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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
This coming January I plan on buying my first bike. I have narrowed the research down to a couple of motorcycles: Honda CB450 (1968-1974) or Honda CB 500F (1971-1973). I do have some two wheel experience, don't laugh, I have put over 9,000 miles on a highway capable (55mph) scooter in the last 2 years. I was curious if my two chooses would be ok for daily driving, about 100mi round trip? I really do not want to go bigger, I kinda like the idea of a smaller bike that gets decent mpg. If anyone has any ideas or advice it would be appreciated. Thanks, Peace out.
 

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Welcome to the forum and you have my admiration for doing 9000 miles in two years on anything with two wheels. I did ten one year on my 1800 Gold Wing and it had a lot of creature comforts.

In my opinion you are going to find that riding a 40 plus year old bike 100 miles a day is going to mean a lot of servicing and maintenance. This assumes you have a near perfect bike mechanically to begin with. Next issue is if you don't have the space, knowledge and time to do service and repairs you are going to run into major costs from a shop. To further add to the problems you are going to find that there will be parts availability issues sooner rather than later. These bikes are really cool hobby bikes meant for Cruises and spirited runs once in awhile.

I have bought bikes from people like yourself that wanted the cool factor in an everyday ride and found that the reliability they assumed, just wasn't there. I've also bought from people who bought it as a hobby bike but got eaten up in the repair costs.

Compare what you would have to pay for one of these bikes with what you can get a 2 or 3 year old bike for.

Daily 100 mile bike for an ex scooter rider? No brainer. KTM 390 Duke.
 

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Welcome to the group!

Not trying to sound snarky, please don't take my advise this way. My personal opinion, dont buy either if you are not willing to turn a wrench. These old bikes do take some routine maintenance to keep on the road, and again personal opinion, its not worth owning if you cant do the maintenance yourself.

Now if you are somewhat mechanically inclined and are able to do the work yourself, CB450 is the better bike. The CB500's had a defective transmission, I've owned one and I did not have the problem, but many have complained about them being bad, and fixed in the later 550's. Obviously a twin has less to work on as well, such as carb rebuilding, synchronization etc. Dont get me wrong, I prefer the looks of the 500, but to me the 450 is just a better bike. I also would look at the CB350, they are great bikes!

Good luck in whatever way your looking to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your candid opinions. As far as turning a wrench I have fixed all my cars myself, I find it fun and prideful to fix something. My currently affliction is a 1970 Fiat 124 Spider that I have been doing a rolling restoration on, the engine will be done next week. Nothing against the KTM I am sure it is a great bike I just don't like all those sharp angles. The main reason I want an old Honda is I grew up in the era, early 70's, when those bikes were everywhere and that imprinted on me what a motorcycle should look and sound like. My other option if I can find one is a 2000-2002 Kawasaki W650, but I really like CB450. Again thanks for the input, I have a few months before I'll have enough cash to pull the trigger.
 

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Good advice in the posts above and I hope to add a bit to that with personal experience.
My daily commute is just about 100 miles, too.
My 450 is very low miles but has already had a lot of time and effort go into it. And it was a garage queen, though neglected for about 14 years.
I have a 750 that I love as well. That one just had the motor put on the bench for a rebuild and will likely cost upwards of 1000 in parts and many MANY hours of work to get to the point of being reliable. Ish.

I love the vintage bikes and do not want a newer one.
But it can take a lot of time and effort to make them reliable, so be aware.
I got very lucky with the 450 and bikes like that are around, quite a few folks hereabouts have one.
Just know what you are getting into.
The whole vintage the seems to me to be kind of an enjoyable way to drive myself crazy.
And I put about 4000 on the 750 this year and around 2000 on the 450.
So far.
 

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A little newer Honda with similar type look of the 450, spoke wheels/drum brakes/minimalist styling, would be a CB400T1 or there's the T2 and Hawk which have Comstar wheel. Advantage is CDI ignition, longer valve adjust intervals, an actual oil filter. Not a nice as a DOHC 450 but a very decent commuter type bike
CB400T1 stripes.jpg
 

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Thanks for your candid opinions. As far as turning a wrench I have fixed all my cars myself, I find it fun and prideful to fix something. My currently affliction is a 1970 Fiat 124 Spider that I have been doing a rolling restoration on, the engine will be done next week. Nothing against the KTM I am sure it is a great bike I just don't like all those sharp angles. The main reason I want an old Honda is I grew up in the era, early 70's, when those bikes were everywhere and that imprinted on me what a motorcycle should look and sound like. My other option if I can find one is a 2000-2002 Kawasaki W650, but I really like CB450. Again thanks for the input, I have a few months before I'll have enough cash to pull the trigger.
I just sold a 1973 CB350 to a young women for her first bike. I could not talk her into spending her money on a more modern bike. Her father is a bike owner and rider but not big on wrenching. She is a graphic designer, actually makes money at it apparently, appreciates the bike for it's design and uniqueness compared to all the newer bikes on the market. So it really doesn't matter what anyone grew up with it seems.

Unfortunately it isn't easy to take bikes for test rides and to do comparisons. You can spend a lot of money chasing something you think you want. Most of us have burned the evidence of those purchases.

If you are stuck on those bikes you listed save for a couple months longer and buy the very best you can find.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey thanks for the heads-up on the CM400t1, nice looking bike, I will include it when I start looking in January. "If you are stuck on those bikes you listed save for a couple months longer and buy the very best you can find." Boomer343, yep I figure I would rather pay a grand more to get something a bit more mint. I learned my lesson with my Fiat. Thanks for the help everyone.
 

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I do need to point out that the CB400T1 is a kick start only which is fine because these kick over very easy and when everything is right they fire dead cold on @ 3rd kick, hot fires usually before you're done with the first kick.
Where are you located?
 

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If you must have electric start look at a CB400TII.
You will then have kick start and electric start.
 
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If bike will see highway use, that ultra smooth 500F is a fine cruiser. If under 55mpH, a light weight bike such as a Honda CM-200T will handle much more like your scooter.
 

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100 miles round trip daily are a lot of miles to ride.
For this kind of commute I would suggest getting something newer like a Kawasaki W650 or W800, Honda GB500 (if you can find one), and Yamaha SR500 or SR400 as these have the classic looks to them if this is a requirement for you. Otherwise look at the newer Honda CB500X and CB500F

Don't get me wrong I love older Honda twins but as others have stated above, they do require quite a bit of maintenance
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm in southeast Kansas, kick start only is ok. I have looked at the CB400T and the CB500T but couldn't find any for sale on cycletrader, I'll keep looking. I was wondering if anyone could help me figure out something, a few years ago when I was looking for a motorcycle (ended up buying a scooter) I did find a company in California that freshened up old Honda's and sold them but I can't for the life of me remember who they were, does anyone know? They had some awesome unmolested CB's. Thanks.
 

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I'm in southeast Kansas, kick start only is ok. I have looked at the CB400T and the CB500T but couldn't find any for sale on cycletrader, I'll keep looking. I was wondering if anyone could help me figure out something, a few years ago when I was looking for a motorcycle (ended up buying a scooter) I did find a company in California that freshened up old Honda's and sold them but I can't for the life of me remember who they were, does anyone know? They had some awesome unmolested CB's. Thanks.
A few on CL

https://wichita.craigslist.org/mcy/d/1980-yamaha-sr500/6271481350.html
https://fayar.craigslist.org/mcy/d/2015-yamaha-sr400-very-low/6241902973.html

https://seks.craigslist.org/search/mcy?query=w650 quite a few W650's

https://fayar.craigslist.org/mcy/d/2014-cb500x/6292670196.html
https://tulsa.craigslist.org/mcy/d/honda-cb500f/6284049452.html

https://seks.craigslist.org/search/mcy?query=cx500

https://seks.craigslist.org/search/mcy?query=gl500


pretty clean CB500T
https://wichita.craigslist.org/mcy/d/1975-honda-cb500t/6292968429.html
 

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Give the CX500/GL500 a look. Liquid cooled, very reliable and will not complain at 70mph on the freeway.
About 50hp. 550 pounds, easy to ride. I have one now and have owned several of them.
There is a forum similar to "Honda Twins" with many knowledgeable members to help with any problems.
With proper maintenance and service the CX500 can go well over 100,000 miles.

St. Patrick's Day 2012 008.jpg
Mine is a 1979 CX500 Custom.
The red headed kid is now 13 and he says he is going to ride to ride this bike.
He now rides a Suzuki RV90.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
76TWIN Thanks for the Craigslist links, I have looked on these before but I never have used craigslist before and have a bit of apprehension. They do seem to be very nice bikes for the asking prices. I'll give it a second look when I have some cash in hand.
 
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