The 2016 Honda CBR500R. Good sportsbike for beginners as long as you understand that with just 47bhp from its twin-cylinder engine, it's the CBR250R's elder sibling, definitely not a CBR600RR-lite!
Honda have updated their CB500 range for 2016 and the bikes, always good value for money, are now a bit more exciting. First up is the CBR500R, which gets LED lighting, a bigger fuel tank, preload-adjustable front forks, adjustable-reach brake level, redesigned seat and a redesigned (slightly louder!) exhaust system. First introduced in 2013, the CBR500R is powered by Honda’s 8-valve liquid-cooled 471cc DOHC parallel-twin that produces 47bhp and 43Nm of torque, while providing 29.4kpl of fuel economy.
With its diamond-type steel tube chassis, which uses the engine as a stressed member, the CBR500R weighs in 194kg (kerb weight), which we think is a bit on the heavier side. The bike rolls on 17-inch alloy wheels, shod with 120/70 (front) and 160/60 (rear) ZR-rated tyres. A single 320mm brake disc with two-piston brake calliper, and 240mm rear disc with single-piston calliper handle the stopping duties, with ABS coming in as standard fitment.
Paint schemes available on the 2016 Honda CBR500R include white and red, yellow and black, and black and orange. Honda offer a wide range of accessories, including heated grips, carbon-look front mudguard, seat cowl, U-Lock, sports tail pack, rear hugger, tank pad and AC charging socket.
Up next is the rather more basic, no-frill Honda CB500F, which uses the same chassis and powertrain as the CBR500R and also gets the same upgrades for 2016 – redesigned 6-speed transmission for smoother shifts, preload-adjustable front forks, bigger fuel tank, revised exhaust system and minor updates to the styling, including a new LED headlamp. With its classic UJM riding position, the 500F is a bit more comfortable to ride around town as compared to the 500R, which some riders will definitely appreciate.
And finally the 2016 Honda CB500X, which shares its engine and chassis with the other two CB500s here, but has an off-road/adventure bike stance. Updated for 2016 include a taller windscreen for better wind protection, larger fuel tank, LED light, preload-adjustable front forks, an adjustable brake lever and longer travel suspension (when compared to the other two CB500s), which works better off-road.
Honda say that the 2016 CB500X’s styling has been revised with an aim to make it look more like its NC750X and VFR800X siblings, and a range of new colours and accessories are being made available for the CB500X, making it just that little bit more attractive than the outgoing model. In fact, we think the CB500X may well be the pick of the 2016 CB500 bunch and would be ideal for long, lazy weekend ride-outs...