HONDA CBR500R (2019 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Sportsbike for A2 licence holders
  • Engaging handling and peppy engine
  • Build like a Honda should be

At a glance

Power: 47 bhp
Seat height: Medium (30.9 in / 785 mm)
Weight: Medium (423 lbs / 192 kg)

Prices

New £6,099
Used £4,000 - £5,800

Overall rating

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

The 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.

It offers credible performance alongside aspirational styling, complete with MotoGPinspired 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 & brakes

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

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.

Engine

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

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 quality

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

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 rivals

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

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

Honda CBR500R vs Yamaha R3

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."

Riding the Honda CBR500R alongside the Yamaha R3

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

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 LCD screen on the Honda CBR500R

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.

Specs

Engine size 471cc
Engine type liquid-cooled parallel twin
Frame type Tubular steel diamond
Fuel capacity 17.1 litres
Seat height 785mm
Bike weight 192kg
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 £69
Annual service cost -
New price £6,099
Used price £4,000 - £5,800
Insurance group -
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 -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

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.

Other versions

CB500F (naked), CB500X (adventure)

Owners' reviews for the HONDA CBR500R (2019 - on)

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