Value-For-Money Hondas: 2014 Honda CB500F/CBR500R

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Honda’s 500cc middleweight duo, the naked CB500F and the sporty CBR500R, fill a mid-size displacement gap between smallish 250cc beginner bikes and larger 600cc supersport weapons. Similarly priced at $5,799 and $6,299 for the F and R, respectively, the bikes represent reliable and fun transportation that’s also economical and attractive. Introduced last year, the CB500F and R have struck a chord with the eco-minded younger generation that are also image-aware and price-conscious.

The main difference between the two siblings is the R’s racy fairing and clip-ons vs the F’s more minimal use of plastic bodywork and standard handlebars. The CBR500R and CB500F share the same 471cc parallel-Twin engine with a nearly-square 67 x 66.8mm bore/stroke configuration. The valvetrain incorporates four valves per cylinder actuated by dual overhead camshafts.

According to Honda, the parallel-Twin powering both both bikes weighs only 116 pounds.

According to Honda, the parallel-Twin powering both both bikes weighs only 116 pounds.

Both are suspended by the same Pro-Link single-shock, with nine-step cam-style spring preload adjustability and 4.7 inches of travel. They also share a front suspension with 4.3 inches of travel, and a wheelbase of 55.5 inches. Honda claims 71-mpg rating, which, combined with its 4.1-gallon fuel tank, could yield a range of more than 250 miles. We’re greedier with the throttle, recording mileage from the mid-50s to as much as 63 mpg.

Also shared between the F and R are details such as rear passenger grab handles, halogen headlights and LCD instrumentation with a digital speedometer and tachometer, clock, odometer, tripmeter, and real-time and average fuel consumption meters. ABS is a $500 option on either.

Available accessories include a 35-liter rear trunk, saddlebags, seat cowl, a tank bag, and a host of carbon-fiber-styled bodywork including front fender, inner cowl and headlight cover.

Available accessories include a 35-liter rear trunk, saddlebags, seat cowl, a tank bag, and a host of carbon-fiber-styled bodywork including front fender, inner cowl and headlight cover.

Designed for more than just entry-level riders, the CB500F and CBR500R are full-size motorcycles for riders of all sizes and experience levels. Both motorcycles function dependably, capably, and economically without being overwhelming, and look good while doing it.

Top 10 Value-For-Money Hondas

+ Highs

  • Not too small but not too big
  • Your choice of fairing or no fairing
  • Cheaper insurance rates compared to full-on supersport models
- Sighs

  • Limited cornering clearance
  • No gear-position indicator
  • ABS is a $500 option
Honda CB500F/CBR500R Specs
MSRP 500F / 500R $5,799 / $6,299
Engine Capacity 471cc
Engine Type Liquid-cooled parallel-Twin
Bore x Stroke 67mm x 66.8mm
Compression 10.7:1
Fuel System PGM-FI with 34mm throttle bodies
Transmission Six-speed
Final Drive O-ring-sealed chain
Front Suspension 41mm fork; 4.3 inches travel
Rear Suspension Pro-Link single shock with nine-position spring preload adjustability; 4.7 inches travel
Front Brakes Twin-piston caliper with single 320mm wave disc
Rear Brakes Single caliper 240mm wave disc
Front Tire 120/70-17 radial
Rear Tire 160/60-17 radial
Seat Height 30.9 inches
Wheelbase 55.5 inches
Curb Weight (claimed) 425 pounds/420 pounds
Fuel Capacity 4.1 gallons
Colors Black, Pearl White/Blue/Red, Red
Warranty One Year

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