Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Honda 500 Interceptor

Thu, April 29th, 2010

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Featuring a different Honda street bike each day.

1984–86 Honda VF500F Interceptor
The littlest V-4 Honda made mad power for a 500 of its era, and its 68 HP (SAE crank) is still plenty to push around its light, compact chassis.
This bike is probably the last sub-600cc motorcycle to have top-shelf chassis components through-and-through. A production-class terrier that regularly nipped at the heels of contemporary bigger bikes at club races. One of the few bikes that made a 16-inch front wheel really work.
Yes, ma'am! I just love the looks of this bike, even though the square silver frame tubes are a bit inelegant. Along with the not-for-U.S. VF400F, the 500 'ceptor is rare proof that a liquid-cooled V-4 motorcycle can be pretty. Again, one of the last of it's era: a sportbike not completely wrapped in a candy-coated shell.
Yea, there's always a catch, isn't there? The 500 motor had quite a bit of trouble staying together. Honda reworked it and launched an extensive recall to fix the problems, so any surviving examples should be sorted out...but still not a bulletproof engine by any means, and complex enough to give shade-tree mechanics pause before ripping into the cases.
Gee, a light, small, maneuverable corner-strafer that isn't temperamental in traffic and doesn't require you to fold yourself like a piece of origami to ride.
Few mid-sized bikes quicken the pulse like this one does.
The 500 Interceptor harkens back to the days when a 500cc bike didn't have to be dirt cheap and automatically get classed as a 'beginner bike.'