Big changes from Honda for its 500 light-middleweight twin range
It’s easy to sneer at bikes like the CBR500R when you’re a grizzled veteran on your full-beans 200bhp R1, tazzing round the fast group. But we all started somewhere, and the young folk buzzing around on the CB500F and CBR500 will be doing the hooning when we’re all pottering about on Royal Enfield singles, moaning about our cataracts and diabetes.
So it’s good to see Honda paying a bit of attention to its CB500 range – the CB500F streetfighter, CBR500R mini-sportster and the CB500X light-middleweight adventure tourer. All three bikes get a brand-new front end, with fancy Showa 41mm USD Separate Function-Big Piston forks. These SFF-BPF units have the spring in one leg and the damper mechanism in the other, separating the two functions out for optimised performance, and also use the firm’s Big Piston damping design for plusher action and finer wheel control.
We also get new front brakes – the old single disc layout is replaced with a proper dual-disc setup, with sliding twin-piston calipers on the CB500X and fancy radial calipers on the F and R. Honda says these are twin-piston parts too – which is a first we think in radial form – but they look very much like four-piston calipers on the pics. Good work from Nissin regardless.
The back end has been upgraded too, with a new lighter swingarm that actually has more ‘tuned’ lateral flex for improved handling and feel, plus a revised monoshock to better match the front.
Away from the chassis, the engine gets tweaked fuel injection settings for smoother drive low-down, and there’s a new lighter radiator. The all-LED lighting is now more powerful, and there are detail mods to things like the front mudguards and footpegs.
Honda’s got a heap of sweet bolt-ons too, with new options including a top box and rear carrier, soft luggage, a high smoke windscreen, heated grips, 12V/USB Type-C sockets, crash bars and a neat single-seat Cowl.
Finally, there are lots of new colourways: elegant dark green on the CB500X, metallic black on the CBR and the CB500F gets three new schemes: metallic grey, matt grey and eye-bleeding pearl yellow. No word on prices or availability as yet: more as we get it!