Is an old 1970's era Honda CB 350, 500 or 750 a good or bad choice for a starter motorcycle?

I have always liked the looks of these bikes but am new to riding. If not... any suggestions? I don't really want to spend more than $3,000 on a bike.

13 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Very good choices indeed.

    Some perspective is needed here. The CB750 makes the same or less horsepower than a Suzuki SV650 which is considered and excellent first bike. If you can handle the size, you'll be fine.

    That being said, the CB350 might be the better choice simply because Honda made a gazillion of them and therefore parts are cheap and plentiful. The main problem here is that they were often bought by inexperienced and impecunious riders who too often atempted their own ham-fisted maintenance (and even mods) despite their complete lack of competence. Try to locate one that hasn't been too badly molested...

    Parts for the 750 are also not too difficult to find, but they are generally expensive. Expect to pay a large premium for a bike with an original 4-into-4 exhaust. As a daily ride, you're far more likely to find one with an aftermarket 4-into-1, which is fine as long as it carburetes cleanly.

    The 500/550 were Honda's best 4-cylinder before the arrival of the CB400F, but they are your worst choice. Parts for them are almost impossible to find, which makes them a dodgy proposition as daily riders.

  • 1 decade ago

    I own a '75 CB550F. Great bike. Bought it new as a high school graduation present to myself. Still ride it.

    Parts are fairly readily available either through the dealer or catalogues as these motors were produced for a number of years. You might also want to look at this on line forum "".

    These bikes are becoming somewhat of a collectors item. I recently saw a mint condition '75 CB550 with 800 original miles sold by a collector in England for $5,000 US. Others in good to excellent condition are being listed for $1500 - $2500 US.

    I believe the 400 fours to be the rarer of this breed while the 750's the most common. If it should come down to a choice between the 500 and the 550, get the 550.

    Even at almost 35 years old, it takes very little effort for me to start it up in the spring after sitting all winter in the garage. Yes, the garage is heated somewhat, but still. These are proven, reliable and relatively easy to work on.

    I'd go for it. Good Luck!

    Something else you may want to consider is a late model Triumph, Ducati or Moto Guzzi. They all now make what they're calling "modern classics". Combining the classic looks of the '70's nakeds with modern technology. Likely more than $3,000 though even used.

  • 1 decade ago

    You can get a GREAT looking old 350 Honda for $1,500. They run forever and they are really easy to work on. The 4cyls are a lot more complicated but they are still great machines. They just need more work to keep them working.

    Look for the CL350 with the high pipes. It is one of the coolest retro machines you will ever find. The 350 Honda will top nearly 100 mph and go 75 all day long on the highway. They even handle really well for an old bike on skinny rims. Just leave yourself a long time to stop. The drums aren't really strong and they fade if they are abused.

    Other than that?

    You would be making a great choice.

  • 4 years ago

    It depends on how "handy" you are. Have you worked on motorcycle engines before? If not you may be well advised to have someone that has help you out. There is no question that you can do it yourself here, but not everyone can pull it off as easily. You may need a few special tools, too. I would suggest getting a detailed manual for this bike before attempting to do it, though. Then you can read up on the procedures, and make a more intelligent choice. I used to have one of those back in 1980. I loved that bike, it would do, and go almost anywhere, and I did. I never had to work on the engine that deeply, though. It will involve undoing the OHV assembly, and there is the tricky part. Good luck. Stevo.

  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • 3 years ago

    1970s Honda Motorcycle

  • 1 decade ago

    Great choice.

    The CB 350's engine is bullet proof.

    CB 450's are very cool and advanced for the day with double overhead cams.

    Check out Cafe Racer website. Many use the old Hondas for the power plant.

    Good Luck

  • 1 decade ago

    I think it's a great choice, myself. (I'm biased, started on a '74 CL360)

    As long as it's in good mechanical shape.

    Hardest part is finding replacement parts. They are out there, just have to look for them sometimes. Even that has become easier since the internet took off. Many are coming out of sheds and barns. People are short on money and these bikes are becoming a bit popular again.

    Source(s): This one is pretty.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If it's in good shape. any used bike that fits you and your budget will do.

    The Honda 350 was the standard trainer for years'

    Buy it used, learn to ride, drop it a few times, wash it off and sell it to another beginner for about what you paid for it.

    The 500 and 750 are alittle different because they are bigger. The CB750 was very tall.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They're great bikes. Its probably better to find a 550-4 rather than the earlier 500-4, if you decide to go that route.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    getting a bit rare and the ones that are worth having usually wont be for sale as there someones baby. I've had more than one offer for my 77 cb 750f over $3000 but shes not for sale, I'd sooner part with the 76 sportster if it came down to it.

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.