THE NEW CB500X
Honda’s compact adventurer comes of age, with new, taut off-road style and improved wind protection plus longer travel suspension, 19-inch front wheel and tapered handlebars. Its lively twin-cylinder engine has more low-to-mid range power and torque, and is now also equipped with an assist/slipper clutch. New LCD instruments and LED indicators round out the updates.
CB500X - THE CITY IS THE NEW WILD.
The CB500X – originally launched in 2013 alongside the naked CB500F and fully-faired CBR500R – brings crossover adventure style to Honda’s fun-focussed twin-cylinder ‘light middleweight’ trio. It is a motorcycle that, without fanfare, quietly gets on with the job of being supremely competent, and adaptable in use for a wide variety of owners.
The CB500X’s usefulness is down to a straightforward equation - a perky, well-regarded twin-cylinder engine which produces real torque and drive from low rpm (and revs hard up top) – plus a chassis that gives a supremely comfortable ride both around town and out on the open highway.
It slips between the role of short-hop commuter to weekend tourer effortlessly. Long travel suspension irons out irregular road surfaces, wide handlebars provide leverage and the upright riding position offers both comfort and a wide field of view for the rider. In other words, the CB500X has proved an all-rounder in every sense of the term.
In 2016, a first upgrade saw the CB500X receive a larger fuel tank, more wind protection and a taller screen. It also gained LED lighting, spring preload-adjustable front forks and an adjustable brake lever.
2019 sees a major evolution for the CB500X. More sophisticated adventure style – that highlights and confirms the unique proposition it offers – plus more engine performance and a number of chassis upgrades ensure that while the new CB500X remains confident in its wide-ranging abilities, its ‘X’ factor has been amplified a good deal louder.
From urban commuter to weekend explorer – the 2019 CB500X is ready for anything. Its 2019 styling is much sharper - with a harder adventure edge, taking cues from the Africa Twin, and is complemented by longer travel suspension, high-specification single-tube shock absorber, enhanced rider ergonomics and a 19-inch front wheel.
And while the CB500X’s engine maintains the 35kW peak output required for A2 licence holders, it now makes 4% more power and torque between 3-7,000rpm, thanks to revisions to the inlet, exhaust and valve timing. The new dual-exit exhaust muffler features an enhanced exhaust note and the engine now also features an assist/slipper clutch.
New LCD instruments include a Shift Up and Gear Position indicator, and the indicators are LED to match the rest of the lighting.
Styling & Chassis
- Stronger, tougher adventure styling
- New tapered handlebars and more steering lock
- Longer travel suspension and 19-inch front wheel
- New LCD instrument display, with Gear Position and Shift Up Indicators
- LED indicators
The 2019 CB500X has been reborn with a much more aggressive, ‘ready for the wild’ adventure style. With the popular CRF1000L Africa Twin offering a guiding light, Honda’s development engineers have extended the radiator shrouds and fairing with substantive angles that give a strongly three dimensional texture and feel, while the fuel tank now interlocks with the side covers, cohesively linking the front and rear of the machine.
And while the CB500X styling may have come of age, its redesign is about much more than looks. Thanks to improved aerodynamic performance, the high-pressure air flowing around the fairing and screen has been reduced, improving wind protection for the rider at highway speeds. The seat profile, too has been slimmed by shaving the shoulders at the front, allowing for easy movement around the machine, and aiding the already comfortable ground reach. To help the CB500X’s manoeuvrability the steering angle has increased 3° to 38° from centred to full lock, and the addition of a gunmetal grey tapered steel handlebar further aids control.
New LCD instruments – set in a multi-surfaced and textured surround, echoing the overall design theme – feature a Gear Position and Shift Up indicator; this is set to a default 8,750rpm but can be adjusted in 250rpm increments between 5-8,750rpm. The tubular screen stay can also mount a GPS above the instruments.
The 35mm diameter steel diamond-tube mainframe is unchanged for 2019. It’s light and strong, with a tuned degree of yield that gives plenty of feedback to the rider as road surfaces change. The shape and position of the engine mounts, plus the frame’s rigidity balance reduce vibration.
Wheelbase is 1445mm and rake and trail are set at 27.5 108mm giving nimble, yet confidence-inspiring steering. Mass centralisation, with the engine in close proximity to the swingarm pivot point, delivers turning agility and optimum front/rear weight distribution ensures stability. Kerb weight is197kg.
Seat height is 830mm; overall dimensions are 2155mm x 825mm x 1410mm, with 180mm ground clearance. The fuel tank holds 17.5L including reserve, and combined with the engine’s excellent fuel economy of 27.8km/l (**mpg) (WMTC mode) gives a range of 500km (over 300 miles).
The 41mm preload-adjustable telescopic front fork features an extra 10mm travel, up to 150mm; rear wheel travel has been raised from 118m to 135mm and a new single-tube rear shock absorber (as found on larger capacity sports bikes) replaces the double-tube design of the previous model; its large-diameter piston ensures excellent suspension response and temperature management.
The CB500X now has 9-stage spring preload adjustment working through a rigid box-section steel swingarm, which now features pressed steel chain adjustment end-pieces. Final drive is via sealed 520 chain.
The 17-inch front wheel has been replaced with a 19-inch which – along with the longer travel suspension – ensures confident, supremely stable handling on rough surfaces. The lightweight aluminium rim wears a 110/80-R19 trail-pattern tyre, the 17-inch rear a 160/60-R17 tyre. A single front 310mm wave-pattern disc and two-piston brake caliper is matched to a 240mm rear disc and single-piston caliper. ABS is fitted as standard.
The CB500X will be available in the following colour options:
- Grand Prix Red
- Matt Gunpowder Black Metallic
- Pearl Metalloid White
- Lively twin-cylinder power plant’s internal architecture mirrors that of the CBR1000RR Fireblade
- Revised inlet, exhaust and valve timing delivers 4% more mid-range power and torque
- Sportier sound from new dual exit muffler
- Assist/slipper clutch eases upshifts and manages downshifts
The CB500X’s A2-licence friendly, 8-valve liquid-cooled parallel twin-cylinder layout offers a well-proportioned balance of compact size and willing, enjoyable power output, with an energetic, high-revving character and zappy top-end.
Already strong off the bottom, the target for 2019 development was faster acceleration through a boost in low-to-mid-range power and torque in the 3-7,000rpm range; the 4% improvement comes via altered valve timing – with ‘close’ timing accelerated by 5° – and lift increased .3mm to 7.8mm.
Feeding the PGM-FI fuel injection is now a more-or-less straight shot of airflow through the airbox and throttle bodies. The battery has been re-positioned further away (44.1mm versus 13.4mm) from the rear of the airbox intake duct to allow greater airflow; the exhaust muffler now features dual exit pipes, adding a sportier sounding edge to each pulse. Peak power of 35kW arrives at 8,500rpm, with 43Nm torque delivered at 7,000rpm.
Bore and stroke is set at 67mm x 66.8mm and compression ratio remains 10.7:1; the crankshaft pins are phased at 180° and a primary couple-balancer sits behind the cylinders, close to the bike’s centre of gravity. The primary and balancer gears use scissor gears, reducing noise. The crank counterweight is specifically shaped for couple-balance and its light weight allows the engine to spin freely, with reduced inertia.
Acting as a stressed member, the engine complements the frame’s rigidity with four frame hangers on the cylinder head. Internally the cylinder head uses roller rocker arms; shim-type valve adjustment allows them to be light, for lower valve-spring load and reduced friction.
A silent (SV Chain) cam chain has the surface of its pins treated with Vanadium, reducing friction with increased protection against wear. Inlet valve diameter is 26.0mm with exhaust valve diameter of 21.5mm.
The piston shape is based upon those used in the CBR1000RR Fireblade to reduce piston ‘noise’ at high rpm. Friction is reduced by the addition of striations on the piston skirt (a finish that increases surface area, introducing gaps in which oil can flow for better lubrication). As with the CBR1000RR, an AB 1 salt bath process, used after isonite nitriding, forms a protective oxidisation membrane.
The ‘triangle’ proportion of crankshaft, main shaft and countershaft is very similar to that of Honda’s four-cylinder RR engines and much of the internal structure and engineering is taken directly from the CBR1000RR.
The crankcase uses centrifugally cast thin-walled sleeves; their internal design reduces the ‘pumping’ losses that can occur with a 180° phased firing order. Using the same internal relief structure as that of the CBR1000RR, the oil pump features improved aeration performance, with reduced friction; a deep sump reduces oil movement under hard cornering and braking. Oil capacity is 3.2L.
A six-speed gearbox mirrors that of its RR cousin and uses the same gear change arm structure and link mechanism. New for 2019 an assist/slipper clutch enables lighter upshifts and smooths out any hard downshifts.
A range of Genuine Honda Accessories are available for the CB500X. They include:
- Centre stand
- Side wind deflectors
- Knuckle guards
- Heated grips
- 35L top box
- Rear carrier
- Pannier mounts
- Pannier cases
- Tubular fairing protector frames
- Fog lights
- Tank bag
- Seat bag
- ACC charging socket
- Smoked screen
- Wheel stripe
- Tank Pad
|Engine Displacement||471 cm³|
|Max Power Output||N/A|
|Bore x Stroke (mm)||67 x 66.8|
|Rear Brake||240 mm x 5 mm disc single piston caliper|
|Front Wheel||Multi-spoke cast aluminium|
|Rear Wheel||Multi-spoke cast aluminium|
|Frame Type||Steel Diamond Frame|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||N/A|