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Honda CX500

  • Price new - £1499
  • Power - 50bhp @ 9000rpm
  • Top Speed - 110mph
  • Weight - 205kg

From a company mainly associated with ohc parallel twins and straight fours, here was a water-cooled, 80° V-twin with shaft drive……and push-rod valve gear. It looked odd and it was, but it worked well as transport. The 'Cortina' of motorcycling, people said, which could have been either a compliment or insult.

Things started badly, because the engine had faults with the camchain tensioner and big ends. Once this was sorted, the 'Plastic Maggot' soon became a common sight on our roads, selling 3-4000 per year.

Honda had already done water-cooling, but the CX's unlovely lump also featured four-valve heads, twisted so that the carbs didn't interfere with riders' knees. Other innovations were alloy Comstar wheels with low-profile tubeless tyres, electronic ignition and a clutch that rotated in the opposite direction to the crank, reducing torque reaction.

The CX remained basically the same before morphing into the Eurosport, with Pro-Link rear suspension and other chassis updates.