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2013 Honda CBR500R: MD Ride Review

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When we first reported on the trio of new Honda 500s, we were excited about a bargain priced machine that had potential to work well for beginners, commuters, and even experienced riders. Now that we have tested one of those new 500s, the CBR500R (pictured), we are even more enthusiastic.

At $5,999 for the non-ABS model tested (the ABS version retails for $6,499), Honda promises good value from its modern, liquid-cooled 471cc, fuel-injected, parallel twin machine. This is a DOHC engine with four-valve heads sending power through a six-speed transmission. Nothing budget about these specs in the engine department.

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The suspension is budget, however, with non-adjustable 41mm forks and a shock with only stepped preload adjustability. A single 320mm front disc brake is squeezed by a two piston caliper, while a single piston caliper works on a 240mm disc out back. Tires are size 120/70-17 in front and 160/60-17 in back. With the 4.1 gallon tank topped off, Honda claims a curb weight of 425 pounds … reasonable, but certainly not light for a 500 class machine.

Like most Hondas, the CBR500R is extremely easy to ride. The engine is surprisingly smooth, and the fuel injection is just about perfect as it delivers power predictably with a broad swath of torque that provides good pull as low as 2,800 rpm. Not surprisingly, this engine provides a big step up in power from the 250cc singles, and even the Kawasaki Ninja 300 twin. It has dramatically more torque than the Ninja 300 down low, in particular, and roughly 11 more horsepower at the rear wheel.

The engine makes freeway commuting a piece of cake, with plenty of power to merge with, and even pass other traffic. Commuters will be happy with gas mileage in the high 50s to low 60s.

Instrumentation provides abundant information in a legible manner, aside from a bar graph tachometer that is more difficult to read at a glance than a more traditional unit. The headlights are very bright, as well. The suspension on the CBR500 is balanced, but the spring rates and damping are very soft. Together with relatively conservative steering geometry, while the CBR500R handles well, it is not quite as flickable as you might expect. Stability, on the other hand, is outstanding. Ergonomically, it is hard to fault this Honda. The bars are in a comfortable position that leaves the rider relatively upright, and the pegs are low enough to offer reasonable leg room. We even found the stock Honda seat reasonably comfortable on longer rides.

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Despite having only a single disc up front, braking is more than adequate. There is not a lot of initial bite, but good power is available from a strong squeeze of the lever.

The 2013 Honda CBR500R is a fun bike with a high quality feel and comfortable ergonomics. The soft suspension cossets the rider, but results in some handling limitations when the bike is ridden aggressively in the twisties. With excellent fuel mileage, and a reasonable price, the CBR500R would be a good choice for many riders, including inexperienced riders who want more engine performance than is offered by the 250s and 300s.

For additional details and specifications, visit Honda’s web site.

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142 Comments

  1. Wannabe says:

    Lemme know when you (Honda) are launching it in India.. and I’ll gladly read the tons of arguments listed…..
    Just tired of waiting for them to launch.. Might as well give up and go for an Enfield. :-)

  2. Jeremy in TX says:

    This bike could EASILY weigh less than 400 lbs. wet.

    Of course then everyone on here would be whining about why a sub-50hp bike costs so much money.

    • Randy says:

      I agree with you on the EASILY part. As in, easily, for the MSRP. Honda just has to be forced to compete.

      The KTM 390 looks to be about the same MSRP as the CBR500. Owning a KTM may not be that appealing to a new rider for a variety of reasons but with the 390 cost doesn’t seem to be one of them. The FZ-09 is the shot across the bow for all the makers (even Yamaha!). While it’s hard to compare the two bikes in almost every other way having the MSRP only $2000 apart shows what a pathetic performance per dollar factor the Honda has.

      But whatever. I’m SURE the Honda is a nice bike with some lovable qualities. Every one Honda makes will be sold, and we will be seeing and swapping them for many years to come. I hope the aftermarket brightens them up some. I might even own one in the future (probably an “X”), but not purchased new. I’m seriously thinking the FZ09 will be my next bike. My 5’3″ 115 pound wife is ready for her next(and probably long term) bike – the CBR500 has already been eliminated due to it’s weight during a check out at our local dealer. That leaves the Ninja 300 which she liked, and the yet to be seen KTM 390.

  3. Randy says:

    I’m with John on this one – why so heavy?

    Instead of comparing to bikes from 20,30,40 years ago, compare to what’s happening right now. Yamaha comes up with the FZ-09 that weighs 10 pounds LESS, has 70 Horsepower MORE, and has an MSRP just $2K more. That is the future. If Yamaha decided to take the same approach to designing a 500CC, that would be interesting. While the KTM 390 isn’t quite here yet that is a very interesting bike – almost the same power as the CBR500 and over 100 pounds lighter (!?!).

    IMO, the CBR500 is a motorcycle that is designed to appeal to the beginner, with not much effort at filling the performance envelope. Honda is being lazy here – barely lifting a finger design and engineering wise to have some high margin gateway models on the showroom floor.

    This looks to be a transitional year – the KTM 390, the Yamaha FZ-09, and yes, even the Ninja 300, showing what can be done in the way sub 10K range.

    • Dave says:

      A couple of things:
      1. The Honda is a world bike. It’s power output is limited by global market/license limitations and the US market is too small to dictate it’s own spec. The Yamaha being of larger displacement doesn’t need to be concerned with that.

      2. The Yamaha and Honda are for two totally different riders, #1 notwithstanding. There are more riders who won’t buy the FZ-09 because it’s too powerful, than there are who won’t buy the CB500 because it is not powerful enough. ie. it’s meant to be more of an entry level bike, something the market has under served for decades.

      3. $2k is a big difference at these price points. Stand-alone, that doesn’t sound like all that much money (especially to motorcyclists that have accepted $10k+ prices) but it’s a 20% difference, the difference between a $40k car and a $50k car, which is more than enough to rule out the more expensive bike for a customer that was interested in the CB in the beginning.

      • Randy says:

        I think you have some points. But a little to the side of the issue being debated.

        1. Being a world bike doesn’t mean it has to be heavy, or $6,000. I think Honda is being cynical and just going for high profit.

        2. I agree a timid new rider wouldn’t consider the FZ09. On the other hand the thing that really peals off the more experienced rider from the CBR500 is the overall ho-hum combination of low power and significant pork. Even the Ninja 300 generates more enthusiasm. And there’s no doubt the KTM 390 has caught the attention of experienced riders.

        3. I’m not comparing the FZ09 and the CBR500 on a MSRP basis. I bring the FZ09 in as an example of what a maker can do. A better comparison to the FZ is my 2000 Sprint RS 955I, which had a MSRP of $9,500 – about $12,500 now. I’ve a feeling the F09 is the equal or superior in every respect and is $4,000 less in todays dollars. The Honda is … a bargain? No. It’s a previous paradigm – but still the Honda of today, the CBR250R, CFR250L, CBR500 – decent products of mediocre performance, marketed to a generic customer segment..

        3. Same argument – lets compare to the KTM 390. Roughly the same power but 100 pounds less, and is gorgeous in comparison. It’s basically the same price as the CBR.

        The FZ09 and KTM 390 are the new paradigm. Hopefully Suzuki and Honda (and Kawasaki) will step up and compete.

        • Dave says:

          The KTM is certainly lightweight, but it’s also built on a tiny platform that is used with as small as a 125cc engine, and it’s a single itself. While it may make close to the same peak hp, that number doesn’t necessarily translate to a good riding experience. It would be more fair to compare it to the Yamaha WR250, Suzuki DSM400, etc. for weight/content. We also don’t know how much it costs until they release in the US. What they sell for in India is not necessarily an indication of what we will get them for here. I agree that it’s a fantastic looking little bike and am also interested in what it will be like up close. We’ll have to wait and see.

          Yamaha has done something impressive with the FZ-09 to be sure. Are they making any money? It’s tough to say but I’m guessing that thing is on the razor’s edge of profit margin. I hope it sells VERY well, I worry if it doesn’t sell in record numbers, it’ll be gone as fast as it arrived.

          • Randy says:

            DSM400 = DRZ400SM? Funny you bring those bikes up. I owned a DRZ400S and now own a WR250R. Based on my experience I wouldn’t have compared them to the CBR500/KTM390/Ninja 300. On the road I have a feeling all these new bikes will be much superior. The DSM has that infuriating 5 speed buzz box engine, you can either tolerate it or not – I couldn’t, and it is down 10 HP to the 390. The WRR (as much as I like mine) just isn’t in the same league power wise. The 390 is a bit unknown but so far the reviews seem to like the 390 engine at speed.

            I wouldn’t think Yamaha would plan to sell bikes at break even or a loss. I think possibly they have just decided to spread their sportbike engine and chassis technology to standards or whatever the FZ09 is. Since this isn’t a flagship supersport they could cut corners with components and be a lot more casual about engineering and testing and still come up with a great streetbike. I’m for that – the performance of modern sportbikes can only really be exploited on a track by experienced sport riders or racers. I would like a bike that is 8/10′s of that with normal ergos and a low price.

  4. theguy says:

    “Nothing budget about these specs in the engine department”

    Really? A twin instead of a four saves on valves, pistons, rings, con-rods, etc.

    The old Bandit 400 was a small-displacement bike that lived up to this claim.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      It would have been much more “budget” to use an I-4. Honda has plenty of them with costs long ago amortized. I think the twin is a result of Honda recognizing (finally) that market tastes have changed.

  5. Kevin White says:

    I’ll hang on to my FZ6R.

  6. Norm G. says:

    next article…? suzuki’s release of the 2014 bigbird into the wild.

  7. Ed Chambers says:

    oop sorry I didn’t read the whole thread

  8. Ed Chambers says:

    But 15 years ago when I was just starting to ride, there wasn’t anything in this displacement that looked as good as this.

    Really, ever heard of the Ninja 500? which may even still make more HP and weigh less.

    • Kagato says:

      No more Ninja 500′s though—and the Ninja 650 is not as good looking as this bike. I’m hoping Kawasaki will stick with the styling on the Ninja 250 and 300 when they refresh the 650′s. We also need a 650 Eliminator, with pegs under the rider, not in the gyno position. I’ll also take a 300 Samurai while I’m wishing : – ) oh and a 650 Bighorn

      • Kevin White says:

        Two comments:

        1. the 650 was *just* refreshed (third-generation I think?).

        2. The Eliminator was an inline four. I think a more appropriate analogy would be a 649LTD. This would match the 454LTD, which used a parallel twin engine that was later used in the Ninja 500 (at a slightly higher displacement). The riding position on the 454LTD, peg-wise, wasn’t too bad at all.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      The Ninja 500 weighs the same. And uses carbs. And can’t pass emissions tests. and doesn’t look anywhere near as good as this bike.

      It does make a bit more power though.

  9. Ryan M says:

    This website should be called “Motorcycle weekly” .com..

  10. Kagato says:

    Good to see Honda make a smaller sportbike. Wish they would label it a Hawk though.

  11. Colors says:

    I wouldn’t buy one, because 500cc is smaller than I want. But 15 years ago when I was just starting to ride, there wasn’t anything in this displacement that looked as good as this. I would have loved to have had one of these when I was 16 or 17 years old. It looks like a proper sport bike, has enough power to stay out of its own way, and its cheap. Looks like a great little bike to me.

    • John says:

      I started off on the somewhat similar Ascot V-twin. Not a powerhouse, but still plenty fast enough. Almost bit it once, and might have if it were any faster. Because logging trucks with no lights going up a hill at 20mph SUCK.

      • Kagato says:

        The Ascot is one of the Honda’s I’ve always wanted–great looking scoot! another fave is the 700S Nighthawk

  12. Starmag says:

    Hey Honda, how about this motor stuffed into some thing like the RE Continetal GT?

  13. Tyler says:

    I’m just gonna get a Honda Grom instead.

  14. Johnny Honda says:

    Or even a girl.

  15. Johnny Honda says:

    Looks good for a 20 yr old

  16. Sportster Owner says:

    I’ve ridden and owned motorcycles for 50+ years. Affordability is my first rule. I have owned and enjoyed many notable bikes. I would buy and ride the h _ _ _ out of this bike and all for $6,000.

  17. Bob says:

    Nice but would look even better with the paint scheme of the VF500F of the early 80s. Had an ’83 and loved that bike, pretending to be Freddie everywhere I went.

    • Kagato says:

      That was a nice paint design–I had to go look ; – ) Honda does have a red white and blue CBR though–not as pretty as the V4 bike

    • Don says:

      This is a decent bike, but looking at the specs of my beloved ’85 Interceptor 500 (my first bike in 1988), this CBR is only around a dozen pounds lighter, but makes around 18 horsepower less. I know, the VF was a 4 cylinder, but that thing is 30 years old. After 3 decades, this is all Honda has been able to come up with for a 500cc “beginner/sport/sport-touring” bike? Why not just update that sweet v-four ride with modern suspension, brakes, and 17″ wheels?

  18. Bob L. says:

    Nice looking, for sure. I wish they had made the VFR1200 look this good. I would likely own one. (maybe it’s not too late……Nope, too late)

    • jake says:

      Buy the VFR as it is now. It is a classic in the making; its styling is just ahead of its time and under appreciated. The VFR is one of the few Japanese bikes with styling which is above banality and ordinary.

  19. John says:

    The CB500s, by all accounts are great for the money, at least they have somewhat modern engine technology compared to a lot of the mediocre bikes on the market.
    BUT…..why so heavy? They are heavier than the 30 year old VT500 which has heavier engine and shaft drive. Heavier than the Hawk GT which has heavywheels, a heavier and bigger engine and SSS. Heavier than a MG V7. Heavier than the 4-cylinder CB400 and CB-1. Where is the weight? And what happened to simple advancements in design and computer design?

    • John says:

      It’s also 50lbs heavier than the Ninja 300, but guaranteed that the 300′s engine doesn’t weigh but 10-15lbs less. So there’s a good 35-40lbs that the Ninja has kept off that the CBs have not.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Not sure how you figure that..

      Ninja 500: 434 lbs.
      Suzuki GS500: 439 lbs.
      Hawk GT: 412 lbs.
      Guzzi V7 Stone: 435 lbs.
      CB400 and CB-1: 415+ lbs.

      I’d say the Honda is in line. As far as the Ninja 300, The Honda has noticeably larger dimensions, not just displacement. Yes, it could be lighter. It could also be more powerful. Either of those would make it more expensive which defeats the point of this bike.

      • John says:

        Right, just as heavy as an ancient Ninja, ancient GS500, heavier than a bigger 750 shaft bike, heavier than the others from 20 years ago. Every thing I can find on the V7 shows it’s only 400lbs, not 435, unless the whole world is confusing dry weight and curb weight. Bigger gas tank on the V7 too.

        Not sure how posting those numbers goes against what I said. Actually, to me, those numbers come across as pretty embarrassing. You’d think for one thing, using a little less steel would make it cheaper AND lighter.

        Anyway, I’d have thought, just from pure evolution and basic design, there’d be a weight savings because 1) I2s are lighter than V2s, normal swingarms are lighter than SSS, modern wheels are lighter than the first cast wheels, chain drive is lighter than shaft drive, etc, etc.

        I mean, heck, can’t beat the price, but even so, it’s almost like they made it heavy just to justify all their other, more expensive bikes.

      • John says:

        REALLY? Is Motorcycle Daily now so PC that H E C K has to be moderated?!? Gimme a break.

      • John says:

        Reposted without the “vulgarity” –

        Right, just as heavy as an ancient Ninja, ancient GS500, heavier than a bigger 750 shaft bike, heavier than the others from 20 years ago. Every thing I can find on the V7 shows it’s only 400lbs, not 435, unless the whole world is confusing dry weight and curb weight. Bigger gas tank on the V7 too.
        Not sure how posting those numbers goes against what I said. Actually, to me, those numbers come across as pretty embarrassing. You’d think for one thing, using a little less steel would make it cheaper AND lighter.

        Anyway, I’d have thought, just from pure evolution and basic design, there’d be a weight savings because 1) I2s are lighter than V2s, normal swingarms are lighter than single sided, modern wheels are lighter than the first cast wheels, chain drive is lighter than shaft drive, etc, etc.

        I mean, can’t beat the price, but even so, it’s almost like they made it heavy just to justify all their other, more expensive bikes.

      • John says:

        Okay, I give up. Why is my post being moderated again?!?

      • John says:

        Okay, here’s a link while they moderate something or other – http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/firstrides/122_1208_2013_moto_guzzi_v7_racer/photo_01.html

        Looks like they’ve changed the numbers to 430 on the V7 racer, but keep in mind a) heavier shaft drive, b) heavier wire spoke wheels, c) not a drop of aluminum anywhere I can see, d) heavier V2 design, e) same weight, f) made in Italy not Thailand, g) 5.8 gallon tank, h, twin rear shocks, 750cc, not 471cc.

        Okay, it’s 10lbs heavier than the CB500F that also has no fairing, but with 8 lbs more gas too. So, 2lbs net heavier for all that stuff.

      • John says:

        WTF!!!! Now what?!?

      • John says:

        Also, Ninja 650R – only 6lbs more than the old 500. That’s actual progress.

        So,

        296cc – 385 lbs
        471cc – 425 lbs
        649cc – 440 lbs

        +175cc = 40 lbs
        +178cc = 15 lbs

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          Ninja 650R – $17.27 per pound
          Honda CB500R – $14.12 per pound

          Progress in this case costs 22% more. Granted you get more engine and marginally better components as well, but this Honda is trying to offer value with modern running gear at a palatable price point. It’s just a different kind of progress.

          • John says:

            More weight for your money! AWESOME!!!

            But, you know, this is hardly a breakthrough product, the CB500 is the kind of motorycle Honda used to make all the time. But after 20 years of cruisers and megatourers and hyperbikes, we kinda forget that these are not nearly as innovative as some of the 80s Hondas. Heck, it’s most reminiscent of the late 70s/early 80s CB400 twins – http://www.cyclechaos.com/wiki/Honda_CB400T (which also weigh 30lbs less)

      • John says:

        Also, I call total BS on the CB500R being bigger. They have the same wheelbase, same seat height, so I have no idea how you imagined the larger dimensions.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          An Aprilia RSV4 has the same wheelbase. A Honda Rebel 250 has a longer one. Bikes aren’t two-dimensional. Go sit on them both at a dealership (which is what I did) and then form your opinion. The approach isn’t scientific for sure, but I am sure you will come away with the impression that the Honda is a noticeably larger bike than the Ninja 300.

        • Dave says:

          Re: “Also, I call total BS on the CB500R being bigger. They have the same wheelbase, same seat height, so I have no idea how you imagined the larger dimensions.”

          I’ve sat on them both. I could ride the 500 for an hour or more, I could not ride the 300 that long as it is simply too small. More than an impression.

          • John says:

            Ergonomics doesn’t make a bike bigger or smaller. The ZRX feels like a small bike, but is quite big and heavy. The early Triumphs weren’t that big really, but required long arms.

            There’s nothing about the CBs that make them actually physically bigger than the Ninja.

          • Dave says:

            Your version of “bigger” just became different than that of whom you are discussing it with.

          • John says:

            Dimensions identicaI.

    • Tom R says:

      What is specifically wrong or distasteful about the listed weight of this bike?

      • John says:

        It’s pretty porky for a tiny modern motorcycle. I never said it was “wrong” or “distasteful”.

        Honda’s new CRF250L weighs 320lbs, but their ancient CRF230F weighs 250lbs and their even more ancient XR650L only weighs 26 more lbs than the 250L.

        I guess what they’re saying is that it’s super cheap to make something heavy, but even so, I have a hard time believing this is heavier than an $8000 Moto Guzzi 750. That’s possibly a bit disturbing.

        • Tom R says:

          I think “pretty porky” could be reasonably interpreted as wrong or distasteful.

          Also, comparing this bike to a CRF250L seems like apples to oranges.

          • John says:

            People said that a HawkGT was pretty heavy and underpowered 20 years ago. The Ascot VT was just as heavy and even slower, but both lighter than the CB500s. And both have reason to be heavier than the CBs, not lighter, notwithstanding decades of extra age.

            The 500s are excellent packages, my only quibble is the weight, which is a fair criticism from an engineering perspective. The only thing I can think of is that they made the chassis much stouter than normal because it has to be multi-purpose.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “And what happened to simple advancements in design and computer design?”

      you’re looking at ‘em. these advances allow the bike to be manufactured faster with better quality and better performance. they don’t necessarily show up in the form of weight savings. 20 years ago, this bike could barely turn a corner and polluted like a 2-stroke Detroit.

      • John says:

        That’s just BS. A $3500 Honda HawkGT would probably pound this, at least in the torque department, turned as fast as just about any modern bike and certainly was no polluter. Are you 19?

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “A $3500 Honda HawkGT would probably pound this, at least in the torque department”

          not with it’s crank split in 2 it won’t, which they are known to do.

          re: “and certainly was no polluter.”

          your “gub’ment” has a decidedly different opinion of carburetors.

          re: “Are you 19?”

          would you like me to be…? remember, this is the internet… an escape from reality where any and all fantasies may be indulged.

          • John says:

            Hawk GTs only split cranks because they were popular as track bikes because of their handling and people took them from 50HP to 80HP, sometimes even 100HP. So, yeah, you can break cranks by doing that.

            Our “gub’ment” thinks corn ethanol is a good idea, so I don’t care what retarded people think. In any case, Hondas have been famous for polluting….since when?

          • Colors says:

            WHAT!?!?!?!?!? The internet isn’t real! THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!

          • sherob says:

            Yep… the internet isn’t real. I read it on the internet.

        • Dave says:

          Re: “That’s just BS. A $3500 Honda HawkGT”

          How much do you think an aluminum framed, SS swingarm, V-twin bike would cost to produce today?
          Keep in mind, the Gladius was an SV-650 after cost reduction and that’s an $8k bike (with amortized tooling) now.

          It’s not the 90′s anymore. Things are just more expensive and we have a great inventory of used bikes reminding us how good the old days were.

          • John says:

            Maybe $8000-$9000, assuming they put a better engine in it.

            But that doesn’t even matter. SSS is heavier than a twin beam swingarm, for one thing. So, if you want to save money without adding weight, you put a steel twin beam one on.

            The aluminum frame might save you 10-15lbs, but then guess what? The Hawk’s V-twin engine weighs 15lbs more because of the splayed design.

            Also, guaranteed, the Hawk’s pretty wheels and sexy looking exhaust weigh more than that of the CB500.

            So, you cleverly went completely around the point without addressing it.

          • Dave says:

            You have no idea if any of your numbers are rooted in fact (they’re not). You don’t know what any of the components you cited actually weigh, nor do you even know if the comparison bikes even share the all the same components with the CB (exhaust catalyst?). Ie. you don’t know what you’re talking about.

            The fact is, this bike is built to a much lower price point, in a much tougher economy than the bikes you cite.

    • denny says:

      I also feel that way; just too heavy.
      I also read other’s opinions and consider them. But, what they are doing by comparing to other brands they are getting nowhere. All motorcycles are lately heavy – its plain ridiculous. Just look at sport bikes of 70s – Italian and even Japanese, they were lot lighter. Machine of 500cc should not weigh more than 170kg, definitely NOT 190. My interpretation to this is REDUNDANCY. They just want to be sure that bike’s frames will sustain any kind of (ab)use in long term. You can call it ‘legal proof’.

      • Dave says:

        170kg? Name 3 reasonably priced bikes of 500cc+ without knobby tires are that light? $12k 600ss bikes aren’t that light and that’s one of the most weight competitive segments in motorcycling.

        1970′s Honda CB 450′s weighed 415lb dry without water cooling, ABS, Bodywork, etc.

        Everyone calling this bike too heavy is dreaming.

        • todd says:

          let’s see;
          Kawasaki H1 500 = 170kg
          GB500 = 157kg
          EX500 = 170kg
          GS500e = 174kg
          SR500 = 158kg
          FT500 Ascot = 171kg
          MZ Skorpion 650! = 173kg
          MZ Silver Star 500 = 149kg
          Suzuki RG500 = 154kg (OK, not cheap)

          Oh, I’m sorry. Was I supposed to stop at three?

          • Dave says:

            Re: “Oh, I’m sorry. Was I supposed to stop at three?”

            No, but you were supposed to start with current bikes..

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Those are manufacturer listed dry weights for each of those bikes, and most of those bikes are within +/- 7kg of this new Honda adjusted for reality. So apart from being fossils, they don’t offer any noticeable advantage from a weight standpoint.

            The GB500 and SR500 are true sub-175kg bikes, and I assume the Silver Star is as well. They are also make way less power than the Honda.

        • denny says:

          No sir, no dreaming required. Just common technical sense. And to add to it: Japan is country with few natural resources; they have to buy semi-finished minerals to make it into useable material stock. Too much cost involved in the way of achieving the end. They should be selling on technology, not the bulk.

          Another consideration (and Todd proves it too) is that North America became accustomed to luxury in any conceivable way, often without need or substance. Originally, the brit-bikes and other European machines in that size category were at around 150-160 kg and that was considered hefty enough. Then came four cylinders and whoaaaa, naturally, they picked another 10-20kg. Just look at amount of material required to make 4-cylinder block and consequently frame for such motorcycle. Its a bad trend to begin with. Yes, it is reverting lately, but the extra fat remains.

          • SecaKid says:

            re: “Yes, it is reverting lately, but the extra fat remains.”
            Sounds like my wife and her Herbalife diet.

        • denny says:

          Let me just throw one more into it before I stop. My Hornet900 weighs in at 190kg (430lbs) dry. That is 919cc with 100+hp on crank and plenty of bottom end torque starting at just over 2,000 RPM. Why should I exercise a thought of same weight machine with half engine size (incidently of same make) which extra ballast does not create any tangible benefit? I leave it right there; this is hi-octane argument for sure.

        • John says:

          It’s not TOO heavy, but it is surprisingly heavy, if only by 20-30lbs. Based on past Hondas, I’d expect these to weight 390-410lbs, and they weight 420-430lbs.

          Not a big deal at all for a street bike, but for the X, it dampens the possibilities of what one of these might do off road.

        • John says:

          “No, but you were supposed to start with current bikes..”

          Why is it as heavy as a Moto Guzzi 750 V-twin shaft drive with spoke wheels?

          Aside from this, small bikes have been getting heavier as big bikes have been getting lighter. Cost cutting is an obvious factor for some, but even so, the cheapest water cooled ~500cc bikes from 20 years ago were as light or lighter. My VT Ascot was rather piggish for a 500 and weighed less.

          If cost is the issue, they should still weigh 20-30lbs less. They could weight 350-375lbs pretty easily with somewhat bigger budget and careful engineering. My HawkGT wheels, engine and exhaust weighed a freaking ton. Still lighter than the CB500 though.

          • Dave says:

            1. No, older bikes were not generally lighter (see cb450 dry weight).
            2. Bigger bikes aren’t getting much lighter. See 1st gen gsxr750, cbr900rr, etc. They’ve gotten a whole lot faster/better, just not lighter.

            I had a Hawk GT too. You do realize how much more of that bike is made of aluminum, right? That bike would cost much more to make today than a cb500. If 350-375 were possible, they’d do it, there is no good reason not to other than economy.

        • John says:

          1965-1974 CB450? SeriousIy? Yes, it’s about 10Ibs more, but, you know, 50 years ago. That’s how far back you have to go, since my VT Ascot was lighter with zero aluminum, heavier engine and shaft.

        • John says:

          SXV550 super moto – 300Ibs wet. But 375Ibs is impossibIe???

          • Dave says:

            The SVx550 is a dirt bike with slicks (and around $10k). The CB450 was air cooled with no emissions equipment and a noodle for a frame.

            Yes, for this price, 375lb is impossible. Don’t you think the most capable motorcycle maker in the world would have done it?

        • John says:

          Why do something if you can make more money and people will irrationally defend the weight gain?

          • Dave says:

            re: “Why do something if you can make more money”

            To win market share in a very difficult market. If they could make it lighter/higher tech at this retail price and still make a profit, they would.
            .

  20. todd says:

    What does the Kawasaki 300 have that makes it so much more…. fun? I think the Honda is a great bike and more than enough capability for 90% of the riders out there but I think the little Ninja would be funner.

    • MGNorge says:

      That may just be in your head. Go ride them both then find which is funner.

    • TimC says:

      I’ve read more than one comparison test that gave the nod to the 300, due to better handling and, while down on power, a more fun power -delivery- and more sporting ride, basically.

      I think it would be very interesting if Honda firmed up the suspension; it sounds like that would make the biggest difference in how this one rides.

      As far as weight, I’m not sure it’s heavy for a 500 – seems about inline for a non-high-tech (expensive) chassis etc. Lightness ain’t cheap.

  21. Mr. M says:

    My 21 yr old bought this as his first bike and loves it. Great, fun bike for beginner to novice riders. Soft on suspension is the only complaint on the bike as he has a hard time keeping up with the sportier rides in the twisties.

  22. John says:

    The CB500s, by all accounts are great for the money, at least they have somewhat modern engine technology compared to a lot of the crapola on the market.

    BUT…..why so heavy? They are heavier than the 30 year old VT500 which has heavier engine and shaft drive. Heavier than the Hawk GT which has heavywheels, a heavier and bigger engine and SSS. Heavier than a MG V7. Heavier than the 4-cylinder CB400 and CB-1. Where is the weight? And what happened to simple advancements in design and computer design?

  23. Ken says:

    I like the reference to headlight brightness, and wish all reviews made mention of this. I also wish, though, that more dual-headlight designs allowed both sides to stay ON when using low beams (as the V-Strom does). Re-wiring the headlights to do this, I’ve been told, is more difficult than it seems, and I don’t understand why manufacturers don’t automatically do this.

    • todd says:

      because it would require a larger, more expensive alternator and heavier battery. Best leave that up to the owner to do, he is not concerned with running those things closer to their limits.

      • VLJ says:

        They’re doing that stupid single headlight thing on plenty of expensive bikes too, so it’s not a cost issue. Those same bikes aren’t using lighter batteries, either.

        There is absolutely no reason not to light up both lights on both low and high beam, especially when the bike sports two equal-sized headlights.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          It has not historically had anything to do with cost. The practice had become common on sportbikes because it allowed the mfg to shave weight by using a smaller, lighter charging system. Whether if that practice is now just habit or weight savings is still the reason, who knows?

    • Honyock says:

      The use of low beam one side/high beam both sides is a matter of efficiency. The low beam and high beam use the same bulb (lamp, for the technically precise) and the beam sgape is determined by the reflector. Use of the whole reflector for the beam pattern results in more light where you want it and less “wasted” light merely heating things up.

      Added benefit: when your low beam burns out you can swap the lamp from the high beam and continue to march.

  24. mk says:

    I remember when the F4i cost that much

    • ducatidon says:

      A stark illustration indeed, MK, for us motorcyclists!

    • goose says:

      And my mother remembers when you could get a good meal, pay with a dollar bill, leave a nice tip and walk out with a good part of your dollar back in your pocket. What is your point?

      Goose

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I am pretty sure the F4i was $8200 when it was introduced in ’01. That is about $10,800 in today’s money.

      • goose says:

        Jeremy, thank for have a grasp of economics that mk clearly lacks. I keep forgetting that today you have to explain things, like inflation, that used you used to be able to assume people understood.

        Goose

  25. Nomadak says:

    When did $6K become inexpensive? Cracks me up, an entry level bike going for this much money. When fuel injected , low mileage, unmolested V-twin Aprilia’s can be had for less on the used market and are many times the machine these are. This recent article hit the nail on the head. http://www.motorcycledaily.com/2013/08/stop-me-before-i-buy-an-early-2000s-sportbike/ . Other than the fuel injection and updated body work, how is this machine any different than an old Kawasaki EX500 that was around in the mid to late 80′s?

  26. Hair says:

    Looks like a great bike.

  27. vitesse says:

    If Honda wants to lead with a new, economical bike for the masses, it should put safety at higher priority and somehow incorporate ABS as standard equipment, not as an option.

  28. Fred says:

    I’ve been riding for 45 years (so far). I started on a 350, traded up to a 500, then onto a 900, then a 1000, and finally 250s. And even though the 1000 is still in the garage, not ridden, I am quite happy to now ride my 250s.

  29. allworld says:

    So for a few more $$ you can change out the rear suspension and have a really nice bike at a good price.

  30. Jeremy in TX says:

    I am not in the market for this kind of bike, but I have to say that it is very refreshing to see low-tech and inexpensive making a comeback. It is a very clean looking bike to boot.

    • jake says:

      In other words, we in America are getting poor and this is the only kind of bike we can afford.

      • mickey says:

        Americans are not generally poor, they just like to claim they are poor.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Nah, in other words it is nice to see a bike that doesn’t cost as much as a small car with six airbags, air-conditioner and power everything.

      • Hot Dog says:

        I disagree that we’re getting poorer, but I do think that the practical aspects are more relevant, than the opulent ones. I think most responders/readers are seasoned riders who appreciate the value this machine exhibits. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself downsizing and I’m really enjoying it. We now consider a four valve, water cooled, fuel injected machine as “low-tech”, imagine that. I like the concept, size and value of this bike.

        • jake says:

          What’s so bad about becoming poorer? Countries go up, countries go down – it’s called history. America will not be India poor, but all signs point to a slow and steady decline and stagnation – including a renewed focus on low priced bikes.

        • Ron Gordon says:

          +1 to Hotdog downsizing. I enjoy the heck out of my wife’s TU250 ‘Zook as well as her Buell Blast. I am hoping EBR and Hero bring some little bikes to the USA, but I am 70 and they probably won’t be in time for me to seriously consider buying one.

      • Neil says:

        Nice bike. Sat on it and it felt very intuitive. Easy clutch. Nice seat. Good ergos. – As Americans we ARE getting poorer as a ride across any expanse of this country will show. There is a HUGE poor middle class now and the lower class is also enormous and can only afford a scooter. These bikes are selling well so far BECAUSE they make $ sense. The years of huge heavy cruisers (wasted steel) and sport bikes that were insanely overkill were horrid. It’s nice to see a bike that gets the job done for the average commute or weekend ride.

      • BlackCayman says:

        Jake – Inflation is a simple fact of “Keynesian Economics”. The US economy has been using it for over 50 years (sadly from both parties). This bike would have only been about 250 bucks in 1913.

        We are printing a Trillion extra US dollars a year – which makes each of the others already in existance worth-less.

        We are spending a Trillion dollars a year, more than we take in in tax revenue.

        These are causes of “Inflation” and its only going to get worse. Better buy the bike you want now, becasue next year it will be even more – and so on.

        • jake says:

          Two causes of inflation: one is money in the hands of regular joes losing values, which the rich like, cause it forces them to work harder to keep up – the modern day version of coin shaving.

          The other? When people get lazy and expect to be paid like for not alot of tangible work – which is why all professional services are so ridiculously priced in this country. Also, why things cost so much in places like Nigeria.

          In this country, at the present time, both sources of inflation are alive and well.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          Inflation is a simple fact, period. You can subscribe to whatever flavor of economic theory you want, but inflation is going to exist regardless.

          • BlackCayman says:

            of course – I just believe that Kenesian Policies are accelerating ours and thus our demise

          • TimC says:

            BULLLLLLLLLLLL. We’re veering off topic but if money’s not tied to something of real value you get inflation (or at least you generally do as that’s what makes it easy for the government to tighten the screws). The government is the only entity that can decouple money from value.

          • John says:

            Not true. InfIation requires too little product or too much money. Or government tomfooIery.

            Common, but not aIways the case.

  31. GP says:

    I would really like to hear how it compares to the venerable EX500…..

  32. Tom R says:

    “With the 4.1 gallon tank topped off, Honda claims a curb weight of 425 pounds … reasonable, but certainly not light for a 500 class machine”.

    So Dirck, is the 425 pounds for this bike a good thing, or a bad thing?

  33. George Krpan says:

    Good looking bike at a great price. I wonder how the adventure version, the CBR500X, compares. I just checked the Honda site and found that hard panniers and top box are available for the CBR500X.

  34. MGNorge says:

    I have a friend at work that started with the CBR250R to get his riding feet wet and then after a little over a year moved up to the F version of the 500. He’s as happy as a clam but does not regret starting with the 250 at all.