Plans revealed: Honda CB500X gets tough

Published: 14 September 2016

Honda India’s under-the-radar bike heralds a new-look middleweight adventure model.

Honda presented the CX-02 Concept in February this year at the Auto Expo in Delhi, India, but new patents lodged suggest that it will be going into production as the new CB500X.

If you missed the reveal of the Honda CX-02 concept it doesn’t necessarily mean you weren’t paying attention. While manufacturers normally shout about every new show-only model to emerge from their design departments, the CX-02 came and went with barely a mention.

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There were no studio pictures, press releases or even technical details for the bike. Created by Honda’s Indian R&D subsidiary, it was seen as a side project that was only tenuously connected to Honda’s main Japanese operation.

However, new patents now appear to hint that the bike could be more than just a piece of motorcycle show eye-candy. Filed not by an Indian subsidiary but by Honda in Japan, they show detailed designs of the CX-02 concept and reveal a machine that’s surprisingly production-suitable, given its concept status.

While there are no significant differences between the newly published patents and the original CX-02 show bike, the designs do give a clear view of the production thoughts that have gone into it. Plus, of course, by patenting the design Honda Japan are ensuring that it’s not copied elsewhere – suggesting the parent company have plans for this bike themselves.

Stripped of its show paintwork and finishes, it’s clear to see just how much of the bike belongs to the existing CB500X. When the bike was shown there was no official word on its capacity or mechanical make-up, but in these images it’s clear that the engine, frame and even the front section of the exhaust are all completely stock CB500X. While the bodywork is a departure from the current style, it’s designed to meet legal requirements for road use. Notice details like the mirrors, the numberplate hanger and the swingarm-mounted spray-guard which serves to make sure the bodywork is long enough to meet Euro regulations that demand that the tyre isn’t the rearmost part of a bike. 

While the inverted fork and radial brakes are a step up from the current CB500X’s axial calipers and right-way-up suspension, they’re still not super-exotic components. And the aluminium swingarm, again an upgrade on the current box-section steel unit, isn’t heavily braced or complex – in fact it appears to be borrowed from Honda’s own NM4 Vultus. 

Overall, the indications are that while the CX-02 was shown as a concept it was designed very much as a production-feasible machine, and these patents suggest that Honda
Japan have, at the very least, taken it to the next stage by ensuring that others don’t copy key elements of the style.

It’s worth noting that Honda’s decision not to reveal any technical information about the CX-02 is a carbon copy of the way the firm dealt with the City Adventure concept revealed a few months earlier at the EICMA show in Milan. That bike has since been confirmed as being destined for production, with virtually no visual changes compared to the concept – which itself was a far more outlandish concept than the one seen here. The first clue that it was more than a mere show bike was also the registering of patents for its design.

Given that Honda’s CB500X was mildly revised for 2016, it’s unlikely to get further changes before the 2018 model year. But when it does, don’t be surprised if the updated machine looks a lot like this.

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