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Honda’s capable middleweight V twin

The Honda VT500E had a hard act to follow as the successor to Honda’s highly successful CX500. It quickly gained a reputation for reliability and with its shaft drive, slim engine and modest weight became the best selling 500cc bike in the UK. As the years went by it replaced the CX500 as the dispatch riders favourite mount.

The VT500E sold for 6 years. There were two versions, the ED, 1983 to 1985 and the EF, 1986 to 1988. The ED was either black or white and the graphics ran under the Honda logo on the tank and the EF models were red or blue with graphics running over the top of the Honda logo.

The capacity was 490cc with 3 valves and 2 spark plugs per cylinder. The 52 degree V Twin has an offset crankpin arrangement to cut vibration and was fitted to a slim twin downtube frame with a removable section to facilitate engine removal.

The bike wore ‘Comstar’ alloy wheels with the infamous ‘inboard’ disc at the front and laid back FVQ dampers at the rear. At 390lb ( 177kg) the bike was light and a 31” seat height was reasonably accommodating for shorter riders.

In 1988 the VT was replaced by the 600cc Revere.

These days there are still quite a few on the road but have suffered varying amounts of abuse. A ‘rat’ can be had for £300, for a well maintained bike you can expect to pay in the region of nearer £1000. Engines seem capable of high mileages ( I’ve seen some with over 100,000 miles ) if well maintained. Watch for rusty swinging arms and generally around the rear end of the bike. Service spares availability is OK  but major items like exhausts are getting rare and expensive.