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Honda Europe Announces Significant Changes to CB500F, CBR500R and CB500X for 2022

22YM HONDA CB500F

We are bringing you an announcement from Honda Europe (specifically, the UK press release) concerning modifications to the very popular Honda 500cc models for the 2022 model year. We most recently tested the Honda CB500X. We suspect these same changes will be announced for U.S. models shortly, but we cannot guarantee that.

In any event, although the changes described apply to all three models, including the CB500F, CB500X and CBR500R, the following press release is for the CB500F. Keep in mind that all of the major feature changes concerning the suspension, dual front disc brakes, lighter swingarm and wheels, etc., apply to all three models.

Here is the press release from Honda U.K.:

Model updates: Honda’s A2-compatible mini-streetfighter receives major performance-focussed improvements led by new Showa 41mm Separate Function Fork Big Piston (SFF-BP) USD forks, dual disc front brakes and radial-mount calipers. Front tyre grip is heightened with more forward weight bias; handling is further improved by the new swingarm, which is lighter with more lateral flex. The rear shock has new settings to complement the new forks. Redesigned wheels and a lighter radiator save more weight and new fuel injection settings improve engine character. More powerful headlight LEDs and front indicator position lights offer greater visibility. 

  1. Introduction  

The naked CB500F – originally launched in 2013 alongside the adventure-styled CB500X and fully-faired CBR500R – has quietly proved that one of Honda’s tried-and-trusted formulas for building popular motorcycles has lost none of its relevance. 

That formula? An entertaining twin-cylinder engine wrapped in a simple, lightweight, sporty chassis, which is as much fun for an experienced rider as it is for those still building their riding career. And while a 35kW peak power output makes it suitable for A2 licence holders, the CB500F offers so much more than ‘entry level’ performance. 

While its compact dimensions and welcoming manners make it an easy machine to manage, ride and learn on, those same attributes also make it a genuine pleasure for those – whether stepping up from a 125 or coming down from a bigger machine – who want to explore just what it can do at the weekend. Sensible running costs, whatever the situation, add strongly to the appeal. 

In 2019, the CB500F was redrawn with uncompromising lines that elevated its technical and mechanical aspects and in 2020 it was homologated for EURO5. Having proved its continued popularity, for 2022 it receives high-quality suspension in the form of Showa 41mm SFF-BP USD forks, dual front discs, new lightweight wheels and swingarm and other detail updates including three striking new colours.

  • Model Overview  

Alongside engine changes such as revised fuel injection settings and a new lighter radiator, the chassis benefits from the addition of Showa 41mm SFF-BP USD forks, dual Nissin radial mount two-piston calipers biting 296mm discs, lighter-weight 5-spoke wheels and redesigned swingarm – for improved high-speed handling and braking. Weight bias also moves fractionally forward compared to the previous model, for enhanced front tyre grip and feel. 

Styling is updated with a new front mudguard, inherited from the CB650R, and sporty aluminium footpegs are now also standard fit. As before, LCD instruments feature a Shift Up and Gear Position function. All lighting is LED, with optimised high/low headlight beam from the new headlight and position lights. 

The 2022 CB500F will be available in the following colour options: 

Grand Prix Red

Matt Axis Grey Metallic **NEW for 2022**  

Pearl Smokey Gray **NEW for 2022**   

Pearl Dusk Yellow **NEW for 2022**  

22YM HONDA CBR500R
  • Key Features 

3.1 Chassis & Styling 

  • New 41mm Showa Separate Function Fork Big Piston (SFF-BP) USD forks
  • New dual 296mm discs matched to Nissin radial mount two-piston calipers
  • Lighter weight wheels and swingarm, plus aluminium footpegs
  • More forward weight bias for enhanced front tyre grip
  • Revised LEDs for the headlight for improved high/low beam 

Light, strong and unchanged for 2022, the 35mm diameter steel diamond-tube mainframe has a tuned degree of yield that gives plenty of feedback to the rider as road surfaces change. The shape and position of the engine mounts, plus the frame’s rigidity balance, keep vibration to a minimum. 

Immediately obvious is a brand-new front end set-up. With the aim to heighten sporty handling performance the 41mm telescopic forks of the previous design have been replaced by Showa 41mm Separate Function Fork Big Piston (SFF-BP) USD forks, clamped by new top and bottom yokes. By dividing the functions – Big Piston pressure separation damper in one leg, spring mechanism in the other – reaction and ride quality are both improved. The four-cylinder CB650R uses the exact same set-up. 

In a further effort to improve the ride quality, the 2022 CB500F features new lighter wheels with 5 Y-shaped spokes rather than the 6 of the previous model. The front wheel width remains 3.5inch with a 120/70-ZR17 tyre and the rear 4.5inch with 160/60-ZR17 tyre.

A redesigned swingarm also shaves grams; it’s now constructed from 2mm steel (rather than 2.3mm) and employs a hollow cross member and crisply redesigned chain guard. Stiffer rotationally, the new swingarm is also more flexible laterally to improve handling. The single-tube rear shock absorber (as found on larger capacity sports bikes) with its large-diameter piston ensures excellent response and temperature management; it features 5-stage preload adjustment with spring rate and damping settings optimised to match the forks. 

22YM HONDA CBR500R

In line with the dynamic improvements to the chassis and suspension, the braking performance has also been improved. The single 320mm and two-piston caliper front brake from the previous model has been replaced by dual 296mm discs and Nissin radial-mount, two-piston calipers. The introduction of the smaller discs not only keeps any additional weight gain to a minimum, but also reduces the required pressure on the lever when braking. 

The new CB500F’s kerb weight remains 189kg, but it places more weight on the front wheel than the previous model to promote more nimble handling and improve front end grip: front/rear bias percentage is now 49.7/50.3 (compared to 46.8/53.2). Wheelbase remains 1410mm with rake and trail of 25.5°/102mm. 

The naked form exudes aggression. Led by the sharply-chiselled headlight – now even more piercing with extra-powerful LEDs and a new stronger cluster arrangement, plus high-visibility front indicator position lights – the machine’s stance is low-set and ready for action; the side shrouds interlock with the fuel tank and fully emphasize the engine, while the side covers and seat unit continue the theme of muscular angularity. The compact front mudguard is drawn directly from the CB650R.

Tapered handlebars offer intuitive feel and leverage. Seat height is low at 789mm, making the CB500F very easy to manage and its neutral riding position comfortably accommodates riders of any height. More purposeful-looking aluminium footpegs replace the previous rubberised parts; between the pair they save a further 104g. Overall dimensions are 2080mm x 800mm x 1060mm, with 145mm ground clearance. 

The fuel tank holds 17.1L including reserve and combined with the engine’s excellent 3.5L/100km (28.6km/litre) fuel economy, gives a range of over 485km. 

Honda’s trio of A2 licence-friendly 500cc machines receive strong performance-focused updates for 2022 year model

3.2 Engine 

  • Lively twin-cylinder powerplant delivers usable power and torque across the rev-range, plus sporty sound from its dual-exit muffler
  • New PGM-FI settings improve torque feel and character
  • New radiator design more stylish and lighter
  • Assist/slipper clutch eases upshifts and manages downshifts
  • Homologated for EURO5 

The 2022 CB500F’s A2-licence friendly 471cc, 8-valve liquid-cooled parallel twin-cylinder layout offers a well-proportioned balance of physical size and willing, enjoyable power output, with an energetic, high-revving character and zappy top end. The 2019 upgrades created faster acceleration through a 4% boost in low-to-mid-range power and torque in the 3-7,000rpm range. It’s very much an engine whose overall performance and character belie its relatively small capacity. Peak power of 35kW arrives at 8,600rpm, with 43Nm torque delivered at 6,500rpm. 

Feeding the PGM-FI fuel injection is a more-or-less straight shot of airflow through the airbox and throttle bodies and for the 2022 year model, new settings improve torque feel and character without compromising performance. The exhaust muffler features dual exit pipes, giving a sporting edge to each pulse, and a rasping high-rpm howl. A new more aesthetically pleasing radiator design contributes a 100g weight saving, with no loss of cooling efficiency.

 Bore and stroke are set at 67mm x 66.8mm and compression ratio is 10.7:1; the crankshaft pins are phased at 180° and a primary couple-balancer sits behind the cylinders, close to the bike’s centre of gravity. The primary and balancer gears use scissor gears, reducing noise. The crank counterweight is specifically shaped for couple-balance and its light weight allows the engine to spin freely, with reduced inertia. 

Acting as a stressed member, the engine complements the frame’s rigidity with four frame hangers on the cylinder head. Internally the cylinder head uses roller rocker arms; shim-type valve adjustment allows them to be light, for lower valve-spring load and reduced friction. 

A silent (SV Chain) cam chain has the surface of its pins treated with Vanadium, reducing friction with increased protection against wear. Inlet valve diameter is 26.0mm with exhaust valve diameter of 21.5mm. 

Piston shape is carefully designed to reduce piston ‘noise’ at high rpm. Friction is reduced by striations on the piston skirt (a finish that increases surface area, introducing gaps in which oil can flow for better lubrication). The ‘triangle’ proportion of crankshaft, main shaft and countershaft is efficiently compact. The crankcases uses centrifugally cast thin-walled sleeves; their internal design reduces the ‘pumping’ losses that can occur with a 180° phased firing order. A deep sump reduces oil movement under hard cornering and braking; oil capacity is 3.2L.The slick-changing six-speed gearbox is managed by an assist/slipper clutch. 

22YM HONDA CB500X
  • Accessories  

A range of Genuine Honda Accessories are available for the CB500F. They include: 

35L top box

Rear carrier

Tank bag

Seat bag

Smoke windscreen

Heated grips

12V/USB Type-C sockets

Seat cowl

Wheel stripes

Tank pad

Main stand

  • Technical Specifications
ENGINE 
TypeLiquid-cooled 4 stroke, parallel twin
Displacement471cc
No of Valves per Cylinder4
Bore & Stroke67mm x 66.8mm
Compression Ratio10.7: 1
Max. Power Output35kW @ 8600rpm
Max. Torque43Nm @ 6500rpm
Noise Level (dB)L-urban 74dB L-wot 76.4dB
Oil Capacity3.2L
FUEL SYSTEM 
CarburationPGM FI electronic fuel injection
Fuel Tank Capacity17.1L (inc reserve)
CO2 Emissions (WMTC)80 g/km
Fuel Consumption (WMTC)3.5L/100km (28.6km/litre)
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM 
Battery Capacity12V 7.4AH
ACG Output23.4A/2000rpm
DRIVETRAIN 
Clutch TypeWet multiplate, Assisted slipper clutch
Transmission Type6 speed
Final DriveChain
FRAME 
TypeSteel diamond
CHASSIS 
Dimensions (L´W´H)2080mm x 800mm x 1060mm
Wheelbase1410mm
Caster Angle25.5 degrees
Trail102mm
Seat Height789mm
Ground Clearance145mm
Kerb Weight189kg
SUSPENSION 
Type FrontShowa 41mm SFF-BP USD forks, pre-load adjustable
Type RearProlink mono with 5 stage pre-load adjuster, Steel hollow cross swingarm
WHEELS 
Type Front5Y-Spoke Cast Aluminium
Type Rear5Y-Spoke Cast Aluminium
Rim Size Front17 x MT3.5
Rim Size Rear17 x MT4.5
Tyres Front120/70ZR17M/C (58W)
Tyres Rear160/60ZR17M/C (69W)
BRAKES 
ABS System Type2-channel
Type FrontDual 296mm x 4mm disc with Nissin radial-mount two piston calipers
Type RearSingle 240mm x 5mm disc with single piston caliper
INSTRUMENTS & ELECTRICS 
InstrumentsLCD Meter with Speedometer, Bar Graph Tachometer, Dual Trip Meters, Fuel Level and Consumption Gauge, Clock, Water Temp, Gear position, Shift UP Indicator
HeadlightLED
TaillightLED
Security SystemHISS (Honda Intelligent Security System)

All specifications are provisional and subject to change without notice.# Please note that the figures provided are results obtained by Honda under standardised testing conditions prescribed by

80 Comments

  1. John says:

    I love this series, but I think the CB500F would sell better if it actually looked like modernized version of the CB900F. Too many edgy bikes out there, and these don’t have edgy motors to go along with it. It’s like a sheep in wolf’s clothing.

  2. Pedro says:

    Lot of paper jockeys. Ride the machines and get back as to whether you think they are heavy, or flickable. LOL

    • Jeremy says:

      I’ve ridden previous generations of the X and R. They are pretty heavy bikes for the power output in my opinion, especially considering similarly powered bikes like the Ninja 400 and KTM weigh (and cost) considerably less. That said, the Honda 500s also feel very well balanced, relaxed, and refined. They also feel more “full-sized” for lack of a better word.

      • joe b says:

        A mid size bike like this or smaller, is attractive, as i get older. My CB1000R seems to have the grunt, but its all about power to weight. I would like to ride one, and see.

        • Marcus says:

          Joe B.. This is an easy bike to ride. A tall ten year old could ride it with ease. It’s stable on the highway at 80-85 indicated but 75 is better. You can ride it all day and come back fresh.
          Don’t shy away from an older model with the single disc up front. It stops fine in normal riding.
          Try one out.

        • Jeremy says:

          I don’t have any “big” bikes left in the garage. The only streetable one I have left is a 350cc dirt bike with a license plate.

  3. Ivor Rowland says:

    I have been loving my 2020 CB500X for just over 8000 miles and all its had is 2 oil changes and a new rear tire..it will cruise comfortably all day at 65- 70mph returning mid 60 gas mileage..if I want a slight off road excursion on the vast amount of gravel in Iowa this thing doesn’t miss a beat..knowing it’s limits is the key to riding this motorcycle and it’s so easy to live with.

  4. Marcus says:

    It’s is a fine bike. I owned the cb500F. I thought I’d try a small displacement motorcycle but I just couldn’t get on with its low output. If it had 10 horsepower more, I’d still have it. Highly recommend, otherwise.

    • Fred N says:

      There’s a web site on Youtube where they made a new camshaft for the 500 motor after dyno tuning failed to make any difference.
      Can’t remember the camshaft’s power gain, but is was more than 10 HP at the back wheel. It was similar to Triumph latest 900cc Bonneville motor, also fitted with a low HP camshaft, so it doesn’t steal sales from the more profitable but stronger 1200cc motored bikes.

      • Pedro says:

        The Honda engine is designed for EU tax brackets, but it’s not a massively detuned lump – it’s eager and give it the beans and it will shift. The engine is also in a light agile machine – they’re a joy to ride.

    • Marcus says:

      As I stated, it’s a great bike but you really have to give it the beans to quickly outpace cars leaving from a red light. Ridden alone on fun country backroads, for most of us, it won’t be the 500 holding you back. It’s the quintessential “slow bike fast”.
      The MPG were fantastic.

  5. motorhead says:

    For a daily driver, errand runner, weekend whatever, would I be happier with the 500R or the RC390 ?

    • Dave says:

      Almost unquestionably the cb500. The rc’s single will seem more vibes and frantic. The Honda will be smoother and easier on the freeway. Plus, it’s a Honda, which almost guarantees lawnmower like reliability.

      • todd says:

        not so fast… Parallel twin cylinder engines have just as much problems with vibration as a single, some are worse. What it comes down to is how effective their balance shafts are. My 690 single is smoother than any twin cylinder bike I have ever ridden or owned. It is, as you say more “frantic” but I attribute that to the extremely light (or non-existent) flywheel effect. Yes, the bike revs up amazingly fast (more so the 390) but the lack of flywheel makes cruising at low RPM a bit chonky. I’m assuming Honda gave these bikes heavier flywheels to make it easier for beginners to pull away from a stop and to tame or numb the engine character. My 690 is my primary vehicle for daily tasks and commuting. My twins, triples and fours are used less often. Every Honda I’ve owned has had major problems. Yamahas and BMWs have never let me down, neither has my KTM. YMMV.

        • Dave says:

          I stand by my assertion. Both the Kawasaki and Honda twins are refined for street riding for several generations and were designed specifically for street riding. Both have a reputation for being very refined to ride.

          The KTM 690 is known to be an amazingly smooth single, possibly even the single (see what I did there) but single cylinder engine ever used in a street bike. That said, you’ve described a few ways in which it is not smooth (chonky).

          I also think you’ve had atypical experiences with Hondas. I’ve had several and they’ve all been as reliable as any vehicle I’ve ever owned or experienced. When I say that to others, the response is unsurprised nodding.

        • Pedro says:

          Yes my mileage varies a lot. If you’re referring to twins developed in the 40s and 50s – time has moved on.

          • todd says:

            I was talking specifically about the parallel BMW F800 and modern Kawasaki twins. V-twins are far worse than singles.

  6. Tommy D says:

    Honda’s Marketing Contest. Come up with their next tagline.

    Honda Automotive – Able to put a baby to sleep at a price that isn’t too steep.

    Honda Motorcycle – Now packed with even more boredom!

  7. The Bo's'n says:

    Did they really go back to a 17″ front wheel on the X or is that a misprint? I never understood why they made the 500 and 750 with the same seat height.

  8. motomike says:

    I dunno RBS, I think you are stuck 30 years adrift if you think todays motorcycles have downdraft carburetors.

  9. d.p. says:

    Honda has been making steady progress with its mainstay 500 lineup. I purchased 2015 500X model and although still a good practical bike in most applications, it looks dated in comparison.

    It looks however Honda has nowhere to go with it and this line may be at the end of development. The possible departure may be in swept volume increase which is unfortunately tied to European license class; no more than 47HP is permitted. I suspect the 2022 model year is the last one for 500s.

  10. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    Just a perspective on progress – 1967 Triumph T100R, 39 hp 386 pounds.
    This 2022 Honda, 39 hp 416 pounds. Ta Da !

    • Bob says:

      47 hp…..not 39.

    • mickey says:

      Yep, progress …. electric start, no points, no carbs, triple disc brakes, abs, slipper clutch,cast wheels,tubeless tires, reliable electrics, 6 speed trans and according to an inflation calculator $1495 in 1967 would be about $12,000 today, so all that progress costs 1/2 as much.

      • mickey says:

        I’ll add this the 67 Bonneville in Bugoine and white was a stunning motorcycle. Perfect proportions and attractive from any angle.

        • RBS says:

          I agree, it was a beautiful bike. It was also stupidly unreliable. Especially so, considering how simple a machine it was.

          It vibrated and things just randomly fell off. It leaked oil incessantly. There were shops that specialized in taking folks’ Triumphs all apart and putting them back together; doing things like lapping the cases, attaching things with Loctite, and just using a torque wrench to tighten things up to proper specs (which apparently was never done at the factory) in the hope that the bike would then be passably reliable.

          There is no comparison to be made between a current Japanese-made bike and a British bike from the late ’60’s. The overall difference is huge.

      • Reginald Van Blunt says:

        All the progress you mention is nice, especially not having points to constantly read and heed, and a disc brake is amazing in the mountains compared to drums, but the gain is paid for with the loss of sensory feedback and satisfaction in knowing exactly what you are at one with. The feeling of a light handling, slightly vibey, mechanical sounding machine is involving to the nth degree.
        Yes, the most beautiful motorcycle ever was the T120 in Orangey and Creamy livery. No tank rack please.

        • mickey says:

          “The feeling of a light handling, slightly vibey, mechanical sounding machine is involving to the nth degree.”

          ahh character.

          An undefinable characteristic, but one that seems to convey if I take off riding today, there’s a good chance I might have to trailer it home this afternoon.

          • Reginald Van Blunt says:

            ADVENTURE ! ! ! Never boreing.
            I have seen old British motorcycles rolling through Death Valley in the 1970s. Don’t know if they are still there, but you gotta admire the riders. A whole lot.

      • Stuki Moi says:

        “according to an inflation calculator $1495 in 1967 would be about $12,000 today,”

        And according to another, it’s $50 bucks. It’s all in the arbitrarily made up “inflation” calculator….

        Regardless, these CBs are fantastic bikes (just don’t overload them, they’re not mules). And fantastic value. Even at an inflation adjusted $50 bucks 🙂

        If the SFF-BP fork mentioned is anything like the one in the 636, these little things now come with what is the single finest front fork for street riding I have ever experienced.

      • Mick says:

        Dirt bikes gained e-start, digital ignition and fuel injection over the years and gained about 12 pounds.

        A current 250 two stroke so equipped makes at least as much as power as the bikes here and weigh a whopping 180 pounds less. Probably considerably more due to the lie weight factor. The current state of the weight of street bikes is on the crazy side. We do NOT live in the future.

        • mickey says:

          Hate to break it to you Mick, but the world is NOT going back to 2 strokes, even if you throw yourself on the floor, hold your breath, kick your feet and pound your fists.

          yes, we DO live in the future, just not in your fantasy world.

          • Motoman says:

            Don’t know why after reading so many of Mick’s posts that it makes me feel good to read your reply. Hope it felt good writing it too. He’ll never get the point though.

          • mickey says:

            I feel sorry for Mick. No major or even serious minor manufacturers are ever going to build a bike that will make him happy and that has got to be disappointing and discouraging.

            Most of us could be (and are) happy with many motorcycles made today, but Mick isn’t happy with any of them. I know by the time I have decided I’m too old to ride any longer that I will have enjoyed hundreds of thousands of miles on dozens of great motorcycles that he has found too heavy,too tech laden, too much horsepower, not enough horsepower, undesirable styling etc. etc

            It’s a shame really.

          • Mick says:

            I don’t talk about four stroke dirt bikes because I have no use for them.

            You want to talk about your precious diesels? Fine. A fully street legal KTM 500 EXC weighs 258 pounds and makes ten more horsepower than these Hondas.

            My points made above are still valid. I guess even more so because we are talking about another street legal 500.

            Does that brighten your day Mickey?

            Yo Tim C. Two stroke stopped ringing and dingind forty years ago when they went to water cooling. Try to keep up.

          • mickey says:

            Mick if you’re happy I’m happy.

            You just never seem happy, with any bike posted.

        • Dave says:

          A 250cc 2T MX bike weighs about 225 lbs. A road going version with, electric start, road wheels/tires, ABS, 2 seat, emissions legal (?) version would weigh “something more”. It’d also need to cost around $1-2k less despite all those added features to sell against bikes like this.

        • TimC says:

          If only it smoked like Cheech, or Chong

          RING DING DING

      • TimC says:

        If only it smoked like Cheech, or Chong

        RING DING DING

    • Dave says:

      Assuming your data is correct (I think the honda’s output is wrong), a side by side ride test of the two bikes would render these two metrics almost completely unimportant in the context of ride experience and quality. Most of what you describe about the bike below are flaws, not character.

    • Pedro says:

      The Honda is an honest 47hp – not a “well maybe if the weather is right, and the bike decides to start, and the carb isn’t leaking and the oil… and” . These are wonderful machines and a lot of fun to ride.

  11. Roadrash1 says:

    I really like both the naked and sport bike versions. It’s too bad they aren’t lighter, but this price point is what it is.

  12. Tom R says:

    I really like the “dual exit muffler” feature. This is almost as silly as the dual exhaust on my wife’s Kia sedan with a four cylinder engine.

  13. TP says:

    Nice bikes all of them, executed with Honda’s usual aplomb. I like the R but happened to get an R3, which I’ve then modded up.

  14. robert j Lamanna says:

    I wish Honda would bring back a modern version of the VFR500 V-4 of 80’s, I owned one and still wish I had it, that bike was a blast. There’s nothing like the sound of a V4 and the torque. I’ve owned many diff. I-4 and v twins, but my most fondest was my 97′ V-max with a Hindle 4 into one exhaust, it sounded like a jacked small block Chevy with such torque, and that VFR500 for a mid size was a hoot, Love V4.

  15. Neal says:

    I have an older CB500X. Its a great bike if you’re not trying to impress anybody. Light and slow enough to wring out in city riding, comfortable and powerful enough for solo touring. But its definitely soft and the brakes are merely adequate. I’m interested in seeing how the new brakes and suspension tighten up the handling on these. I wouldn’t mind upgrading to something newer.

    • Moto-Kafe says:

      Neal…….funny you mentioned better brakes. I had a 2014 CB500X with lots of mods/farkles. I kept searching Ebay for a “relatively cheap” pair of front forks and brakes from a Honda CB600F to swap out on my little 500. I was laughed at and criticized for even mentioning that mod on the CB500 forum…..everyone was asking me “why….the front brakes are great as they are”?? I never found a cheap enough set, but did bolt up a 3-piston caliper from an older UK model Honda…..gold in color……adding alittle “bling”.

  16. Harry says:

    The bike is acceptable in appearance and Honda has a track record of building a quality machine especially with the suspension improvements. My criticism is the weight to power ratio. At over 400 pounds this is not a light bike. Wonder which would be faster and more flickable, the Kawasaki Ninja 400 or this Honda?

    • Dave says:

      It sounds like the Honda makes barely 2hp more, but it’s peak power arrives 2k/rpm lower. The Kawasaki is 40lb lighter so it’s probably the “faster” bike, though it probably only feels that way at the top of the rev range. The Honda should feel stronger in the midrange, where they’re both most commonly used on the street.

      The deciding factor is more likely the price. $5,500 (I’m seeing 2021 models for $4,800 near me) for an ABS Ninja 400, $6,700 (current model) for this.

      • todd says:

        I just did all the math based on a Ninja 400 vs. CB500F, assuming shifting at peak torque (not peak HP like you would do in racing) through each gear and a 150 lb rider:
        The Honda would beat the Kawi off the line with a 1.5% thrust to weight advantage. From there, the Kawi takes the win with a 8% advantage in second, 12% in third, 13% in 4th, 11% in 5th, and 10% advantage in top gear.

        Now, let the bikes open up and shift at max power and the Kawasaki pulls even farther ahead.

      • MGNorge says:

        That would be my assumption too. I would expect the Honda’s torque peak and spread to be not only be higher but also developing that over a wider rev range. Just the kind of power delivery making urban riding more pleasant.

    • dp says:

      I agree with the weight issue; it is a bit porky for the given engine size/ output. Something around 185kg wet would be just enough. On the other hand the frame, fork and swingarm (especially at 550X) are extremely strong. This bike, if maintained will last many years.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      “which would be faster and more flickable”

      The one which would be the most nervous, and most affected by carrying anything…..

      If flickable was the be-all-end-all, Supermotos and race reps would be all the bike anyone would ever need. In real world usage, both of these are plenty flickable. Whether even a bit more “flikability” justifies the tradeoffs, depends on ones intended use for the bike. I had a Ninja 400 for a few months in LA, and have, at various times, rented both the F and X in Europe (No R. Rental shops don’t favor fully faired bikes….). I’d take the F as my only bike, although it’s arguably the least flickable of the three. For a pure canyon carver, the N400. For track days, I’m just too fat and heavy for single front disc bikes on grippy tires, so I’d look elsewhere.

      • Hartry says:

        Having ridden many bikes flickability to me is an important safety issue. I understand that it’s a matter of personality and the road. However, I’ve been in situations where the only way out was an evasive maneuver. My 2001 SV650S was the most flickable. All my in-line 4s not so much. My current Ninja 400 is almost at the same level as the SV.

        Example: on a 2-lane highway I came to a pickup truck and signaled to pass. The truck did not see me and instead veered into my left lane trying to pass another slower vehicle in front of him. I was cut off and was going to hit his rear bumper but because of a wide left shoulder swerved to the left avoiding the collision. Close call at over 65 mph.

        • Stuki Moi says:

          All these sub-middleweights are flickable.

          Flickability does come at the cost of stability. If it didn’t, all bikes would be built to do 360s as easily as they went straight.

          Small scooters, and some supermotos, are likely the most flickable bikes out there. But few bike makers want to go that far, on bikes which may end up doing 100mph or more. It’s a tradeoff. And one where this class of bike, is already pretty far over on the flickability side.

  17. Alan Loo says:

    Since motorcycles are only 2% sales of the world sales in the US. The market has moved on from the 20th century and catering to younger and an overseas market. I like the new styling.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      If America was even a fraction as moto friendly as Spain, maybe “we” would have more riders, and have a Spanish like presence at MotoGp starting grids as well….. The US has plenty of regions with great moto weather. Just not nearly as accommodating infrastructure, laws and culture.

      • Dave says:

        Some of the things that make EU countries moto friendly are urban density and very expensive fuel. If our gasoline cost $8/gal. you’d see a whole lot more motorcycles on the roads. They’d mostly be small.

        • Stuki Moi says:

          It’s that. But also that you can park where you fit, without getting harassed. Get an outside table at “Starbucks”, and you can, at least sometimes, literally work out of your panniers.

          And even if literally riding up to the table may be taking things a bit far during busy hour, at least you can park right in front, as long as you’re not obviously blocking others. Repeated at the grocery store, pharmacy, bakery, dry cleaners, gym etc., you end up saving an insane amount of time compared to looking for parking and finding it on 6th floor at some parking structure half a mile away in each instance. Where you then have to stand in line to drive in, in line to drive out, and in line to pay…

          Combined with almost no parking spaces for cars, narrower, twistier roads, and even parts of town so tight motos are the only motorized vehicles allowed entry, and it totally changes the cost/benefit of learning how to balance well enough to walk upright on two, rather than crawl around on four.

  18. RBS says:

    >>Is it me? Or has the Honda styling department seemingly fallen off a cliff?<<

    Ah…you're looking for a motorcycle with "classic" styling from the '60's when you "met the nicest people on a Honda". Back then a motorcycle had roughly a teardrop-shaped tank, rectangular side panels, and a board flat saddle.

    I'm afraid that 60-some years have passed since then. Now motorcycles have engines with downdraft carburetors and a large airbox above the engine (for better broad band performance), not behind it. They have frames with a direct (stiffer) member going straight from the steering head to the swing-arm pivot. And they have a rear monoshock (for more balanced dampening). The existence of all of those elements means that styling has to be different to accommodate their positioning. Gas tanks are now more triangular, side panels have just about disappeared, and saddles are now more contoured.

    Also, light to middleweight motorcycles now are marketed to folks in their teens and 20's, who are the biggest buyers of these bikes, not to baby boomers. The styling on these bikes is rigorously tested (doing market research events) against the target customer demographic. Young motorcyclists today don't want a bike that looks like a 1970 Honda CB750F. They want a bike that looks like it might appear in a Manga, or an animé.

    • Mick says:

      I’m not saying that these bikes need to look like old bikes. I said that these bikes DO look like old bikes. When Honda was meeting nice people they made bikes that looked at least as well as their contemporaries.

      My issue with these bikes is that they look like sub par bikes from the eighties, to me at least. Right down to the color schemes.

      Maybe the problem is that there really isn’t a current design. Tha market is flooded with bikes that are either trying to dredge up some period of the past or missing the mark, in my opinion, at trying to define a new future.

      • Stuki Moi says:

        In Japan, there is nothing subpar about the age of the NR…

        In the real world, parked next to each other, these 500s look less chintzy than any of the 300-400 class. And no more so than the SV/MT-07 class. More “full price” bikes, from the NC to ATwin to BMW R bikes et al, do look more solid. None look nearly as premium as that other 80s-90s refuge, the VFR. But then again nothing does anymore, at least aside from some weight-no-object cruisers, new ‘Busa, ZX-14, H2s and perhaps MVs. Even the latest Ducatis and Guzzis no longer look premium the way they used to.

  19. Mick says:

    Is it me? Or has the Honda styling department seemingly fallen off a cliff? The basic function and nature of this bike is meet the nicest people Honda. The styling seems to want to be some kind of 1980s something, but doesn’t really pull that off somehow.

    Make a meet the nicest people version and get back to me on that. Fire up the icon department.

    Sorry Fred.

    • Randy says:

      You clearly don’t remember the 80’s, Mick. And a naked UJM is going to look like a naked UJM. I think it’s basic, clean and functional, just the way a “bike for everybody” should be. Personally I prefer to see the engine. And the most disgusting visual to me is a bike that you can’t even tell there’s an engine in there. Like the Diavel. A plumbing nightmare. Hate that style. Maybe you prefer something “futuristic?” That’s fine. But give me simple.

  20. motomike says:

    Good looking bikes. I agree with fred, I keep signalling my turns with the horn button on my Grom! That engineer needs to be slapped.

  21. fred says:

    Looks good, and the specs seem to be improved. Now, if they’d just fix the switchgear for the horn & turn signals…

  22. michael white says:

    Too bad there’s no neo-cafe version of the cb500. But I find myself always liking those. Just a nice basic motorcycle.

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