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CBR500R Leads Charge as Honda Announces Three New 500s

Three new 500s for the 2013 model year were announced by Honda this morning, including the CBR500R sportbike, CB500F naked and CB500X adventure.  The three models share frame and mechanical elements, including an all new 500cc liquid-cooled, parallel-twin DOHC engine with four-valve heads.  This modern, fuel injected powerplant is counterbalanced.

Each of the bikes has a steel tube frame designed to be both light and rigid.  A single 320mm front disc brake, and 240mm rear provide the stopping power.  The suspension is largely non-adjustable, with only spring preload changes available in the shock.

Each of the models is available with optional ABS brakes.  The CBR500R comes in at a claimed curb weight (fully fueled) of 425 pounds.  The other models are within 5 pounds of this weight.

Below is the full press release for the CBR500R, and it generally applies to the other models from a chassis/engine standpoint (the CB500X has slightly longer fork travel).  U.S. MSRP for the CBR500R is $5,999, and it will be available in black, red and a white/blue/red combo.  Take a look at Honda’s web site for additional details.


With the introduction of the all-new CBR500R, Honda boldly redefines the middleweight class and infuses a whole new level of excitement for sport riders in search of superior value along with great fun. The CBR500R delivers plenty of performance to all sport riders, including riders moving up from the sporting, entry-level Honda CBR250R, as well as more experienced riders who will appreciate the CBR500R’s light and nimble handling. Credit its thoroughly modern, torquey 500cc parallel-twin DOHC engine that’s wrapped in a great-handling chassis featuring a full fairing spawned from Honda’s much-acclaimed CBR600RR and CBR1000RR sportbikes. This aerodynamic bodywork also provides significant advantages in air management for added rider comfort, along with a low drag coefficient and effective engine cooling. A sophisticated chassis with Pro-Link® single-shock rear suspension, stout 41mm fork, sporting 17-inch wheels and a 320mm wave-style front disc brake and 240mm rear disc help round out a package that looks as good as it rolls.


Features and Benefits

  • Sportbike riding position keeps the rider balanced in a dynamic seating stance that’s comfortable and efficient.
  • All-new 500cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin DOHC engine is thoroughly modern in design and produces a broad power spread for enjoyable and economical riding.
  • Four-valve cylinder head design uses lightweight rocker-arm valve actuation with shim-type valve adjustment.
  • Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) continuously monitors several variables to ensure the correct fuel mixture is delivered for the existing riding and atmospheric conditions for crisp throttle response throughout a wide variety of riding conditions.
  • Engine counterbalancer and 180-degree crankpin reduce engine vibration for superior rider comfort.
  • Preloaded, scissors-type gears for the primary drive and engine counterbalancer gears help reduce engine noise.
  • Diamond-shaped 35mm steel tube frame is lightweight and rigid for responsive sport handling.
  • Stout 41mm front fork with 4.3 inches of travel returns a plush yet controlled ride.
  • Sophisticated Pro-Link single-shock rear suspension offers nine-stage spring preload adjustability and 4.7 inches of controlled travel.
  • Lightweight cast aluminum wheels, 120/70-17 in front and 160/60-17 rear, return sporting feel and handling traits.
  • Front 320mm wave-style disc brake and 240mm rear provide strong stopping power.
  • ABS version available for enhanced braking characteristics in less than ideal conditions.
  • Instrument display features speedometer, tachometer, odometer/A&B tripmeters, fuel gauge, clock, mpg, average fuel consumption, and current fuel consumption.
  • Modest 30.9-inch seat height helps build rider confidence.
  • Standard model available in Black, Pearl White/Blue/Red or Red. ABS model available in Red only.
  • Transferable one-year, unlimited-mileage limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.


Honda Genuine Accessories†

  • Sport Screen, Color-Matched Passenger Seat Cowl, Carbon Fiber-Look Front Fender, Carbon Fiber-Look Lower Headlight Cover, Carbon Fiber-Look Rear Tire Hugger, Carbon Fiber-Look Tank Pad

† WARRANTY: Because we’re so confident in the quality of each of our Honda Genuine Accessories, we’re pleased to offer one of the best warranties in the industry. One-year warranty begins on the day accessories are purchased by the customer.

Final accessory list TBD and subject to change without notice.


Model: CBR500R / CBR500RA

Engine Type: 500cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin

Bore and Stroke: 67.0mm x 66.8mm

Compression ratio: 10.7:1

Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder

Induction: PGM-FI with 34mm throttle bodies

Ignition: Computer-controlled digital transistorized with electronic advance

Transmission: Six-speed

Final Drive: O-ring-sealed chain


Front: 41mm fork; 4.3 inches travel

Rear: Pro-Link single shock with nine-position spring preload adjustability; 4.7 inches travel


Front: Twin-piston caliper with single 320mm wave disc

Rear: Single-caliper 240mm wave disc

Optional Honda ABS


Front: 120/70-17

Rear: 160/60-17

Wheelbase: 55.5 inches

Rake (Caster Angle): 25° 5’

Trail: 103mm (4.05 inches)

Seat Height: 30.9 inches

Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gallons including 0.7-gallon reserve

Estimated Fuel Economy**: TBD


CBR500R: Black, Pearl White/Blue/Red, Red

CBR500RA: Red

Curb Weight*: 425 pounds (CBR500R) / 429 pounds (CBR500RA)

*Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride.

**Miles per gallon values are calculated estimates of fuel consumed during laboratory exhaust emissions tests specified by the EPA, not during on-road riding. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you ride and maintain your vehicle, weather, road conditions, tire pressure, cargo and accessories, rider and passenger weight, and other factors.


Meets current EPA standards.

Models sold in California meet current CARB standards and may differ slightly due to emissions equipment.

Specifications subject to change.

©2012 American Honda Motor Co., Inc. • All Rights Reserved


  1. mike says:

    I have long thought that if the 1100 came, I would buy it. But thinking hard about these 500s–what a nice bike for the real world. yes, that statement is a cliche, but a nice smooth Honda engine in a rational, Goldilocks size . . . I think this bike will be a huge seller. I will likely take the R.

  2. Z1 says:

    “Everything Old is New Again”

    This reminds me of the ’60s, when Honda took one basic engine and platform (the 305cc twin) and made 3 top-selling models out of it. The CA77 Tourer, CB77 Super Sport and CL77 Scrambler.

    It worked great then, but things were much simpler and more innocent in the M/C industry in those days. I hope it will work again, for both Honda’s and the industry’s sake. Something like this is just what has been needed, to bring the stratospheric prices and high-tech overkill back down to earth.

    My concern is that the M/C magazines will turn their noses up at these new models, because most of their writers are such hard core high-perfomance enthusiasts (along with having a good helping of Honda-hatred/jealosy).

    I think the good reception by the marketplace, and the magazines, of the CBR250R and CRF250L are pretty good indicators for these new 500’s success. In our industry’s dark time, with these new bikes Honda has definitely decided to light a candle instead of curse the darkness. It will be interesting to watch.

  3. Eric says:

    425 lbs WET, what is the dry weight? Don’t they usually use dry weight?

  4. Tom says:

    The R model will probably sell well. The X model will probably sell decent, and the F model probably won’t sell very well. Personally I like the X the best. But with respect to the three of them, I really like the fact that for a two-cylinder engine in this practical size, you can have it with a counter-balancer. It will likely be an unusually very smooth engine for engines of this size.

  5. Mikey says:

    Saw this yesterday, and was a little confused on pricing, as I vaguely remembered paying six grand for a Ninja 650R in ’06. Those bikes are now $7500, the renamed Gladius is 8k, the FZ6R is 7800… seems there is finally room in the sales brochure between the 250s and 650s.

    If reports of 54hp in non-Euro countries are accurate, I’d have to think hard about it. Too bad it is so hard to find a test ride..

  6. Norm G. says:

    eat your heart out Ninja 300.

    • Dave says:

      Ninja 300 = $4,799
      CBR 500r = $5,999

      Both neat, new bikes, but not directly comparable. Does 20% more $$ = 20% more displacement in the minds of value oriented moto-shoppers?

      • Chris says:

        300cc +20% is only 360cc…

        • Dave says:

          You’re right, it’s more like 65% that results in ~20% more power. I didn’t spent any time on the math- Whatever.. It’s still a $6k bike compared to a sub-$5k bike. Not the same ball park even if a similar game. The Ninja’s sales future is secure.

    • Brian says:

      Yeah, I wouldn’t exactly say that. The Ninja 300 weighs a significant 45 lbs less, includes a slipper clutch, has more suspension travel, and costs $1000 less. I am interested to see some in depth comparisons between these two bikes and I look forward to test riding them both but I suspect the Ninja will be much more agile and the Honda won’t quite be worth the extra money.

  7. mpolans says:

    If KTM can keep the price down, it looks like the Duke 390 might be the bike Honda should have built.

  8. todd says:

    It would have been nice if the F was styled more like the 1100F. All the cheap plastic styling tack-ons and dorky vee shaped headlight do nothing for the bike. If people want a sporty looking CB500 they’ll opt for the R. The pricing and performance are a welcome change from the recent expensive, overachievers the manufacturers thought everyone wanted (and all along Kawasaki sells a gazillion Ninja 250s…). With bikes like this – and the CRF250L coming out – it looks like motorcycling will be on the rise again.


  9. Provalogna says:

    Thank you Honda.

    I’ll take one X please! Looks like a gem!

    Wondering the cost to swap the 17″ front wheel for a 19″…

  10. Nocklhiem Verstadt says:

    They will sell. It’s great to have a lot of new choices in the new bike market and HONDA has done a fine job with all their recent offerings. These 500cc bikes will probably be big sellers regardless of the rider’s age. Money is tight and how fast do you really have to go to have fun? These are 1/2 the price of a modern 600cc supersport and probably just as fun for most riders that value their driver’s license. I rarely have the chance to use the over 100 hp that my Suzuki makes and these 500’s will suit me just fine.

  11. Tim says:

    The X really intrigues me. I’ll be interested in the pricing but don’t expect it to be more than the R (the F is $500 cheaper). If correct, that would put it about a grand less than the NC700X with more fuel capacity (4.5 gallons vs. 3.7), about 50lbs. less mass and, presumably, better fuel economy. This might be a great option for both commuting and solo light touring with the ability to take the occasional gravel road. That’s the mission of my current DL650 so, in my opinion, either Honda would have big shoes to fill. I’d like to see another version of the X with 19″ or 21″ front wheel and wire spokes but I’m not sure wheher that would impact pricing.

  12. Chris says:

    Odd that the engine’s bore and stroke are almost the same… Red line will be low. Maybe under 10k? Will it even make 40hp at the tire? MPG will probably be great. Nice styling. Seems kind of expensive… Though I do like that the ABS is only $500 more. Also interesting that the ABS only adds about 5 lbs to the weight where the system on the “new” 600RR adds about 22 lbs…

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Seems kind of expensive…”


      • Chris says:

        So you think it is worth the money? I’ll wait until I see it in person and hopefully ride it. But yes, looking at it on “paper” I do think it is a bit pricy for what you get. We’ll see though when it shows up…

  13. Ed says:

    Do you think this will impact Suzuki’s decision to bring back the
    Sfv650 (Gladius) @ $8000 (a $2000 price jump), maybe that was a

  14. John says:

    And thank God for the 6 speed, they will need them. My Hawk really suffered from the lack of one.

    Plenty of power, just not the legs!

    • billy says:

      Yep. It’s really too bad. I rode a Hawk GT around this summer and what a horrible mistake Honda made omitting 6th gear.

  15. John says:

    When I pitched the idea of a Triumph Tiger Cub 530 and Tiger Street 530, this is kinda what i had in mind. A little more boring, mind you, than my fantasy, but these are also less expensive. Now, figure out how to wedge this engine into a CRF-L frame………

    • Matt says:

      +1 on the CRF frame. In fact throw this motor in the XR650R frame and give us a 325lb mini Honda Tiger 500 XC..

      • George Catt says:

        Agree, Matt. The CRF 450 L Dakar is still on my wish list but a true dual sport with this 500 engine would work for me.

        • Matt says:

          Amen! An updated XR650L with similar weight and a more powerful twin to eat up asphalt between dirt roads would be just what I need.

          My street legal Husaberg FE570 is great for connecting dirt roads with <50miles of street, but I would like something that can eat up 200-300 miles at 75mph+ on the street, and won't give me a hernia off-road.. and isn't $10k+ … and has long service intervals .. and decent suspension .. and strong aftermarket support .. and doesn't have a lot of goofy anime plastic globbed on the front..

          Ok.. I may be asking for a little too much..

    • Joe Bar says:

      Gee, and I thought I was the only one.

      These guys did it with the Kawasaki 500 engine, but they want a king’s ransom for one:

  16. Holy Cow says:

    They did not try very hard with the styling. The naked particularly looks like every 125cc bike on every street in India or South East Asia. Also they could be cheaper considering the cheap swingarm, acres of plastic and 1970’s suspension and brakes. KTM can make a much more special bike for less $$$ so why can’t Honda?

  17. mugwump58 says:

    My commuter is getting long in the tooth an ’06 EX 500 w 70K on it. Is this the answer? H&B do you have a hardcase bracket made yet?

    • SausageCreature says:

      I also had an EX500…great little commuter. I always thought that it filled a useful market niche that few others (apart from the GS500) were willing to touch. If the slight bump over the price of an EX500 (I think it was slightly north of $5k the last year it was offered) gets you some additional engine and chassis refinement, then it will be well worth it.

  18. Bud says:

    A very smart strategy from Honda – 3 distinctly different models sharing a high percentage of components to contain costs, in a class abandoned by the other manufacturers. Bikes small enough to not be intimidating to new riders, big enough that those riders won’t grow out of them quickly. I expect this to be the beginning of a new trend from the Japanese brands.

  19. shine says:

    The 500 is not close to the 600RR at all. It’s like half the price and less than half the horsepower, and the riding position is different, suspension completely different, etc.

    I’ve seen that comment elsewhere and it makes no sense at all.

  20. David Duarte says:

    I’m hoping to buy a new bike within the next year, and I’ve been seriously considering the new Ninja 300, but I might get a 500F instead, unless Kawasaki drops $1000 off the ABS 300’s price tag. I’m very excited to see this class of smaller bikes making a comeback. Ok, Yamaha and Suzuki, let’s see what you have to offer! I’d love to see a modern take on the SR500, or the Titan 500 for that matter.

  21. Bob U says:

    Honda has a home run with this one. Guarantee it will sell four to one vs the overpriced 1100. mpolans says 425 wet is heavy- not for a bike that lists for $5999! CBR500 too close to the 600? What do 600’s sell for? In today’s world of crazy insurance rates and a slumping economy, 600’s have priced themselves out of any serious consideration, IMHO…

  22. Tony says:

    I’m glad to see these bikes, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the unveiling of these 500cc middleweight bikes from Honda.

  23. mpolans says:

    425 lbs is too heavy. Too bad. If only it were 325lbs or so.

  24. allworld says:

    All the variations would seem to be priced right and will bring more new rides to the sport, but IMO, the CBR500R is to close to the CBR600, and those riders who move up from the CBR250 may not be interested. The CBR500X and the NC700X with manual gear box, are also bidding for the same buyer. Now the CBR500F, may prove to be a winner with people looking for a fun, inexpensive urban commuter that can be great for weekend romps in the twisties. A Street Fighter for $6K (+/-) by a major manufacture is a deal, but for a few grand more go tor the Triumph, Street Triple.

  25. Louis says:

    Fantastic news! This may be the year Honda makes their long-awaited comeback! I’m still hoping for the US arrival of the CB1100 retro bike, but this is great!

  26. Don Fraser says:

    nice, Honda stepping up.

  27. Nick says:

    Just as predicted, here comes another salvo of smaller bikes. Glad to see it.

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