HONDA CB500X (2013 - 2018) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£730|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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.
- Related: 2019 Honda CB500X review
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
All that for under £5K? We’re impressed.
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.
|Engine type||Dohc, 8v parallel twin. 6 gears, chain drive.|
|Frame type||Tubular steel diamond, box section swing arm|
|Fuel capacity||15.7 litres|
|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|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||67 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£69|
|Annual service cost||£730|
|Used price||£3,800 - £7,200|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||47 bhp|
|Max torque||31 ft-lb|
|Top speed||125 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||235 miles|
Model history & versions
2013: Model introduced
2019: Updated model introduced
CBR500R: Sports version with full fairing
CB500F: Roadster, unfaired version
Owners' reviews for the HONDA CB500X (2013 - 2018)
27 owners have reviewed their HONDA CB500X (2013 - 2018) 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:||£730|
Annual servicing cost: £280
I dropped down to this bike off a ERf 650, and before that a Triumph Sprint RS. The X only makes 47 horses, but it feels like more. the engine is engaging, and the gearbox is nice and positive. This bike punches above it's weight in most areas. However, the seat has my backside aching after about and hour 1/2 max.
The ride can be a little choppy on rough roads - the suspension is probably not the best in the world. The OE tyres get a slating, but I have found them to be fine for me - they are due a change soon so I'll see what other rubber is like in comparison. I have only carried a pillion on one occasion, and can vouch that the bike is better one-up. As I said above, the seat is the thing that holds me back from longer journeys as it is not as cosseting as I would like. There are 'air' seat options available, and I may try one at some point, although I don't really need to go much further than an hours riding at any one time.
Punches above its weight - you'd never know it was only 47hp. The only time you notice the power is when you want to overtake at about 50mph - you need a drop of gears and a good clear road ahead. for most of the time though, it is more than enough power - you could ride all day at 60mph (if your bum can take it)
The X is a solid little machine. I have had it for 3 years now and it still looks like new when it has been washed and polished. I have only done 5k miles due to various lock downs 😢 in the last 18 months, but it's enough miles to convince me of Honda's excellent build quality and reliability.
Running costs are on the low side - I had the first 2 services carried out at Blade in Stratford, but both of them ended up costing more than I was quoted - I find two hundred quid for a first service to be extortionate. It is an easy bike to work on so I'll do the servicing myself from now on.
I have added a Powerbronze short screen, which stops the buffeting completely. I have also fitted a Pyramid Plastics front mudguard extender, Oxford heated grips, RG Shock Tube, and Givi topbox. There is no gear indicator (there is on 2019 model) or any electronic aids apart from ABS - does it need any? No, not in my opinion.
Buying experience: Bought new from Blade Motorcycles in Stratford. Kev, the salesman, is a top bloke and couldn't have been more helpful (thanks Kev). I paid under £6k, and part exchanged my ERf 650 for a really good price.
Annual servicing cost: £250
A great all round bike. Ultra reliable, economical, fast enough for 95% of occasions and comfortable to ride hour after hour.
Comfortable ride quality and good seat. Brakes powerful enough although some rear brake noise, which can be a little annoying when doing lots of low speed manoeuvring
Super smooth engine with broad spread of power. Not a high revving engine but very relaxed delivery meaning a great too high doesn't really matter
Never had a problem in four years of ownership. The bike has been regularly serviced at the local Honda dealership and had repaid this care with faultless behaviour.
Main dealer service and MoT each year.
Not a lot of equipment as standard but only thing I miss is a gear position indicator. My bike has optional centre stand and full luggage, and accessory heated grips (vital!)
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer about 70 miles away. Great experience and a fair deal.
Annual servicing cost: £180
What can I say, it does everything I ask of it and more. My first large bike and I've still got it four years later despite having tried several other larger machines. Riding position is great, no ned to tip toe when you put your feet down. Altjoug the seat could be alittle more comfortable I've done a lot of long runs, five and six hours, with breaks factored in and its been fine.
There are time when I wish the suspension was a little more plush. The brakes are fine but there are times when I think twin discs might be desirable. But it's a bike built to a budget so you can't expect all the top spec components.
The little twin delivers its power smoothly. OK, it's A2 so it's not going to impress if you are used to big bhp numbers. But to me the engine loves to be worked and you can really feel the power come in above 5 - 6,000rpm
It's a Honda with Honda build qulity and reliability. I don't wash it as often as I should and probbaly ought to use ACF 50 more often but so far I've ridden through three winters and it's none the worse for wear. the only noticeable corrosion is on the centre stand.
Annual service has been around the £180 mark. The big one is 16,000 with valve clearances etc. Both Honda and the loacl independant quoted over £500 for that but I asked around and got it doen for not much over £300.
It's pretty basic. The LCD screen is fine and easy to read, but I do wish it had a gear position indicator (the 2019 on model has). A 12v or USB outlet would be a useful feature as well. I don't have heated grips and in the winter, even with a pair of Barkbusters keeping the wind off it really is cold.
Buying experience: Bought at less than a year old with about 2,000 miles on the closk from Farnham Honda. I can't praise them highly enough for their help and professionalism.
Annual servicing cost: £100
Had mine from new from Craig's Honda in Shipley. 5 years and 20k miles later it has not let me down once! Comfortable, decent range, great luggage capacity and nippy enough for 21st century roads. Ridden in all weathers and seasons for commuting, touring, scratching, pootling and even green laning! Just pick your line VERY carefully and remember the centre stand is lower thanyou think...
Handles very very well for a 'budget' iron HOWEVER, I have never had a bike where the handling goes off so dramatically with just a few PSI down from optimal pressure. From "on rails" to "blancmange" in as little as 2 PSI. Ballache.
Smooth, gutsy, economical, pretty refined. Nowt to dislike! Not going to hit warp speeds but who seriously buys a 5k 471cc parallel twin for out and out performance?
Reliabilty is solid 5/5 but loses marks for how quickly certain parts react bady to rust. Fastenings, centre stand and fork bottoms look rough AF after 5 winters. This just wouldn't be acceptable on a car (unless it was a Merc) so why do we bikers accept poor finish quality?
Excellent MPG return, even when hammered. 75mpg seen fairly regularly, lows of 64mpg for me. Just changed original chain and sprockets, 20k from stock is pretty decent! Most parts are very reasonably priced, even in Ripoff Britain.
The screen is this bike's achilles heel. AWFUL turbulance/buffeting at anything over 30mph. Woefull. Bought some aftermarket screen adjusters and a GIVI screen which help but do not cure the problem. Far nicer to ride sans screen but then the screen mounts stick up looking clunky. Think Honda redeveloped the screen for the later models and thank f*ck they did. Badly needs a gear position indicator at worst and at best different gearing, feels like there's a 7th gear required in stock (15T/41T) gearing. That said I've never bothered sorting it out. Otherwise the ABS is flawless and the display tells you all you really ought to know.
Buying experience: 5k OTR with full luggage, centre stand and datatag. Deal as last year's colours! So what? Bargain!
Annual servicing cost: £400
Used as an instructor bike. Loved the riding position and the wide bars and the engine was even okay if under powered but the handling went off very quickly and became vague. Too soft suspension made this even worse. Fine at normal lower road speeds but was tied in knots through the corners at anything even approaching a fun speed.
The brakes were very good, much better than a single disc set up would suggest. The seat was rock hard though, became uncomfortable after only a few miles for me.
Under powered and dull but very smooth and confidence inspiring.
Very well built. Never broke down in the time I was using them and no issues from any of the other instructors either.
Used as an instructor bike so part of the schools fleet. Very well serviced and kept in great shape.
Loved the dash and the screen works better than my own DL650.
Comfortable bike but seriously let down by the agricultural gearbox, very disappointed and won’t be buying another unless improved significantly with future updates. Shocked at rust levels after only 1500 miles while garaged and dried before being put away, even been using corrosion protector.
Ride quality is good even with pillion
Very clunky gearbox lets the bike down and reminds me of a Honda C90 Vibration can be excessive over 5000rpm
Poor engine finish and rust on bottom yoke after 1500 miles
Returning about 65MPG
As first bikes go, I think this is a real peach. I tried a bike variety of bikes (Yamaha's, KTM's, even that BMW) and came back to this. Of the 3 CB500 models the X suited me the best - at 6'2" I get to sit nice and upright. It's properly economical (over 60mpg - I get 220miles to the tank before it hits the last bar on the guage, about 240 before the reserve comes in) and copes well with motorway speeds and town riding.
Hmmmm - this is where you can tell it's a cheap bike. I think the breaks are good enough (ABS is a boon), but the front suspension is pants. It dives under breaking and you get a large amount of vibrations through the bars. Can't be terrible as it was masked by adding grip puppies. Generally it's very communicative - you know what each end is doing and how much grip you've got. Leans well enough and is confidence I inspiring. However it is very top heavy when full with fuel.
Enough poke, it's a bit heavy on the vibrations at certain RPM's but nothing unbearable. First gear is really short so slow speed riding needs lots of clutch slipping. Conversely it's not a torquey unit so second gear is tough in low speed too (if you're just going with the flow of traffic). But the clutch is light and gearbox positive so it's not a chore.
As mentioned by others, the forks are the week point, I've had the stations reolacedy but they really need re-chroming. Everything else seems top draw; it's one of the reasons I went with the Honda in the first place, feels well out together and made to last.
If you're going second hand (as I did) you'll often find one that someone has specced well. Mine has heated grips, centre stand and top box (plus the rear hugger). They don't come with much as stock but the options aren't too pricey and well worth it. Lots of after market goodies out there too from the likes of Givi et al.
Annual servicing cost: £500
Almost Excellent Bike. Not happy with the quality of, chrome forks(they tend to rust and honda says its bad maintenance), rear footpegs are cheap and after 1 years they show badly signs of wear. Honda supplies all models with bone dry coolant expansion tank. In 1year of ownership on my 2016model (ex demo bought in 2017) i had to replace the coolant pump, thankfully under warranty. Headlights (led) are bad you need to add spotlights for sure. But the bike is comfortable, smooth, economical, if you do also your own maintenance is way cheap. Honda asks a lot for servicing like £500 when you can do it for less than 100 (major).
1 star is missing for 'the feel' of the rear brake.
excellent, smooth, no vibrations...75miles is the limit of 'no vibration zone' which is aroun 5.5k rpms with limit aroun 8.5k... above that 75 the vibration are no much but for long rides better to stay up to 75.... also is illegal :-P
as mention before is very prone to rust, it need a 'painful' care/maintenance
500 on dealer for major approx 100 on your own approx. For oil and filter and 'checks' a bit less than 150 on dealer.
centre stand optional and cockpit for gps to buy for a gps holder costs £35.. no rear huger to protect the shock...only huger and centre stand cost around £200
Buying experience: i bought it from a dealer (Bellevue Honda in Southend) and the dealer was exceptional
As a 57-year-old, experienced rider I was looking for something that is economical, light and versatile whilst also sufficiently engaging. At 6'1" I was worried that a 500cc machine might not fit the bill. I needn't have worried. Performance from the 47bhp is incredible compared to similar powered machines and it feels like a 'grown up' bike with plenty of room for my size. Having recently been through a full range of retro machines on offer from Triumph and Kawasaki and never quite feeling satisfied, this bike feels just right.
Still running it in before first service so not tested fully yet but the engine has plenty of grunt for overtaking at A road speeds.
Have only had it for a few weeks and covered 300 miles, but quality looks good. There is a lot of plastic, but hey, that doesn't rust after a wet winter!
Superb economy. I've been getting over 70 mpg with riding at various speeds.
Good digital display with all the necessary features. Gear indicator would have been nice since i'm not used to 6 speed!
Buying experience: Bought from Lings Honda. Great deal and 0% finance. Excellent dealership.
Annual servicing cost: £120
Ran all sorts of bikes since i was 15, from 'Blades to a Harley, this is basically a Ronseal bike... does exactly what its supposed to do! I bought mine for commuting and it has proved brilliant and frugal.
One disc up front, not the best but perfect for the bike it is. ABS is an added bonus and security.
Would love more grunt 2-up, but fine. So many people are obsessed with power!!
Never let me down ,very Honda!
Spend around £120 per year service etc ... again, great.
Has everything that is needed.
Buying experience: Dealer - 2 Wheels Edinburgh... perfect and was best deal around.
Perfect city bike and great for new riders. Even for an experienced rider like myself the bike is fun and a joy to ride.
The bike's biggest quality is its agility. Perfect commuter, city bike. ABS useful too
Just lacks that power when you need it but otherwise no issues.
Bike is pretty standard. No frills.
Annual servicing cost: £500
A reliable all-rounder that has ferried me the 60-mile round trips to work for the last 6 months safely.
I've ridden 400-mile round trips on this machine and only needed to stop for biological breaks. The bike is always comfortable and my thoughts aren't distracted by a numb bum.
Does what I need it to do. It's not massively quick off the block but is ideal for commuting. There's a bit of a vibration point around 5000 rpm but nothing to drastic.
Starting to get corrosion on front forks. I feel that some of the minor parts of the bike have been cheapened out on (front break lever, windshield, ignition barrel etc) but the actual engine and the bits that make the bike go forward are all in decent condition still.
I took out the servicing deal and had my services up to 16000 miles covered. Parts can be a bit difficult to get hold of as it's still a relatively new version. However, this is offset by the £15 per 200 miles for fuel, which I think is very reasonable.
i would recommend getting the centre stand as maintenance without a centre stand is difficult. The windshield is next to useless for tall riders so i would advise getting the higher windshield.
Buying experience: The dealer was amazing and took me through baby steps till he eventually gave me the keys.
I certainly recommend this bike. My 2013 model has performed faultlessly. Very reasonable to buy and maintain but not lacking in enjoyment. You won't be disappointed.
Dose every thing expected of it.
15.000 miles and no problems
Servicing and consumables are all that I have needed. Cheep as chips.
Every thing necessary.
Annual servicing cost: £5,000
Great in every way except comfort on medium to long Rides
Handles Great at low speed,you have a can do anything on this bike,Breaks positive,But the Seat is awful,Very uncomfortable over a medium to long distance,and I could not Find a neutral comfortable position,either my groin forced into the petrol Tank,very painful,or back side positioned in an uncomfortable position by the shape of the seat.
Smooth and Quiet
Terrible seat design
Buying experience: purchased from a dealer ,lovely looking bike better than expected
I live in the hills in Spain and this bike is great on the twisty mountain roads. Loads of fun and I love the look of it. Easy to manouveur around town. Worst feature is probably the wind noise from the air hitting the top of my helmet. If I'm not going on the motorway then I'll generally remove the screen altogether which is only a 5 min job. Initially I thought the seat was really comfortable, however after 4000km I am beginning to get a little sore after an hour in the saddle so maybe it's firming up a bit. (or I have)
I can cruise on the motorway at 120km/hr but the wind noise does wear you down after a while. Much better off the motorway on A roads and the twisties. So much fun. Fine around town also. After 1 hour I start to feel sore, but I regularly take it out all day and enjoy myself. Brakes are more than adequate.
Enough torque to be lazy with the gears and power there to overtake when you need it. I find low speed performance a little jerky especially when riding on poor roads or tracks. But nothing you can't smooth out by feathering the clutch.
Build quality is great for the price. A few niggles with the finishing but nothing I cant live with.
Currently getting 73mpg on mountain roads.
Love the engine, seating position is upright and comfortable. No gear indicator but easy to buy one aftermarket. Plugs into the diagnostic port under the seat.
Buying experience: Dealer
Annual servicing cost: £250
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 to ride and with enough joie de vivre for the more experienced.
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.
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!.
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.
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!
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.
Annual servicing cost: £600
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am 6'1. riding position hurts my back with leaning over to reach bars.
Very average, clunky box. does not shift smoothly especially when down shifting and sometimes will not go into 1st when setting off at lights.
Rumbling bearing in neutral.
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.
Annual servicing cost: £590
High centre of gravity - Crosswinds does have an influence Stick it in 6th gear and go cruising
Exceptional brakes 1,5 hours to take a break, add sheepskin for the bum
34km/l - excellent
2 x services pa
Require large cruising screen 1 St gear too short, try 39T rearsprocket
Buying experience: Excellent value for money and keeps up with the 1200GS
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 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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 not paying.
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.
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.
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!
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 +
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.
... 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. Doesn't seem to absorb bumps at all.
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 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
I have just ordered a new CB500x having test ridden the NC750 and a Suzuki Dl 650 V Strom. My review is based upon the test ride while it remains fixed in my mind. I found the NC 750 engine absolutely fabulous with its torquey characteristics and grunty engine note. It felt a little heavy at the front end and the seat was like a plank unfortunately. The V Strom was much more comfortable but it seemed rather old fashioned after the Honda. I did not like how the tank sides forced my knees outward. Clutch action was not great and the engine did not inspire me. The screen did not seem very effective. The smaller Honda CB500x was an absolute gem to ride. Light and flickable with a smooth clutch and gearbox. The engine was lively but not so enthralling as the NC. Performance however was surprisingly perky and felt as good as the 650 VStrom. It was probably the easiest bike I have ever ridden in more than 40years of motorcycling. The instrument panel was a little bland and I was disappointed with the lack of a gear indicator. The bike feels very light and is easy to manoeuvre while riding at low speed and while placing onto the stand. All three bikes were good but I chose the 500x because of its sheer usability. A great engine on a comfortable light bike that would never be unwieldy to manoeuvre in and out of my garage. It will be interesting to see how I feel after a few thousand miles of ownership.
I recently passed my A2 Mod's and went out and bought a CB500X and i am so glad i did! The bike is perfect for newer riders, great seating position for getting round traffic, comfortable seat, great little parallel twin underneath you too! Only thing i think it lacks is a Gear position indicator, other than that, faultless!