471cc engine for Honda CL500 and NX500

Honda has filed new trademark applications for the names “CL500” and “NX500“, suggesting it may be preparing to expand its 500 range with new scrambler and dual sport models.

The trademark for CL500 was filed March 17 with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, while the NX500 trademark was filed May 2 with the EUIPO as well as with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The 500 in the names suggest the two models will use the same 471cc Parallel-Twin engine as the Rebel 500 cruiser, CB500F standard, CBR500R sportbike and CB500X adventure bike. The engine claims about 50 hp (with a bit less on the Rebel) and has already proven itself to be versatile, applied across different segments.

The engine hasn’t been used thus far in a scrambler, but the CL500 moniker may fill that role. The CL name goes back pretty far in Honda’s history, starting with the 1962 Dream CL72 Scrambler (pictured below), a 247cc model based on the CB72 Hawk but beefed up to handle off-road usage. Honda produced several more CL models over the years, most recently with the CL400, a 397cc Single-cylinder model introduced in 1998. With this lineage, it should be apparent the CL500 name is intended for a scrambler.

1962 Honda Dream CL72 Scrambler

The NX line also has a rich history with a series of dual sport models. The most well known model is probably the NX650 Dominator which was produced from 1988 to 2003. The Dominator was only offered in the U.S. for a couple of years, but its 644cc air-cooled engine lives on today with the XR650L.

Honda already has a 500-series adventure bike in the CB500X, but the NX500 may turn out to be more off-road focused with wire-spoke tires like its predecessors. The NX name also has ties to Honda’s Dakar racers like the NXR 750, so it may borrow some styling from the current Africa Twins. It’s also possible the NX500 may serve as a replacement for the long-running XR650L in markets where it’s no longer offered due to tightened emissions standards.

There’s no indication of when we might expect to see either the CL500 or NX500, but we’ll have the latest information as it becomes available.


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