Comparison test Honda CB 500 S against MuZ Skorpion Sport 660


Comparison test Honda CB 500 S against MuZ Skorpion Sport 660

Half and half

On the one hand, their half-panels suggest sporting ambitions. On the other hand, Honda CB 500 S and MuZ Skorpion Sport 660 want to remain seasoned middle-class and play economic miracles.

Because everyone loves motorcycles that are already a show in themselves, the lower middle class is threateningly sidelined – hardly any model variety and certainly no new models. One or the other enduro was created, of course, but among all-rounders, Yamaha’s four-cylinder XJ 600 and the twins from Suzuki, Kawasaki and Honda have dominated the picture for years. Therefore, something went out of sight of how confidently bikes with around 50 hp perform the same task as comfortably as possible to carry from A to B: fast enough, enduring anyway, with low maintenance requirements, extremely inexpensive. The simple things can be so beautiful.
From this point of view, the Hondas CB 500 is certainly one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever, because its water-cooled in-line two-cylinder can boast of great reliability and the longest maintenance intervals. The Honda dealer only wants to see him again for a major inspection every 12,000 kilometers. On top of that, the homogeneous performance, the offered comfort and the low price will have contributed to the success of the CB 500, which has now lasted four years. For a few months now, this all-rounder has been available for purchase as an S version with organically adapted half cladding. Not a bad idea, because with the open power of nominally 57 hp, the twin easily runs over 170 km / h. A little relief from the airstream cannot hurt.
The Nippon bike for every day is one of the few exotic bikes in this class – the MuZ Skorpion Sport, which is at least visually much more ambitious and designed more rapidly. The Sachsen-Express draws its power from Yamaha, in the form of the robust but not very explosive five-valve single cylinder with 660 cubic centimeters, which already propelled the XTZ 660. The water-cooled engine, which is at least partially decontaminated thanks to the unregulated catalytic converter, hangs in an attractively shaped bridge frame. The sport, which has been offered since 1994, leaves it to detail improvements this year, but accurate, because it finally competes with really nicely shaped round instruments. The clunky truck clocks are gone.
Both motors always start without any problems, and after a few hundred meters you can do without the carefully metered choke assistance. But even in city traffic they reveal characteristic peculiarities: While the Hondas Twin purrs in a civilized manner, already takes on the gas on 2000 tours and delights with light, quiet gear changes, the Yamaha Single clearly jerks below 2750 rpm. His expressions of life seem more robust, the gearbox also shifts precisely, but bony. Crouching, albeit quite comfortable, seating positions and the reduced steering angle due to the handlebars only partially harmonize with rush hour and the one-way labyrinth.
So out into the open. The panels are popular on the autobahn, even if the flatter plastic shield of the MuZ only protects medium-sized drivers up to the shoulders and the higher-drawn windshield of the Honda creates noticeable turbulence in the head area. The more honest solution comes from Zschopau, because in the long run it is more relaxed with a clean flow of shoulders than with a shaken head. However, it should be noted that people under 1.80 meters in length can hide reasonably behind the neatly manufactured Honda shell and that the longer ones only have to tremble at speeds over 150 km / h.
It is from this speed that the CB begins its well-known, albeit harmless, commuting. Otherwise, it weighs its driver surprisingly comfortably even over nasty pavement edges, and thanks to the properly padded and well-shaped bench and relaxed seating position, it can even be recommended for long tours. The engine plays along without complaint, at most lacks the right enthusiasm shortly before top speed: Then it becomes apparent that the secondary ratio was selected a little too long and even medium gradients force you to downshift into fifth gear. Vibrations are suppressed by a balancer shaft, and the footpegs only get a moderate tingling sensation after 7000 tours.
The pithy vibrations of the MuZ stew can be felt more clearly. But the Scorpio doesn’t want to be a motorcycle for everyone either, rather wants to appeal to fans and demand compromises. The purchase decision must consciously include the yes to the single. So afterwards no complaint that this engine lacks three horsepower on the dynamometer compared to that of the Honda. That he has to make do with a usable speed range of almost 4000 revolutions. Your owner should practice using this area. Then to experience how fed up the single comes out of the starting blocks. In front of the incorruptible dial gauges it can hold its own better than the feeling of many a driver and the Scorpio clicks almost as quickly as the Honda two-cylinder. Only then does he have to make concessions.
Construction-related concessions, because this engine cannot deny that it was created for a travel enduro that should not be able to do anything for a long time. A more closely stepped transmission with six instead of five gears could make the MuZ even livelier. Could. The question of how this little athlete would run with a more explosive engine, such as that of the BMW F 650 or the Suzuki Freewind, is also idle. Somehow everything doesn’t matter, because 174 things are okay too, and definitely enough to prove the unshakable directional stability of this MuZ.
She doesn’t know anything, walks unmoved over joints or longitudinal grooves on expressways, diligently ignoring the meanness on country roads of inferior order. It’s amazing how well the compromise between stability and comfort was achieved. Only the breakaway force of the fork could be a little lower, otherwise this chassis can be considered to be all-round successful: Undulating curves of any radius, patched asphalt when braking hard – the MuZ can never be confused even with a sporty pace.
After a short period of getting used to it, it tips into corners a little more easily than the Honda, and – guided by a light hand – unerringly keeps its track. At most, the mounted Metzeler ME Z1 tires irritate a little, because they turn in very nice and neutral at first, but from a certain point they demand a bit of emphasis. As I said: a matter of getting used to. However, spoiled motorcyclists do not want to get used to the front brake fitting: Its non-adjustable lever is far too far away from the handle, and people with small hands can only grab it with their fingertips. He also works with too little travel, which makes it difficult to dispense the extremely powerful Grimeca tongs.
On the other hand, these seasoned motorcyclists complain that the Honda brakes are clearly too soft. No precisely defined pressure point that allows precise braking of rapidly driven curves. With the switch to Brembo calipers made for the current year of construction, Honda has clearly exaggerated when trying to install uncomplicated, beginner-friendly brakes. At least the sufficiently effective stopper – well and inconspicuously supported by another disc brake in the rear wheel – proved to be stable even in two-person operation.
The same is quite pleasant for the comfortably accommodated passenger, but requires a little restraint from the driver, because the springs of the CB 500 are simply designed too soft. At travel speed everything still works fine, but sporty intermediate stages – possibly on poor asphalt – make the load rock a lot. The fork would have to be more progressively sprung and dampened more tightly, the stereo struts do not hit through at full preload, but are underdamped in the compression stage.
More harmoniously coordinated, the MuZ shows that even chassis that do without any damping adjustment can cope with different load conditions: Even without changing the preload, your Bilstein mono shock can cope with a passenger, the fork retains enough reserves even when the brakes are sharpest. The only question is how long a pillion can put up with sporty tours, whether anyone at all climbs on the narrow, high-seated bun. Well: She demands compromises, this Scorpio, and as a box of two she really cannot pass.
A.The Honda also has clear advantages as a load carrier. Luggage hook, large storage compartment under the bench – a real pragmatist. The oil check is also easier than with the MuZ. But it also wants to inspire – and a nicely shaped and effective DE headlight pulls more than a few seconds saved on the gas tank.

1st place: Honda CB 500 S

Clearly, the lower purchase price and suitability as an all-rounder must be decisive in such a head-to-head race. In addition, the four-valve two-cylinder is popular with its lively and, above all, homogeneous power delivery. The sturdy Honda only shows clear weaknesses when driving sportily: brakes and suspension elements are only average.

2nd place: MuZ Skorpion Sport 660

You can’t lose much more honorable: With its crisp chassis, the MuZ is recommended to all sports fans for whom a Kawasaki GPZ 500 S is simply too Japanese. Or styled too conservatively. In contrast, the now well-made Scorpio convinces motorcyclists even after the hundredth look. Nice details everywhere, from the adjustable notches to the headlights. In order to retain their buyers for life, there is at best a lack of explosive performance.

CB 500 and Skorpion with 34 HP – Honda and MuZ as entry-level bikes

The throttle variants from Honda and MuZ are among the most interesting offers for new drivers

Two years with 34 hp without parole is the verdict for all newcomers and returners to this day. Because direct entry will only be reserved for older beginners in the future, the throttle versions of the CB 500 S and MuZ Skorpion are as current as ever. The conversion is equally complex for both, as the intake ports have to be exposed. The MuZ is inserted on the right of the secondary carburetor between the intake rubber and the cylinder, a 0.5 millimeter thick sheet metal, which only allows the 35 millimeter Teikei constant pressure carburetor a loophole of 18 millimeters. With the Honda, the two suction rubbers have to be exchanged for those with a sheet metal insert, which only allow the 34 millimeter Keihin carburetors through two 6.8 millimeter round holes and one approximately 27 by 8 millimeter long slot. In addition, the CB comes with two 125s instead of the 122 main jets for a richer mixture. Due to the throttling, the Honda subjectively drops more than the MuZ when driving, as it loses its small performance advantage over the open version. The Honda engine reacts very slowly to fast turns of the throttle from medium speeds compared to the unthrottled variant, which is particularly unpleasant when driving when overtaking is to be done quickly. The top of 146 km / h solo and 134 km / h with two people is acceptable. The fear that the already narrow power band of the MuZ engine could shrink even further due to the throttling is only confirmed to a limited extent. It only reaches its limits at speeds of more than 6000 rpm, and even the top speed is still an impressive 153 km / h solo, 140 for two. Conclusion: The throttling was much better with the MuZ because the engine characteristics remained relatively unchanged . The Honda, on the other hand, looks tighter. Nevertheless: Both drive so comfortably that two years without parole can easily be sat on one cheek.

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