HONDA CB500F (2019 - on) Review
- A2-ready middleweight naked
- Makes a fantastic first big bike
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£100|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
With its extra grunt, weight loss, big-bike build quality and refinement the A2-ready 2019 Honda CB500F is anything but a cheap and cheerful workhorse, or stepping stone to better things.
Whether for the daily commute, weekend fun or your first taste of life without L-plates, it’s a simple, but vibrant, involving machine in its own right - practical, easy to ride, fast and thrilling.
It’s not lacking in power on everyday roads, or poise in the corners and is thoughtfully lavished with the kind of touchy-feely quality and detailing that makes you realise that Honda really does care.
Honda says that 46% of CB500F buyers are new riders. Learn to ride a motorbike with MCN.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Arms, legs, wrists, neck and bum (knees and toes) all get a easy time on the long haul and with a seat height of just 785mm and squishy suspension, it’ll be easy for most to get their feet anchored down at a standstill.
A new slip and assist clutch is the smallest ever fitted to a Honda and is 45% lighter at the lever. Gears now feature nine smaller ‘dogs’ instead of six for a slicker changes, but it sometimes finds a false neutral if you hammer the revs between first and second.
Showa forks have new progressive springs (soft at the top and bottom, hard in the middle) and there’s a new single tube rear shock. Ride quality and overall balance is spot on and the CB500F manages to keep its composure when pushed hard. Michelin Pilot Road 5 tyres are grippy, wet or dry.
A single disc front brake set-up is friendly and won’t have you rolling over the bars when you yank on the lever, but stopping power is there when you really need it, especially if you stamp on the back brake too. A new ABS pump has less intrusive settings and automatically flashes the hazards as it starts to lock.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Peak power remains at the allotted A2 licence-friendly 47bhp, but beneath that power ceiling is a bubbling cauldron of grunt…relatively speaking, of course. A 4% gain in power and torque comes from new inlet cam timing, a bigger airbox and straighter inlet tracts.
The extra midrange boost is amplified by new mapping that’s slightly less ‘top-endy’ than the 2019 CBR500R’s and a 2kg weight loss, gained from lighter gears and subframe, a smaller battery, ABS pump and thinner plastics.
A wider, friendlier spread of power gives the parallel twin cylinder motor the feel of a bigger bike, but its delivery and soft throttle pick-up would make a Blade’s green with envy. Newer riders will feel immediately at home, but it’ll impress with those who just want a light, fun, sub-six grand naked, too.
For 2021 the CB500F's engine is upgraded to Euro5.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Our Honda CB500F owners’ reviews are varied, with one reader complaining about corrosion and poor build quality, and another waxing lyrical about this being the "best CB500 ever".
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
With its aggressive creases and sharp edges the CB500F’s new bodywork, drenched in deep paint, has more than a sophisticated air of Italian design about it. The general finish, including the engine and Autosol-shiny exhaust headers, are more like you’d get on a 10 grand super naked, let along a machine costing nearly half that.
Twin test: Honda CB500F vs Kawasaki Z400 Performance
In June 2019 we took the CB500F around the fabled MCN250 test route alongside the Kawasaki Z400 Performance to see which one shined the brightest.
Here's our verdict: There is a bit of a stigma attached to so-called ‘learner’ bikes such as these two A2 machines, which is totally unjustified. These are not learner bikes, they are smaller capacity machines that deliver a rewarding riding experience. Both the Z400 and CB500F’s parallel twins have more than enough grunt to allow riders to safely negotiate fast-moving commuting traffic while also providing ease of use thanks to their light weight and effortless clutch actions.
Not only this, you also get economy figures of over 55mpg irrespective of how you ride them and all for no more than £85 a month. Overall, the Honda is the more complete package. Its motor isn’t as fast as the Zed’s and its handling is a touch slower, but it feels far more refined and assured whatever the pace and for me that’s what I want in an A2-legal bike. The Z400 is a real hoot, and some will love its edgeof-seat feel, but long-term the Honda is the better option. If you are after a machine to just ride and enjoy, whatever the occasion, the CB500F won’t disappoint.
How’s this for detail? The back edge of the front mudguard is lipped to deflect air over the Euro 4-compulsory reflectors. Honda fits a normal mudguard to non-reflector bikes. An aggressively angled new exhaust can features revised internals and twin exit pipes.
It gives the parallel twin cylinder engine a dark, rumbling soundtrack on the throttle and a gentle race bike-like pop and bang on the overrun. All 2019 CB500 models get the same new digital dash, but on the CB500F it also acts as your only defence from the wind (it doesn’t do a bad job). A gear position indicator has been added for the first time, along with fuel consumption info.
The 2021 model year CB500F gets new colours - Candy Caribbean Blue Sea and Candy Moon Glow Yellow.
|Engine type||liquid-cooled parallel twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel diamond|
|Fuel capacity||17.7 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm Showa forks, adjustable for preload|
|Rear suspension||Showa shock, adjustable for preloa|
|Front brake||320mm petal disc with twin-piston calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||240mm rear petal disc with single-piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||160/60 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£69|
|Annual service cost||£100|
|Used price||£3,900 - £5,100|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||47 bhp|
|Max torque||32 ft-lb|
|Top speed||112 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
2013: Original parallel twin-cylinder CB500F launched to take advantage of new 47bhp A2 licence regulations.
2016: Styling, suspension and airflow tweaks, wider bars, larger fuel tank, hinged fuel cap, adjustable front brake level, redesigned seat, LED lights and preload adjustable suspension.
2019: Sharper styling, 4% more grunt, new slip and assist clutch, revised fork internals and new rear shock, refined ABS settings, new LCD dash and exhaust can.
Owners' reviews for the HONDA CB500F (2019 - on)
4 owners have reviewed their HONDA CB500F (2019 - 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£100|
I am eighty two years old and have been riding since I was sixteen YO This is one of the best bikes I have ever owned and I have had plenty from my first machine my fathers 125cc. Royal Enfield two stroke than ran backwards if kicked the wrong way to a GSX1400 the best bike I ever rode.
very still suspension for country roads that I ride in Australia.
goes like the clappers. for new riders the throttle response is too quick making riding in dense traffic a bit twitchy. First gear is too low and second too high when moving slowly.
I've had quite a few Honda's and their quality is better than any other machine.
Runs on the smell of an oily rag.
This bike is extremely good for all riders. I have won road races and become club road race champion, years ago and find it easy to ride the exhaust pipe of very quick riders not with standing my age
Buying experience: Bought from a Honda dealer in Port Macquarie the easiest ever, quick good quote for my trade and at least $1500 off the recommended price.
Annual servicing cost: £100
I "traded down" as I am growing older (and weaker) and thought that a lighter bike would be ideal. If I was honest, I guess I would have to admit that the sound of the twin is dreadful and wish I had bought the 650 four. However, the 500 is a cracking bike that puts a smile on my face every time I ride it. Still early days but so far the bike has met all my expectations. I love it around town, very easy to negotiate traffic (big smiles) and when I am out with my mates (all on bigger bikes) have never felt lacking. Handing is spot on
Handling is more than adequate and the Michelin road 5 are excellent I did worry about only having a single disk but have found them to be more than good enough for the lightweight.
I have given it 5 out of 5 based on what it is, rather than what I wish it was. My only criticism would be gearing - great around town, not so on the back roads but still a lot of fun
So far all is well; but then it is a Honda so would not expect any reliability issues
Assuming I can believe the computer, the bike is averaging around 80 MPG and doing well over 200 miles to the tank full
Honda, please, please get rid of the invisible dash. Before this, I had the CBR650R and i can count on my fingers how many times I could actually see how fast I was going. ABSOLUTELY NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE
Buying experience: I bought my bike from Honda dealer Miles Kingsport based in Hull. Happy with the deal and their covid safe guards
I have had this bike for 1year and it’s a really nice to ride and love it but have had issues with corrosion after explaining to the dealership I purchased it from that I need something to use all year round. It wasn’t explained that Honda don’t cover corrosion issues even tho the bike is garaged when not used and is cleaned with proper bike cleaners and been serviced twice in the first year and cleaned regularly to honda’s recommendations on their website.
Corrosion issues with headlight mount and bottom yoke
Bike has amazing mpg and isn’t to expensive to buy new
Not to much with it but it’s functional
Buying experience: Dealership was great when it can to buying the buy but have had bad after sales with them and Honda haven’t been much help
Annual servicing cost: £100
Would defiantly recommend, passed my test on the ‘16 and purchased the ‘19 the difference in weight is night and day! And the way it sounds when it hits the power band is phenomenal even with a stock exhaust.
Brilliant through twisties and great acceleration, gets you to 70 without even trying and I’d say easily capable of 100+ even with my 18st frame. Only gripe is brakes can fade a little on faster rides but reel the lever in with the stock adjustable dial and your all good.
So smooth compared to my friends ninja 400
Honda. Need I say more?
Once a year or every 8000 miles.
Only downfall if it can be called one is wind blast Over 50, get a screen!
Buying experience: Purchased from a Honda dealer, premium service