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Honda Announces Revisions to 2016 CBR500R

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Honda announced this morning that it will unveil a redesigned CBR500R next week. When we tested the current model, we found a fun bike with the usual compromises present in a budget model, particularly somewhat squishy suspension. In some ways, the 471 cc twin hits a “sweet spot”, combining the economy and nimbleness of smaller displacement models with much more usable engine performance, particularly down low.

The U.S. press release is sparse on details, but we found a more complete description of changes to the model released by the Honda unit in Britain. The changes will include the following:

  • A complete new look based on a design theme of “Aggressive Speed Shape”. Sharp and edgy character lines flow from its new front face – featuring steeply-angled dual LED lights – through to the upswept tail – also equipped with LED lighting – to give an appearance of speed and purpose.
  • Several rider-focussed upgrades including front suspension with adjustable pre-load, larger fuel tank with new hinged fuel cap, adjustable brake levers and “wave” style ignition key.
  • A new shorter exhaust muffler for enhanced mass centralisation, with internal structure tuned for a satisfying low, crisp exhaust note.
  • A range of dynamic new colour schemes.

We will have all of the details after the formal unveil next week, but here is what the U.S. press release says about the revised model:

TORRANCE, Calif. (October 8, 2015) ­– American Honda has a full slate of activities planned for its display at next week’s American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo), including the world debut of the updated 2016 CBR500R. Dealers and consumers attending the event, which will be held October 15-18 at Orlando, Florida’s Orange County Convention Center, will have the first opportunity to see the midsize sport bike.

With DNA taken from the premier CBR1000RR, the CBR500R is aimed at entry-level sport riders or veterans looking for a versatile daily ride that offers fun at an economical price point. For 2016, the CBR500R gets new, aggressive styling with new LED dual headlights and numerous refinements.

Alongside the CBR500R on the show floor, Honda will display many models from its 2016 lineup of motorcycles, side-by-sides and ATVs. This will be many consumers’ first chance to see standout models for 2016 including the RC213V-S MotoGP bike for the street and the category-shattering Pioneer 1000 flagship multipurpose side-by-side. For those interested in doing more than look, Honda will also offer demo rides on its road-going motorcycles, and with models from its side-by-side and ATV lines.

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38 Comments

  1. dman says:

    I think it’s an interesting reflection of the current market that the CBR250/300 and now the CB500 are getting refreshed more often than the CB1000 and 600RR’s.

  2. Silver says:

    They’ve really outdone themselves. (hand jerk)

  3. McRider says:

    I don’t see a whole lot of differences. Probably the best improvement is the hinged gas cap. The one on the current model comes completely off, which I haven’t seen on a street bike since the 60’s. On the negative side, it looks like Honda has bought in to the disappearing rear fender trend, which I hate. Some of us ride in the rain.

    I have a 2014 CBR500R that I bought in April and now have 11,000 miles on it. I love that bike and it’s the smallest one I’ve owned in quite a few years. And I’m no beginner. I’ve been riding since 1962.

  4. Jim says:

    “Aggressive Speed Shape” as apposed to?

  5. matt says:

    And in pround Jap4 tradition the suspension will be cheap shit, undersprung and underdamped forks and over-damped shock. Oooh, preload adjustable forks. Seriously I have to wonder why any manufacturer anywhere shouldn’t be strung up and their heads put on pikes for even thinking of not providing spring preload.

  6. No real info yet, but excited!

  7. I really like the looks of this new bike. And I’m REALLY glad the manufacturers, including Honda, are making more and better small bikes. But let me ask the group a question. Is this new CBR500R as cool in 2015 as the VF500 Interceptor was in 1996?

    • Grover says:

      No, not hardly.

    • Marshall says:

      The VF500 (1986) was cooler b/c (1) I was 16, (2) it was a water cooled v4 sportbike that made almost 70HP. However, it weighed ~450 lb. wet. It would be nice if this new bike did not crest 400 lbs. and made at least 60 HP.

      • I agree, for approximately the same reasons! 🙂

      • mickey says:

        I was 36 when the VFR 500 came out and it was different than anything we had seen before which was primarily UJM’s and cruisers. It looked like a road racer, so it was new and exciting. Now the bikes have looked like road racers for 30 years and the shape is no longer as exciting. Now they all just look like UJSB’s (universal Japanese sport bikes)IMO.

  8. John says:

    Wave style ignition key? Rotor!

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      When I read that, I thought it might just be a bad translation for a smart key ignition – as in light WAVE transmitter/receiver – since the rotor in the picture isn’t a “change” but is the same unit that is on the current bike.

  9. PN says:

    Nice bike I’ve always liked. I bought an EX 300 Ninja though as it was $1300 cheaper. The Ninjet’s still a great bike though.

  10. Gham says:

    If I could justify owning a commuter bike this might be a top candidate.It seems like it would be great for the everyday riding,then another bike for 2-up touring….maybe one for some on/off road use and another hhhmmm electric trials bike for the back yard and and and….

  11. SeTh says:

    A taller seat?

  12. Dream Bikes says:

    Watch more photos…
    https://youtu.be/FVwCM6GW3eY

  13. Colors says:

    Those headlights frighten me!

  14. Jeremy in TX says:

    I am a fan of these 500s from Honda. They aren’t fast, but they feel really good to ride. In fact, they are downright refreshing in a world of $20,000, uberpower, electronically-controlled motorcycles.

    • Zuki says:

      I sure have loved my CB500X! After riding my SV1000S and then hopping on the 500 the ride is instantly relaxed and comfy. Didn’t miss the power of the 1000 switching over to the 500 which is why I eventually sold the SV. The CB cruises well on the interstate at 80mph and still has enough power to pass pretty effortlessly at those speeds. It consistently returns 70 -74 mpg. It may not have eyeball-flattening power but when riding it I don’t feel it needs to produce any more power than it does. The power delivery is also quite smooth and flat which I really love – no need to wrap the engine out to move along quickly. Overall it has been the most fun I’ve had on a motorcycle out of the 35+ I’ve owned, including the big, high-power bikes. I’m looking forward to what changes Honda may have done to the X, too… hopefully a Rally Raid-type version!

  15. Dale says:

    That yellow pointy thing coming out of the tank looks painful!

  16. tygaboy says:

    Come on, I can’t be the only one to notice: “Agressive Speed Shape”… Is it now a compliment to say “Wow, that looks like ASS.”?

  17. Kevin C. says:

    I think this is a nice looking bike. I only care about braking distances and feel, I don’t think automatically adding a second disk up front is necessarily an improvement in fact it adds a lot of un-sprung weight which is ALWAYS a bad thing.
    The other improvements are good. But I fear this will be tuned to meet those goofy EU licensing requirements for restricted power to weight ratios, so this will continue to be (relativity) heavy and under powered. Last I checked this thing posted EXACTLY the same 1/4 mile times as the KTM 375cc single, not impressive, even for a beginners bike, (Where is the rule that all smaller displacement street bikes have to pitched to newbies???) . This thing should weigh 400lbs gassed and be putting down 50 HP at the wheel. The cup racers claim to get 54 hp at the wheel if this is true then the engine certainly has the potential. Maybe Honda could offer a “full power” kit for the USA?

    • todd says:

      Smaller street bikes aren’t only pitched to noobs, they’re for anyone who wants to ride an inexpensive motorcycle. Bikes like these just happen to be more appropriate for new riders than a 1200cc streetfighter. Heck, they’re probably more appropriate for everyone and anyone who rides more than just the occasional weekend.

  18. MGNorge says:

    Quite the large front rotor.

  19. TexinOhio says:

    Man if they use that blacked out model posted a few days ago here that would be sweet! What I wouldn’t have given back in 1997 to have a 500 that looked exactly like it’s bigger siblings back in college.