'Cycle Guide', a North American motorcycle magazine, was one of the first to test the 'new' Honda 500 Four in August 1971. And they liked it very much, in fact they even called it 'Honda's finest product ever'.
The main fullcolor picture is one of my all time favorite. You can clearly see that the CB500 that is shown is still brand new.
Below some excerpts from the article.
'Unlike the 750 four, the 500 exhibits unbelievable handling qualities that you can only appreciate after you have ridden it. It's interesting to note that Honda has obviously become aware of the problem areas in the execution of the four-cylinder 750. Every one of the problems we've encountered in the big four are no longer apparent in the 500cc version.'
'There are so many good things to say about the 500, it's difficult to know where to begin. Aside from the size, the bike does not look that much different from it's larger brother. It's top speed is not overwhelming, nor will it accelerate like a jackrabbit. But these are two qualities we do not feel are prime requests for a touring motorcycle. Nor that the Honda 500 is a slug: far from it.'
'The one thing we would definitely like to see changed is the position of the ignition key. It's probably in one of the most awkward places we can imagine. Like most Honda's it's located on the left side of the gas tank well forward and just behind the steering head. We would much prefer to see it with the key mounted directly in front of the rider, between the two instruments. This is a far more practical arrangement.'
'One nice touch is the addition of a small panel, with the various indicator lights, instead of having these indicators on the speedometer and tachometer faces. At the outset we had mixed emotions about it, but after a day or two, we became convinced this was a well thought out idea.'
'The Honda 500 will undoubtedly prove to be a sales succes, along with the rest of their wares. But as far as we are concerned, the introduction of the 500 four-cylinder motorcycle has ushered in a new era in motorcycle chassis design. Other motorcycle manufacturers might be well advised to study what Honda has done, because whatever it is, it's right. It is so right, in fact, that we would be hard pressed to try to improve it. It's an unbelievably good motorcycle, It's easy and fun to ride. What' more, it's as reliable as anything can be. Regardless of what has come before, this is, we believe, Honda's finest product ever.'
Cycle Guide, August 1971.