There is something so satisfying about a motorcycle that fits like a well-worn glove, and that’s how the 2022 Honda CB500F matches up with my five-foot six-inch 115-pound body. It follows my movements effortlessly, never getting in the way of what I want to do or overwhelming me with its weight or power. As the naked bike in Honda’s mid-size lineup of 500 twins, the CB500F is most in its element as an urban motorcycle, handling commuting duties and around-town errands, while capably serving as a weekend sportbike in the canyons.Introduced in 2013 and updated every three years, the CB500F receives several functional improvements for 2022. The well-tweaked bike now has an inverted Showa SFF-BP fork, dual disc brakes up front, and has shed a few pounds. Already an approachable, easy-to-ride bike, these refinements further hone the CB500F as one of the best go-to bikes for a wide swath of riders.
- The CB500F has twin 296mm rotors upfront for 2022. Gone is the single 310mm disc and axial-mount caliper. They are replaced with smaller dual discs grasped by radially mounted four-piston Nissin calipers. Braking is linear and rewarding. There was never a time when I felt a lack of confidence in the brakes; the harder I squeezed the five-position adjustable lever, the quicker I slowed down. This allows an aggressive rider to extract the maximum performance out of the sensible 500F, while never catching a novice rider by surprise with a harsh initial bite. When riding more leisurely, the engine compression braking is often enough to slow you down. There’s a 240mm disc in the rear for finessing stops around town or aiding hard braking in the canyons. I’m a rear brake fan, and the feel at the pedal is spot-on. ABS is standard, non-intrusive, and always welcome.
- An inverted Showa SFF-BP fork appears on the 2022 Honda CB500F. Upgrading the conventional 41mm fork to Showa’s Separate Function Fork – Big Piston design gives the CB500F a firmer front end. There’s a spring in one tube and damping in the other, saving weight. No adjustments are available on the fork—not to worry, the action is well-dialed as-is. Plus, there’s plenty of feedback for the aggressive riders amongst you. The linkage-assisted shock is adjustable for spring preload should you take a passenger.
- Dropping four pounds from its curb weight, the CB500F weighs in at 416 pounds for 2022. While that still outweighs me 3.5x times over, it doesn’t feel like a handful. Even at parking-lot speeds—where you most feel a motorcycle’s weight—the 500F is easy to maneuver. It’s 16 pounds lighter than the closely related faired CBR500R, and weighs 23 pounds less than the CB500X adventure iteration. Coupled with the low seat height, it feels even lighter. These are pluses for less experienced riders, making the 500F that much more of a blast for the seasoned rider. Weight savings came from tweaks to the swingarm, radiator, and lighter wheels.
- Power delivery is smooth, supportive, and plenty adequate for the job at hand. Yes, you have to twist the throttle hard and shift quickly if you want to access the full range of the liquid-cooled 471cc parallel twin’s potential, but the upside is that the CB500F is never intimidating. The motor is friendly and predictable, making it an excellent choice for beginners or riders moving up.
- Ergonomics are welcoming and reassuring, especially for newer riders. When riding hasn’t yet become second nature, the security of being able to get your feet flat on the ground is huge. At just over 31 inches, the CB500F’s seat will make many riders smile. The compact chassis puts hand and foot controls within easy reach, and the seated-in riding position creates a secure feeling of being at one with the bike.
- Sensible Michelin Road 5 tires still allow for enthusiastic weekend riding. The all-purpose rubber from Michelin is a sport-touring tire designed to provide high mileage while working for sport riding and wet conditions. While one might expect a jack of all trades to be a bit ho-hum, I was impressed with the Road 5’s inspiring athleticism. I scraped pegs while sprinting through corners on Mulholland Drive, a sure sign of confidence in the grip and the added rigidity of the new fork. Also notable is how well the Road 5s handle freeway rain grooves—nary a wander or head shake.
- With a 4.5-gallon tank and a fuel-efficient motor, the 2022 Honda CB500F doesn’t bust your budget, even if the price of gas is soaring. When the corner filling station’s posted price went to nearly $7/gallon a few weeks ago, I was happy to do 100 percent of my ‘driving’ aboard the thrifty CB500F. According to the LCD dash, which reports fuel consumption, I regularly averaged 60+ mpg even with some aggressive canyon runs and high-speed freeway trips thrown in the mix. It’s almost impossible to get less than 200 miles from a tank.
- Commuters will appreciate the slip and assist clutch, along with the easy maneuverability of the CB500F. Scooting between lanes of traffic is one of the perks of two-wheeled transportation in civilized states. The 500F’s slender physique and light clutch pull reduce fatigue and distraction, keeping your focus on fluctuating conditions.
- A birthday suit is all a motorcycle needs around town. There’s no reason to hide behind a windscreen when dodging traffic on city streets or cruising down the boulevard. The 500F’s unadorned good looks don’t need to be obscured with extra plastic distracting from the elemental riding experience. However, should you hop on the freeway and spin the velocity up to 75 mph for more than a few exits, you’ll miss the wind protection greatly. Every mph over 70 requires an incrementally tighter grip on the handlebars. If your commute includes high-speed freeway stretches, you’ll be more comfortable on the CB500X.
- Black (err, Matte Gray Metallic) goes with everything. No matter what colors your helmet and riding gear are, they’ll look great against the understated pigment of the 2022 Honda CB500F. Honda’s formal name for this year’s paint scheme is Matte Gray Metallic, but it reads as black to me. The bronze valve cover and engine cases are accents that, along with the gold fork legs, give the 500F a refined look. Oddly, the CB500F isn’t part of Honda’s Neo-Sports Café lineup, and I’m not sure why, as it fits right in—especially with the identically styled CB650R.
- As a test rider for over 20 years, I’m comfortable handling much larger motorcycles in various genres, and I appreciate plentiful horsepower. Yet the amount of comfort and fun that can be had on a more modest mount is worth remembering. After handling weekday commuting chores, the 2022 CB500F is the perfect sidekick for a weekend sprint across Angeles Crest Highway for an au jus tri-tip sandwich at Wrightwood’s Grizzly Cafe, or for kicking around the Southland on a hot summer evening, with a stop at the Cuban/Caribbean/Mexican mash-up La Bamba in Burbank for its carne asada grilled cheese sandwich.
- When a motorcycle can easily entertain experienced riders while also being a sensible first-bike choice, the engineers did something very right. In these days of high inflation, the 2022 Honda CB500F delivers a rewarding experience across a broad range of uses for $6699.
Photography by Don WilliamsRIDING STYLE2022 Honda CB500F ABS SpecificationsENGINE
- Type: Parallel twin
- Displacement: 471cc
- Bore x stroke: 67.0 x 66.8mm
- Compression ratio: 10.7:1
- Fueling: EFI w/ 34mm throttle bodies
- Valvetrain: DOHC; 4vpc
- Transmission: 6-speed
- Clutch: Wet multiplate w/ assist and slipper functions
- Final drive: O-ring chain
- Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable Showa SFF-BP 41mm inverted fork; 4.3 inches
- Rear suspension: Linkage-assisted, spring-preload adjustable shock; 4.7 inches
- Wheels: 5-spoke aluminum
- Front tire: 120/70 x 17
- Rear tire: 160/60 x 17
- Front brakes: 296mm discs w/ 4-piston radially mounted Nissin calipers
- Rear brake: 240mm disc w/ single-piston caliper
- ABS: Standard
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 55.5 inches
- Rake: 25.5 degrees
- Trail: 4.0 inches
- Seat height: 31.1 inches
- Fuel capacity: 4.5 gallons
- Curb weight: 416 pounds
- Colors: Matte Gray Metallic
2022 Honda CB500F ABS Price: $6699 MSRP
2022 Honda CB500F Review Photo Gallery