Honda CX500


If I was ever thrown from the bike I would end up as squashed as a hedgehog


After Meriden I took up the post of Chief Examiner at RoSPA in Birmingham under Ron Bryan the Assistant Director. I had two full time staff and thirty voluntary and professional training schemes from Cornwall to Scotland to look after. It was a dream job with a lot of travel so I was pleased to be provided with a motorcycle on loan from Honda UK. Local dealer Derek Hulbert provided me with white Honda CX500 Euro, affectionately labelled "SuperSlug".

The CX gave completely trouble free riding - I didn't even need to adjust a chain or wipe the oil off the back tyre.

The 100 mile round trip too and from the Birmingham office was usually made at indecent speeds. It included 30 minutes scratching down country lanes towards Rugby then a 30 minute blast along the M6 to Spaghetti Junction and down the Express Way into the city centre.

The nose fairing of the CX was positioned to direct the wind straight into my face and because I still favour an open face helmet I clipped a four inch slat of acrylic to the top of the screen to send the wind, flies and rain just over the top of my head. Other than that the bike remained bog standard.

When I visited the centres for weekend instructor training I carried my gear in throw-over panniers that I pulled forward to sit on. I'd seen too many throw-overs converted to throw-offs on the motorways.

Throw-over panniers where I can sit on them!

I tried to avoid the M6 at peak time during the dark winter months. I felt if I was ever thrown from the bike I would end up as squashed as a hedgehog because I don't think anyone could see where they were going half the time. One occasion the lorry in front straddled a ladder that had fallen from a trader's van. Luckily it was laying parallel with the road and I wasn't lined up with it. Another time when I was in the outside lane I saw what looked like a tarpaulin fly up in the air on the other side of the central barrier. I thought, "If that blows over this side it could have me off" It certainly could. As I watched its movement I realised it wasn't a tarpaulin - it was a car somersaulting through the air.

The M6 downhill west of Corley Services encouraged lorries to pick up speed and the road was often littered with burst tyres, some chunks big enough to knock a rider into another lane, if not clean off.

The CX had a temperature guage that only ever went above "cool" on two occasions. One time was returning from a RoSPA course at Horncastle in the height of summer. The CX was thoroughly thrashed across country and as I slowed up through Grantham the needle climbed towards the red. The other time that it ran warm was when I took it on the continent two up. Surprisingly the CX was more fuel efficient the hotter it became. On that trip we did the Stella Alpina Rally.

It was a delight to be paid to ride a motorcycle all over Britain and then spend time with enthusiasts. I even had the tyres provided by Pirelli at Rugby.

I cannot remember it ever handling badly even though I was warned it could change line if I altered the throttle on a bend. Never had that problem as it was always on full bore.

I liked the bike so much I was fully prepared to make Honda an offer for it but after 30,000 miles they took it back and said it was only good for scrap. They said the engine needed more spending on it than was worthwhile. It was always serviced regularly at Tony Wilkins in Market Harborough and I looked after it a bit better than I had my Rambler. I hadn't guessed there was anything amiss and was not only sorry to lose it, I never had a replacement provided. I was back to putting miles on my faithful Trident.