'Prova' Honda 500 Four
'Moto Sport', an Italian motorcycle magazine, tested the 'new' Honda 500 Four in January 1972. This article contains some of the best color photos I've seen. Great look back in time.
Below some excerpts from the article.
'About two years after the presentation of the 750 four-cylinder, Honda entered the market with another motorcycle like the 750, but smaller in size. The commercial success of the 750 was and still is such that questions arise as to the reason for the smaller displacement, as the price difference between the two machines is not that big. These questions can be answered even after a short test with the Honda 500: in fact it is clear that the Japanese manufacturer wanted to reach those customers who do not know what all the power of a 750, but want a motorcycle that effectively meets the needs of modern roads and traffic. It is in fact undeniable that rationally speaking it is almost impossible to fully exploit any 750 unless you take it on the motorway and moreover in the hours of less intense traffic; not only that, but the 60 horsepower that today we are accustomed to requiring from a 750, involve a general sizing which consequently increases the weight of the complete bike. Going back to examine the Honda 500 and comparing it to its older sister, we note that it has all the constructive solutions that have made the 750 four famous, only, let's say in a reduced copy. The line of the bike is certainly proportionate and successful; the only thing that didn't convince us are the tailpipes which have a different shape.'
'At the top we see how Honda has solved the problem of the helmet that you never know where to put it in case of a standstill: by lifting the saddle, which is equipped with a lock, there are two hooks to hold the helmets of to hang. the driver and passenger. The other two photos show us two beautiful images of the Japanese 500 four-cylinder in motion'
'The Honda 500 four, involved in our test; road holding was good in all conditions; only on uneven surfaces, due to the too soft rear shock absorbers, there is some loss of grip on the rear wheel.'
'The large bulge between the exhaust pipes contains the oil filter; It should be noted that this filter also acts as a radiator of the oil, as a good half a kilo circulates in it.'
'Acceleration is good too, and by pulling the individual gears to 9200rpm, this rev coincides with the tachometer's red zone, the classic 400m distance being covered in 14.3 seconds. The consumption is around 5 liters per 100 km, a value that can be further improved with particularly calm driving. The driving comfort, thanks to the driving position, the suspension and the almost total absence of vibrations is more than good, especially for. So, since we want to give a general opinion about the Honda 500 four-cylinder, we can only be satisfied with this bike, whose main characteristic is the perfect balance of its elements. In reality, it is the achievement of an ideal compromise between the factors that normally add up to a motorcycle, namely road holding, speed, power, economy and comfort, without excelling in any of these aspects.'
Moto Sport, January 1972.