HONDA CBF500 (2004 - 2008) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
One of the best value commuter/novice motorcycles around, the Honda CBF500 is a decently quick twin cylinder motorcycle that's well made, reliable and handles predictably. It does everyhting you can ask in a novice-friendly package and holds its resale value too. Compared to the Kawasaki ER-6 the Honda CBF500 perhaps looks a little bit plain, but some folk prefer less flash.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The Honda CBF500's chassis is nothing special but it does the job more than adequately and the Honda CBF500 has monoshock rear suspension that's tweakable to an extent, depending on your weight and riding style. The Honda CBF500 also has ABS braking as an optional extra, which is another plus point for novice bikers who want a budget motorcycle that's as safe as possible too.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Honda CBF500 isn't a sportbike, but 56bhp is enough to make life interesting, especialy if you've never been on a motorcycle before, except a CBT 125cc training motorcycle. The Honda CBF500 has a smooth parallel twin motor too, which makes commuting on dual carriagways or motorways less vibey than on some rival twin cylinder 500-600cc motorcycles.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
No doubt about it, the Honda CBF500 is a cut above some of its budget rival motorcycles in the 500-600cc twins class, and it has a good reputation for reliability based on its predecessor, the Honda CB500 twin, which is essentially the same motorcycle. Motorcycles like these tend to be ridden in all weathers and the Honda CBF500 is more likely to resist the rigours of wet weather biking than some other machines.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
You don't get much on two wheels these days for about four grand, so the Honda CBF500, with optional ABS brakes and good potential PX value two years down the line, makes an attractive proposition for any first time biker. More importantly, the Honda CBF500 is genuinely fun to ride - which is what biking should be all about, even if you're just commuting. Find a Honda CBF500 for sale.
The Honda CBF500 is just as well equipped as the average mid-sized commuter motorcycle, with good quality brakes, suspension and a comfortable seat. It also has passenger grab handles, plus a little hugger near the rear wheel to protect the monoshock and mirrors that offer a good rear view. The Honda CBF500's 19-litre fuel tank offers a good range too.
|Engine type||8v, parallel twin, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Steel spine|
|Fuel capacity||19 litres|
|Rear suspension||Preload, rebound|
|Front brake||Twin 296mm discs|
|Rear brake||240mm disc|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17 in|
|Rear tyre size||160/60 x 17 in|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||45 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£67|
|Annual service cost||£150|
9 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||56 bhp|
|Max torque||33 ft-lb|
|Top speed||125 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||13.8 secs|
|Tank range||180 miles|
Model history & versions
2004: Honda CBF500 launched.
Honda CBF500 ABS: Fitted with ABS brakes as standard.
Owners' reviews for the HONDA CBF500 (2004 - 2008)
17 owners have reviewed their HONDA CBF500 (2004 - 2008) 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:||£150|
Annual servicing cost: £100
Ride quality is good. Brakes are ABS and to be honest, I never thought anything about them as they work well within the boring experience of riding the bike.
It's done 8700 miles. It's slow. Acceleration is okay for a new rider. About the same as a reasonable 2.5 litre car. The biggest disappointment was the vibration that ruins anything above 60. Could to with a few extra teeth on the front sprocket.
No corrosion to speak of on mine. It's very low mileage.
Everything looks easy to get to. Bought it cheap off an elderly owner who wasn't really interested in riding anymore.
ABS with hazard lights. Underseat has a small area for waterproof trousers and a disc lock.
Buying experience: Got the bargain of the century. £700. Gladly sold it for £1700.
Version: CBF500 abs
Annual servicing cost: £150
Brilliant bit of kit. You’re going to read all about how good this machine is for a learner or a novice and that is true, I had the older CB500 (same bar a few mod cons) for my first big machine and it was so good. Well I’ve been through some high powered machines since those days and I’ve ridden more or less every type of bike and here I am back at square one with a CBF500 for my “runner” and I’m just buzzing with it. As well as learners the bike is rewarding for experienced riders who, like myself hold their hand up and have decided they can not be trusted with too much horsepower on the road and rather save those antics for the track. Fit a small screen, stainless exhaust and good tyres and this bike is up there with the purest road experiences you can have. Will scratch, tour, carry a pillion, go forever and have you beaming from ear to ear in the tight stuff. And they are pennies. Don’t overlook - consider one of these and spend what you have saved on trips, accessories and beer. You’re welcome
Adequate but don’t expect miracles from the front brake, single disc. The bike stops, that’s all you can say. Good rear brake though. Suspension is basic but I don’t think is bad, it takes a set in the bends and stays pretty much put. Decent over bumps. Good for this class of bike. Seat is only ok, my backside is the first thing to complain but I’m good for a few hours at a time so can go more or less tank to tank. Pillion seat is great.
Just brilliant. Pretty torquey and good pull especially top end. Can’t think of a better motor in this size on any bike. Completely unburstable too. Slick gearbox with 6 cogs. Bear in mind you are in cheaper tax and insurance and try and think of better performance in this bracket. I’ve not seen it. Decent exhaust releases a lovely twin growl which pops on the over run. Characterful but predictable, an absolute peach.
Bulletproof and under stressed in almost every aspect, these bikes will go around the clock with good basic maintenance. Get a stainless exhaust system though as standard is heavy, quiet, rots and is a bit rubbish.
Excellent used buy. Lower tax, good mpg, cheap insurance on a bike that really punches above it’s weight on the road. Value has bottomed so resale value is nails. If you’re inclined, the bike is easy to work on and parts are on shelves everywhere.
Having had the old bike I’m really pleased to have a mono shock and hugger as well as abs on this one. Could do with a fuel gauge and clock but there you go.
Buying experience: Private, good used condition, absolute bargain. Saw it at the price and mileage got almost straight in the car phoned him on the way and did not haggle. If you see a good one, get there and buy it because a large number of people know how good this machine is.
Version: CBF500 ABS
Annual servicing cost: £200
Excellent once suspension is upgraded.
This is the only real negative. Now, i should start by saying that my example has done 65k miles so the suspension was pretty past it. However, I've replaced the rear shock with an uprated unit and replaced the fork springs and oil with heaver duty items. It now rides MUCH better than before (I am about 110kg in gear). Bit of a pain the forks are non adjustable but it is a budget bike at the end of the day - so if you're on the heavier side you may need to do what I did. I have the ABS model as I won't ride another bikes without it now. While they work well they are a bit wooden with regards to feel but this may just be old pads that i need to look at. So, overall make sure the suspension has been uprated and it's golden. Renthal bars also help a lot and it's basically a little supermotard now and enormous fun for B roads and town work. Higher speed is a bit less comfortable due to no wind protection though.
My other bike has over 100hp more than this and with me being a big guy i was originally worried about it - I shouldn't have been! Even with relatively high mileage and my weight this thing pulls brilliantly well. Sure, you have to milk the gears to get it to it's max - there's a nice surge of power at about 8k - but it really goes! Fuel economy seems pretty good as well although I've not done a long run. I really can't fault it here and unless you really want to play at silly speeds on the motorway you aren't going to be lacking. Give it some beans and it EASILY pulls away from the big German saloons that seem to be everywhere.
The bike is 13 years old now and I've only had it for about 5 months. Although there are the odd signs of surface rust it's done remarkably well for a bike that (as I understand it) stood outside for most of its life. It's certainly in a lot better condition that my BMW is/was! It's of the typical Honda quality and feels reasonably well put together. Some of the rear bodywork is a bit loose but again i think that's down to owner abuse. It certainly feels pretty solid otherwise.
I'd say annual servicing would be well under £200 if you were to do it yourself and do it properly (coolant, oil, filters, fork oil, plugs, carbs etc). It's incredibly easy to work on and the engine is the same as the older CB500 so you can use some parts from them. Part of the reason for buying was so I could learn on a simpler bike than my electronic laden BMW.
It's great that it has ABS and underseat storage but good god the seat is uncomfortable. As I've mentioned above the lack of preload etc on the forks is annoying but this can be sorted by changing the internal springs/oil.
Buying experience: Private seller
Annual servicing cost: £150
So, this is the successor to the CB500. I put a CB around the clock before it was written off (as I nearly was) when a car turned across the road in front of me, but luckily I found a really nice second-hand one just before that happened. The engine is the same as the predecessor but with fuel injection (and a choke/start assist knob) to meet the stricter emission laws. The chassis is totally different with a monoshock and now uses the engine as a stressed member, the bars feel the same and the mirrors are now rectangular and give less of a rear view. The rear wheel has gone up a size to 140 section and the forks are meatier too, but with no adjustment, not that it feels like any is needed. As a committed rider and avid fan of the CB500 (one owned from new, one 'Sunday best' pristine example in the garage) and wanting another but unable to find a decent one I went 'effer'.
The seat is comfy so far on rides of up to 200 miles, the furthest I have done in a single stint so far. I once covered just under 900 miles on my CB500 in 20 hours but was rather sore afterwards. My 24,000 mile, four-year-old Gladius seat still feels like a plank with knots in - and possibly nails. The ABS brakes seem to be rather over-engineered with three-pot calipers at the front compared to the CB500's two. The rear piston also appears bigger. There is a lot of feel through the brakes and the ABS does not appear to be intrusive when I have deliberately tried to lock it on wet roads. The suspension works well one up with no luggage with just rear preload adjustment but I have yet to take a pillion. The bike is often described, as was the CB500, as a 'commuter' or 'learner' bike. You can commute on any bike, I use the CBF500, a CB500, Gladius and 900 Hornet for my ride to and fro to work. All get used for mid-distance (3-400 mile) day rides and touring as well as shorter.
Others have remarked on the 'lack' of power. It's a 500 twin. You get your 56 bhp (one down on the CB500) but with a surprisingly wide range of useable torque. The red line is at 9500rpm, 1000rpm less than the CB but the engine feels more tractable for that. If you want over 100 bhp you won't get it here, but you will get an engine that will run forever. I stripped the engine of the bike I was knocked off of and there is no wear in it anywhere that I could find - I'd sacrifice horsepower for longevity any day. You may need to stir the gears more often if you are hooning about but a well-ridden CBF is far more capable than the above labels would have you believe. If you want a similar seat height and weight without the need to thrash the engine on a naked bike with more go then have a look at the Suzuki SV/Gladius/SVR. For a 'taller, heavier, handles about the same but with over 100 bhp' bike look at a 900 Hornet - if you can find one of those rare beasts.
So far so good, the 13 year-old bike was bought with a mere 27,800 on the clock but appears to have been kept outside for part of it's life or not washed regularly. The silver paintwork is still bright but there are a few rough spots on the chassis. I doubt that the valves has ever been touched as two shims were needed (my CB500 didn't have any in over 100 000 miles). I have a concern about the electrics though as the fuse box is mounted to the rear of the front seat and the rear seat doesn't properly seal against water - unfortunately this is common on bikes. In the nicer weather the ACF50 will be out.
Estimated at under £150 /year if you don't service the valves yourself and ride 4000 miles per year. Buy a Haynes, rear paddock stand (unless you have a centre stand), torque wrench and a few other bits and you can do most of the work yourself. You can go to 8000 miles between oil changes but I do mine every 4000. Spark plugs last 16,000. I do all my servicing except for the valves due to space and a couple of hours will sort everything out if you keep on top of your weekly checks. Servicing your bike means you really get to know it and any unpleasant MOT surprises can be ruled out. 4000 mile services are change the oil and filter and [assuming the weeklies] that's about it. 8000 sees a look at the spark plugs [not worth it unless the bike isn't running well as they were fine on the CB for 16 000 miles] and a few other bits. 16 000 is the valve service which will set you back about £300 in a non-main dealer shop.
Speedo, tacho, two trips, some warning lights. That's all folks. I agree with others that a clock is nice and I have given Mr Oxford Accessories £30 for an analogue clock that fits on the front brake bracket. Or you could get a cheap watch and wrap it around the handlebars. Weirdly my 2006 900 Hornet clocks are almost identical but there is a clock selectable on the right-hand button. A friend has paid the thick end of £20,000 for a BMW that has more buttons and switches than the Space Shuttle. I have a sat-nav bolted on for when I lead rides/tours but I have no need for cruise control on any of my bikes! The bike came with a screen (removed) and crash bungs. I would recommend heated grips for year-round riding but the CBF600 is known to eat alternators if these are fitted. As the engine is the same as the CB I imagine the alternator is as well so I should be OK as one of my CB500s had heated grips, but I can always use Keis under-gloves powered by a battery pack. Unfortunately Honda have discontinued one of the two springs that are needed for the centre stand-WHY??? All the other parts are available and I'll be getting these and trying to find a suitable one to fit the stand. My one is currently on a mis-matched pair of BT23 (front) and Maxxis (rear) tyres, the standard being the discontinued BT56s (these were great on the Hornet) but in the cold and wet the handling is confident so I'm not sure if this combination is 'bad' or 'wrong' - as with so many bike options if it feels right it is.
Buying experience: Bought from Ace Motorcycles in Macclesfield which is a proper bike shop, not a boutique. A test ride was available and the chaps there are bikers not salesmen who sell bikes. £1900 saw the bike bought and delivered to Northants (I didn't want to ride it 120 miles home in freezing rain, I'm a committed rider, not stupid). If I'm buying from a shop I prefer a bit of oil and grease on display as it means that the people there are likely to know what they are talking about. Suits and ties are for car salesmen.
why did i ever sell it to buy a transalp? at the price a cbf 500 is unbeatable, my only problem was the engine had to be revved so hard .i don't want to cruise at 115 kph sounding like a racer. forget the transalp.
i never took a pillion
too high revving for me. out of my comfort zone
here in israel very heavy taxation inflates spares prices and labour charges so these costs are not really relevant to this survey
those two round dials just like a sixties bike
Buying experience: bought secondhand from a dealer for a fair price later traded in when buying a new honda transalp (mistake)
Well, this is a replacement for my 2004 GS500F. First things first, the Honda is better, suspension, engine and brakes. The Suzuki is more economical, but sometimes you need just a bit more "go!" than economy. Having used 1200's for commuting, this little 500 has decent punch and handles very sweetly. I'm going to fit a Givi fly screen though to get some of the wind off my chest. Also fitted new mirrors as the old ones were awful. Bolts had corroded through, so they fell off! Nice low weight, good low speed control (yes a perfect DAS trainer bike) and decent brakes means you can have decent fun on it. If you are used to IL4's or a Triple, then it feels a touch gutless and breathless, but as a commuting tool and general runabout, absolutely ideal. Mine has 22600 on the clocks when I bought it, only 3K added in the last 3 years by previous owner. So it is reasonably low mileage for a 2005 reg model. No ABS, but you can squeeze hard and it stops! Needs a hugger and hand guards/heated grips for all weather riding. Get one, you won't regret the fun times.
This is the 3rd of my reviews on this bike. I bought it new back in 2008 and have reviewed it on here on 3 previous occasions. Over the past 5 years I have done 30,000 miles in all weathers & it has been my only transport. It never missed a beat & was totally reliable except for the battery which I had to replace twice. As a commuter it has been 1st class.
I have owned a cbf 500 for a year and a half now, it is an absolutely brilliant bike which will get you from A to B with a smile on your face and to work and back. It easily eats up dual carriage ways and motor ways, the only downside to the engine is that it could do with that extra bit of torque so that it would accelerate a bit quicker during overtakes etc, but having said that it still does overtakes quite well. the cbf 500 is built like a tank and can handle being dropped as I have found out riding in the snow. the bike does not rust easily as long as it is protected with ACF50 in the winter. the handling is superb with michelin pilot roads or pilot road 2s fitted and the engine sounds pretty good with a pipewerx hawk exhaust. I also recommend fitting stainless steel down pipes as the standard honda ones rust easily and will need repainting all the time. crash bars are another essential modification for all year riding as if it is dropped the major components will be saved the one I have fitted are from renntech and I recommend them highly. all round a great bike I have covered 25000 reliable miles on mine and it is still going strong. self servicing is cheap and a doddle as everything is so easy to get to and remove. overall a brilliant bike I would recommend to any novice or commuter.
im not going to say i dont like this bike because there is not much i dislike about it. but at the same time its effortsless handling and superb engine seem so boring, i dont know how but it just is. i do find my self doing silly speeds some times to make in more fun, that could be taken as a bad point i suppose.the other major downside to this bike is doing your own repairs etc are a pain in the ass, evering is in the way of everything else, looped and twisted all around each other like and italian meal. again this doesnt make it hard to do these things just irritating. but ill say it again its not a bad bike, fast for its size, accelerates well, huge rear tyre make cornering at speed to easy.
I bought a CBF500ABS in December 2009 with the intention of taking it to France for a trip and I would then sell it on my return. It turned out to be a very good purchase indeed, so much so that I have decided to keep it. I did not test ride it when I bought it and I didn't ride it until a week before I went on my trip in April 2010, I thought I had better ride it just to make sure everything was as it should be. My initial impression was that it seemed quite heavy for a small bike although only when moving it around. Once you get moving it is very easy to ride at any speed. The reason I bought this bike was because it was a Honda (my preference) and it was for sale locally (private sale) only 2000 miles on it with 1 owner from new and at a reasonable price. It came with a rack so I just fitted my 1980s Rickman topbox and loaded the bike up to catch the ferry. The bike ran without fault for the whole trip, the tank range was 180 mlies reserve light on, I then on one occasion went to 211 miles and still had 2 litres left, 200 miles on a tank can easily be done. So no complaints on the tank range. Performance is excellent for a small capacity bike, you can cruise comfortably at motorway speeds all day or enjoy riding on nice biking roads however you choose to ride. It copes well with a pillion or luggage however I am not sure it would cope with both at the same time though! My bike does have ABS which I didn't really want but I have to say that it worked very well while riding on a road surface with quite alot of small loose stones. All in all this is a very good alround bike with low running costs that offers the rider pretty much whatever you ask of it. With the exception of ABS this bike is still quite old fashioned mechanically which I like for ease of self maintainence. Just remember that it is only 500cc and a leaner bike really and you will not be disapointed. I recommend a centre stand, Hugger and Scottoiler just for ease of maintainence and keeping it and your boots clean, also a fly screen and heated grips are on my shopping list. On a different note if you fancy going to france by bike but have never been before or do not want to go on your own then take a look at wwww.longwayroundbrittany.co.uk
Fantastic bike every house hold should have one. superb reliability. slight disapointment bout flacking on crankcase, but 10 out of 10 for ride and handling and value.
I wish Honda was still producing the 500 CBF as it really is a great bike. As a commuter I needed something that was light, reliable and economical - the 500 CBF ticks all the boxes. I ride in all weathers and it is assured and sturdy. It feels like a quality bike even though it comes with a budget price tag. When i take it onto the motorway this 'commmuter' proves to be fun and zesty. With a flick of the wrist I am at 85mph andf the bike feels as if there is pleanty of power still to come. OK it's not a racing bike, but then again I have no intention of going to a track. I just want a bike that will start every morning and get me to work and back. This it does easily and is fun too. Highly recommended! An excellent bike that looks good and workd very well. The resale value is also excellent - I have discovered lots of people want one.
Here is an update, my previous review was in August. I have now done 3,000 miles on my CBF and I do like it. I regularly get mpg in the high 50's with the average about 57mpg. It has never missed a beat which is what you would expect of a new bike. As stated in my previous review as a distance commuter each and every day I need a bike that has a fairing, clock and a fuel gauge. The engine has freed up more since my last review and spins happily. The handling is safe and predictable and I think she looks good. The seat is now a lot more comfy and either my bum or the seat has softened. I like this bike more than I did in my last review, but becuase of my long didstance commute and the things that Honda have left off I wil be changing it next year (2009) for a CBF1000. which has a fairing, clock, centre stand, fuel gauge and as you would expect from a bike twice the capacity more oomph. The CBF500 is a very very good bike for the novice or shorter distance commuter. Or someone who just isn't as critical as me.
I have owned this Bike from new for three months and so far have done 1,900 mile commuting to work every single day. It will be used winter and summer for my 40 mile daily commute. It does exactly what it says on the tin and gets me to work every day and can put a smile on my face. I have been consistently getting 58 - 60 MPG and it beats all the cars in the Traffic Light Grand Prix. The seat is getting more comfy now I have been on it for three months but at first it seem very hard. The riding position is great, but on longer trips I do have slight wrist ache. The bike in my eyes does look good. The brakes are okay and do the job, my friend who has been riding all his life says that the brakes are very good. The fit and finish are good and are better than the Suzuki and Kawasaki's that I liked at before I bought. Some negatives, this bike is designed for commuting and the novice rider (like me) but it does not have any of the following a fairing, a rear hugger, a fuel gauge or a clock. I consider all the these items very important if you like me use the bike every day for your ride to work. So really all the negatives are about what Honda left off the bike as opposed to the actual bike itself, which I suppose shows what a good bike it is. Would I buy one again myself, probably not if my commute was only twenty miles then definitely yes or if I wanted the bike to be my first big bike and break myself in with then definitely yes. But for my 40 mile commute the things that I have listed above that Honda left off will be a pain to me come December and January. For a Summer only or a shorter distance year round commuter or a first big bike to learn your trade on then this bike is great.
Having owned 25 bikes in 28 years,this bike is about the best so far, for the combination of commuting and fun riding that I do. however I looking to change,fuel consumption being a big reason,63mpg is the absolute best i can achieve riding like my granny is on the back. Riding at 70mph on my 68 mile round trip to work and back I am only getting 50mpg. Get a grip bike makers,70mpg at 70mph cant be to much to ask can it,riding to work is great even in winter,but sadly car makers are leaving us behind in the economical transport sector which motorcycling once ruled.
It is a great all round bike and stands up well to the weather considering it's never been left for more than a week to sit idle. Only thing is the hugger doesn't come as standard. Excellant Bike!
My CBF500 was bought second hand for £3k with 1200 miles on the clock. My first ABS bike great on wet winter roads. 60mpg plus, very good handling on the OE Michilen Pilot Road tyres. Needs hugger and fender ext for muck