/topicseen.html#new

Offline paulbaker1954

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Re: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2019, 09:48:37 AM »
Agree with other posters 500/550 is great for town use country amblee etc whereas 750 probably which is just heavier better for longer trips etc. I love my 500 which I bought as a DK import with a fully seized engine but excellent chrome and very few bits missing. I paid £1,600 and then about another £1,700 on the rebuild which included a full engine strip with new pistons, seals etc etc and also a full set of repro 4-4 exhausts from CMSNL which alone we around £800 but well worth it to replace the 2-1 pipes it came with.

I ended up with a bike that looks good but is not a concourse restoration but I like it like that (a bike that age looks OK with a few scars!!!)

If you can find an earlier model K0 ideally or K1 as they will (maybe) be worth more. Also depends on how much restoration work you want to do and of course how competent you are.

There are a few always on ebay but some are really stupid money but there are some decent ones come up from time to time. I would expect to pay no more than £6K - £7K for a decent example but others may disagree with me here

you may have seen this but this is currently on Ebay and would be a good easy project.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/honda-cb500-four-1972-k1-11k-miles/333246173961?hash=item4d97051309:g:c84AAOSw0eNdEJPK
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Offline Oggie400F

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Re: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2019, 11:23:37 AM »
If you can find an earlier model K0 ideally or K1 as they will (maybe) be worth more. Also depends on how much restoration work you want to do and of course how competent you are.

There are a few always on ebay but some are really stupid money but there are some decent ones come up from time to time. I would expect to pay no more than £6K - £7K for a decent example but others may disagree with me here

you may have seen this but this is currently on Ebay and would be a good easy project.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/honda-cb500-four-1972-k1-11k-miles/333246173961?hash=item4d97051309:g:c84AAOSw0eNdEJPK

Thanks. This one looks ideal and not too much needed to get it back on the road (that's if it's got a V5) if it hasn't got a V5 I could probably have it fully restored before the DVLA supply me with one!   :D
I'm a Radiographer............I can see right through you!!

1999 VFR800 fix in Pearl Prism Black
1978 CB750F1 in Candy Presto Red
1976 CB550F Supersport Brat Bike in Black
1976 CB400F in Varnish Blue - project bike in many bits.

Offline Davelu88

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Re: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2019, 11:32:04 AM »
Ive got a 400/4 and the 550 K1 & i love the 550 to ride ,its not to heavy ,not too tall even for a shorty like me & is quite nimble  has a good turn of speed even with 2 up & i wouldnt hesitate to go on a long journey on it. Shame your not after another 400  ;D.

Offline Trigger

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Re: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2019, 12:22:54 PM »
500 and 550 are the same BHP and the 550 is easier to get hold of second hand parts. Personally I can't see the problem with a CD250  ;)

Offline Oddjob

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Re: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2019, 05:20:15 PM »
The 500 is far better looking IMO, the 550 has the edge in engine design, no pushrod clutch and a better designed gearbox, so the 550K is the best of both worlds.
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Offline matthewmosse

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Re: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2019, 06:27:38 PM »
I would agree overall, but it's an easy enough job to drop a cb550 engine into a cb500/4 if the price is right. It may be non original that way, depends on if it matters to you about originality or just a nice bike.
Got a 500/4 with rust and a sidecar and loadsa bits. nice and original and been round the clock

Offline deltarider

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Re: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2019, 07:31:51 PM »
The times are a changin' and so are people's opinions. At the time (1971) the CB500 was seen as quite a heavy bike, the 750 being the superbike. To classify the CB500/550 as a town bike is IMO ridiculous. My bike has been all over Europe from Norway to the deep south of the Peloponnessos. On the German Autobahns I could maintain 140 km/h for hours on end, be it frequently interrupted for tankstops. I once did the 1000km from the Italian/Swiss border home in one day. A town bike? Back then it was regarded as a perfect allrounder. Besides, realise that owners of heavier bikes like the 750 do > 95-99% of their miles at the same output as mine. Nowadays I see so many bikes that most of the time drag around their own weight. I myself consider around 650cc and no more than 210 kg an ideal bike. If I had to buy one, I would choose a second hand Honda Transalp: sufficient power, you can travel the world with it and - important - when fallen over (with luggage!), you can upright it without having to look for assistence from a nearby farmer. These things count.

Offline Oddjob

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Re: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2019, 10:39:46 PM »
If you can't pick up a 500 after a spill I'd seriously consider a gym membership, it's not a heavy bike, especially for it's age and the fact it's built mainly out of decent metal. I'd certainly consider it a good town bike, it's nimble, accelerates reasonably well considering how old the design is, pretty good on fuel and easy to get onto the main stand.

I've raced a 500, travelled extensively on one, one of my engines has 263,000 miles on it and is still going strong on the original bores, you can keep your Transalp, I prefer a decent bike with bags of character, there are very few modern bikes these days with character.

One other thing, they'll be nobody walking over to talk to the rider of a Transalp, same can't be said for the 500/550, they attract crowds of appreciative people if only for the nostalgia kick.
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Offline matthewmosse

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Re: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2019, 09:30:11 AM »
Try bolting a sidecar to a cb500/4, you can almost never park up without being chatted to or the bike photographed, even with what is essentially a rat bike it's so heavily patinated. Its definitely my favourite bike of all time. Lasts well too. I have a similarly high milage engine and bores plus pistons are still up to speck for re ringing rather than rebore. Having said that I think my ntv650 has similar attributes of longevity etc appart from it has never attracted the attention. The cb500 is just a very pretty bike, the later 550 tank with the flush filler cap is just a bit less pretty I think. If I had more money my goal would be a nice cb500/4 for around £2000 give or take, at that price you can have something with a decent engine and cosmetics but probably not a perfect restoration, maybe aftermarket pipes and not UK mudguards and switchgear etc but still something solid and useable. It at least should take you out of the engine rebuilding category I think.depends on how strongly you feel about very light putting on rims etc after that, a showroom finish seems to be a very expensive thing to attain and cannot be seen on the move. If the bikes going to shows than maybe that alters things.
Got a 500/4 with rust and a sidecar and loadsa bits. nice and original and been round the clock

Offline Colonial-Clive (yindi)

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Re: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2019, 12:07:42 PM »
I have a 500 frame with 550 motor updated too 600 fork springs updated triple disks etc etc and with modern rubber goes like stink handles like it’s on rails and brings a smile to my big ugly mug. It’s far from concours but I wanted a bike I could relive my 70s memories on and it does it in bucket loads. I would say go for what you want not what other people perceive you should do or have..

Offline Oggie400F

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Re: Looking for another bike, 500 or 550? That is the question
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2019, 06:19:30 AM »
Thanks for all the comments
I've found a bike, at what I think is a very reasonable price, and am awaiting delivery.
I'm not looking at making it a show bike, just a good solid bike to ride and enjoy, modified and non standard is not an issue as long as it is in all round sound condition.
I'm looking forward to getting out in this wonderful British summertime weather once it arrives.  :)
I'm a Radiographer............I can see right through you!!

1999 VFR800 fix in Pearl Prism Black
1978 CB750F1 in Candy Presto Red
1976 CB550F Supersport Brat Bike in Black
1976 CB400F in Varnish Blue - project bike in many bits.