HONDA CB500X (2019 - on) Review
- One of the top A2 licence-compliant models
- An enjoyable middleweight adventure bike
- Honda build quality, low running costs
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£140|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The 2019 Honda CB500X is packed with a host of seemingly small engine, chassis and styling upgrades, but they actually add up to a lot, making it more capable than ever. It replaced the 2013-2018 Honda CB500X.
That will be music to the ears of the newer riders amongst us - this bike is A2 licence compliant - but it’s a machine that oozes so much class in just about every situation, it’ll impress the experienced, too. Power feels so much fatter than its 47bhp would suggest and just like a big capacity adventure bike it’s spacious, agile, plush, characterful and handles superbly both on tarmac and dusty off-road trails.
- Related: This bike is in our best A2 licence-friendly motorbikes feature
- Related: Rally Raid Honda 500X news on MCN
Finished and detailed like a bike costing twice the price, the CB500X is an exceptional machine. Its main competition comes in the form of the Chinese-built Benelli TRK 502.
Its go-anywhere capability also lends itself perfectly to adventure bike duties.
Watch: 2019 Honda CB500X video review
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
New longer travel suspension, a 19” front wheel (replacing the old 17-incher), Dunlop Trailmax Mixtour tyres and 10mm more ground clearance (up to 180mm), lets you do more than just bump up a city kerb.
It’s probably not going to handle the type of gooey green lanes we have in the UK, but on dusty gravel trails it’s more than capable. Not having a gazillion bhp, is a good thing off road and weighing just 197kg makes the CB500X much less of a handful than a big adventure bike. Steering lock is increased by three degrees (to 38) and bars are now 8mm higher and 3mm closer to the rider for more control.
Although the basic tubular steel diamond chassis remains unchanged, the 500X has new seven spoke Africa Twin-style wheels and revised Showa suspension. It might be inspired to tackle the dirt, but the Honda is spectacular on the road, where it’ll spend most of its time.
- Related: How to ride your motorbike off road
It’s more flickable, planted and fun at any speed and more engaging than its naked and race rep CB siblings. Balanced, composed and with impressive grip from its semi-knobbly tyres, this is the CB500 to go for whether you’re commuting, scratching or everything in between.
EngineNext up: Reliability
It may still ‘only’ have an A2 licence-friendly 47bhp, but the way it surges forward on the throttle you’d swear it has a good 20bhp more. That’s all thanks to new valve timing, a bigger airbox and a straighter inlet tract, which unlocks 4% more grunt between 3-7000rpm.
The parallel twin motor is equally happy for you to ride its torque, or slice through its smooth new gearbox and thrash the Charlie and Ewan out of it. The CB500X constantly surprises you with its pace, as its new twin-piped exhaust can rumbles and spits on and off the gas. Power delivery, throttle and new slip and assist clutch are Honda-light and delicate to the touch.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Honda’s CB500 range is extremely robust and mechanical problems are almost non-existent. Our single 2019 Honda CB500X owners' review awards the bike the full five stars overall.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Not only is the CB500X a bargain, running costs will be low, too. Service intervals are every 8000 miles and it sips fuel like a budgie. Honda claim 78mpg and a 305-mile tank range, which isn’t far off the mark.
When we took the 2018 model on our MCN250 test it managed over 312-miles on a single fill-up. You also get a Datatag, two years unlimited mileage warrantee and European breakdown cover.
New ‘layered design’ angular bodywork, with more flowing panels, give a shaper, more Africa Twin-look (shame it’s not available in similar HRC colours) and there are powerful LEDs all round, but best of all are the detail touches that show just how much love and thought Honda has put into the design of this humble 500.
Radiator shrouds have been extended and the fuel tank is slimmer at the front to make it easier to move around. Honda says its improved airflow around the 20mm taller, two-way Allen key-adjustable screen (40mm between settings), but it’s still noisy at speed, like just about every other adventure bike out there.
All 2019 CB500s get a new LCD dash, featuring all the important information you need, including a handy gear position indicator, fuel consumption data, race bike-style peak rpm indication and a shift light. Buttons are dash-mounted, leaving the switchgear clean and uncluttered. A Honda GPS mount can be fitted to the fairing bracket above.
A full range of official accessories are available, including luggage, heated grips, centre stand, fog lights and a 12V socket, as well as cosmetic and protective goodies.
|Engine type||liquid-cooled 8V parallel-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel diamond|
|Fuel capacity||17.7 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm Showa forks, adjustable for preload|
|Rear suspension||Showa shocks, adjustable for preload|
|Front brake||310mm petal disc with twin-piston calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||240mm rear petal disc with single-piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||110/80 x 19|
|Rear tyre size||160/60 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£67|
|Annual service cost||£140|
|Used price||£4,600 - £6,100|
10 of 17
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 CB500X launched to take advantage of new 47bhp A2 licence regulations.
2016: Taller screen, new suspension with adjustable preload, adjustable brake lever, revised LEDs.
2019: Africa Twin inspired styling, 4% more grunt, longer travel suspension, 19” front wheel (replacing 17-incher), more steering lock, taller bars, new wheels and LCD dash.
Owners' reviews for the HONDA CB500X (2019 - on)
3 owners have reviewed their HONDA CB500X (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:||£140|
Annual servicing cost: £145
I wanted a second bike for commuting and some light off-road riding but at 5ft 7 I didn’t want the size and weight of a big adventure bike. I bought this based on many positive reviews online and haven’t been disappointed. It’s very light and nimble which makes it a breeze to ride on the B roads, the engine has enough power to keep me entertained and it’s proving to be a good buy. I’ve owned a variety of bikes over 28 years and this is one of the best I’ve had. Easy for a new rider to handle yet still fun for the experienced.
Very easy to ride quickly on the back roads, feels like a supermoto on the twisties, the suspension is soft and comfy on most roads, though the lack of damping shows up on the rougher stuff. Suspension upgrades would benefit the bike somewhat. Brakes are adequate but I plan to experiment with different pads and also try different tyres. The gearing is low which is fine for town and B roads but it’s revvy at motorway speeds, higher gearing would be on the cards if I planned to tour.
Surprisingly good and entertaining, feels way more than 47bhp with a nice exhaust sound. Keep the revs above 4K and it’s shoves along nicely which works well with the light handling. Clutch assist is good with smooth gearbox. Clock shows 93mpg!
Good overall finish to Honda standards. 8k service intervals keep me happy though likely to do my own oil changes in between.
145 first service.
Standard screen wasn’t great, buffeting at either setting, I changed mine for a small powerbronze sports screen which suits my riding and improves the looks. Plenty of info on the clocks inc gear indicator but could be brighter as I find it hard to read in the sun. Tyres are fine but look like they’ll wear out quickly. My paddock stand doesn’t fit as it fowls the exhaust so it needs a centre stand, though some aftermarket sump guards are not compatible with the honda stand. I use an enduro lift stick for chain adjustments. There’s loads of rally raid products for this bike so can be customised to suit.
Buying experience: Bought online, 2019 model £5495 otr inc delivery.
Version: Matt Black version
I bought this bike as I couldn't manage my Suzuki VStrom 1000 any longer due to Parkinsons disease. I needed a bike with a super smooth clutch action and an easy going throttle - the CB 500X has Clutch Assist and a light throttle. I don't suffer fatigue on this bike unlike the Vstrom which would have me pulling over for a good rest after 60-70 miles. I've now had 23 bikes some good some bad and some great - The CB500X is one of those great bikes. Almost anyone will have a lot of fun on it...I do! I've given an overall rating of 5 but only if you are not much more than 12st without gear as the suspension is a bit bouncy on uneven roads. I won't be uprating it as I live in Wales where most of the roads are very smooth. A suspension upgrade should improve things, but might take away the liveliness of this bike.
The CB500X is happiest one up cruising between 60-75mph, it will do 90+, but its not built for it and not very enjoyable. It'll work on all manner of roads and the handling is just brilliant - this is the fun factor of this bike. Pillions need not apply though - the bike is not heavy enough and the suspension too soft - I tried it with the wife just the once! Brakes are weak but are greatly improved with a double sintered pad from EBC (about £25.00)
I can't believe this is a 471cc motorcycle. Its very nippy around town, and no slouch on faster roads. I can ride for hours now and best of all my mate on his Triumph Explorer 1250 cannot keep up in the twisties!
Typical great Honda finish. I have the matt black version which looks great, but don't polish it as it won't be matt for much longer. The book actually warns about this.
I am a brisk and purposeful rider, not a thrasher or slug and I regularly get 75-80mpg. Amazing!
The basic equipment is good - Clutch assist/Slipper clutch, ABS and cool instrument panel. Does'nt need all the bells and whistles you get with much more expensive bikes - One of the qualities I like about the CB500X. Oh and the screen is not bad at all. Centre stand is not included in the new price but necessary if only to adjust the chain. Yes are only ok as the rear was done after 3.5k miles. There are much better tyres out there, namely Bridgestone A41 will last 7-8k so I've been told.
Buying experience: Bought from Thunderoad Cwmbran March 2019 for RRP of £6,199. Traded in my VStrom. The deal was OK.
Just got this bike new before the lock down,its an easy to ride,comfortable everyday to work bike that seems to be doing about 70 plus mpg with ease.It can shift if needed and the gearbox is the best of any motorcycle Ive owned (30 plus so far) I would recommend buying this bike to anyone just starting to ride or even to someone who has experience but needs a bike for everyday work use.Fairly priced and looks alot more expensive than it actually is.
At its best on A roads,twisting roads and through traffic with its higher position for the rider now thanks to the taller wheels post 2019.Brakes are excellent(bear in mind though I love Harleys...) no pillion yet
Its only 47bhp so its never going to get too scary,the power comes on gradually and overtakes have to be planned as this is not a sports bike.
Good service intervals Honda say nothing now needed until 8000m after first small service ie oil change and checking all still tight and screwed together
standard tyres do the job you get with bike,like the screen and the display is easy to read with none of the sun issues other digital displays can have.
Buying experience: I bought the bike from a dealer and they were great,they encouraged me to try similar size bikes on test at their dealership in Bristol and I think were honest about the bikes capabilities and spot on with just how good the bike is as an everyday,reliable economical machine.I paid I believe £5800 and to be honest I reckon its worth more than that.Ive had non biking friends comment on how good it looks and surprised at the fact its only a 500,so don,t be put off by the small engine size if image matters to you.I think the 2019 to 20 upgrade,especially the taller tyres has produced a better bike.