Thursday, 17 October 2013


Honda has recently launch their 500cc trio, follow by the introduction of NC700 series and others budget models, it is no doubt an evidence of Honda down-to-earth attitude. The 500 trio are all manufactured in Thailand, which is first of Honda for such large capacity, that is why the price can be very competitive compare with their rival.

What I get in hand was a CBR500R the sport model of the three. Basically three of the bikes share the same chassis design with a little different tweak to compensate the riding position. The engines all are same, with a 471cc parallel twin double overhead cam opposed to the NC700 single cam which basically a Jazz engine cut into half. The engine has a power output of 47bhp, Honda maximized the engine for inexperience rider, in other words, new comer to the over 250cc category.  The engine is very civilized and smooth, right when you hit the ignition key. Ironically, my ER6n is more like a Japanese version of Ducati in comparison. Unlike others twin engine rivals, vibration is minimal from the handle bar to foot peg. I almost
forgotten that I am in a parallel twin machine, it feels like an in-line 4 in anyway. Engine respond is surprisingly smooth; pulling at first to third gear is like rolling on a 4, there is lack of kick when accelerating, compare with what I experience on other twin bikes. Honda engineer has done a really well and good job on balancing and minimize vibration. Throughout the rev range, I hardly spot any vibration unlike ER6 which had a slightly vibration feel between 3800 to 4000 rpm. Besides so much good comment on the engine, the fuel economy is stunning, a 25km/l is confirm where 27km/l as what Honda recommend can also be archived if you are careful enough on the throttle.
If to choose any flaw on the engine, the only problem is with the power plant which can be a little low if the bike is fully loaded and also finding neutral need a little effort despite gear changing on the bike is top notch. But with a bike possible to do 180+ KM/H , it is more than enough for those new to a sub 500cc bike.

Everything on this bike is made for a purpose of making riding experience joyful and safe. The engine respond is smooth and instant, the engine is easy to control, the bike is light, etc. 

Honda CB500 series focus more on practicality and aim to deliver the best riding experience to most riders. Do not be fool by this low power bike; it is a wolf in a sheep skin. I have no problem riding up Genting Highland, only laid back is a more throttle squeeze is needed when you going to climb some of the steepest part of the road. Riding down has nothing much to do with engine power but tyre grip, stock tyre is not really griping especially when the road is a little wet. With barely 200KG curb weight, it is very easy to bent into corners, the nimbleness compensate to the lack of power, I often find myself accelerate pass some high cc bikes especially at corners.  Besides doing challenging ride at hill side, I also find riding at congested traffic is easy. Light weight and low seat height makes me a small fish in the ocean, I often find myself staying in one gear and pulling all the way to clear the traffic, this is something that you can do on an engine with more than 2 pistons.
Parts used on the CB series not great but acceptable. Not to forget these are budgeted models, cost cutting at a marginal level is for sure. Besides being budgeted, the plastic parts do not look cheap, in the other hand, tolerance is tight and no plastic rattling sound can be observed. As for some of the parts use, finishing might looks a little not on pile with the rivals but consider the price tag, as long as it can function fully without flaw, I do not see any problem on that. Electrical cords are hidden nicely and finishing on the fairing is very well. It is to say that even some more expensive bikes hardly archive this standard. Honda does a good job on reducing waste when manufacturing this bike, the rear disc brake is actually cut out from the front unit and it means that only single piece of metal to be used on the disc brake. Despite being cost down for most of the parts, the bike does has something very impressive, in fact out shine others. It is the single Nissin disc brake which works like charm with only a single finger movement.

 Overall I will say this is a hell of a bike, not in term of power, fashion or design but functionality and practicality. The main point is Honda did provide a very complete package and the package cover every single section of the category for what a new rider needs. It is built in a typical Honda belief and culture and starting at RM28,288. The trio are really value for money, spare parts availability should be no problem seems BoonSiew Honda has a very wide dealer network in Malayisa. I will indeed give a stunning comment on this CB500 series.

Besides CBR500R, there is a X model that my friend got a hand on it. I here by post his review on behalf of him. Wish that this help for those riders who are seriously surveying these Honda machines.

Honda CB500X, Honda’s answer for versatility 
After ridden super sport bikes and cruisers for some time, I get hands on with an adventure bike for the very first time. It was Honda CB500X. Honda lines up their new adventure series into the ongoing success story of CB500R and CB500F series. X denotes for adventure oriented. This midsized bike designed for riders demanding both for a pesky city commuting and also for long weekend escape into the unknown natures in one package. As usual I was waiting for a magical first impression as I walked towards the bike, and yeah it strikes me, the bike was tall, the seat position was very high, almost as high as Kawasaki’s dual purpose line up Versys. To be exact it was 32mm against 33.5mm seat height on Versys. 
Getting on tarmac, I recalled my riding college who always used to say the higher the riding height, the better experience you would get. That quote really nailed me while riding CB500X for the very first minutes. The field of view was wide it was like “I am the king of the road” kind of sensational feeling as cars were literally lower  than you and everything looks small, yeah I am exaggerating it as I am 6 footer. But anyhow the bike is tall.
Honda CB500X equipped with the famous versatile twin cylinder engine. Using the same piston bore size as CBR600RR super sport bike. It has 471cc capacity liquid cooled dual overhead cams engine with Programmed fuel injection PGM-F1 which throws out a handsome 46 Hp and 43 Nm of torque. Riding it along the highway was never boring and excites me in every moment. The bike was light and nimble. All the power was leashed by a six speed transmission that follows the command of the rider without hesitation or numbness.  As the windshield was small and adjustable up to 40mm, I was tempted to test the efficiency of the windshield. Surprisingly it does channels the wind effectively as I squeeze the throttle beyond 150km/h in an open road. While riding in high speed, I had an experience of slight wobbling around 6500RPM when speed was around 145km/h, it might be due to resonant frequency hitting along bike’s natural frequency. Riders out there please take note of this!
Handling wise, Honda CB500X feels very nimble due to its light weight design and yet it retains the big bikes characteristic. It equipped with Long travel front suspension which yields 5.5 inch of travel and Pro-Link rear suspension with 9 stage preload and 4.7 inch travel should make off road maneuverability an easy one even for a beginner. Since I didn’t test the bike off road, I managed to pull out off-road stunt in tarmac as I purposely rammed the bike into decent potholes and bumps. Believe me, it works very well in absorbing all the torture I gave and with Pirelli Scorpion tire sized  120/70-17 in front and 160/60-17 rear, it looks great and good in grip too, well it’s a bonus package!
I was actually confused and worried, why a 500cc with 46 HP bike has only single disc brake on the front wheel. This curiosity leads me to go for a hard break test when possible. Surprisingly front 320mm twin piston caliper and rear 240mm with ABS single caliper does the job well and the stopping power was more than adequate. The seat was comfortable and placed very high which is the DNA of an adventure bike. This bike has a very good upright riding position and the fuel tank was cleverly designed as it offers the ability move your body weigh freely for aggressive maneuver.
In terms of styling, there is nothing much to say. The bike was kind of average designed to a certain extend with an eagle beak alike front cowl. I noticed a slight quality issue with the fuel tank cap where the lid was not in same circumference of the fuel tank opening. But overall styling was not bad as the design was adventure oriented. Through times, I did a mistake by pressing the honk button when about to turn rather than pressing the turn indicator. These repeated mistakes of mine creates a panic situation among other road users. I think it would be much appreciated for the riders if the honk button placed below the turn indication switch as most bikes does. Instrumentation on the Honda CB500X is the one worth mentioning as it adds a fine modern touch. Amber tinted full LCD screen with digital tachometer, speedometer and fuel gauge gives rider quick basic information of the bike status. Clock, odometer, trip meter, real-time and average fuel consumption meters, and illuminated engine diagnostic indicators were clearly delivered to the rider who needs extra information while riding via button located on the LCD panel frame. 
As a summary, Honda CB500X is packed with modern technology and sound with engineering qualities. Good upright riding position, superb windscreen that does the job well, Deceiving front single disc brake but has a punch stopping power and comes with ABS, Long travel front suspension and modern featured LCD instrumentation were some of the highlights of this bike. Be it city commuter and long distance travel, CB500X is adoptable for beginner rider who demands for a unique adventure in mind. Go ahead. Grab one, you will be pleased. 
This CBR500X review is done by Rubentheren Viyapuri


  1. Looks pretty good, and price seems 'affordable'. But after adding up everything from insurance to maintenance services. It is still expensive. Practically wise, I felt that my 135 LC is more practical and easier to filter through congested KL traffic. But, perhaps in the near future when I changed my mind and decided to get a big bike, this will definitely be in my list. One question tho, I passed my B license on a 09 ER6N and noticed that it tends to have hot air expel from the side of the engine near the foot peg, making it very uncomfortable during stop as hot air is expel towards your leg. Does the CBR500R have the same issue as well? And by comparing overall practicality between the ER6 and CBR500, which bike would you recommend? p.s. deep in my heart, I had already made a choice.... lol, if i were to choose between er6 and cbr500, I would opt for the CBR500R which come with optional ABS, KL road is just too hazardous to ride. Anyway, I must say you had done a good job in this review, keep it up!

  2. Thanks for liking my review on this CBR500R, you are correct, in hectic KL traffic, a cub/underbone will be a more practical transport consider the weight and size.
    You will not feel the tremendous heat ejected out from left and right side of the CBR500R, the fairing is well design to divert it out without hitting to the rider much.
    Having to own an er6n before, I will say that i recommend er6n more if you are looking at overall practicality. Dont be mistaken that CBR500R is not good but let see I list a few points out:
    1) power wise, er6n has a better/higher average cruising speed, torque value, if you are having pillion, er6n is an at least....else you will get boring with the small engine very soon. If you dont mind the speed, you might consider its brother CBR500X , dual purpose category.
    2.Engine wise, honda always has its reliability and name on it, smoothest inline 2 that I never experience before, very minimum vibration almost like an inline 4(the low power rating also contribute to its smoothness).
    3.Be aware of some finishing on this bike, do not compare with Kawasaki as it is price at near 31k only which is a few thousands less then Kawa,consider good for what you can gey,dont forget Honda always price their product way higher then competitor.

    The time i made the review, it was only CBR500R released by Honda BoonSiew from Penang, but after a while my colleague did review the X version which left him with a real good impression. His review should be out soon on WTR. Do you have fb, i can tag you there and update you with any of our latest bike review.

    About ABS, not to be discourage but for a bike with this power and weight, it is really not necessary to implement that system in. Furthermore conventional ABS is actually quite dangerous on bikes, BOSCH already invented another system which is similar as ABS but working principle is different(KTM adventure 1190 has that). A sudden cut in or ABS can actually fall you off the bike.

  3. Oh cool, didn't know ABS can contribute more danger. Cause I have had a few accidents with my moped. All due to slippery road surface condition and sudden emergency braking. In fact I just low sided a week back in a basement parking with my moped lol, back wheel lost traction when going up slope. After each accident I upgrade my gear, lol. Now I am wearing a modular helmet and Alpinestar SMX2 air carbon glove, I do occasionally wear my alpinestar boots, but it is really overkill to wear boots considering i am just riding a moped. I think its time to add in kevlar jeans into the inventory list, lol. Anyway, I do have a facebook page 'Sam Anonymous', and a Youtube channel where I upload some interesting event that took place during my daily commute.

  4. Oh forgot to mention, I heard from a former user of ER6F and a current user of CBR500R, he said the gas mileage of the CBR is incredibly better compare to his previous ER6F.

  5. Hey Sam, you are correct, especially at the carpark basement with cement built up instead of pavemet, you will get the tyre lock up and slide your wheel. The only way when navigate in these are is really only to go very very slow. If you have ABS, the sudden jerk created whe it initiate will also affect your balancing and ride. Just to go slow on cement when it is wet. For more powerful bike I will said convetional ABS might help whe sudden breaking but the system which really helps is traction control which lower down your throttle control once detect front rear wheel spinning at differet rpm. On dirt riding (i am not good on it) they always want ABS off so that at some point they can jam the brake and slide it on mud. With ABS on the wheel just keep spinning. Anyway for braking try to put more force on the front brake, rear is actually just for assist...the slide test done by JPJ exam is actually a no proper riding mention to brake full on the rear and jam the wheel when under emergency braking. You will in fact slide and possibly fall from your bike. Best is to get a bike with good brakes...CBR500R break is real good! NISSIN SINGLE disc, it performs like some bikes double disc....and for the fuel issues...yeah sure it is more fuel efficient, because lower cc and lower average cruise speed. But if you run it to almost 80 percent of it max speed...the fuel efficiency will go up dramatically compare er6n running at the same speed. Thats why a 600cc inline 4 running at 200kmph has a higher fuel consumption conpare a 1.4cc inline 4 running at same 200kmph. Higher cc more torque, engineer can put a lower ration gearbox on it, means lower rpm. Thats why 600cc at 200kmph should be around 14k rpm but on a ca be just at 8k rpm

    1. Oh, thanks for the info. Traction control....., as far as I know it is only available in high end sportbike like the CBR600RR and ZX6r. And I agree whole hearted with you that, JPJ test emergency brake test is a no brainer. Correct braking ratio should be 70% front 30% rear, so that the back wheel will not skid. I brought my bike to a safe stop without skidding the back wheel, and I got a cross for emergency braking section lol. Anyway, looking forward for the CB500X review. Thanks again.

  6. Hey Sam, I just updated my review, come have a look.