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 almostforgotten 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.
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