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Honda CB500X First Review

Review Date 4th May 2016

By Ren Withnell

With 400 miles on the clock I thought I'd better let folks know my initial thoughts on Honda's CB500X.

A khaki or light brown CB500X"Matt Fresco Brown" according to pretentious Honda. I'd call it Khaki meself.

Let's start with riding it on the road. Yip. Fine. Great. Not perfect. Oh you want me to be more specific? I can see why the authorities have set a 47bhp power limit for the A2 class. There is waaaaaaay more than enough power to get you over the legal speed limit and to get you into trouble both with the law and by crashing due to sloppy throttle control. However it doesn't have the awesome, exciting and thrilling (scary, terrifying and lethal) hard raw organ displacing BOOM of a 100bhp plus motor. For myself this is fine, I ride 125s so this feels like riding a firework but if you're coming from a muscle bike it will feel somewhat lacking.

I am not disappointed though. Any legal speed can be reached with an adjustment at the throttle and at 70mph, that maximum that UK law allows, the engine is running at a relaxed 5,200rpm. The 2 pistons will chug along at 2,500rpm around town without any single cylinder chain slapping lumpiness although it seems happier between 3 and 4 thousand. Here there's still plenty of grunt if you need it and the engine is smooth. As yet with the engine not run in I have not explored the upper reaches of the range. I have not noticed a distinct power band, there is just a firm progressive rise in power.

So the engine is a solid performer rather than a shining star. Where it does excel is in its efficiency. I managed 250 miles on one tank and put in 14 litres of fuel, full to full. That is an impressive 81mpg. My riding over those 250 miles consisted of group riding (sensible with lots of stopping), a little motorway, town and country and even a few miles off-road. How have Honda done this? By not tuning the hell outta the engine. Old GPZ500 twins produced 60bhp so at 47bhp the new CB500 range is considerably underpowered. In return for this lack of (unnecessary in my opinion) power Honda can tune and design for efficiency instead. It also spreads the torque across the rev range making for a real world friendly experience. You don't have to look for the power, it's just there.

The handling on the CB500X is...well...just OK. After riding a 125 it certainly feels more planted to the road and stable over imperfections. It tips into the corner easily and doesn't want to push wide or oversteer. Perhaps I'm the wrong man to ask because like most of the other bikes I've ridden I find the handling "neutral", I guess I don't take it to the limit or I quickly adapt to each bike's character. Once criticism the professional testers make with the "X" compared to the "F" and the "R" models is that it is not as taut on the road. I have noticed if I'm pressing on through undulating bends the bike can pitch and yaw somewhat and want to stand up. It's never scary, not at my speeds anyhow, it just requires more input than I might expect. 

Off road? Let me make one thing perfectly clear, I am definitely NOT a good off roader nor am I experienced. However...so far so good! I'm talking trails and farm track here not mud or gnarly quarries. The Dunlop "dual sport" tyres can manage the gravel and stones but then so can regular road tyres. They're no good in mud. While this bike is the heaviest I've taken on the trails I am surprised by 2 things. Firstly how stable it is. Apparently those in the know talk of a low centre of gravity, I just sense it feels less wobbly and more likely to stay upright. Secondly that it's not as scary as I expected. Big fairings, heavy weight and not really off road tyres or wheel sizes suggested a recipe for disaster yet I happily ploughed my way up one of the steepest and bumpiest sections of legal trail I know around my area. Pleasantly impressed.

The rear of the cb500x is already dirty as we can see"Lets off-road!" Well...it's for riding not for looking at isn't it.

Of course an "adventure" style bike is designed such that you can (pretend to) ride your way around the globe. Is it comfy enough to do this? Here I say the answer is a resounding YES! I am but a mere 5 feet 8 inches tall so it's all relative - but there is plenty of room. The bars are at lower rib height and easy reach and the seat is wide enough without impairing getting my feet down flat on the floor. The screen is effective - enough. Of course a larger screen would offer even more protection but in it's current format it is sufficient. NB the 2016 model I'm riding has a slightly larger screen than earlier models. The turbulence around my helmet doesn't shake my head around unlike an early Suzuki DL650 Vstrom I once tested.  

The suspension at first felt quite choppy and harsh, thankfully as the miles are passing both the tyres and the suspension are bedding in well. I'm not one to notice too much the ride quality after all I'm used to light weight and cheap 125s. As a shining endorsement Sharon tells me the rear of the CB500X is an incredibly comfortable place to be. Not only is there room for her (she is only 5 feet tall though) she also finds the bike soaks up the bumps and feels effortless. So much so that after 45 minutes on the pillion seat she happily dozed off. So the 500 is smooooooooth...or I'm a boring rider.

So it's frugal, powerful without being overpowering, comfortable and will manage a little light dirt. Niggles? Of course there are niggles even at this early stage. Why oh why oh why oh why do all modern manufacturers seem incapable of making effective mudguards? MUD-GUARD - the clue is in the name. The front allows muck and stones to fly into the delicate radiator risking penetration and/or corrosion. I'll be fitting a fender-extender at some point. At the rear the spring and linkage is exposed which will lead to more corrosion and the linkage bearings failing. Remarkably when millions are spent in R&D someone forgot to find a place for the rear brake master cylinder so they hastily bolted it on such that it too can collect crud or get damaged my a high velocity stray stone too. I shall be engineering a solution for these issues in the future.

The CB500X exposes it's rear master cylinder to the muck off the rear wheelCome on Honda, you can do better than that.

This bike is not going to replace BMW's dominance in the Adventure market. Too many wannabe Ewan and Charlies won't accept a mere 47bhp when they can have 125bhp and the badge to go with it. I dare say it is actually comparable to the GS700 I once test rode - on paper it loses out in many measures but in terms of pleasure to ride and sheer cost its a tough call. Again the V-Strom 650 and Versys 650 out perform and out spec the CB500X but both cost more to buy and are more thirsty. 

How have Honda made this bike cheaper than the competition? The build quality on the 500 looks up to Honda standards but only time will tell for sure. This model is manufactured in Thailand so presumably wages and running costs are cheaper there. There's also the modular design. The CB500"X" is the same as the "F" and the "R" models save for a bit more suspension and the way the bike is dressed. As such Honda gain 3 models for the price of 1-and-a-bit. This does mean each model is a compromise rather than specifically created for each niche. This may be true, I'll be darned if I'm skilful or knowledgeable enough to tell.      

The CB500X is exactly what it appears to be. A mid powered and mid market adventure styled motorcycle. If you are out to impress then this probably isn't the bike for you. If you're happy with sensible performance and sensible ability then the CB500X's fuel economy and price might be the clincher.


Why would Rally Raid (www.rally-raidproducts.co.uk) create a whole range of products to turn the CB500X into a bona fide all conquering all terrain go anywhere motorcycle? Why not the V-Strom, Versys or GS? There is a massive fuss around the web regarding the X fitted out rally raid style, people love it. You can argue that Rally Raid thought Honda would sell a few of these bikes so cornered the aftermarket upgrades. Or perhaps, hopefully, they saw something in the affordable and sensible Honda. I'm no off road master but take a look what others are doing with their CB500Xs, especially the Rally Raid version. 

Reader's Comments

Daf said :-
Looking good so far, Ren. I've still got me heart set on one of these in a couple of years time!

Enjoy your riding, enjoy this summer-ish weather, and enjoy your new bike! Eagerly awaying a post-runin review.

4/5/2016 2:52:48 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers Daf. Yeah it's turning out to be a good bike especially for the likes of myself. It's not going to blow you away, it feels more like a dependable friend.
5/5/2016 5:34:39 AM UTC
said :-
Exactly 400 km on one tank, using 14L, very impressive indeed,... !!!

That 28.6 Km/L ,.. You will sure break the 30 Km/L barrier
6/5/2016 3:53:57 AM UTC
Henrik said :-
So onc again, congratulations on the new bike
6/5/2016 3:54:45 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers Henrik! I suspect a gentle cruise down the motorways while sat behind a lorry doing 55mph will allow me to return as much as 100mpg! Some might say that would be rather boring though, myself I use the time to relax and calm myself in this world of chaos.
6/5/2016 5:30:29 AM UTC
Henrik said :-
Crazy, its better than the half-sized Inazuma I guess, what is it that Honda Masters so well ? Injects ? Software ? Mechanic engine tollerances ?
6/5/2016 7:39:53 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I'd estimate your Inazuma should do around the 130-140mpg mark, more than my 500.

Honda has released the CB500 X/F/R and the NC750 X/S/Integra. Both these models are modular in that Honda gets several models for the price of one. This brings the price down. Also Honda seem to be the only manufacturer who appears to take fuel economy seriously right now.

I am certain if Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph and all the rest put their minds to it they too could produce efficient bikes. However we're still stuck in this faster, bigger, more power mentality.

My hope is that the lower powered but more efficient models sell well. This will encourage the other manufacturers to also produce economical machines. Maybe rather than a war of power between we could end up with a war of efficiency between the makers.
6/5/2016 1:39:55 PM UTC
Bob said :-
I had a test ride on one of these and it was nice. I'm currently going about on a KLE500, so more or less the same thing. 500cc is enough for the modern roads.
For me though it's a real shame Honda didn't give the "X" a 19 or 21" front wheel, 8" of suspendsion, more ground clearance and 20-30KG less mass - that would be ideal. But they didn't, hence my KLE which is (for me) a better fit in every way except the fuel economy which I must admit isn't that great.
17/5/2016 1:08:01 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Bob. It's the fuel economy that sealed the deal for me.

Let's be honest, this is an adventure style motorcycle, not a bona fide off roader. It is a Chelsea tractor. I will take it off road but only on farm tracks and easy green lanes. I have neither the skills or the balls to go seriously off road.

However... as mentioned in the afterthought Rally Raid do exactly what you stated, except losing the weight. Wire wheels, better suspension with longer travel, TKC 80 knobbly tyres, crash bars, luggage and the whole shabang.

Check out the youtube link.
17/5/2016 6:08:14 PM UTC
Tony said :-
Hi Ren.

I have a 2015 500x which I have had for nearly a year and 3.5k miles. I love it. I started to commute most days since March (45 miles round trip) on A roads. As a commuter I think its hard to beat. Big enough, fast enough frugal (computer claims 85 MPG). I'm getting a weeks worth on less than a tank full.

Never taken it off road so can't comment on that. Agree on the mudguards, nearly blinking useless.

Biking is about cheap transport for me, whether its to work or travelling somewhere, not into the "its not a good ride unless I've scared myself" brigade, getting too long in the tooth for that.

One note on comfort, I did a 260 mile ride down to mid Wales and back and found I developed a numb bum :) But that may be because I was enjoying myself soo much I did not stop very often!

Oh and as you rightly say, it will cruise all day at 70mph although its a bit windy at that speed, thinking of getting a taller screen to see if that solves it.

I was lucky enough to get mine when Honda was offering free luggage and centre stand. The stand which makes a huge difference to simple things like oiling the chain. Had been thinking of adding a scott oiler until I learnt that the version for the bike is £250 !

My CB500X
20/5/2016 12:40:26 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Tony.

I've filled my CB500X up today and done the maths. The computer claimed 84.7mpg, my maths told me I'd achieve 89.3mpg! That is most impressive. This is a frugal bike if you ride it sensibly and are not seeking to scare yourself witless.

The screen on my model is taller, apparently. Oddly enough I can't make my mind up, I'd actually like to try a smaller screen as I'm used to the wind and find it a little disorientating judging my speeds. Don't suppose you'd be in the Bolton area one day, we could swap for an afternoon and see what we both think.

I've made a DIY bodge at the rear end which I'll post up on here soon which helps reduce the mudguard problem at the rear and I'll do something similar at the front end too in time.

Thanks for the input, Ren
20/5/2016 10:14:20 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Computer showed 83mpg, my calculator showed 85mpg. Must ahve been going to fast this time.
30/5/2016 10:29:41 PM UTC
pocket said :-
Finally decided to order my new bike a CB500X 2016 model. Honda have updated it slightly and just fixed a few of those niggles that people have reported such as the filler cap, adjustable front forks and brake lever. Nothing much really oh and some led lights.

The screen is a touch bigger but the engine is untouched. All the reports I have read are on the whole pretty good no reliability issues to speak of and the bike has enough power for my commute and the longer rides I do when hte weather is nice. The demo bike cruised quite well at 75-85mph without problem I don't go much faster than that at any time at 80 the engine felt sharp and capable of doing 80mpg all day and the riding position is pretty upright and relaxed.

I have ordered the Panniers and top box so it should do the odd weekend away withoput problems.

Im looking forward to it's arrival in a week or so. I hope I have made the right choice I just felt the 650 and 750 bikes I had tested were a bit silly for my usage. I just hope the 500 can cope with two adults and the weight of weekend away stuff.
10/7/2016 8:50:13 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Rock n roll pocket! The filler cap flips up rather than comes away from the tank, not a massive difference really. Adjustable brake lever - again not a massive difference. I read that a few folks didn't like the old forks and the new ones are better. I can't comment as I'm not a good enough rider to even notice. Yes, they are adjustable but I haven't even looked at mine let alone adjusted them. Finally the LED lights. They work but I can't really see any advantage yet, I'll make a more complete judgement in winter.

I spent all day yesterday out with Sharon on her own bike going around Staffordshire and a little piece of Derbyshire too. Comfort was fine, no issues. There's more than enough power if like myself you keep to the speed limits. The screen is a boon on the motorways although it does create turbulence at all speeds. This is NOT exclusive to the CB500X though, all screens are turbulent.

Let us know how it all goes!
11/7/2016 7:40:07 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
OH! I forgot - the tank is bigger! Honda made a big fuss over this as it means you can travel ever deeper into the Sahara Desert or the Mongolian Steppe. Yes it is bigger...by...a staggering 200ml! That's about a cup of tea.
11/7/2016 8:24:20 AM UTC
pocketpete said :-
Ah a cup of tea always makes the world a better place. It's funny as my mate just swapped his 2013 cb500x for the 2016 model and he thinks Honda haven't changed the forks as he has adjusted them each way but says if makes no difference. It's as if the preload is just for show and doesn't actually do anything. He does like the led headlights which he feels are much improved in performance.

He also thinks they have altered the gearbox which he thinks is slightly improved when changing in lower gears.

Apart from that he says he is struggling to notice any difference. He has swapped the new higher screen for his after market one off his old bike I think its a puig which he adjusted to fit the 500. He thinks both the 2013 screen and 2016 screens are pretty useless overall.

Roll on the 22nd cb day is not far off. I will be able to see if the bike lives up to my expectations.
11/7/2016 6:14:53 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
The 22nd?! That's ages away. The waiting is going to tear you apart Pocket.
12/7/2016 4:40:58 PM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
God another 7 days. Just how long does it take to fit some panniers and a top box to a bike.

And register it with the dvla... should have got the white one in the showroom instead of waiting for a red one.
13/7/2016 1:53:43 PM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
I wonder if my cb500 will keep up with my brother in law on his bike.

It's red just like mine

13/7/2016 1:59:32 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I think you're getting over-excited Pocketpete. Calm down, take a deep breath will ya. As for keeping up with the Ducati - you've about as much chance as I have of winning the lottery - and I don't even buy a ticket. Buuuuut...you can pass him by as he stops at the petrol station.
13/7/2016 3:07:02 PM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Hmm there are several different varieties of motorcyclists in the world. A little bit like plant or bird species.

There are those who just seek the thrill of speed. Those who love the a gentle run out in the countryside and those who use the the bike as a tool to get to work and back.

My brother in law falls into the first group. He wonders why no one wants to go for a ride out with him. He's a great guy until he sits on a bike.

The only thing we have in common is the red paint.
14/7/2016 7:09:53 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
HA! Cheers Pocket. There are indeed some incredibly competitive riders out there which is fine as long as they reserve their antics for the track. I like my gentle run into the countryside and my bike is indeed a tool for commuting. Does that make me a half-breed of some description?
14/7/2016 9:48:43 AM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
No just sensible. English roads are to busy to go mad on. I don't see the point in doing 100mph over the snake pass. You basically miss everything. There's some pretty decent countryside out there.
14/7/2016 12:58:01 PM UTC
Bob said :-
The Rally Raid kit does look the beans, but it also looks like £2200 - I bought my three KLE500s for less than that all together!
I've actually got the fuel economy up to 60MPG as it should be by replacing the needles and needle jets (good old carbs). 60MPG isn't 80MPG but I'd have to ride an awful lot of miles to recoup the difference, given the purchase price of the CB500X.
Who knows, in 10 years when they're a grand to buy and other people have worked out a cheaper way of doing the rally raid conversion, maybe then.
I must repeat, I did really, really enjoy my test ride on the CB500X but I cannot live with 17" cast wheels and limited suspension travel. It's a real shame so many of these "adventure bikes" aren't properly equipped for off-road.
The KLE with a 1 tooth over front sprocket sits at 80MPH at 5400 RPM in 6th gear, on a redline of >11000 RPM. Don't overlook the KLE.....

14/7/2016 3:18:10 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Bob. New bikes never make financial sense as Ian Soady rightly points outs, I think Pocket and I know that and still we did it so go figure.

The CB500X is definitely "adventure styled" as opposed to "off road". Yes, it can be taken off road and I have done that, but then so can a GSXR1000. KLE500s are I'd say about properly half way between road and off road and as such better equipped than the X for the rough stuff.

The Rally raid kits turns an off road style motorcycle into something akin to the KLE, capable on both surfaces.

With regards to the cost there's been some interesting thoughts on that. For a road bike the price is quite good at £5.5k. I'll reserve judgement on build quality until I've owned it for a while. At £7.8k for a brand spanking new X with the rally raid kit that makes it comparable to the GS800. It's up to the individual to decide which is better.

But as you say...you could own several KLE 500s and still have an awful lot of change for the same price.
15/7/2016 11:36:49 AM UTC
Bob said :-
What worries me about the KLE is that the government might bring in bans on older vehicles, such as is happening in Paris and is proposed in London. My fleet of 1991 KLE500s is old enough to fall foul of such a ban (y2000 seems to be the cut off point).
In that case I could pick up a later re-manufactured KLE, some late registered ones pop up on '09 plates and then all my older bikes and parts would just go to that since they are the same bike barring minor cosmetic tweaks.
I've also orbited around the CRF250L for a couple of years now, but I really do think 50HP is what is needed for the modern roads.
There are rumors of a new Transalp next year and then there's the MT07 Tenere, but I fear both of these bikes will be too heavy and large (especially the Honda).
Ho hum. I can see me owning a CB500X in the future, but I would have to modify it. There must be a front end that'd just go straight in, from an NX650 or XT600 or similar and then a longer shock at the back and some customs spacers to fit a spoked wheel - I bet you could do it for <£500....
20/7/2016 9:40:52 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Bob. If you read around you'll see that I fear that motorcycling as a means of transport will end in the not too distant future so hey - let's enjoy it while it's still legal.

The CRF250L - I would buy one of those at the drop of a hat save for one simple thing...the 7 litre fuel tank! Yes it's probably good enough for 100+ miles but urgh, constantly having to find fuel stations and filling up would drive me mad. Other than that I would have no concerns at all about it being "only" 23bhp. As long as it'll reach 70 that'll do me.

The MT07 is - much like the CB500X - an off road style motorcycle. Cracking motor and probably a great bike buuuuuuuut...as far as I can tell the X will better it on the fuel consumption. I'll wait and see what the Translap(sic) turns out like.

The speedo on the X is of the rear sprocket I am told, there's no speedo mechanism at the front end that's for sure. As such transplanting a more off road front end should be within the reach of a good home engineer.
20/7/2016 11:48:14 AM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
The Inazuma has finally gone and I am now the proud owner of a cb500x. Went for a spin round edale and Castleton. Put on 57 miles at a gentle 30 to 50mph. Varying the speed for its run in benefits.

Initial thoughts are what a great looking bike.
After 50miles the seat became a bit hard. Not quite as comfy as the suzuki.
Paula thought it was very smooth and comfortable she could feel the air flowing over the screen and hitting the top of her helmet.

The bike handled really well two up the engine smooth and responsive much faster than I thought it would be.

The panniers and top box are good quality no vibration or rattles and a nice thump thump of the twin engine. I kept failing to go up the box to top gear as the engine is very relaxed at in all gears.

So far so good.

Reds nice
22/7/2016 8:34:10 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Woohoo! New bike day! It's a bit RED Pocket, shoulda gone for the tastefully dull beige like what I did.

I think you'll adjust to the seat. It takes a while for your body and brain to adjust to a new seating position so give it time.

Glad nothing's rattling and it's got the poke you hoped for. Now...consider how the 35kw and 43nm of the 500 compares to the 130kw and 115nm super sport motorcycles. My X is more than fast enough for myself but compared to the big boys it is but a mere pussy cat. I had a brief ride on an old 900 Hornet recently which brutally reminded me just how quick some bikes are.

Anyhow I hope you and Mrs Pocket enjoy the ride, maybe we'll hook up one day.
23/7/2016 8:29:04 AM UTC
pocketpete said :-
Yes, had a little issue with the wind blast(not that I was blasting along during run in).

The wind was hitting me straight in the chin area which was irritating.
On my return last night I adjusted the screen to it's highest position. I took it for a ride this morning and found the wind was hitting the me in the eye area as I have an flip helmet which I use in the up position till I get to 40ish this was equally annoying after a while.

Might have to get a higher screen, I think its the one area of the bike which lets it down, I expected it in a way as there are many reports on the review sites which point to this issue. Maybe its because the japs are smaller than us in general.

If your tall its a problem anyone over 5'10" will suffer. Might go for an alternative screen at some point I will see how my wallet is feeling once its recovered from the shock of buying the CB500x.

Went up Joel Lane this morning over Werneth Low and down to Broadbottom and over Cowan edge back to glossop and a quick shunt along the motorway. Cowan edge and Werneth low at two of the steepest climbs in this area both 25% climbs. The bike didn't even notice them. I'm very surprised how versatile the engine is at all speeds in all gears. It just pulls smoothly and happily. As the Brexit campaign said 'Take back control' certainly the engine gives you the feeling of nice throttle control. It's not a on and off switch no real power band.

It's quite a lot of bike for the money. I felt the ABS kick in on the gravel at the top of the hayfield Road junction. I stopped in the layby and was joined by a green 1000cc kawasaki and a Fireblade. The two fully leathered chaps came over and admired my little Honda having not seem one before. They seemed quite impressed when I told them how much it was.

Now I have a decent bike I may come over to one of your ride outs or one of your club meetings if I can find where Bolton is on my map. You seem a 'slow riding' bunch which suits my style of riding.
23/7/2016 9:32:18 AM UTC
Funguseater said :-
Hope you're still enjoying your bikes. Picking mine up in March 2017 (I like to call it Sand, not brown or beige !). I've had an f800gs, great bike but just a bit tall for me. Price and great fuel economy sealed the deal for me. First job will be to fit an evotech radiator guard and honda hugger. Am going to use the excellent Kriega drypack 1 x US30 and 2 x US10 bags so no need for pannier racks. Then fitting a Givi out back Trekker top box. Less than 2 weeks to go ! :)
21/2/2017 1:38:13 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
SAND! Excellent, I shall use "sand" from now on to describe the colour. Yip it was the price and the fuel economy that sold it for me too Funguseater. If you look around the site you'll see I've made a DIY fender extender and a DIY hugger for my 500 now as they really need them.

Be sure to put a picture up for us all to see. Enjoy!
21/2/2017 4:32:27 PM UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Funguseater,

I have very recently been looking at the Kriega drypacks for a possible luggage solution for my Kawasaki Z250SL.

I went to have a look at that them this weekend at J&S. I stroked them for a while and stared even longer but the price tag eventually drove me away.

Have you got them already? If so would you recommend them and can you give me any further information about them? I am in a constant flux of indecision when it come to what is the best luggage solution for my bike.
21/2/2017 7:59:52 PM UTC
Stuart said :-
Rather than beige or sand, I prefer to think of mine as gold!
28/2/2017 8:58:14 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
GOLD! I think you might have ideas above your bike's status Stuart.

If I'm in a posh executive meeting (unlikely) my bike will be "Gold". If I'm hanging out with Paris-Dakar racer types (unlikely) my bike will be "Sand". If I'm hanging out with a group of nerds and geeks (likely) my bike will be "Beige".

To me though it will always be 5 day old dried out dog poop coloured.
1/3/2017 11:22:24 AM UTC
Funguseater said :-
Now describe colour as "desert sand", sounds more exotic ! Decided to not fit a hugger for now, r and g shocksock instead. Bought a Palmer products adapter which uses original honda screen, pushing it up and forwards and gives up to 100mm height gain. Also can adjust forward and back. It works superbly, far better than a fixed screen IMO. Puig engine guards, grip puppies and rally raid rear brake reservoir cover. RR side and tail rack to follow :)

Cb500x riders - a good source on Facebook and images of Palmer adapter.

Sharon - I swear by Kriega bags. I have a U.S. 30 and 2 U.S. 10's. Looped to the frame they can be used with or without racks. Price is good when you consider the warranty and waterproofing. And can be used on your next bike :)

11/3/2017 4:47:14 PM UTC
said :-

12/3/2017 2:14:05 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Funguseater. "Desert Sand" now huh? Whatever next.

The R&G shock sock is a great idea. My reason for not getting one is it doesn't protect the important parts, the linkage bearings. It'll be these that will cause trouble one day I reckon.

I have not seen or heard of the Palmer Products Screen Adapter until you pointed it out. I've had a look on their website and it seems a smart piece of kit. Reasonably priced too considering some other aftermarket items. I may have a closer look at it and consider putting my screen back on. Hmmmmm.
12/3/2017 9:08:36 AM UTC
WWbiker said :-
I'm actually considering this bike, cheap to buy and run can do more dirt than you think and if the dirt tickles your senses you can upgrade with RR package and I've seen the bike doing stuff most people won't even try with a xt660r, dr650 or xr650.

For me who has been running. Triumph 800xc, BMW R1200GS and competing with super bike lately it really intrigues me. It's like a VW beatle (1 ed) or a Lada Niva it's cheap it works and can be used for whatever you normal needs might be. I seen what Thai guys have done unmodified in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and its mind boggling. An Australian couple travelled around the world 2 up with luggage with this bike. And Jenny managed to do the entire rubicon trail with a RR modified version.

So it'll run at speed limit (or above) on my commute, have fun daytripping in the mountains, nice weekend tours, explore further on holidays to all road destinations far away discovering new places and people. It won't require a ton of fuel, it has cheap insurance and because it's cheap to buy it won't require a big mortgage. All that will keep the wifey and family happy that you don't spend a fortune on a commuter/hobby/interest. Freaking spot on in my mind.
21/3/2017 7:47:58 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers WWbiker. Yeah I think as an all rounder it's very good. Just in case any reader's don't know "RR" stands for "Rally Raid". RR make a set of upgrades for the CB500X that greatly enhance their off-road capabilities. Google CB500X Rally Raid.

The 2 criticisms I hear are "lacking power" and "too heavy"

In terms of lacking power yes it will be greatly down on the Triumph and BMW you've owned before. In terms of what is legally permissible on the road then it is more than powerful enough - lets face it 250s are more than powerful enough. If you have to have max power and much speed then the 500 ain't your bike. If you want sufficient power for every purpose then it has more than enough

They are heavy compared to DR400s and other proper off road bikes. They're heavy compared to models in the same class too, but there's little in it. For the price you can't expect exotic materials it's a steel frame and a twin pot motor. It's not race light or trick light, but it ain't fat.

It will commute. It will tour. It will explore. It will go off road a little. It's fairly good on fuel. It won't break the bank. If you get the RR kit it will go off road a lot.

I like it, mine's got 9,500 miles on it now.
22/3/2017 11:49:03 AM UTC
Yengi said :-
I. Need to pass my test any tips
I ride a 125 for many years now lm 50 years old
I would love a Honda 500x to polish on a weekend

15/4/2017 5:43:29 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Yengi. I don't know which part of the country or indeed the world you're from. The best tip for anyone wanting to pass their test is to get the right training. There's plenty of training schools out there that should be able to guide you.
15/4/2017 8:33:08 AM UTC
Ted said :-
I have recently purchased a pre own 2016 CB500X and it came with a mere (Genuine) 379 miles on the clock)
I am getting it how I want it.
Are we ever satisfied with the manufactures original.
One of the 1st things I noticed was how the horn is facing forward and open to the elements and everything else that will get thrown up at it.
I flattened out a piece of 3/4" steel tubing, put a curve on one end and remounted it FACING the engine, but far enough away not to rattle against anything nor cause any damage.
Front Mudguard?
To my engineering mind, this should be about 8" / 200mm longer.
I bought some button head (slightly rounded, allen head stainless steel bolts)and "repair washers" also SS, these are about 20mm/3/4" diameter, which I have made slightly curved to fit the shape of the mudguard and bolted on a 12" (300mm) x 9" (230mm WIDE) sheet of 3/16" (5mm) rubber.
Spray the bolt heads and washers black that fit on the outside of the guard and they hardly show.
Making this effectively 8" /200 mm longer means it is slightly lower than the belly pan and should help protect the lower part of the engine.
One of my other vehicles is a diesel and I some times add "Diesel Magic" or an injector cleaner in a similar shaped plastic bottle.
These are about 3" (75mm) x 1-1/2" (40mm) and when cutting off the bottom few inches of one of these, it fits nicely over the rear brake res.
Wrap it with a few bands of Self amalgamating tape to keep it in place.
I picked this info from another blog.
The hugger from a CBR300RR is almost identical.
Just needs the holes elongated to fit on the near side and a couple of flat plate brackets to line up with the right hand swing arm.
"Proper " rear hugger was priced at around 90 quid....this one was taken of a near new bike being broken and was 1/2 the price.

If necessity was the mother of invention
Who was the father??

Rear hugger brackets1
26/7/2017 1:38:17 PM UTC
Ted said :-
Other side of the same CBR300 Hugger, now fitted to my CB500X

Rear Hugger Left Hand Side...
26/7/2017 1:41:50 PM UTC
Ted said :-
Horn Mod bracket...CB500X...

Took me about an hour I suppose, flatten out a piece of 3/4" steel tube.
Having drilled a 6mm hole in one end to fit where the original bracket is mounted I bend that in my vise so I could work out how much of a curve and slight twist I needed to put in this metal to bring the horn round to the LHS side of the engine.
Obviously remounted the horn on the original rubber mounting bracket.
It seems like a double laminated sheet.
Possibly helps with flexing and vibration?
Who knows the thinking behind these things.
Anyway, mounted the way round it is now, is how I prefer it and I have taped up the connectors to stop any water getting in.
Self amalg and pvc over the top.

job done.

CB500 Horn Bracket Mod-July 2017
26/7/2017 1:47:26 PM UTC
Ted said :-
This was just a sheet of 5mm (3/16") thick rubber sheet.
It needed to have a metal reinforcing strip bolted inside LOWER than just where it is bolted to the original mudguard.

Braces it enough to stop it folding back and flapping about at speed.
I had some spare 1/8" thick Ali sheet about an 1" wide and just curved it in my vise to the shape of the mudguard, then drilled it to suit and put "repair washers" about 1" diameter inside to stop the nuts pulling through the rubber..

All of my stainless steel nuts, bolts and washers come from a place in Wisbech , Cambridgehsire.
EFS...Engineering Factory Supplies, PE13 2TQ
01945 466644
Very helpful people.

This might not be the prettiest mod for an 500X, but it is effective !

CB500X Muduard FRONT
26/7/2017 2:05:52 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Aaahhh Ted, you're a man after my own heart. I'm loving all the mods - if you poke around on this ere website you'll see a few that I've done too. I do believe Honda try their best but they just don't understand the importance of real mudgaurdery over fashion. It's all very well and good if you ride only on nice warm days but what if you don't?

Thanks - I might move my horn.

Ren's DIY front mudgaurd extender on the cb500X
26/7/2017 4:46:05 PM UTC
Ted said :-
Yengi said :-
I. Need to pass my test any tips
I ride a 125 for many years now lm 50 years old
I would love a Honda 500x to polish on a weekend

ONLY 50 Yengi???

I passed my test on a crappy old 70cc motor scooter way back in 1963,
I was not quite 17 at the time (You do the maths ;-)
It annoyed me as a poorly paid apprentice to have to spend another 10 shillings (50 pence in todays Wonga) to get my 2nd Provisional licence for the sake of a couple of weeks because the local testing station in South London was all booked up.

Ok, DVLA.....How "clever" is this.
Get to the age of 70 and they want to take away some of the groups I previously held.
Up to 16 mini bus (not for hire or reward) and the up to 7.5 tons(not that I want to, I just don't want them taking away my entitlement), or whatever the equiv is.
Had to have a medical, jump through the usual DVLA hoops

Strange thing is this ONLY applies to some of the groups of larger vehicles.
Theoretically (finances permitting) I could go buy the biggest, heaviest, or most powerful bike on the road.
That's fine.....

I got fed up trying to explain LOGIC and Common Sense to them and asked if they had a "company slogan".
As they have the monopoly on drivers licences and road fund I asked if their slogan was.

Just no sense of humour some people.

It might seem an over kill, but I have made my "travel pack" a bit more visible.

I don't care how dark it is, I would hate somebody come cruising up behind me with the......"Sorry mate, I didn't see you".
AS IF !!!

DVLAS and Visibility?
26/7/2017 10:18:55 PM UTC
Borsuk said :-
Ted: Where did you get the stickers. I've added extra red reflectors to my topbox and I am fitting a couple of led brake light bars to it as well (I seldom take it off. Theres a hardwired 12V multi adapter inside to charge my spare mobile battery packs). I like your stickers on the panniers.
I like the mudguard extender and the other mods you have done.
26/7/2017 11:53:04 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Preaching to the converted Ted. Yep the DVLA has some peculiar requirements.

Now - Rally Raid make a kit for the CB500X to turn it into a super off-roader. I think we need to make a BAT kit to turn the CB500X into a super sensible bike.

Front fender extender - as long as Ted's.
Rear Hugger - design to be discussed.
Top box & panniers complete with super high viz, additional lighting and internal power.
Something to protect the rear brake master cylinder.
Large handguards.
Engine bars.

I welcome you folk's additional suggestions
27/7/2017 9:46:05 AM UTC
Ted said :-
Borsuk said :-
Ted: Where did you get the stickers. I've added extra red reflectors to my topbox and I am fitting a couple of led brake light bars to it as well (I seldom take it off. Theres a hardwired 12V multi adapter inside to charge my spare mobile battery packs). I like your stickers on the panniers.
I like the mudguard extender and the other mods you have done.
Thanks Borsuk,
I have tried to keep to practical things.
Extra brake lights are a good idea, something to do before it gets too dark in the evenings.

Stickers came from 2 different EBAY sellers....I just did the search for "Think Bike".
Seller Beaky2715....Ebay number was 253018509821
(Current ad @ Thurs 27 July2017)

Got those 4 and one for the inside of a vehicle rear window.
I just cut the white and yellow versions to fit where I wanted them.

The other reflective tape stuff.
Again search "Prismatic Reflective tape".

Seller is "Signmakingandsupplies", thousands of good feedback.
Not the cheapest and it meant buying all the same colour x 3 lots.

They won't mix n match.....Urgh !

It states that it weathers well, but just in case I have some spare in the "Man Drawer" ;-)

200902038171.....again, current ad number @ Thurs 27th July 17)

I got the 50mm wide in red for the back end of the panniers,

Amber to make a side stripe on the box.

White for a vertical stripe on the panniers also.

I put a white "think Bike" on the side of the top box and added the Amber stripe.
Also added the amber stripe to the sides of the panniers.
Vertical white on the front end of the panniers.
I'm not sure how much use they will get just yet, but at least they can be seen from every direction.

White for the front of the hand grips.
I'm sure some will think this is a massive over kill.

But after the last time a car driver looked straight at me, then pulled out of a side turning in front of me.
I don't take anything for granted.

Unless it is there are only 2 things which are Infinite.

The Universe.....

Peoples stupidity....

And I'm not always sure about the Universe :-(

Didn't get this old by doing stupid too often.

EBAY sellers, reflective signs/tape
27/7/2017 12:06:45 PM UTC
Borsuk said :-
Thanks Ted.

I have white and red RRT which I have plastered over my quad and it's trailer. I have some inside my bike topbox so that it shows when open and fixing things by the roadside. Even have some on the tool kit. Like you I like to be seen, that's why I am going to fit the top box with a high vis LED tail light / brake light unit.
27/7/2017 12:29:51 PM UTC
Borsuk said :-
Thanks Ted.

I have white and red RRT which I have plastered over my quad and it's trailer. I have some inside my bike topbox so that it shows when open and fixing things by the roadside. Even have some on the tool kit. Like you I like to be seen, that's why I am going to fit the top box with a high vis LED tail light / brake light unit.
27/7/2017 12:30:02 PM UTC
Ted said :-
I am so glad I found this site and been able to read what Ren started and how Honda have NOT fitted suitable crudge protection.

I have read, then re read....about the location of the rear brake res and LACK of protection.

Now I can be as tight as the next bloke (and Often a lot tighter)
Soooo, when I saw where the brake res was located I immediately started looking around and what I could use to make a slip on cover.
The plastic 2pint and 4 pint milk containers were way too big and do go brittle after a while.....this may also, but that was part of the reason I wrapped in a piece of rubber sheet.

After a quick look at all of the junk that was on the garage work bench I spot this old diesel injector cleaner bottle....I think the petrol stuff sold by REDEX is a similar shape and size, so this is like the free Hugger ;-)

Yeh, we can do FREE!

I made sure the bottle was empty
(I'm not a complete idiot, there are pieces missing)

Put the neck of the bottle in the vise and cut off the bottom 3".
These things are about 3" wide and 1-1/4" deep/thick.

I wrapped about an inch strip wide length of the left over mud flap rubber which was long enough to cover 2 wide sides and one edge.
Bound it on with the self amalgamating tape and had to cut away a small curved piece from the lower edge to fit round where the res is bolted on and another strip of self amalgamating tape to fit over the top of the res to stop it blowing off backwards if it gets a bit of wind against it.

I do love when a job can be done in about 10 minutes flat, only cost pennies
and should last a goodly while.

I know it is nice to be able to see the fluid in the res, but this can be slipped off and back on in seconds.
Ok, fess up, who really checks their brake fluid every week?

Me as well ;-)

my work here is done.

Oh, I am still in thinking mode about the standard screen.

CB500X, Rear brake Res COVER
27/7/2017 3:20:48 PM UTC
Ted said :-
Borsuk said :-
Thanks Ted.

I have white and red RRT which I have plastered over my quad and it's trailer. I have some inside my bike topbox so that it shows when open and fixing things by the roadside. Even have some on the tool kit.

Argh...Thanks for that......I missed that one.
Putting yellow tape round spanners and things that can easily get left behind is something I have often done, BUT, never though about brightening up the inside of the top box for when the lid is open.

I still have plenty of this Prismatic Reflective to hand , so now you have sent me on another little task.

Oh mate, I just want it to stop raining so I can go out for a ride without getting wet :-(

27/7/2017 3:51:11 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Ted - I need to see the final product - the brake reservoir in situ with it's cover on.
28/7/2017 7:03:26 AM UTC
Ted said :-
Ren - The Ed said :-
Ted - I need to see the final product - the brake reservoir in situ with it's cover on.
Hi Ren, I hope this will let me upload 2 photos on this one posting, otherwise I will add it to the next one.

The little plastic container cover slips on from the Back end and the self amalg tape holds it in place just over the top of the res and below under the bracket/bolt
28/7/2017 3:24:36 PM UTC
Ted said :-
Well, that didn't work, trying to load 2 pics for the price of one and both fell off.

Res cover slips on from the back.
Photo taken looking at the back end of this gizmo.

CB500 Rear brake Res COVER 1
28/7/2017 3:26:58 PM UTC
Ted said :-
Right....this should help a bit more...
I have slightly slide the cover back so you can see the Res and the self amalg tape.

Don't need too much, just a 9" strip stretched around the container cover to enable it to be stretched over the top on the Res and the bolt/bracket.

As previously mentioned, I did have to make a small cut out in the bottom narrow edge to give a bit of clearance past the bolt/bracket.

I can soon take it off is anymore photos are required....
Cost nuffink to ask ;-)

CB500 Rear brake Res COVER 3
28/7/2017 3:31:30 PM UTC
Ted said :-
The 1st photo I put on shows the bottom edge of the plastic container I used with about 1/2" to 3/4" deep cut out.....doesn't really matter just as long as it clears the Res bolt /bracket.

I suppose it helps having the hugger on as it gives the cover something the other side to press against with the rubber strip I wrapped around the container.

All sort of trial and error as to what fits best.

I still think revenge could be ice cream ;-)

28/7/2017 3:40:50 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers Ted. I shall have a poke around in my own shed and see what monstrosity I can create. I know Ian Soady would measure, plan, create technical drawings and delicately engineer a sturdy and polished cover. Me? Bodgetastic.
29/7/2017 10:33:40 AM UTC
said :-

18/8/2017 9:56:54 PM UTC
Phil said :-
I had a 2015 CB500X for a year(June 2015 - June 2016), and experienced much the same as you described Ren.
Brilliant machine for those of us who like their good mpg, best I achieved was 86.6mpg, average over 3,800 miles I rode was an impressive 77mpg.
Mine also suffered the well documented starter relay meltdown that many early bikes were recalled for, mine wasn't a recall as it was supposedly made after the affected dates, yet after just 3 weeks ownership I had my first ever breakdown on a motorbike lol, and it was practically a new bike too.
Traded it in after a year for a 1200 Bandit, basically I found it more boring than I could justify ownership despite the mpg figure being so good, It didn't make me want to get on it and ride. I look back now and have good memories but it wasn't an exciting bike, or one with character. But it was as they say typically Honda.

14/2/2018 7:04:23 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Boring? You really ought to spend much more time and distance on small capacity motorcycles Phil. After 300 miles a week on the 125 the CB500X feels like a rocket. Einstein was right, it's all about relativity and your own reference frame.

After 22 months of ownership I now have 19,500 miles on the CB500X. So far so good. My only major gripe this far is just how ridiculously difficult it is to get down through the tank and the electronics to get to the rocker cover to do the tappets. I've done it twice now so it's getting a little easier but it's not a task I relish.

Other than that I can see why you might see it as boring but I see it as easy to ride, friendly and manageable. I have no interest in breaking records or speed limits any more - frankly I have neither the skills or the balls to go any faster than the 47bhp allows.

It's all a question of taste.
15/2/2018 1:00:00 PM UTC
UKJeeper said :-
Just successfully returned from a 6 week, 11,000 mile, 22 US state trip around the US, on a Rally Raid upgraded CB500X. That "boring" little bike didn't pretend to be an adventure bike. It WAS an adventure bike. Took everything I threw at it. From running the Trans America Trail, to 400 miles of highway in a day. And the next morning would happily get up and do it again.

A very underrated, but worthy bike, IMO.

Far from home! Cinnamon pass, Colorado.
28/8/2018 2:39:34 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Oh yeah great UKJeeper. Just dip into my mind, pull out my fantasies then go and blasted well live them.

The definition here at Bikes And Travels of an adventure bike? A bike upon which you have an adventure.

Now I'm off to control my envy and to stare at this picture and wish I was you. Ya git.
29/8/2018 8:11:55 AM UTC

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