MCN Fleet: Five things we'll miss about the CB500F

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This week I said goodbye to the CB500F we’d had on loan from Honda after 1400 miles in the last month. The CBF was only ever going to be a stop gap until our NC750X was ready for collection, but I was still a little sad to let it go.

The thing is, the CB500F might be a no-frills, relatively basic bit of kit, even with the upgrades to the 2016 model, but that doesn’t make it any less of the sports naked it is so keen to be. Here are five things I’ll miss as I make the step up to something much more suited to the motorway miles I so often end up churning out…   

1)     The Saturday morning ride 

It might not be a high-powered, all-singing, all-dancing sports naked but the CB500F left me grinning from ear to ear on a Saturday morning ride. It’s light and nimble nature meant changing direction was almost effortless, even if the front end did start to feel a little light when starting to push on. Whether I was out on my own, or riding with others, the CBF was more than capable of holding its own. 

2)    Cheap to run

OK, this isn’t something I’ll miss as such as the NC750X I’ve taken as a replacement is hardly a gas guzzling beast, but one of the best things about the CB500F is its frugal however you ride it. My MPG never dropped much below 60, even when riding it in the least economical ways. The 16.5 litre tank would give you in excess of 170 miles and it cost around £15 to fill it up! 


3)    Manageable speed

The CBF isn’t slow. Yes, it’s only got 47bhp and it’d probably be a bit more fun if it had a little more, but it’s still got a top speed in excess of 110mph – which is more than enough for riding on UK roads! I’m still a relatively new rider, I’ve only had my full licence for a little over a year so I appreciated the unintimidating yet fun nature of the CB, enough to enjoy yourself but not so much things get silly. We wouldn’t want ambition to outweigh talent, now would we? It’s the perfect sensible option for someone stepping up from a 125.

4)    Looks

The CB500F is a good looking bike. It was particularly striking in the red/grey colourscheme we had it in but it wasn’t until I stood back in Honda UK’s warehouse and saw it lined up against many other bikes from Honda’s extensive range that I noticed it stood out as a looker. 

The design is much more angular than previous CB500F models, making it look much sportier – the bloke I was handing it back to, who works with these bikes on a daily basis, thought it was the bigger CB650F at first look!

5)    Versatility   

One of the best things about the CB500F is wherever you took it and whatever you did, it handled it well. I guess this partly to do with the fact that this chassis forms three different bikes in the 500 range – the CB500F we had, the CBR500R sports bike and adventure-styled CB500X.

I’ve got a 130-mile round-trip daily commute, most of which involves a monotonous charge down the A1. A sports naked wouldn’t be my first port of call for this trip, but as the F isn’t too powerful it doesn’t feel as though it’s going to rip your arms off after 20 miles with the wind blasting at you.

For sure, there are better bikes for commuting but the CBF did the job and its size came in very handy when filtering through particularly bad traffic.

While it’s way more at home on the twisty B roads, the CB500F will handle any day to day riding you want it to. For someone looking to step up from a 125cc to something a little bigger but manageable, it could well be the bike for you. 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing