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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.