Smarter, sharper CBR500R revealed

Published: 05 November 2015

Honda used the Tokyo Motor Show to confirm and release exciting 2016 models, ahead of Europe’s biggest motorcycle show, EICMA, in two weeks’ time.

Leading the long list of confirmed 2016 models were final production-spec versions of the incredible RC213V-S, and the all-new much-anticipated CRF1000L Africa Twin. While they will have stolen the show for most Honda fans, there was also a glut of other significant model revisions released.

The real deals

Leading the charge was a much-improved CBR500R, which now looks significantly sharper and more classy than its predecessor. Its sharper lines flow from its new face, featuring steeply-angled dual LED lights, through to the upswept tail, which is also equipped with LED lighting – to give the middleweight CBR a much more aggressive demeanour.

It now looks better than its 600RR sibling, which is long overdue a visit to the plastic surgeon.

Beyond the aesthetic pleasantries, the 500R also gets uprated front suspension which is now preload adjustable, a larger fuel tank with new hinged fuel cap (the old one used to just come off in your hand, then roll away across the forecourt), span-adjustable brake levers, and the firm’s wave-style ignition key. The exhaust is shorter, and a little more aurally fruity, while the paintjobs also get a classy rethink.

With the CB500X also getting the magic wand we’re now only waiting to see a new version of the CB500F to complete the trio – expected at the Milan Show in a couple of weeks. 

Sharpening the X

As reported in last week’s MCN, Honda are embarking on a thorough tickle of their ‘X’ range, releasing new iterations of the adventure-styled CB500X, super-frugal NC750X, and their continent-crushing VFR1200X Crosstourer – and we finally got to see the finished bikes at Tokyo.

The NC750X confirmed last week seemed to be making all the right noises, but now we can see it too, it’s clear that the NC has moved even further away from its slightly eccentric original style, to better blend in with the rest of the X range, and appeal to a broader church of riders. It’s been a consistent performer for Honda since launch, and with its new looks, LED lighting all round, 70mm taller windscreen, more modes on the DCT model, new Showa fork, increased storage area (21 to 22 litres), and revised exhaust – it’s only going to be gaining fans.

The CB500X gets a similar overhaul, with the A2 licence-friendly crossover-styled machine getting a 100mm taller windscreen, LED lighting, preload adjustable fork, adjustable brake lever and revised gear shift mechanism for improved action and feel.

The flagship of Honda’s X range, the V4-engined Crosstourer adventure-sports tourer also gets a new easily-adjustable windscreen, 12V socket and three levels of S Mode in its DCT version, special edition colours, and minor engine tweaks to make it EURO4 compatible.  

Big bike, little bike

The legendary monolith Gold Wing gets minor tweaks and a stealthy new metallic grey paintjob, while it looks like Honda could be releasing a new Monkey bike – which would probably fit in one of the Wing’s panniers.

While the firm couldn’t confirm if the tiddler – called simply ‘Monkey’ – would be coming to our shores, they have said that it will be ‘commercially available soon’, which is the same phrase they’re applying to all the 2016 models they’ve unveiled.

The air-cooled 49cc single pocket bike is as much of a global icon as its dramatically bigger brother – let’s hope Honda bring it to Blighty.