Honda CB500F Review
Honda CB500F review by Wayne Vickers – Images by RBMotoLens
Honda’s sweet little 500 cc twins have received our praise for a while now – and for good reason – as there’s a lot to like about the triumvirate of models that are powered by Honda’s 471 cc parallel twin.
Recently I had the chance to spend some time on the latest CB500F, the naked street bike variant, to get a fresh feel for how this year’s updates from Big H translate in the real world.
It’s worth pointing out that the F variant sits alongside its two siblings, the CB500X (soft-roader/adventure bike), and the CBR500R (fully faired sports styling), as an impressive small capacity naked-bike offering.
For 2022 the 500 family received a number of updates. For our CB500F in question, that means changes to chassis, forks, brakes and styling, bumping things slightly more aggressively into the ‘street-fighter’ bucket.
Not to sure whether I’d be labelling it a street-fighter, but there’s some juicy new fruit. We’re talking:
- 41 mm USD Big Piston forks from Showa
- Rear shock with pre-load adjustability
- Twin 296 mm Nissin wave rotors with radial calipers
- Updated swing-arm and styling
- 17.1 L fuel tank for over 350 km range
- Low 789 mm seat height
Step over and down on the bike (the seat really is nice and low) ,and you’re immediately struck by how small and light the bike feels. It feels nothing close to the 189 kg kerb weight the spec sheet lists, and that feeling carries over on the move.
It’s super nimble and manoeuvrable in traffic and is a lane filtering dream. As a point to point urban tool, the CB500F is in its element.
That little twin cylinder engine continues to be a ripper. Pumping a smidge under 50 hp and peaking at around 6500 rpm, it’s wonderfully smooth and surprisingly eager right through the rev range.
The fuelling is dialled in nicely, throttle action is sweet and the power curve is linear from idle to redline. The fact that it’s not going to rip your arms off only serves to encourage you to open the taps all the way, more often.
The CB500F is super frugal with its drinking habits too – I was seeing just over 3.5 L/100 km from it which gives a theoretical range of past 400 km.
I didn’t ever see that, purely because of where my servo stops were located, I kept topping it up around the 350 km mark. But that’s plenty. While that might be a day and a half for me, it’s a week’s worth of riding for the average punter.
Clutch and gearbox were both terrific. The six-speed box in this unit was still relatively tight when I picked it up as it only had a few hundred kays on the clock. Over the thousand plus kays I put on it, the box freed up nicely and was a joy to find the right cog.
The slipper clutch is also light and has good take up feel. That slipper can be used freely on more spirited downshifts without any worry about locking up the rear.
At first you might feel like its geared a little short at highway speeds, but once you reset your thinking a little and realise how well it revs ‘for a twin’, you realise its perfectly at home humming along – 100 km/h equates to around 5000 revs, which has it comfortably in the power zone.
At speed the wind is deflected nicely onto your chest even though there is no front screen – and there’s zero buffeting which is a win. I’m told the updates have the ride positioned slightly further forward than last year, but I didn’t notice it to be honest.
The ergos remain quite neutral and upright. I had no issue handling my ~230 km return commute each day. Though I’m not sure I’d get much more than a two hour stint in a single go without wanting to stretch the legs and give my butt a rest.
The seat isn’t a plank by any means, but it’s not a sofa either. Still, not many folks will be throwing down more than two hours at a time on a bike like this I wouldn’t think, so that’s probably not an issue.
I quite like the updated styling, the ‘Pearl Dusk’ yellow paint on the tank was a particularly nice shade in the sunlight and the whole bike looks and feels well built. Overall it’s a neat, clean, design. Not cluttered or fussy. Tick.
The bike is quiet too – very socially responsible. You won’t be waking up your neighbours with this one. Personally I’d prefer a little more volume in amongst traffic – I use a quick blip at times to get drivers attention.
It also took a few kays to dial into highway speed as I couldn’t hear the exhaust sound over the wind noise, so you have no aural reference to help judge speed.
One thing I did furrow my brow at is the LCD dash. This time it’s not the design that had me scratching my head, but the display’s contrast. I found it almost unreadable in daylight. Particularly if I had bright sun reflecting the grey of my jacket onto the dash screen. If I didn’t know better I’d assume it was stuck in night mode somehow.
The new fork set-up works well, with a confidence inspiring front end. It’ll soak up bumps well enough, and together with the updated chassis is happy to be thrown into a corner.
It’s a lovely platform for beginner and experienced rider alike to explore the cornering limits. I may have done repeated loops around several large roundabouts when no traffic was around… the bike is quite happy banked over.
The rear is not quite as nice as the front but it still does the job. I felt that the shock fell through the stroke a little eagerly and found the end of the travel at times, but dialling up a little extra pre-load certainly improved things.
The updated brakes also get a tick. While still needing very little pressure on the front (I found myself only needing a single finger), the lever gives ample feel for what’s going on and provides solid stopping power.
All in all, it’s a terrific all around package, the updates have only stepped things along further. At around ten-and-a-half-grand on road it represents great value for money and it gets my tick.
Why I like the 2022 Honda CB500F:
- Lovely 500 twin engine.
- Low seat height and weight makes for a super nimble ride.
- Great fuelling and intuitive controls all around.
I’d like the 2022 Honda CB500F more if…
- Being able to read the dash easily in daylight might help.
- That rear shock isn’t bad for the price point, but could be better.
- Could have a louder exhaust note – It’s so quiet, I can’t hear it over wind noise at highway speeds.
Honda CB500F Specifications
|2022 Honda CB500F Specifications|
|Type||Liquid-cooled 4 stroke, parallel twin|
|Valves per Cylinder||4|
|Bore & Stroke||67 x 66.8 mm|
|Compression Ratio||10.7: 1|
|Max. Power Output||35k W @ 8600 rpm|
|Max. Torque||43 Nm @ 6500 rpm|
|Noise Level (dB)||L-urban 74dB L-wot 76.4dB|
|Oil Capacity||3.2 L|
|Carburation||PGM FI electronic fuel injection|
|Fuel Capacity||17.1 L (inc reserve)|
|CO2 Emissions (WMTC)||80 g/km|
|Fuel Consumption (WMTC)||3.5 L/100 km (28.6km/litre)|
|Clutch Type||Wet multiplate, Assisted slipper clutch|
|Front Suspension||Showa 41 mm SFF-BP USD forks|
|Rear Suspension||Prolink mono with five stage pre-load adjuster, Steel hollow cross swingarm|
|Wheels||5Y-Spoke Cast Aluminium, 17 x MT3.50, 17 x MT4.50|
|Tyres||120/70ZR17M/C (58W), 160/60ZR17M/C (69W)|
|Front brakes||Dual 296 mm x 4 mm disc with Nissin radial-mount four-piston calipers|
|Rear brake||Single 240 mm x 5 mm disc with single piston caliper|
|Instruments||LCD Meter with Speedometer, Bar Graph Tachometer, Dual Trip Meters, Fuel Level and Consumption Gauge, Clock, Water Temp, Gear position, Shift UP Indicator|
|Security System||HISS (Honda Intelligent Security System)|
|Dimensions||2080 mm x 800 mm x 1060 mm|
|Caster Angle||25.5 degrees|
|Seat Height||785 mm|
|Ground Clearance||145 mm|
|Kerb Weight||189 kg|