HONDA CBR500R (2019 - 2021) Review
- Sportsbike for A2 licence holders
- Engaging handling and peppy engine
- Build like a Honda should be
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£130|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The latest Honda CBR500R is refined, well balanced, beautifully built and peppy. First introduced in 2014, it's a stalwart of the A2 genre and is now in its third iteration.
- Latest news: 2022 Honda CBR500R review
It offers credible performance alongside aspirational styling, complete with MotoGP-inspired wings. Finished in a delicious glossy red and black and complete with a chunky 17.1-litre fuel tank between your legs, it offers a ‘big-bike’ feel.
You can’t help but steal glances at yourself in shop windows as you cruise through town and could easily mistake it for a Fireblade. It feels far more special than a simple stepping-stone between licences and at a fraction over six grand, is stonking value for money.
This is complemented by the LED headlights and all-new LCD dash, which features a similar layout to the larger capacity, four-cylinder CBR650R. An adjustable brake lever, blue anodised fork tops and well-finished, logically-placed switchgear seal the deal, with the only major gripe being the mirrors, which are largely consumed by your gloves and forearms.
A2 licence holders should be feeling pretty chuffed when they discover just how dazzling 47bhp can be.
Listen to the Honda CBR500R exhaust sound in our video review!
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
A new Showa rear shock and fork internals, featuring progressive springs (hard in the middle, soft at the top and bottom) keeps the Honda composed when you're jamming it into corners like Marquez, or maintaining Lorenzo-like momentum. It’s stable and plush with an unquenchable appetite for corner speed.
After all, it’s more exciting carving through a 60mph corner on a fizzing CBR500R, than doing the same on a Honda Fireblade SP, as it yawns back at you. A single wavy 320mm disc and twin piston Nissin caliper set-up has decent power, but is best supplemented by the rear to really get the Honda stopped.
Bars are now fitted beneath the top yoke, canting you eight degrees further forward, but the new riding position doesn’t hammer wrists and the seat is all-day cosy.
EngineNext up: Reliability
With its new valve timing, bigger airbox and straighter inlet tracts the CBR500R now has a surprising amount of grunt, so there’s no need to chase gears and revs on a rainy commute, but it’s properly fast when you poke it with a stick and well…abuse it. Breaking the ton and beyond, is a piece of cake, which isn’t surprising when you realise it has the same power as the beloved Yamaha RD350LC.
We never thought that was slow, did we? Unlike that smelly two-stroke, the Honda has a wide spread of perfectly delivered power and its throttle, new assist and slipper clutch and new gearbox are buttery and precise.
Wound out fully, you can expect a Honda CBR500R top speed of 112mph.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
CBR500Rs are pretty much bomb proof and our online reader reviews give nothing but glowing comments. It’s also a machine used at the Honda Ron Haslam School, thrashed for thousands of miles around Donington Park with zero mechanical problems.
We don't have any Honda CBR500R owners' reviews at this point. You can leave one here.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Six grand is very little for a machine that offers so much. Service intervals are every 8000 miles and you can expect over 70mpg with a careful right hand. You also get a Datatag, two years unlimited mileage warranty and European breakdown cover.
Group test: Honda CBR500R vs Yamaha R3
First published in MCN on 26 June 2019 by Dan Sutherland
MCN road tester Dan Sutherland had a whale of a time testing two junior sportsbikes - the Honda CBR500R and the ever-impressive Yamaha R3. Here's his verdict:
"With their comfortable, roadbiased stance and frugal twin-cylinder engines, it’s all too easy to cast A2-compliant sportsbikes off as little more than a styling exercise, with none of the traditional thrill power or cornering prowess that we seek when choosing a bike.
"However, 500 miles on the Yamaha R3 and Honda CBR500R have smashed that preconception to pieces, with both offering bags of cornering ability and enough poke to keep up with and stay ahead of the traffic – all wrapped up in a set of sleek, superbikeinspired plastics. Both would make the perfect poster bike for the aspiring sportsbike enthusiast, but top honours have to go to the CBR. Although £800 more expensive, there’s more road presence, a better soundtrack and plusher suspension. Capable, frugal and comfortable, it’s the perfect do-it-all performance bike, regardless of your skillset."
LED headlights, blue anodised fork tops, MotoGP winglets and carbon effect fairing infil panels all sum up the attention to detail lavished on this 47bhp 500.
The paint and finish wouldn’t look out of place on a £20-grand superbike and a new LCD dash now has a gear position indicator. Its Blade-style screen is low, but manages to offer decent wind protection even for a taller rider.
|Engine type||liquid-cooled parallel twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel diamond|
|Fuel capacity||17.1 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm Showa forks, adjustable for preload|
|Rear suspension||Showa shock, adjustable for preload|
|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||£130|
|Used price||£4,300 - £6,300|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
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 CBR500R launched to take advantage of new 47bhp A2 licence regulations.
- 2016: Styling, suspension and airflow tweaks, hinged fuel cap, adjustable brake lever and new exhaust can.
- 2019: Fireblade styling including MotoGP style wings, 4% more grunt, 3kg lighter, sportier riding position, refined suspension, new slip and assist clutch, new dash, LED headlights.
Owners' reviews for the HONDA CBR500R (2019 - 2021)
5 owners have reviewed their HONDA CBR500R (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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£130|
Great beginners bike with cool looks, decent pace and easy handling.
Surprisingly good. Brakes are fine, ride is very smooth even at speed and handling is very easy and positive. Will keep up with far faster bikes.
I have owned many really fast bikes and have bought this to keep me on the road now I have hit 65! The engine is bland and the performance is adequate. It will get you were you want, cruise at motorway speed and do over 80 to a gallon. It will not excite you but do not let that put you off. I am thoroughly enjoying riding it due to its high comfort level. My days of Hayabusas etc are over.
Excellent build quality.
Always do my own servicing. First service cost £45 for oil and £15 for a genuine filter with a removal tool. Next service due in 16000 miles! I will service it thoroughly every 2 years ( I have several bikes and this will only do around 1500 miles per year)
Has all you need. I would appreciate a main stand for chain adjustment and maintenance.
Buying experience: Bought privately with only 36 miles on the clock due to ill health of seller. Paid £4800.
Annual servicing cost: £100
Quality and balanced componentry are it's best feature. It looks good, goes well and is economical at 85+ mpg for normal running. I would recommend it to a friend. Mirrors are the worst feature.
Ride and handling is fine for the performance. Brakes are enough without being exciting. All round it is very sound and integrated in its performance - no individual parts are much better or much worse than the overall quality. Rider seat is comfortable for 2 hours or so. Seat is low enough that I can paddle it to put it in the garage so the weight ( at 194kg a bit heavier than I would like) is actually not an issue.
The engine is smooth with good response and sufficient linear power. It pulls from little over 2000 revs and is easy in town. But it's fast enough when you use the revs. And the exhaust has a lovely burble on the overrun.
Typical Honda build quality
Not really sure of service cost yet. First service was free as part of the buying deal and I have only done 1500 miles. But intervals are long so should be reasonable.
The fairing looks good and with the screen, works well to make the ride comfortable. Bars are just right for me, angled but not too low. OE Dunlop tyres seem fine so far and don't white-line. Mirrors don't blur but need much fiddling to avoid just seeing your shoulders. it needs a radiator guard and hugger but that is common enough. Tank will take a Givi tanklock fixing and there are straps under the passenger seat for luggage.
Buying experience: I bought from Grafton Honda, a dealer in Milton Keynes. Great salesman Sam made the experience enjoyable. It was new but pre-reg so instead of list price of about £6200 I paid only £5200.
Annual servicing cost: £150
Brilliant bike especially as a first bike. Just passed my full bike licence and wanted something not too big to start with.So easy to ride. Weight is perfect. Such a fun bike. Only gripe i have is the mirrors never seem to be right. Always shows more of my elbows than whats behind.
Brakes very well. Smooth ride .Very comfortable on long runs
Very nippy bike. No issues keeping up with traffic on motorway
Bullet proof engine. Quality faultless honda
Very cheap to service . Amazing mpg too.
Buying experience: Bought mine from CMC in clay cross. Very good service and wasn't pushy atall.
Version: 2016-2018 model RA-J
Annual servicing cost: £150
Good step up bike from 125 or just a good first bike which importantly is affordable and cheap to run. Few new riders will push this bike to its limits.
Some have commented about brakes and upgrading, that’s not my view they are fine. Ride to the bike and not beyond
You need to quickly move between the first three gears to get a move on from stand still. But equally will move through urban traffic and toll in 3rd Gear
Only done 700 miles on the bike in my ownership so can’t say too much about reliability but everything about the bike is quality at an affordable price
Required a new spare key, all done and programmed for less than £75, as a car owner amazing value
Equipment is limited built to a price point, gear indicator would have been nice similar to later models which leads you to fitting an aftermarket indicator. Needs a tail tidy if planning to keep the bike for any length of time
Buying experience: Purchased private, September 2020 with under 400 miles on the clock paid £3,800 owner asking £3,950
Great value for money motorcycle with typical honda engineering and finish.
New suspension much better than previous models soft suspension.
Lighter clutch and new gearbox are excellent.Lovely burble from exhaust on the overrun.
Had 2016 model before this one with no problems after 3 years use.
Just usual oil and filter changes etc.
Had a double bubble on previous model but not really needed on this one.
Buying experience: Bought from Miles kingsport in Hull. Excellent service from their sales team. Fourth bike I have bought from them.