If you see an intimidating looking CR500 on the stand, don’t mention you have never ridden one…
It sat in the distance. The sun bouncing off the red fenders, the handlebars reminiscent of bull horns, ready to gore anyone who got too close. The chrome exhaust pinged with light and despite being in fantastic condition, this Honda CR500 was made to be ridden. I walked up to the Honda CR500 owned by Dan Krusic, owner of Krusic’s Ride Park and admired it. Dan noticed by interest and said something along the lines of “That’s my pride and joy…” After two full days of riding, a tired body, minimal sleep and a mega car, plane, car journey from Sydney to Krusic’s, some three hours from the airport, the next line that came out of my mouth was met with instant regret.. “I have never ridden a 500 two-stroke.”
ON WE GET
Before I could think twice or let the arm-pump from the many laps around the Krusic’s facility, I was being shown how to start the big girl. Dan had it idling that familiar, “tang, ta, tang…” as I made sure my Shoei was done up bloody tight. I purred down towards the entry to the sand track, thick , whooped out sand and a CR500, nice choice Matt. The feel of yesteryear is present with this CR. The more sit-in feel, the higher handlebars, smaller footpegs and eye-rattling vibration. I put my brain in the toolbox and pulled out onto the track. From the second the power came on, I was thrilled. What a beast. I struggled for a couple of laps to get the most of riding the bike. It hardly needs to be revved to throw bricks of roost out of the back. I was stuck railing berms and not thinking about how I was riding, after some tips from Dan, I began to work out how to get the most out of the bike. Keeping up the momentum and using the torque of the engine to cruise around the track. I found by turning off the berms and straightlining the track everywhere I was able to move around at a much nicer pace.
THAT SWEET SPOT
I was still getting the hang of it when Stephen Tuff pulled out the phone for a video. It was at that point I realised why people buy CR500s. I came into a whooped out berm, on the pegs at the entry, with a small amount of throttle the CR ate up the wallowing holes. As I came to the mid-point of the turn I sat and fed the thing some gas, it buried into the loam and ripped through there like a tractor. Third gear, minimal fuss and we ripped down and onto the next straight, clicking fourth as that unmistakable sound of the 500 echoed. That’s a real mans bike. You can’t just come into a turn with poor body position, in the wrong gear, hitting the shitty bumps and let your bike work it out like you can (to a degree) with a 2019 model. You need to ride the bike, tame the beast, think about what you are doing and challenge yourself. I ripped a few more laps before the vibration started to make my hands go numb! What an experience, so much fun.