This was my first bike. I bought it in milk crates and cardboard boxes for $350. It was in beautiful condition, but the engine had broken a wrist pin, bent a rod, and scored a cylinder wall. The dealership that I took the bike to stripped the engine down completely, and then gave some ridiculous price to bore all the cylinders, fit new pistons, new rings, balance the crank, etc.
After a long and ardurous search for a replacement engine, I gave up and decided to fix the one I had. I honed the cylinder (the score in the wall wasn't that bad), replaced one piston, rod, and wrist pin, reused the old rings, bought a mail-order gasket set, and a Honda shop manual, and put the engine back together. (My first foray into engine repair of any kind).
It all went together with the help of my old man (a mechanical genius), and it fired right up. It smoked a little bit on start up, but that disappeared once the bike warmed up. It used half a quart of oil every 1500 to 2000 miles. Completely acceptable to me.
I ran the PISS out of it. I wrung it's neck every chance I got, did wheelies, and generally had a blast. The 500 Magna has the same engine as the VF500F Interceptor - I had a great time. Top speed was about 120. With no fairing and my fat ass on the bike, that's as fast as it would go. So I added 3 teeth to the rear sproket. This gave me roughly the same top speed, but the bike was an absolute RIOT to ride. I could wheelie 1st and 2nd with ease, and the bike would accelerate like nobody's business.
It took all this abuse without complaint for the 2 or 3 years I owned her. Alas, I had to sell it to help fund a one year long study-abroad trip to Japan, but I liked the bike so much I bought an 1100 Magna when I got back!