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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just found this ad. This would be my first bike, I was mostly looking at CB350 until now, but on a whim I decided to look at the 500c and this one is literally in my close neighborhood. Would this make a good first bike for commuting? Are spare parts easy to find? From what I'm reading $2000 seems to be on the high side though... I'm really not crazy about the color but I guess that could be changed eventually... :p
 

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For $2000 I would expect it to be in ready to ride condition with reasonably new tires/battery and nearly new chain/sprockets. It's real easy to get financially buried in a 47 year old motorcycle if you pay too much, up front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It looks in pretty good shape, including the tires... definitely some pitting on the chrome in places, a hole in the exhaust apparently (one), paint is a bit rough, nothing I don't think I can't work with though... just wondering if it's not too much bike for a first bike...
 

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While yes it's a little heavier and more powerful than a CB350 twin, it's not a huge jump. Unless you're skinny and short you should be fine.
From the sound of that ad it's a SOHC/4 member's bike but I don't see it in the for sale section there, oddly.

In my opinion 2 grand for a first bike is a little high, but prices vary from region to region and seasonally.
The best time to buy a bike is in late fall when nobody wants to put them away for the winter, prices go down and sellers become more willing.
Spring and summer prices are usually higher. If you find a deal in the middle of winter, make sure it runs since some bikes don't like to start in the cold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm 6'-1" and perfectly proportioned. :p 2 grand is a bit steep for me honestly. I was going to offer $1500... it's kind of a bad timing for me because I'm about to leave the country for a few weeks, but being very local and pretty close to what I was looking for, it might turn out to be a great deal that I'd be dumb to pass or at least not consider, he literally leaves in my neighborhood which makes trying out the bike, going to see it, bringing it back super-convenient, and it looks like a good one too, at least from a noob's eye view... Worse comes to worst he refuses, it's no big deal, and I'll resume looking when I come back...
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In particular if there is a hole in the exhaust it might need to be replaced soon but I hear these exhausts are hard to find and expensive?
 

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Yeah, all the 4-4 stock exhausts are pretty rare to find in good condition these days, and really expensive if you do. The small hole is probably from the typical interior rust that these suffer when not in regular use and/or not stored in good conditions, and it will probably grow more as it ages to become a large rust hole sooner than later. If it's on the bottom and early in the process, you might get lucky and be able to have it welded (but it could also fall apart during the welding effort if it's really thin inside). The bike doesn't look too bad and the nice part is that it's still pretty much original, including the candy "chocolate" garnet brown - I know, not the nicest color Honda ever made but still, a survivor. My cousin owned a CB500K0 in '74 and it wasn't as fast as a CB450 until above about 60 to 70 mph, so they aren't rockets but reliable, smooth bikes that are good for the highway. Here in Florida that bike wouldn't be that overpriced at $2000. Offer him $1500 and see what happens.
 

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[email protected] has a killer 1972 cb500 for $1300. Better be fast cuz he moves them out. Have to look in his feed not in his post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Gonna look now. $1300 seems quite low no? How come? Edit: I think it's gone, just looked...

:-D I'm driving my wife crazy, we're leaving for vacation in a little over a week so I really should wait until after we get back but I can't help myself!!
 

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He moves bikes fast...still there. Click on his logo/icon, it plays a story. Message him? See great deals there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
NJ is a bit of a hike from MD, I think I'll look again when I come back in September though, thanks for the heads up! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah, all the 4-4 stock exhausts are pretty rare to find in good condition these days, and really expensive if you do. The small hole is probably from the typical interior rust that these suffer when not in regular use and/or not stored in good conditions, and it will probably grow more as it ages to become a large rust hole sooner than later. If it's on the bottom and early in the process, you might get lucky and be able to have it welded (but it could also fall apart during the welding effort if it's really thin inside).
It's right by the foot peg, on the top it looks like... looks like the hole itself is about a 1/4", but there's a crack extending from it a good 3/4" it looks like...

Are the 4-4 more desirable somewhat? More historically-accurate?
 

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Most inline 4 cylinders run better, and many feel sound better, with a 4 into 1, but Honda proved that an exhaust for every cylinder runs well too... the problem is the proper tuning and good pipes with a decent sound that won't get you a ticket. I had 2 different CBXs with 6 into 6 pipes and they both screamed (and sounded great too), but the jetting has to be right and that can be time-consuming to sort out. stock exhaust on a survivor is always more period-correct and makes the value highest
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ah, I thought I had read somewhere that this particular bike is somewhat discreet. I don't want to wake up all my neighbors when I leave for work at 6:40! :-O :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sorry to bump a month-old thread (especially about a non-twin bike, I apologize, but I found this community pretty friendly and helpful so I thought I would get some good advice), but I was out of the country for a while, and this motorcycle is still for sale (see original post, or here). Seller says he's got lots of looks, but no offers. I'm not sure why, it doesn't seem to be a bad bike (at least to my noobish eye). I personally am thinking about / pondering making one (offer)... I would prefer a CB350, but they don't seem to come by too often, and when they do, the asking price often seems a little high for what I'm willing to put in right now. This is my first bike, so I guess I could always start with that, and 'upgrade' to a 350 after a while... Personally I find the asking price a bit high considering the general condition of the bike (not really rough but not in great shape either: chipped paint, rusted hole in one of the exhaust pipes, torn seat) but I'm not sure what a fair price would be...
 

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Any older 4 cylinder will be heavier than its modern counterpart size-wise, and the 500 wasn't known to be really fast for what it was, but a really durable bike that ran pretty smooth and was easy to ride and own. It's in average condition but if mechanically it seems good, I'd offer him $1500 for it
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Thanks. It's my first bike so it's probably better if it's not fast :p. I don't really care about the overall average condition to be honest (except the hole in the exhaust), in fact it's probably better since it'd be my first bike. The engine being more of a pain to work on because of the extra 2 cylinders bugs me, but I suppose I could live with it, it's not like I will have my nose into the engine all the time... are these easy to resell? The evidence says no but these bikes still have a very good reputation, right?

Plus the guy lives like a mile from my house, so it'd make the transaction quite convenient...
 

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Yes, but they're just not the sexy thing that some other vintage bikes have become, like the older CB750s and the twins. As they fade away even more I'm sure the resale value will rise some but I wouldn't expect it to be a great investment for the immediate future. You really don't see too many of them out there, at least not here. They can be harder to work on and somewhat more complicated - carbs can be a real pain - but when they are right, they run a long time with the proper maintenance you'd give any bike from that era (or really, any era). If you decide to buy it, maybe it would help to take someone else along who might be more familiar with the overall mechanical condition when you get to hear it run, some sounds are fairly obvious... I don't know how much experience you have with mechanical stuff but the condition of the engine is the biggest factor in your purchase, IMO
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I do have some (experience with mechanical stuff), I work on my car a lot, but to be honest it's typically nothing engine-related. More like replacing the suspension, recently I replaced A/C compressor and condenser, serpentine belt and its tensioner, leaking gaskets like vacuum pump or valve head cover... that kind of stuff. I saw the bike and I saw it run and it seems fine (and it started cold after 2-3 tries only)... but yeah, that's a good idea, I'll see if I can find someone with experience to take a look.

I'm not looking at it as an investment, rather I'm thinking that if I don't like it or if I find another bike I like more I want to be able to sell it for about the same price I paid for it.
 

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2 or 3 tries with the electric starter? Did the starter seem to turn steady, or were there noisy interruptions in the engine turning over?
 
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