Honda CB500/4 Part Deux
Around 1980 I got involved in a deal where I bought an A10 BSA Combo from one of our Dean Valley members to swap to another club member for his 500 Four.
This bike was a well used example, but as I had other bikes I took it on as a project. I did not intend building a show bike, just a useable back-up rally bike. Despite having a trail bike and a fairly new main bike I seemed to use the 500 Four a lot. Summer and winter it was used for rallies here and on the continent. I even put my Squire sidecar on it at one stage, it coped quite well as an outfit although I nearly wrote it off going to the Dalesman rally.
I was on holiday in Italy and the south of France on my GS850, but I decided to come home early to go to the Dalesman rally, as I had never missed one. I raced up to the rally on the 500 four outfit and, playing to the crowd outside the Palmer Flatt Hotel I went far too fast approaching the 90 degree right hander into the car park and the road into the rally site. I slid the bike into the corner but there was no gap - someone had parked a car in the entrance! I had no option but to keep on the brakes and do a U-turn. The rear wheel of the bike lifted and I ground the nose of the sidecar on the road but I managed to keep going and parked up as though I had meant to do it!
I ran this 500 four for over 10 years and it clocked up over 200,000 miles with only a couple of top-end rebuilds.
Now when I go to bike shows and see 500 fours all pristine and better than new I wonder if the owners realise what nice capable bikes they are, if only they would ride them. I let this one go because I was no longer using it and a friend in the Dean Valley club needed a bike.
As they are now highly priced classics I doubt I will ever get another one.
- Ted Trett