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
  • New: £5,099
    Used: £3,300 to £5,600 See all HONDA CB500Xs for sale

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.

Insurance, running costs & value 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

12 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.

Review your HONDA CB500X (2013-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.9 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.8 out of 5
Engine 4.1 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.3 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
4 out of 5

Almost perfect

18 August 2016 by Ciaran Wateridge

I would undoubtedly recommend the CB500X to any of my friends and colleagues. It is only the slightest shavings away from being the consummate 'all things to all men' bike. It's extremely frugal, remarkably well built given the price, eminently easy... Read more to ride and with enough joie de vivre for the more experienced.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
This bike is designed to be a workhorse with some added playtime ability. It's built to be forgiving enough for a newbie and have enough fun for a more experienced rider; for the most part, it pulls it off. The bike handles surprisingly well despite the slightly soft suspension. It can get a little bit pogo-stick like with rough town roads but it's not too bad and, despite being bouncy through wide sweeping corners it doesn't get itself unsettled. The short wheelbase means it turns on a dime, its perfect for the cut and thrust of urban life. The tiny fairing does a reasonable job of deflecting the winds on motorways but its by no means a proper sport tourer: It does the job, but if you constantly use the motorway you simply need more protection. However, barrelling down country roads brings out the bikes playful side. That bouncy ride and chuckable, light steering mean you can throw the bike at corners at stupid speed and come out okay. It's extremely fun; it could just do with a little more smoothness on the bumpy stuff now and then.
Engine
5 out of 5
I have never liked twins. I've always been a fan of 4 cylinder bikes for their burbly smoothness and rev-happy performance. However, I am potentially a convert after trying this one. The vibrations I expect from a twin are almost non-existent. The bike idles extremely smoothly and revs cleanly all the way toward its red line. From about 3000rpm the engine produces a reasonably pleasing note, though its altogether more quiet than I would like. The engine is geared for torque rather than power, making best use of the low-mid range revs urban bikes often have to use. It has more than enough torque to surprise a few sport bikes off the line (coupled with a very smooth and well judged clutch). It begins to run out of torque to the 6000rpm mark and the relatively low 47bhp shows itself here. It's great, as its legal for A2 licencees, but right at that motorway overtaking spot there's just a little lack of get up and go that I have come to expect from my bikes. In truth, it simply requires slightly more foreplanning and there's only so much I can ask a 500 to do!.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
I've only owned the bike about 6 months and I'll be honest I haven't covered a huge mileage. However, it has faultlessly started every morning without fail, no matter how long it's been left or how cold it has been. The panels and paintwork all feel expensive and secure, the seat is lovely and comfortable, the seat is extremely comfortable and everything feels far more premium than the price tag would seem to suggest. Honda have built themselves a reputation for engineering excellence and there is nothing to suggest the CB500X won't live up to it.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
In general the cost of ownership is very low. The initial purchase price is very cheap for a full size bike and depreciation is predicted to be fairly low. I was rather dumbfounded by having the first service at just 600 miles however our local dealer puts this under the fixed prices service agreement so its only £150. The remaining intervals are then 8000 per service, reasonably wide for a motorcycle. Insurance groups are pretty low for a full size bike and fuel economy is excellent. I have averaged around 74mpg since I owned it but I have had it as high as 80mpg!
Equipment
4 out of 5
For a budget bike, remarkably good. I got the touring pack thrown in for the price on mine (mine is a 2015 model sold in 2016) giving me a full pannier and top box kit, the lock the same as the ignition lock for my bike, as well as a proper centre stand. It's also equipped with ABS, a first for me. The bike has preload adjustable rear suspension and a comprehensive trip computer system, a first for any bike I've had! The dealer threw in a Datatag kit with certificates as well.
Buying experience

I bought from a dealership in Farnham. Bike was advertised at approximately £5500 but they knocked it down to £5200 and gave me an additional £300 extra in the trade in for my 57 plate Yamaha. They gave me quite a competitive finance deal and extras as mentioned above. The documentation and finance was done within a week. I have however an issue in that the finance arrangement they actually got me to sign differs from what I was quoted. The payment difference is minimal but the annual mileage is very different. I have taken it up with Honda Finance now but I simply stress, as we all should, look at the docs closely! The actual experience was great just a little miffed at the clumsiness of the finance arrangement.

2 out of 5

Honda have let themselves down

10 August 2016 by Jester

Extraordarily poor build quality for Honda. Mine leaked water onto the electrics under the seat if ridden in the rain, the fairing wasn't correctly fitted, the forks were twisted and the frame began corroding around the swingarm pivot after less... Read more than 1000 miles. The bike was bought new and neither Honda nor the dealer seemed that bothered about the problems, the dealer also split a fork seal on the first service and I had to wait 3 weeks for them to repair it. I owned it for 13 months in which time it was on the road for 11 days and 1451 miles in between warranty issues and once it was repaired I sold it and I'll never buy another Honda, despite being a Honda man for 30 years.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Nice on the twisties where it can be flung around with abandon. The brakes work well enough, but a decent rider can stop in a shorter distance than someone relying on the ABS
Engine
4 out of 5
The bike rides well, the detuned engine gives a larger spread of torque compared to other bikes and it is almost impossible to be in the wrong gear. It will do less than legal speeds and is low enough for a 29" inside leg rider to get both feet flat on the floor.
Build Quality & Reliability
1 out of 5
Terrible build quality. Check the swingarm pivots on the frame, expecially the left hand side where the paint may have been rubbed off during manufacture. I've seen this and the subsequent corrosion on several bikes.
Value & Running Costs
2 out of 5
The figure is based on the initial 600 mile service of nearly £200 and my average riding mileage spread over my bikes. Due to its many faults I wasn't able to ride it much.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Various displays give information about fuel economy as well as mileage. I don't like digital speedos though.
Buying experience

Terrible. Bought new but distinct lack of interest in fixing the many and varied problems with the bike.

4 out of 5

Cheap and effective adventure bike

20 February 2016 by Bikeguy

Comfortable, light weight, practical and reliable. The main downside to me is the limited power on tap that you will notice when downgrading from bigger bikes, but then at my age of 62 that is probably a good thing. Overall, the comfortable upright... Read more riding position, plenty of available aftermarket kit, light weight, easy handling, smooth engine and excellent tank range ( > 250 miles) make this little bike an ideal long-distance adventure machine. Plus, you can buy three of these for the price of one BMW GS1200!

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
The suspension is a weak point, especially the front suspension is pretty awful. I have now ordered a fork upgrade from Rally Raid products which hopefully will improve things. The brakes are fine. I don't like the Scorpion tires the bike comes with as standard, they don't inspire confidence in the wet. I will replace them with Michelin Pilot Roads when the time comes. I found the gearing very short and changed the front sprocket to 16 teeth, a simple mod that improves the riding around town.
Engine
3 out of 5
Smooth and quiet, it is a parallel twin so coming from a big V twin I barely notice it is there. If you are after kick-in-the -pants power delivery you won't find it here, but it is perfectly adequate for smooth and sensible riding.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
After 1 year of ownership nothing has failed on me yet, but obviously the bike is built to a price point so don't expect the same quality components as on a bike twice or three times the price.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I have only done 4000 miles on mine so it hasn't had a service apart from the initial one at 600 miles (which I really think ought to be included in the price). Running costs are low with incredible fuel economy, it will do over 250 miles from the 17 litre tank.
Equipment
3 out of 5
As delivered the bike is bare bones. I got a deal with the Honda, luggage thrown in as standard, but that isn't very good -flimsy plastic, and the lock on one bag broke after a few weeks, it got replaced under warranty and I sold it on. I now have Hepco Becker bags which are much better. I also added a Honda tall screen (effective on longer trips), fender extender, hugger, engine bars, spot lights, lowered footpegs and a chain oiler. With this setup I did a four week camping trip to the continent last year and will go again this summer.
Buying experience

I got the bike from Hunt Motorcycles in Manchester who did a good job. In April 2014 I paid £5000 for a 2014 model with full luggage, hand guards and centre stand.

2 out of 5

12 February 2016 by Rig

Sent my hands numb after 25mins, awful customer service. Honda had bike for 3 months, fobbed off, it's a characteristic of the engine, don't buy it. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
1 out of 5
-
Engine
1 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
-
3 out of 5

Buy a Suzuki

14 September 2015 by bobbo

This model is now going in for its 2nd & 3rd re-call, fuel and starter issue. Plus the luggage package would not lock. The luggage racking damaged the chain guard. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
I am 6'1. riding position hurts my back with leaning over to reach bars.
Engine
3 out of 5
Very average, clunky box. does not shift smoothly especially when down shifting and sometimes will not go into 1st when setting off at lights.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Rumbling bearing in neutral.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
as expected,
Buying experience

Honda Salesman is a nice chap, as I have spoked to him regularly when bike keeps going into dealer for one thing or another.

5 out of 5

Amazing Honda CB500X

09 July 2015 by Africa Twin Fan

High centre of gravity - Crosswinds does have an influence Stick it in 6th gear and go cruising Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Exceptional brakes 1,5 hours to take a break, add sheepskin for the bum
Engine
5 out of 5
34km/l - excellent
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Excellent quality
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
2 x services pa
Equipment
4 out of 5
Require large cruising screen 1 St gear too short, try 39T rearsprocket
Buying experience

Excellent value for money and keeps up with the 1200GS

4 out of 5

22 months and 5,000+ miles review

23 June 2015 by X Centric

Probably the easiest bike to ride that I have ever ridden, A few things let it down, wind buffeting is pretty bad over 65mph, the gear change is very audible in first and second gear in part because the top arm of the linkage moves on the shaft that... Read more it operates, fix that (clamp in vice + loctite) and it's better but never good, all other gears are fine, it's just first and second gear that annoy.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Wind buffeting aside the ride is comfortable and the ABS brakes reassuring. Front forks were a bit harsh but settled down after a few thousand miles, road tyres are a popular modification and improve ride comfort, PR4 or Angel GT are the way to go, although the oem Pirelli Scorpions have been faultless, ride comfort aside.Tyres are a nice meaty 120.70.17 front and 160.60.17 rear. There is a very active forum at cb500x.com. Overall though considering the price I love it and couldn't think of any other bike that I would rather own..
Engine
5 out of 5
The engine is a peach and super economical returning 74mpg or 16.4 m/l and the tank range is outstanding. The fuel computer says you are using more fuel than you actually do by about 15% and is very pessimistic about fuel remaining also, it will easily do 250 miles to a tank when on a trip . The gearing is a bit short particularly in 1st and 2nd gear and loosing 2 teeth off the rear sprocket or adding a tooth to the front sprocket are very popular modifications. Above 6500rpm the engine note changes sounding rather like a 4 cylinder bike and there is a distinct step up in the power. The bike has a 180 degree crankshaft and high frequency vibrations through the bars and in particularly the throttle hand are unpleasant, fitting Grip Puppies or Pussy Grips over the original grips helps. A really super high tech engine with de-saxe offset cylinders, finger cam followers (or under cam rocker arms as Honda calls them) like the BMW S1000RR.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Reliability is not something I even think about, stick a puncture repair kit under the seat and just ride it. The chain is of poor quality and mine had stiff linkages and was changed at 4500 miles and I serviced it weekly!! A centre stand is a must and the foot pegs are a little too far rearward, their position inherited from the other models in the range presumably.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Service is every 8000 miles or an annual oil change if you don't do that many miles in a year, .Air filter at 12,000 miles and major service is at 16000 miles for valve shims and spark plugs.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Marked down a star for: 1) Too short front mudguard. Front mudguard needs a fender extender and the rear a hugger. The headlight is OK but significantly better for a bulb upgrade like a Philips Extreme Vision 130 (H4) but bulb access is ridiculously difficult. 2) Exhaust pipe durability. The exhausts lose their chrome plate for the first 3 or 4 inches from the cylinder head no matter how well you look after them and have a tendancy to turn a gold-ish colour which comes off with metal polish.
Buying experience

Ross at Fowlers of Bristol gave me excellent service, couldn't ask for better.

5 out of 5

Too much for a Winter Commuter?

03 June 2015 by Bob Ricketts

Very good value for money. I bought mine for my winter commuter after a disastrous flirtation with a KTM. In comparison I can not recommend the Honda enough. My son has now taken the bike for the summer. He seems really happy, but then again he is... Read more not paying.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Great fun to ride down twisty roads and equally at home on the motorway. I am not surprised that people have toured 2 up. It is a bit over the top for my need as a winter commuter.
Engine
5 out of 5
Unlike the KTM it does not stall and starts at the first push of the ignition. Cruises happily at 70 mph and has enough go to both overtake and filter.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
It's a Honda! I don't think the press give that fact enough attention, they seem to equate reliability to boring. Boring is waiting at the roadside for pick up truck!. Surely this is the most important factor. There is a lot of grey plastic, but it is thick plastic. Then again there are some unexpected quality touches, like stainless steel in the sump guard. For £500.00 it's a bargain!
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I have only had the initial service and that cost £100. I understand the service interval is 8000 miles or a year. The large tank and the mpg mean 200 miles for £13.00 of fuel is possible even when commuting. The computer shows 65mpg +
Equipment
5 out of 5
Mine came with a travel pack (panniers, top box and centre stand), currently £900+ in the catalogue, all because I bought a 2014 model in 2015. I intend to buy a larger screen, hand guards and a rear hugger before the winter. I already have heated grips fitted. Not sure why people need a gear indicator. It has the luxury of a fuel gauge. This a bit curious when you go into reserve. Not sure I understand the concept of showing 0?
Buying experience

I bought the bike from Sutton Honda in Tamworth and what a pleasure! If they say they will call you back in 5 minutes, you can rely on them doing so. The sales guys are both apparently called Richard and I bought mine from Little Richard. Big Richard appears to make you a coffee as soon as you appear. Both seem really nice guys.

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.

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

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
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Read all 12 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2013
Year discontinued -
New price £5,099
Used price £3,300 to £5,600
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £60
Annual service cost £480
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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