Internationally Honda has a motorcycle for each segment of the market, from the baby CBR250R to the flagship CBR1000RR. Today we will be checking out the CBR500R which could be one of the best entry-level big bikes from the Japanese manufacturer.
The Honda CBR500R gets its enticing looks from its elder sibling, the CBR1000RR. At the front, we get dual LED headlights followed by a gold-finished crankcase at the side. The chunky exhaust and fat 160-section tyre give the rear a clean and sporty look. However, it misses out on LED indicators but the fit and finish of the components is very good.
The instrument cluster of the Honda CBR500R leaves a lot to be desired. It doesn’t belong to this segment of motorcycle and looks very simple. On the plus side, it shows all the important information. The switchgear, on the other hand, is of very good quality. On the right, you get an engine kill switch, a switch for your headlights along with an electric starter. On the left one can find a button to toggle the beams and sound the horn.
Honda has nailed the ergonomics on the CBR500R. The bike is meant for long distance touring and the ergonomics back up that role quite well. The sporty riding position is still on the comfortable side followed by the rear-set footpegs. The handlebar is fairly wide, while the mirrors offer a clear view of what’s behind, even if you are wearing a jacket. At 780 mm, the seat height is friendly for both short and tall riders. The rider’s seat feels comfy while the pillion seat is very uncomfortable. There is not enough room and it also misses out on a grab handle.
The 2017 Honda CBR500R is powered by a 471cc, 4-stroke, parallel-twin-engine churning out 47 HP and 43 Nm of torque. This engine is mated to a smooth 6-speed gearbox and the clutch is on the lighter side. The engine is very refined and has a lot of punch in the mid-range. There is a good amount of punch lower down along with minimal vibrations. Open the throttle and you will be surprised how well the power is delivered. Expect a fuel-economy of 25 km/l which is very good.
At the front, the Honda CBR500R uses a standard 41 mm telescopic fork followed by a preload adjustable monoshock at the rear. The ride quality is excellent and the bike feels stable at high speeds. However, the ride becomes bouncy when the quality of road deteriorates. The handling is also good making this Honda very rich in terms of riding dynamics. The brakes along with dual channel ABS offer amazing stopping power, motivating the rider to ride harder and faster.
As we conceived earlier, the Honda CBR500R is a profound entry-level performance motorcycle. It remains true to its CBR nameplate by offering punchy performance and having a presence of its own. It also has Honda’s bullet-proof reliability and exceptional riding dynamics. It offers its riders a confidence-inspiring and forgiving experience, something that can’t be taken for granted. The bike is also very capable for long-distance touring. Couple that with the fuel-efficient engine and you have one of the best sports-touring motorcycles in the market today. However, all good things have a sad ending which could be the price. If Honda decides to launch the CBR500R in India, to compete against Kawasaki’s overpriced Ninja 400, we expect it to be priced in the neighbourhood of Rs. 4 to 4.5 lakhs (ex-showroom).