Honda CB500F/CBR500R


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.

+ 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
  • Craig Hoffman

    Yamaha is giving Honda good competition in some areas. The new FZ09 has a gem of an engine for 700X money and they are just coming out now with their twin. Hopefully Yamaha take a cue from Honda and offers their new bikes in a variety of formats. An FZ09 powered ADV variant with a roomier feel and more fuel capacity could be a big winner. Yamaha needs to get with it and produce a WR450R version of it’s excellent 250R already too.

    Good to see the manufacturers realizing we are not all made of money. The auto manufacturers seem to have completely lost the plot. Unlike cars, motorcycles are not vehicles to lease. There has to be an affordable value oriented option in the new market, or the used market becomes the whole market.

    • Jason

      The FZ-09 and FZ-07 are interesting bikes but they have one glaring omission: no ABS. This is 2014 and ABS should at least be offered as an option especially considering that ABS is standard on these models in Europe.

      • The People’s Champion

        i heard the FZ09 is limited to a 132mph… that’s N650 territory and the bike is shod with poor suspension for its engine.

        • Jason

          Limited to only double the speed limit? I think that should be adequate for public roads.

          • The People’s Champion

            by that logic we should all be riding those 80-90mph capable 250s no?

          • Jason

            Top speed, engine displacement, power, and acceleration are all very different things. I have no need to go more than 132 mph but that doesn’t mean that I want to ride a 250.

  • octodad

    purchased CTX700n w/ABS-DCT. having a blast on this scoot. pal w/ the street glide always wants to take mine for a spin. I enjoy riding his cycle, but prefer my little Honda. slow speed handling is superlative, and it can snap my head back as I roll on the throttle. get a lot of compliments on the cool look and ergonomic seating. big Red is dominant force w/awesome motorcycles. I am a fan…

    • Sarang Borude

      How does it do on freeway speeds, Is it easy enough to pass vehicles?

      • Michele Amason

        I have the CTX700D w/ABS-DCT and have no problems on the freeway. It is heavier than the Naked and is very stable when trucks fly by.

  • sgray44444

    Thinly veiled advertising? Not hardly- there’s no veil at all!

    • Steven Holmes

      Advertisement or not, it’s pretty nice to see that “Big Red” has so many cost effective options out there for me to try. Be nice if the other major manufacturers had similar lines to choose from. It’d make for good competition if the rest of ’em had comparably cost effective product lines.
      Something to be said about Honda’s reliability and longevity though… that’s pretty hard to beat.

    • You see many negative observations in advertisements? Like slow to accelerate, limitations of its suspension, etc? How about actual measured MPG instead of OEM claims? I see them in this set of short reviews, which also happen to echo the full reviews done previously on when Honda wasn’t an advertiser at all.

      • sgray44444

        That’s what is so distasteful about the whole article. It has the appearance of genuine journalism, but it really is just an advertisement for Honda.
        Of course you can find negatives for any motorcycle. They are all built to a price point and application, so saying a cheap motorcycle does not have good suspension is just stating the obvious. Everyone knows manufacturer’s MPG claims are done under more ideal conditions.
        Hey, I don’t care if Honda is a huge sponsor and you take this route. I still like to read about motorcycles of all kinds. It doesn’t speak well to your credibility though.
        Do I believe the reviews were biased? No, actually I don’t. But, I do think that the review being about a single manufacturer’s entire product line says something.
        Everyone knows that Honda makes a good reliable bike. It’s just odd for a magazine to focus completely on one manufacturer’s product line without the word “advertisement” being on the top of each page.
        The word disingenuous comes to mind as I read this thread and the article.

        • I have yet to obtain Honda’s specified fuel economy on either of my two Hondas. I always get much better! (no kidding)

    • JP

      Reading this again, part of me agrees with you. Honda is obviously advertising all over the website.

      Then again, I really haven’t heard anything bad about the new Honda bikes either. Everything I’m reading about the new 250, the 500’s, the NC700x, and the new VFR are very positive. I’m actually impressed by Honda being “all-in” with all of the new models they are selling here in the states.

      A good friend of mine has a CBR250 and a ZX6r and he still rides the 250 because of how well made it is.

      Creating the CBR650F and the VFR800 takes a lot of balls in my opinion. They are obviously not sportbikes, but they are also not cruisers. They are basically just well built motorcycles without a lot of the new gizmos like traction control.

      I tip my hat to them, but again, this is definitely a little brand friendly.

      • sgray44444

        Good points, JP. I agree with you. I’m not big on Honda’s non-sport models (ugly to the hilt), but the 250’s and the 500’s are really great bikes for reasonable money. I would seriously consider a VFR800 or CBR650F, but I don’t think the value is really there on those models, as good as they are. I’ve already said my peace about the apparent conflict of interest, so I’ll leave that alone.

  • Piglet2010

    Will a Rebel really go 80-mph – most reports I have seen put top speed at less than 75-mph?

  • fastfreddie

    Best value hondas were in the early ninties when you could get a honda nt 650 gt hawk ridicilouly cheap after it bombed in the sale room.Had one,and am kicking myself still for selling it.