HONDA CB500X (2013-on) Review

Published: 08 January 2014

Last of Honda's new-for-2013, novice and A2-licence friendly 500-twin triumvirate; and for our money the best of the bunch

HONDA CB500X  (2013-on)

Last of Honda's new-for-2013, novice and A2-licence friendly 500-twin triumvirate; and for our money the best of the bunch

  • At a glance
  • 471cc  -  47 bhp
  • 67 mpg  -  235 miles range
  • Medium seat height (810mm)
  • Suitable for A2 licence
  • £5,099

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

The CB500X is the last of Honda’s new-for-2013, novice and A2-licence friendly 500-twin triumvirate – the others being the CB500F roadster and CBR500R sports bike – and for our money it’s the best of the bunch.
The X’s subtly larger proportions make it more versatile, more man-sized machine, while losing virtually nothing in terms of manageability and agility. Its adventure styling seems more in step with the times and makes better use of its (slightly) limited spec.
Its novice credentials are all excellent with ergonomics, controls and a delivery that’s as natural as they come. Yet its performance is good enough, too – a blend of easy, engaging drive and taut-enough steering to please even the most hard-boiled speed nut. It looks good and its quality and value exceed expectations, too. All of which adds up to ‘job done’.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The X also shares the 500 family’s tubular steel diamond frame, but with 20mm longer forks, in turn lengthening the rake/trail and wheelbase. (Despite the ‘adventure’ styling, the 17in cast alloy wheels are unchanged, although the tyres have been switched from street Metzelers to Pirelli Scorpion Trails).
This, along with the wider bars, has the slight downside of making its steering seem a little less sharp and secure. It’s not a big deal, but if you REALLY want to scratch, the F and R are the better at it. Instead, where the X comes into its own is as an all-day, ‘man’-sized, touring capable and truly versatile machine – yet one which remains about as daunting as a basketful of kittens. It has the roomiest, most upright riding position of the three, the best weather protection and the comfiest seat all of which makes the X, if you’re either bigger than average or plan to take pillions or decent mileage, the obvious choice of the three.

Engine 4 out of 5

Cosmetically differentiated by its silver finish (a Honda theme on its off-roaders), rather than the black units of the CB500F and CBR500R, the purpose-built 471cc twin is otherwise mechanically identical: an all-new, 8v 35kw/A2 licence optimized twin (hence 471 not 499cc) with more than its fair share of CBR600RR tech (eg matching bores, grooved piston surfaces and gear change arm), elastic delivery and decent economy.
The X, like the other CBs, still has enough pep and posture to entertain and invigorate. Sure, there’s still ultimately only 47bhp on tap (and, in bigger X guise actually feels if anything a little less than that offered by its siblings), but it’s all so accessible, so easy to ride, to thrash if need be – and all with an accompanying , pleasing gurgle – that pleasing fun truly can be had. Sure it’s never going to excite explosively or alarm, but that’s sorta the whole point, and it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Cost-cutting has been achieved by Honda both adopting a ‘modular’ approach (similar to the first Hinckley Triumphs) whereby outwardly different models share a majority of parts, including powertrain and rolling chassis and even more significantly by developing the bike to be built in (cheaper) Thailand – the first ‘big’, multi-cylinder Honda to so be. That said, quality doesn’t seem to be lacking, although it’s probably too early to tell and service intervals are conservatively short.

Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5

All that for under £5K? We’re impressed.

Equipment 4 out of 5

As it’s built down to a price, equipment is necessarily basic, but you’d hardly tell. For your money the X is somehow the most pleasing of the three on the eye despite sharing the same clocks (albeit in different hues), switchgear and cycle parts. There’s a nicely textured seat, neat stainless exhaust cover, wavy discs and even hexbolts on the engine cases. None of them look cheap.

Owners' Reviews

4 owners have reviewed their HONDA CB500X (2013-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.8 out of 5
Engine 4.5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
4 out of 5

Just one thing spoils it ...

20 November 2014 by iancol

... and that's the front suspension - is there any? The rest of the bike's fine, nice, punchy, revvy, quiet engine, slick gearbox, good riding position, decent finish (though built down to a price), but the front suspension's a wrist breaker. ... Read more Doesn't seem to absorb bumps at all.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 2 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

brilliantly capable all round motorcycle

01 November 2014 by dukie

This is my 8th bike: I have owned 250cc sports bikes, 600 cc IL-4 and 750cc cruisers. I have put 12500 miles on on the CBX since september last year. this is mainly commuting on busy A-roads but i have also ridden plenty of long distance motorway... Read more journeys 2 up and fully loaded for motorcycle touring abroad as well as camping trips around the UK. This is a super motorbike but I will start with the worst thing about this bike: the wind buffering is a disaster. This bike has by far the worst buffering issues of any of the bikes i have owned or ridden. I have resolved this now (3 part screen extension) and the bike is back to normal wind buffering levels of the average bike but i had thought about selling this bike just because of the buffering. The other down side is as a result of it's success, honda have produced a motorcycle engine that is so supremely smooth it can for some fail it excite.the suspension is adequate for london pot holes and gravel roads but it is essentially a street bike, don't be fooled by the adventure styling!! suspension is a bit crap but better once adjusted for riders weight. stock setting is 3/8 i find as a 70kg rider setting 2 is best The good points though. real world usable acceleration, excellent fuel range i fill up every 200 miles for 13 litres (17l tank) and the bike can go 250 miles between fill ups. This bike is very comfy even from stock loads of room for bigger riders. I have lowered the suspension for flat footing with my short 29"legs but anyone with 31" leg will be able to flat foot both feet easily. i chose to drop the bike height to reduce chance of slipping on loose gravel on tiptoes i waited 8000 miles to do this and wish i had done it sooner however now 2 up i need to adjust the rear shock to high setting to avoid bottoming out with a 74+kg pillion. This bike handles very well and accelerates well up to over 100mph. Has been amazing touring around France and belguim and the power is real world not insane sportbike speed. It is a superbly capable tourer and with 46ltr top box and tank bag as well as pannier options this bike can carry loads. The ride and handling is only let down by the cheap suspension unit, this and the buffering result in 4 star rating but otherwise this bike is great. I don't just say this for A2 riders. it's a great all round bike. go test ride

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Cb500 x

20 June 2014 by kevberlin

I have just ordered a new CB500x having test ridden the NC750 and a Suzuki Dl 650 V Strom. My review is based upon the test ride while it remains fixed in my mind. I found the NC 750 engine absolutely fabulous with its torquey characteristics and... Read more grunty engine note. It felt a little heavy at the front end and the seat was like a plank unfortunately. The V Strom was much more comfortable but it seemed rather old fashioned after the Honda. I did not like how the tank sides forced my knees outward. Clutch action was not great and the engine did not inspire me. The screen did not seem very effective. The smaller Honda CB500x was an absolute gem to ride. Light and flickable with a smooth clutch and gearbox. The engine was lively but not so enthralling as the NC. Performance however was surprisingly perky and felt as good as the 650 VStrom. It was probably the easiest bike I have ever ridden in more than 40years of motorcycling. The instrument panel was a little bland and I was disappointed with the lack of a gear indicator. The bike feels very light and is easy to manoeuvre while riding at low speed and while placing onto the stand. All three bikes were good but I chose the 500x because of its sheer usability. A great engine on a comfortable light bike that would never be unwieldy to manoeuvre in and out of my garage. It will be interesting to see how I feel after a few thousand miles of ownership.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great A2 Licence Bike

24 March 2014 by Ironjwb91

I recently passed my A2 Mod's and went out and bought a CB500X and i am so glad i did! The bike is perfect for newer riders, great seating position for getting round traffic, comfortable seat, great little parallel twin underneath you too! Only... Read more thing i think it lacks is a Gear position indicator, other than that, faultless!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 4 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2013
Year discontinued -
New price £5,099
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £58
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 47 bhp
Max torque 31 ft-lb
Top speed 125 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 67 mpg
Tank range 235 miles
Specification
Engine size 471cc
Engine type Dohc, 8v parallel twin. 6 gears, chain drive.
Frame type Tubular steel diamond, box section swing arm
Fuel capacity 15.7 litres
Seat height 810mm
Bike weight 196kg
Front suspension 41mm telescopic forks, no adjust
Rear suspension Prolink monoshock with 9-way preload adjust
Front brake 320mm wavy disc with twin-piston caliper and ABS
Rear brake 240mm wavy disc with single-piston caliper and ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 ZR 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 ZR 17

History & Versions

Model history

2013: Model introduced

Other versions

CBR500R: Sports version with full fairing
CB500F: Roadster, unfaired version

Photo Gallery

  • HONDA CB500X  (2013-on)
  • HONDA CB500X  (2013-on)
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