Looking across to the snow capped alpine mountains seen from the back seat of a motorcycle

Home Repair And Restoration

DIY CB500X Hugger

Bodge Date 29th May 2016

By Ren Withnell

Well...not exactly a hugger but it does the same job. I'm just fishing for Google hits with the title that's all. 

Do modern motorcycles come deliberately incomplete? Is there a deal between HonKawSuzYam and the aftermarket people? Is it all a great big conspiracy? Probably not but it makes me wonder. Curiously Honda supplied it's CBF125 complete with a hugger and a front mudguard long enough to actually guard against mud. Bear in mind the CBF125 is a base model motorcycle, the CB500X while not "top flight" is higher up the food chain. If clothing is meant to keep you warm and mudguards are meant to keep your bike clean the X's mudguards are about as effective as a pair of shorts - in winter. 

The purpose of a rear mudguard (or hugger) is to protect the rear shock and perhaps the linkage too. There really is no excuse for leaving these parts exposed to the constant stream of mud, grit, dirt and water that is thrown off the rear wheel. Yamaha on their recent XJ600 clearly demonstrated that it is perfectly possible to create an effective barrier without making the bike look silly or costing an arm or a leg. See below...

Yamaha XJ600 shock properly protected from the rear wheel
Well done Yamaha XJ600. I rest my case.

Anyhow, Honda obviously couldn't be arsed so I thought I'd better finish off the job they never even started. The best material for such a task comes in the form of an old 5 litre oil tub from Halfords. At less than £20 the plastic is flexible, hard wearing, easy to cut and work with and comes with 5 litres of FREE OIL! I can't argue with the cost I tell ya. Then with nothing more than a marker pen, some guesswork and a cheap Stanley knife I fashioned something to fit the bill. Obviously Honda also failed to fit any suitable mounts for a DIY hugger, the lazy swines. Fear not for zip ties are also hard wearing and moderately cheap too. 

Green plastic covers the rear of the wheel arch on the CB500XJob done, almost as good as Yamaha's efforts.

The only issue is the Halfords tub was green. They do sell the same plastic in shades of purple, brown and grey but regrettably not black. Personally I have no problem with the colour but Sharon reckons it looks "ridiculous". Harsh words and completely unnecessary if you ask me. Never the less my shock and my linkage now live behind the green hugger and will be all the better for it. 

The linkage is just visible behind the green plastic of the huggerMy linkage is now safe from the worst of the weather. Happy linkage.

I am considering starting up a small business supplying these - and basic engine oil that comes in an old Tesco carrier bag too. If you would like to invest 1.5 million pounds to get me started then do feel free to deposit the money in my account by the weekend. 

Reader's Comments

Ian Soady said :-
Of course if you used Silkolene oil the free hugger material comes in a tasteful shade of black.

I'd probably add some gaffer tape just to make it all look completely bodged.......
31/5/2016 1:20:46 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Damn you and your fancy oils Ian. I have some gaffer tape, do you think it will add that certain "je ne c'est quois?"
31/5/2016 2:34:38 PM UTC
Latchy said :-
Looks like something Jeremy Clarkson would make just for a laugh
1/6/2016 5:17:27 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Thanks Latchy. However you never noticed it at the club on Monday night so it can't be that much of an eyesore. It's looking less obvious now as it's getting dirty.
1/6/2016 9:12:22 AM UTC
pocketpete said :-
Bike envy has finally got the better of me and for the last month or two I have been lookingat various bikes around the 500-650 mark. This has been sparked by my inability to keep up with friends when we go riding. Dont get me wrong im not talking about getting a mental street bike but I have been looking at the vstrom the cb500x and one of the last 650 bandits in my local suzuki shop.

My experience so far is really crap you see adverts on autotrader and ring up and the the shop tells you all about the bike you go to the shop and its gone.... the adverts still there 2 weeks later. The cheapest bike in the world is one they havent got...

The vstrom is a bit steep for me my budget is around the £ 5500 mark. But I recently had a test drive on the cb500x. After going on the Vstrom the yamaha versys I was really surprised at how good it was within 2 minutes I felt I had always been riding one the bike was so easy and avergae. It pulled when needed crusied when needed and handled ok. Took it on the motorway at 75 and it was stable. They are doing one brand new with panniers and top box £ 5800 on the road. Thats pretty damn good.

Had a drive on the sv650 it was great fast low down power handled like a dream but the rear seat was crap for paula. pity as it was only £ 5499 and they dont do top box and panniers yet.

My local shop have a 650 bandit naked l2 version in stock last one as they have stopped making them now. Took it out jesus it was fast and handled really well the engine power was incredible 6th gear 40mph pulled out to overtake a car bang and up to 80 in the blink of any eye.
Seat was ok for paula but she said the bike looked evil. I had to agree i think I might kill myself on it as its just sheer power. With panniers and top box £ 5760

The only problem is my local shop are just such great friendly guys and I prefer then to the honda shop a few miles away. Not much in the price of the bikes I just feel the cb500x will be a better safer option. But I think the bandit will be more exciting.

What do I do? Ren hows your cb500 is it what you hoped for?
3/7/2016 4:40:34 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I can't tell you what to buy Pocketpete!!

I am very happy with my CB500X. BUT! The CB500X is down on power compared to the Bandit, the SV650, the Vstrom 650 and most other models in that range. Depending on how fast your mates are the CB500X will "keep up" but it certainly won't out-drag or out-perform the other models.

Also consider servicing costs. The advantage and a big point for myself is the 8,000 mile service interval on the Honda. I do not know what the service intervals are for the other models but this all needs to be taken into account. Watch out for slippery salesmen who start to fudge and squirm when you ask this question. Before Sharon purchased the Z250SL she got a deal on the first 3 services - get this in writing! Otherwise they'll conveniently forget or the guy who did the deal has moved to another shop.

I do not know how much you use the bike but if fuel economy is important then the CB500X also wins here. I keep to the speed limits and I don't thrash but I do make progress and I'm returning 84-87mpg regularly. Early Bandits used to be thirsty, I would imagine the FI ones are better but none of the models you've mentioned will match the Honda.

Keep on thinking and there is no rush. Keep on test riding. Haggle with the dealers. Remember too that some time in November/December the dealers will start to get desperate and better deals can be had, especially on last year's models. Consider second hand? Vstroms are great bikes and 5.5k will get you an absolute minter.
3/7/2016 6:47:54 PM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Just watched quite a few videos on the cx500 no one's really got a bad word to say about it. My inzuma is not a bad bike but when we're on a run its just not got the top end. It's struggles to get to 75 when two up. Most of the other riders have fairly sedate bikes a vstrom kawasaki 600 and a triumph 675 which is a big mental. But they are not fast riders more plodding along chaps but they do like to do 80 on the motorway. I think the bandit will be wasted on me and I'm used to twin cylinders so I will go with the cb500x and see how we do the adventure packs sold it.
3/7/2016 7:01:58 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Well try and get a deal! I gave about 5k for my bike with the centre stand at half price.
4/7/2016 7:06:28 AM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Why do you need a new bike? In 40-odd years of riding, the newest I've ever had was a year old. And most significantly older......

It's only new until the moment you ride it off the showroom floor, and in those few metres you've lost at least 10% of the purchase price.

Why not look for a carefully owned bike a year or so old? Like this one?
4/7/2016 1:04:23 PM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
I agree that buying new is an certain way to lose a bit of cash. I will of course drop the vat element the moment it's driven away.

But from past experience I have purchased cars and bikes that have blown up or died within a few miles of purchase. I remember a nice mondeo car I bought one careful owner low milage blew a head gasket after 4 days engine overheated and I lost £ 1500 instantly.

I buy new to guard against this and accept the loss. But I can then look after the bike how I want to. I have little practical mechanical skills. A jump start is about my limit. I couldn't tighten the chain on my inzuma as i didn't actually have a large enough spanner to loosen the nut.

I have had bikes breakdown and lost wages so now I always have aa cover. And generally get rid of bikes and cars after 2 or 3 years before they start failing mots or Needing work doing.

It's just a personal choice and I've generally been reasonably well off to afford it. I do sometimes wish I had trained as a mechanic rather than a policeman I wouldn't shudder so much at mot tests. A mechanic said to me once your shims need doing i honestly had not idea what he was going on about. I had to look it up on Google. Even now I'm not really sure what a shame does or looks like.
4/7/2016 9:27:04 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
New/used, it's one of those personal choice things. In my experience it often boils down to mechanical ability (or if you have the money!)

I've never purchased new until I got the 500. As Pete says it's good to know the bike started out as good as can be and if anything happens to it I know what that was, I know its history. I have purchased some excellent second hand bikes and I must admit I've purchased some complete lemons too. That said just because it's new doesn't mean it won't be a lemon!

It is an expensive way to buy. My bike now has 2000 miles on the clock which makes it VERY second hand in the motorcycle world. I estimate by this time next year I'll have 10k on it which in most dealer's eyes makes it ready for the scrapyard. This in a time where modern engines should be able to run up to 100k with regular services.

Anyhow Pocketpete do let us know how you get on. I'll be expecting a review!
5/7/2016 5:31:50 AM UTC
P said :-
I had a 6mth old cb500x for a year(June '15 to June' 16), very nicely put together bikes but 2 weeks after purchase i had my first ever breakdown in 20years, so even new bikes are susceptible! It was the starter relay that melted(huge recall across 500cc Honda's), oddly mine was too new to apparently be listed as one of the recalled bikes but it still happened so check yours!
Excellent bike as Ren says has limited power, its enough but wont light your fire. Above 70mph acceleration is slow but thats not what the bike was for. I averaged 78mpg over 3,800miles, bezt was 87mpg and worst was 73mpg. Reason i sold/traded mine in was it just wadnt exciting and didnt make me want to just jump on it and go for a ride as there was no excitement. I traded in for an older '05 1200S Bandit and got the excitement back!
Cant knock the cb500x tho, its a Honda thru and thru, started every time, nice quality feel to the controls, predictable, reliable, amazing on fuel, and looks good with a simple design.
Also i own a 2015 Honda CBF125(traded in my Honda Innova!) and an older Ducati Monster as well as my 1200S Bandit. I love each bike for its own reasons but have to say the little CBF125 always puts a smile on my face when i ride it.
28/1/2017 10:14:31 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Power? If you feel the need for all out speed and performance the CB500X isn't going to match a 1200 Bandit or even an old GPZ500 twin. It has more than sufficient power for the UK'S congested and speed camera filled roads so anything more is just excess really. It's the fuel efficiency that attracted me to the bike, it's the comfort I'm starting to appreciate.

No matter how spacious and comfortable the 500 is when I get back on the 125 I know immediately why I've kept it so long. It is the perfect motorcycle. 130-140mpg, so light, so easy to ride and just hilarious fun. Who needs 140mph when you got 140mpg?
28/1/2017 2:59:04 PM UTC
Ted said :-
Oil can HUGGER....brilliant idea....you could stand you bike in a row of a dozen stock bikes and pick yours out in an instant.

That rear brake res looks a bit dirty, do we really need to see what is in there every day or is it worth covering it over with a little slip on plastic container of some kind?

This is something I have done, but not got pics of yet.

cheers all.....

I'll be back ;-)
26/7/2017 10:33:54 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I await your images Ted. I was thinking that it needs protection. PocketPete actually managed to kick his off the bike during some peculiar manoeuvre.
27/7/2017 9:50:51 AM UTC
Borsuk said :-
The less said about PocketPete's "Peculiar Manoeuvre" the better methinks. :-)
27/7/2017 3:26:08 PM UTC
tahrey said :-
I'll definitely have to pull out those milk bottle hand guards now, because it's pretty much the same level of engineering :D ... maybe if you've still got the rest of the oil can left you can split it in two and produce some sort-of replicas in that fetching green colour?
7/11/2018 10:30:44 PM UTC

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