Don't be too quick to write off Honda's CB500 as a dull commuter bike. There may not be too much to get excited about, but the bullet-proof 499cc parallel twin boasts typical Honda reliability while offering a cheap and cheerful entry to the world of racing through the CB500 Cup in the UK and other series worldwide. And they can be made to go a bit.
Honda very much had the European market in mind when they came up with the CB500, and its versatility has made it a hit with everyone from dispatch riders and commuters through to training schools, where it makes an ideal and robust trainer for Direct Access.
The CB500 has a responsiveness that belies its apparently conservative capacity and layout. Handling of the liquid-cooled twin is pretty good too. That said, front suspension can be a little harsh and the rear shock is fade-prone when the damping oil hots up.
But what do you want for a little over four grand new at list price? Maybe the half-faired CB500S for 300 quid more?
If you need any more recommendation of the CB's reliability - it is a Honda after all - consider this: at a 1999 24 Hour Le Mans, every team running a CB500 finished without any mechanical woes. Should happily see you to and from work, then.