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Honda CBF 500 ABS 2006

Mississippi Bullfrog

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Bought used for £1500 as a workhorse. It came with the bits I would have added which was a bonus - good sized top box, centre stand and a flyscreen.

The CBF500 is very similar to the previous CB500 which I had years ago. The CBF handles better in my view and is certainly more comfortable at motorway speeds. The CB used to be a bit twitchy over imperfections in the road surface whereas the CBF just seems to glide over them.

It's the carb version with no catalytic converter so you get 56bhp and 33lb/ft - which won't set the world on fire but bear in mind the bike is pretty light so it can certainly control the road compared to most cars. The low torque figure hints that the available power comes at higher rpm and you do need to run the engine briskly to make it work. There's usable power above 4,000rpm but if you really want to make progress quickly then you need to let the revs climb. Having said that it's an engine that is bulletproof and I've developed the habit of going everywhere with the throttle cranked wide open and it seems to lap it up. 25k on it so far with no problems. I change the oil and filter every 2k though - it's only a litre or so. They used to race the CB500 in its own series so the engine can take being pushed without any problems and it hints that there's more to the bike than meets the eye.

Some people are wary of engines fitted with chokes - I grew up with them so I'm happy with the setup. In the winter it needs the choke to fire it up and then let it idle for a minute before pushing the choke in. In the summer no choke needed. It's that simple.

It is an ideal commuter bike due to its balance and size. Very easy to ride. Very comfortable. I'm 5'10" and can sit with my feet flat at lights. Great at filtering. Slow speed handling is a doddle.

The typical older Honda build quality is there - they will take all weathers with only minimal tarnishing of the engine finish to show for it. Mine's 12 years old and has been ridden all year round but there's very little by way of corrosion showing.

It has a decent sized fuel tank and I'd reckon that even ridden briskly I get towards 50mpg, cruising on longer trips 200+ miles range between stops is possible. There's no fuel gauge, just a warning light. I usually set the 2nd trip and fill up after 150 miles before the light comes on.

No fancy electronics - it doesn't need them. Mine is the ABS version but I've never had it activate. The brakes are perfectly adequate for two finger braking most of the time. If you need to stop in a hurry grabbing a fistful will dive the front end but it's all predictable. The bike is after all designed to be easy to live with.

I fitted a good quality chain set and keep it dry waxed rather than oiled. I find it only need adjusting at very infrequent intervals. Maintenance is easy with the centre stand.

As a working bike that is easy to live with and offers reasonable riding enjoyment I'd certainly buy another. These seem to be rising in price at the moment - I was looking at buying a second one as a spare but the price of them has risen by a significant degree over the past year. Maybe people who want a solid simple bike that can still offer a decent ride are snapping them up.

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