Boost for Baby Blade: Honda CBR500R updated along with CB500X and CB500F
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For the most part the updates are the same across the range, so we’re going to focus on the sharp lined, pure teenage eye candy CBR500R.
The biggest change for all three models, is the addition of 41mm Showa Separate Function Big Piston forks with associated new triple trees. These forks control the damping with one leg with the spring mechanism in the other and are lifted straight from the CBR650R.
The rear shocks have also received a new set-up to match the new front forks. Paired with this improved front end is a brand new swingarm for all three bikes, which is considerably lighter than the old model.
Despite this Honda claim it is stiffer rotationally while also being more flexible ‘laterally’ to improve handling.
The CBR500R (and CB500F) also gains new lighter 5-spoke wheels rather than the 6-spoke models on the previous generation.
Attached to these wheels are new 296mm discs, which are now acted on by radially mounted twin-piston Nissin calipers for improved braking feel. The weight bias has also been shifted marginally further forward on the R and F to improve front end grip.
The engines in all three bikes have remained pretty much the same for 2022, with no increase in power with all three staying firm at 47bhp (the A2 licence limit).
Despite this Honda have still updated the fuel injection, which they say improves the torque delivery in the midrange while also adding some extra character without any drop in performance. All three bikes gain a new radiator, which itself helps to drop 100g.
There’s been a small styling update to the three bikes, mostly with colour options but the CBR is the big winner gaining the LED lights from the CBR650R and helping to give it that coveted mini-Fireblade look.
The CB500X also gains new LED lights, which Honda say are even more ‘piercing’ while the indicators now double up as ‘position lights’ just like the Africa Twin.
Interestingly alongside these new bikes, Honda have released some fascinating stats about the 500 range. It’s easy to look the other way these days, with most ‘big bikes’ pushing in excess of 120bhp but over 75% of people who buy CB500Xs are experienced riders.
Meanwhile nearly half of the CB500F sales are to people new to biking, while 60% of riders picking up CBR500Rs are under 34. Maybe hundreds of horsepowers, fifteen IMUs and staggering pricetags aren’t what people want after all.
The new 500 range will arrive in dealers shortly, with pricing TBC.