Best Aftermarket Rear Shock for Honda CB500X

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Hey There! 👋 I ride a Honda CB500X, a 2022 model. I’ve clocked over 30,000 kilometers on the bike so far. The rear shock is showing signs of failure, so it is time to consider the replacement. If I’m going to spend time on this, I might as well do it right and get a shock that’s a big step up from the OEM original.

The stock rear suspension comes with a single shock that has preload adjustment. The rear wheel travel measures 150 mm, which I’m okay with. Some aftermarket shock absorbers may actually alter this. For example, the rally raid claims to add +50mm to the wheel travel. This means the bike’s ground clearance would be higher and the seat would be higher too, and I’m not sure if I want a higher seat.

Best for 2019-2023

Öhlins

Best for 2013-2018

Wilbers

Best for Offroad

RallyRaid

OEM rear shock specific features include:

  1. A Pro-Link design. This means the shock is attached to a linkage that connects the swingarm and the frame, leading to a progressive damping curve and reduced shock length and weight.
  2. The shock body is nitrogen-charged to prevent cavitation and improve damping consistency. This shock is not serviceable because both the oil and nitrogen share the same compartment inside the shock. These are factory-filled and, unfortunately, cannot be changed or recharged thereafter.
  3. It features a 46 mm piston and a 16 mm shaft, which allows for good oil flow and damping control.
  4. There are no adjustments for rebound or compression damping. This means you can’t fine-tune the shock behavior to your preferences.
  5. The preload range is limited. This could make it less suitable for riders of varying weights or those carrying different luggage loads but for me, it works fine.
  6. The bike’s rear suspension’s unsprung mass consists of the rear wheel, rear brake caliper, brake disc, steel swingarm, and rear shock and is measured roughly at 12 kg. The shock has to make sure these 12 Kg are pushed to the ground all the time so you don’t lose traction.

The budget stock shock does an okay job, however, there is a huge improvement potential with aftermarket shock absorbers.

But what improvements do we want to get with aftermarket shock?

  1. Adjustable damping for compression and rebound with a higher damping range so that the same settings would cover wider road conditions.
  2. Separate oil reservoir with separated oil and gas so there would be no cavitation appearing in the oil.
  3. Potentially, slightly higher rear suspension travel (+20mm) to make it 170mm in total.

Here are aftermarket rear shock replacement options for Honda CB500X.


Aftermarket Rear Shocks for Honda CB500X

Best Overall

#1 Öhlins STX 46 (HO 916)

Piston diameter: 46mm
External reservoir:Yes (Hose mounted)
Adjustable rebound damping:Yes
Adjustable compression damping:Yes
Length/Stroke: 318mm/65mm
Preload adjustment: Hook wrench

Benefits & Features

✅ Ohlins HO916 is made specifically for Honda cb500x and they copied the Rallyraid level 2 kit in terms of reservoir mounting and suspension settings. However, Ohlins does not lift the bike increasing ground clearance and seat height as Rally Raid does. For road use – Ohlins is better, for offroad – I would choose a rally raid kit.

✅ The Ohlins rear shock is compatible with the 2022 redesigned model, unlike the rally raid option. Installing the Ohlins shock does not result in the rear wheel being lifted, which means it doesn’t affect the bike’s geometry. However, with the rally raid option, not only would you need to install the rear shock, but you would also have to change the fork springs because the rear wheel would be lifted by 50mm.


Best for 2013-2018

#2 Wilbers (PC46)

Piston diameter: 46mm
External reservoir:Yes (Hose mounted)
Adjustable rebound damping:Yes
Adjustable compression damping:Yes (high/low-speed compression)
Length/Stroke: ⚠️ not mentioned
Preload adjustment: Hook wrench (Hydraulic as an option)

Benefits & Features

✅ Both high- and low-speed compression damping is adjustable. Allows for additional adjustability for aggressive gravel road riding.

✅ The adjustment options in the rebound, compression, and spring preload offer you maximum control over your suspension!

✅ Shock internals have a pressure control valve that prevents the shock absorber from hydraulic blocking at the maximum compression speed.

✅ When ordering Wilbers, you have the option to customize your seat height and ground clearance. The shock can be adjusted to be longer or shorter, allowing for a potential increase of +10mm in height or a reduction of either 10mm, 25mm, or 55mm. It’s important to note that once the shock is installed, these adjustments cannot be changed. I recommended sticking with the standard setting or making a slight adjustment of 10mm. ⚠️ If you decide to change the height later on, you’ll need to order a new shock.


Best for Offroad (Fits 2013-2021 model years)

#3 RallyRaid (2nd level Kit)

Piston diameter: ⚠️not mentioned
External reservoir:Yes (Hose mounted)
Adjustable rebound damping:Yes
Adjustable compression damping:Yes (high/low-speed compression)
Length/Stroke: ⚠️ not mentioned
Preload adjustment: hydraulic remote preload adjuster

Benefits & Features

✅ Comes with a mounting bracket for the oil reservoir. This reservoir will be mounted to the engine at the front of the bike and therefore receive a lot of airflow as you ride. This is good because it improves the cooling of the oil inside and makes shock less likely to overheat. The downside is that the oil reservoir becomes more vulnerable if you drop the bike on the left side.

⚠️ Increases ground clearance and seat height by 50 mm.

⚠️ Has to be done together with the front suspension upgrade, otherwise will alter the bike geometry too much reducing the front wheel caster angle and making steering too aggressive. Most suitable for the 2013-2021 model years. The 2022 model year has an upgraded front fork that can’t be modified with this kit.


Best for Money

#4 HYPERPRO

Piston diameter: 46mm
External reservoir:Yes (Hose mounted)
Adjustable rebound damping:Yes
Adjustable compression damping:Yes (high/low-speed compression)
Length/Stroke: 318mm/65mm
Preload adjustment: ⚠️ Hook wrench

Benefits & Features

✅ Wide damping adjustment range. 30 clicks for high & low-speed compression damping and 50 clicks for rebound damping adjustment. 

✅ Fits stock dimensions without altering the chassis geometry, ground clearance, and seat height. In my opinion, Hyperpro Shock is the best for the money if you ride mostly on roads and without a passenger (so you don’t need to change preload settings on the go and there is no need for additional ground clearance.)


Worth Mentioning

#5 RacingBros

Piston diameter: 36mm
External reservoir:Yes (Hose mounted)
Adjustable rebound damping:Yes
Adjustable compression damping:Yes
Length/Stroke: 320/65mm
Preload adjustment: ⚠️ Hook wrench

Benefits & Features

✅ Does not alter the ground clearance or seat height.

✅ Comes with a mounting bracket for the oil reservoir so you do not have to invent mounting parts.

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