Honda developed a CB500 motorcycle range in 2013 as there was a demand for affordable and reliable beginners motorcycle in the market. Currently, there are 4 motorcycles built around the same 471cc parallel-twin engine. Each variation was built to target a certain beginner category:
- Adventure (CB500X)
- Cruiser (CMX500)
- Naked (CB500F)
- Sport (CBR500R)
Initially, all 4 motorcycles were pretty much the same and the difference in design between models was mainly cosmetic. However, Honda listened to what fans were saying about each CB500 model. With each passing model year, many improvements were made making each model closer to what it is expected to be in the eyes of bikers.
CB500X is the adventure version of the CB500 range. Honda did restyle this bike 5 times in 7 years since its debut in 2013. Almost all restyles were mainly cosmetic and main upgrades included LED lights, windshield, and fairing redesign. The 2019 upgrade was the most substantial. Honda listened to what fans were saying and finally added a 19-inch front wheel for better offroad handling as well as made the fairing design more similar to the Africa twin (CRF1000)
What we love
CB500X has the most natural and comfortable ergonomics as well as best weather protection compared to other CB500 family bikes. The bike is light with a wet weight of 197 kg making it relatively easy to handle offroad for beginners. There are many actually useful accessories available including a rally raid kit that transforms CB500X into a really capable and durable offroad bike. Probably the best option for traveling on a budget due to cheap and easy maintenance, the low fuel consumption of 3.5 l/100 km, and engine reliability with the engine resource over 150000 kilometers.
Suspension remains similar to other CB500 range bikes. Even with the 2019 model year restyle, suspension travel is increased to just 5.3 inches (135 mm) in front and 5.9 inches (149 mm) in the back, which is far from enough for comfortable offroad use.
Honda CMX500 Rebel is a so-called pocket cruiser. This bike targets beginner riders who see themselves going on paved road adventures. Rebel features a low and slightly bent forward sitting position and a comfortable enough leg position. Surprisingly, Rebel is very fun to ride in twisties. Also, it is a great bike for relaxed Sunday cruising. Both beginner and experienced riders enjoy this bike a lot since it really reminds what motorcycles are all about.
What we love
Simplicity combined with authentic design and standard Honda reliability makes a unique motorcycle. Same as other CB500 range bikes, Rebel is cheap to run making it an amazing on-road travel bike.
Suspension and brakes are very basic and not suitable for aggressive riding. Honda decided to price Rebel higher compared to CB500F even though Rebel does not have LED lights and turn signals (2017-2019 rebel version), Rebel dashboard does not have a rev counter and overall is a cheaper unit compared to other CB500 range models. Low sitting positions do not allow you to see over traffic as well as make you less visible to drivers. Even though the engine is reliable and well built, other CMX500 parts are built to budget and it is not uncommon to start seeing various rust spots on the swingarm, bolts, frame, and many other parts just 12 months into ownership.
CB500F is a naked bike version. This bike is meant primarily for city use. Honda made a major restyle in 2016 redesigning side plastics, adding LED headlights, redesigned fuel tank, and many more.
What we love
This version is the most affordable among the CB500 range. Also, the overall built quality, as well as technical equipment in the form of a better dashboard and led lights, is better than CMX500 Rebels. And with a lower price CB500F is the best value for money you can get among CB500 range bikes. CB500F can be ridden in a more aggressive way compared to CB500X and CMX500.
CB500F is not a good bike for longer motorcycle trips when compared to CB500X and CMX500 rebel due to less comfortable ergonomics.
CBR500R is the sport version. There were many minor restyles over the years that mostly affected headlight, muffler and fairings.
What we love
Fairings provide slightly better weather protection on the highway and improve aerodynamics.
CBR500R has the worst ergonomics among the CB500 range due to clip-ons instead of a normal handlebar. This configuration provides zero benefits in terms of handling or power due to CBR500R being an A2-compliant license bike. It has the same engine as other cb500 range bikes with the same power output. As a result, this bike makes no sense compared to other CB500 range motorcycles. There is no point in sacrificing riding comfort unless you really want a bike with a sportbike looks.
All CB500 range are affordable beginner bikes. The best all-rounder is definitely CB500X since it can easily take you on a long motorcycle trip. Moreover, CB500X is a great everyday commuter with comfortable ergonomics, easy and cheap maintenance, upright (see above cars) sitting position, and good enough offroad capability.
The second choice is either CMX500 Rebel or CB500F. Both should be considered instead of CB500X only if you don’t have to take your bike on gravel or forest roads and prefer a lower sitting position.
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