HONDA CB500F (2019 - 2021) Review


  • A2-ready middleweight naked
  • Makes a fantastic first big bike
  • Low running costs, great build quality

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £150
Power: 47 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.1 in / 789 mm)
Weight: Medium (417 lbs / 189 kg)


New N/A
Used £4,400 - £5,600

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Watch: Honda CB500F video review

In this video Neevesy gets to grips with the 2019 tranche of CB500 Hondas direct from the international launch. 

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Cornering quickly on the Honda CB500F

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.


Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Honda CB500F specs say power remains at the allotted A2 licence-friendly 47bhp, but beneath that 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.

Honda CB500F top speed is 112mph

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 quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

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 rivals

Next up: Equipment
5 out of 5 (5/5)

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

Kawasaki Z400 Performance vs Honda CB500F

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.

Other rivals include the Yamaha MT-03 and the KTM 390 Duke.


3 out of 5 (3/5)

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 Honda CB500F exhaust can features revised internals and twin exit pipes.

The screen on the Honda CB500F

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 size 471cc
Engine type liquid-cooled parallel twin
Frame type Tubular steel diamond
Fuel capacity 17.7 litres
Seat height 789mm
Bike weight 189kg
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 £73
Annual service cost £150
New price -
Used price £4,400 - £5,600
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 47 bhp
Max torque 32 ft-lb
Top speed 112 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 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.
  • 2021: Euro5 updates for whole CB500 family.

Other versions

Owners' reviews for the HONDA CB500F (2019 - 2021)

7 owners have reviewed their HONDA CB500F (2019 - 2021) 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 CB500F (2019 - 2021)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Engine: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.9 out of 5 (4.9/5)
Equipment: 3.6 out of 5 (3.6/5)
Annual servicing cost: £150
5 out of 5
26 September 2022 by Peter M

Version: 2022

Year: 2021

Annual servicing cost: £250

Confidence inspiring handling in all weather. Looks cool (in my opinion), and great sound even with stock exhaust pipes.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Good, but could be a little stronger.

Engine 4 out of 5

Gearing could be better, 1st gear is too low.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Suspension and handling.

4 out of 5 Good biker
16 October 2021 by Pentium Intel

Year: 2019

good biker, enough power to enjoy the max speed, low cost for maintenance

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

one star to be reduced because the front-mudguard is very short and it makes the engine dirty quickly

Buying experience: bought it from a dealer, in my country, I paid 172,000,000VN in my country, it is ~ $7,500

5 out of 5 Can't fault it
20 September 2021 by Alan Dean

Year: 2021

Annual servicing cost: £145

The engine and gears are very good, construction and finish to a high standard. I would recommend to a friend but there are the 3 other models that share the same engine but more specialised eg adventure and sport that may appeal more

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Rider pegs rubber top not the best. Would like to see a more responsive rear brake

Engine 5 out of 5

Good gear ratios and reponsive to acceleration

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Running costs are low

Equipment 3 out of 5

Minimal. It's a naked bike

4 out of 5 Honda CB500F Excellent all rounder.
10 July 2021 by Sparky (John Rumley)

Year: 2019

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.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

very still suspension for country roads that I ride in Australia.

Engine 5 out of 5

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.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

I've had quite a few Honda's and their quality is better than any other machine.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Runs on the smell of an oily rag.

Equipment 5 out of 5

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.

4 out of 5
18 May 2021 by ken Atkinson

Year: 2021

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

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

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.

Engine 5 out of 5

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

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

So far all is well; but then it is a Honda so would not expect any reliability issues

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Assuming I can believe the computer, the bike is averaging around 80 MPG and doing well over 200 miles to the tank full

Equipment 3 out of 5

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

2 out of 5 Good bike to ride but bad quality
01 July 2020 by Andrew Woodford

Year: 2019

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.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5

Corrosion issues with headlight mount and bottom yoke

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Bike has amazing mpg and isn’t to expensive to buy new

Equipment 3 out of 5

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

5 out of 5 Best CB500 yet
21 October 2019 by DanB

Year: 2019

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.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

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.

Engine 5 out of 5

So smooth compared to my friends ninja 400

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Honda. Need I say more?

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Once a year or every 8000 miles.

Equipment 3 out of 5

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

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