The 35kW A2 licence-friendly CB500X adventure machine gets a major boost to its crossover style
With its all-round punchy performance, adventure styling, affordable price point and low running costs the twin-cylinder CB500X is a great place from which to begin a lifelong motorcycling journey. Its upright, roomy riding position, substantial tank range and long-travel suspension inject a genuine sense of adventure into every ride, and make it serve equally well through the weekly commute as on the weekend escape.
Furthermore, its free-revving, flexible engine performance - with internal design derived from the CBR600RR and CBR1000RR - has gained approval not only from riders stepping up to an A2 licence, but also from experienced motorcyclists looking for a fun, practical and economical all-rounder.
For 2016 CB500X evolves further, with enhanced crossover style, function and desirability to offer a compelling package of all-round capability with an adventurous spirit at an affordable price.
While its 471cc DOHC engine - producing 35kW and returning 29.4km/litre - and steel diamond-tube frame remain unchanged, the CB500X’s outlook is revised for 2016 with a much larger windscreen, and the premium touch of LED headlight and taillight.
A slightly larger fuel tank extends range, and detail improvements such as the hinged fuel cap, adjustable reach brake lever, redesigned seat and ‘wave’ style ignition key elevate the overall owning experience. The ride is improved with the addition of adjustable spring preload in the front forks, new damping rates for the rear shock and redesigned shift drum for smoother gear changes.
The CB500X in its original form struck a fine balance between a compact, easy-to-manage size and its ability to inspire discovery and cover distance in comfort. For this next step Honda’s engineers aimed to boost the instinctive sense of freedom to travel under the styling concept of ‘Feel the Adventure.’
The new LED headlight is physically small but powerful. Its angular outline is crowned by twin position lights and a silver finish on the bottom of the windscreen giving the CB500X a closer resemblance to Honda’s bigger X machines – the NC750X, VFR800X Crossrunner and VFR1200X Crosstourer. Two-part side panels tie the front and rear design aspects together, and feature painted uppers. Black engine covers underpin the new design.
Extended upwards by approx. 100mm compared to the previous model, the redesigned windscreen offers greater wind and weather protection for the rider’s upper body and features a central duct to equalize pressure and reduce turbulence around the helmet. Two height positions are possible to adjust for rider preference.
Fuel capacity has grown to 17.5L, extending tank range to over 500km. Detail upgrades for rider benefit include a hinged fuel cap and 5-step adjustable span brake lever. A ‘wave’ key also has a smoother, more premium feel in use. The seat unit is finished with a clear-lensed rear LED light.
The comprehensive dash features a digital speedometer, digital bar graph tachometer, odometer, dual trip meters, clock, plus digital fuel level gauge and fuel consumption. HISS (Honda Intelligent Security System) is built in to the ignition. There’s space under the seat to store a U-lock and a bash-plate is fitted to protect the engine underside and exhaust pipe on rough, loose surfaces.
The CB500X will be available in five paint options with distinctive new tyre-tread inspired stripes and wheel stripe decal:
Matt Fresco Brown
Pearl Horizon White
Matt Gunpowder Black
Genuine Honda Accessories for the CB500X include heated grips, 35L top box and inner bag, rear carrier, rear panniers, centre stand, knuckle guards, fog lamps, U-Lock and AC charging socket.
The CB500X’s DOHC, 8-valve liquid-cooled parallel twin layout offers a great combination of compact physical size and flexible output. The ‘triangle’ proportion of crankshaft, main shaft and countershaft is very similar to that of Honda’s four-cylinder RR engines and much of the internal structure and engineering is taken directly from both the CBR600RR and CBR1000RR.
Bore and stroke is set at 67mm x 66.8mm; 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.
PGM-FI fuel injection provides superb throttle response; the gasflow route from airbox to exhaust is as straight as possible and a plate in the airbox separates the airflow to each cylinder. Peak power of 35kW arrives at 8,500rpm, with 43Nm torque delivered at 7,000rpm.
The engine acts as a stressed member, reinforcing 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 dust. Inlet valve diameter is 26.0mm with exhaust valve diameter of 21.5mm.
Bore size of 67mm is identical to that of the CBR600RR. The piston shape is based upon those used in the CBR1000RR to reduce piston ‘noise’ at high rpm. Friction is reduced by the addition of striations on the piston skirt (a finish that increases surface area, introducing gaps in which oil can flow for better lubrication). As with the CBR600RR and CBR1000RR, an AB 1 salt bath process, used after isonite nitriding, forms a protective oxidisation membrane.
The crankcase uses centrifugally cast thin-walled sleeves, and the same bore interval as the CBR600RR helps them be as compact and light as possible. Their internal design reduces the ‘pumping’ losses that can occur with a 180° phased firing order. Using the same internal relief structure as that of the CBR1000RR, the oil pump features improved aeration performance, with reduced friction; a deep sump reduces oil movement under hard cornering and braking. Oil capacity is 3.2 litres.
A six-speed gearbox mirrors that of its RR cousins which use the same gear change arm structure and link mechanism. In an update for 2016, the shift drum stopper spring load has been revised, along with the shape of the shift drum centre, for smoother, easier gear changing.
The CB500X’s 35mm diameter steel diamond-tube mainframe is light and strong, with 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, reduces vibration.
Wheelbase is 1420mm and rake and trail are set at 26.5°/108mm giving an agile, yet composed steering feel. Mass centralisation, with the engine in very close proximity to the swingarm pivot point, delivers turning agility and optimum front/rear weight distribution ensures stability. Kerb weight is 196kg.
Seat height is low at 810mm, making the CB500X very easy to manage and its sporty riding position will comfortably accommodate riders of varying heights thanks to a relatively high handlebar position. Overall dimensions are 2095mm x 830mm x 1360mm, with 170mm ground clearance.
For 2016 the 41mm telescopic front fork (with 140mm stroke) gains spring preload adjustment and alongside the Pro-Link rear shock – which has 5-step preload adjustment and revised damping rates – offers the rider flexibility to adjust for loads. Final drive is via 520 sealed chain.
Lightweight, 17-inch cast aluminium wheels employ hollow cross-section Y-shaped spokes. Front wheel width is 3.5inch; the rear 4.5inch and tyres are 120/70-ZR17 and 160/60-ZR17. A single front 320mm wavy disc and two-piston brake caliper is matched to a 240mm rear disc and single-piston caliper. ABS is fitted as standard.
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 WMTC. Tests are conducted on a rolling road using a standard version of the vehicle with only one rider and no additional optional equipment. Actual fuel consumption may vary depending on how you ride, how you maintain your vehicle, weather, road conditions, tire pressure, installation of accessories, cargo, rider and passenger weight, and other factors.
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