Like the previous test with CBR500R, The ﬁrst noticeable change in the new 2016 Honda CB500F is the way they look. The design is more angular and aggressive than before, making the middleweight naked appear more as ‘big’ bikes. But at the front it’s a different story: the 500F is more naked than ever, with the last remaining panels protecting the modesty engine gone, and the two-cylinder parallel motor now proudly on display. It also has a more compact casing for the single headlight, and air vents at the side of the tank.
|Both bikes share the same clocks, so it’s a real shame that there’s no gear indicator. They also share preload adjustable suspension front and rear. A centrestand is an option for either bike. Good work Honda!|
2016 Honda CB500F – The Ride
The test ride started from the outskirts of Seville on narrow cobbled roads, with children, goats and tourist buses zig-zagging around us – Honda’s engineers had promised that the 2016 Honda CB500F’s suspension had been made more progressive to soften the ride, but I hadn’t expected it to feel so smooth and stable on such poor roads. While the suspension made light work of the cobbles, another delight was the throttle, with its quick, but not jerky response.
|The 2016 Honda CB500F competes in the popular naked-bikes category.|
Heading up to the mountains and moving onto faster roads, the suspension and power continued to impress – we rode a series of third and fourth gear bends where the bike was more than happy to lean into corners, the suspension moving a little with braking and accelerating, but not feeling overworked at any point. The wide bars made the 2016 Honda CB500F easy to push from corner to corner, and you feel very much in control, even when the pace escalates.
I thought the brakes were great – especially considering the front only had a single disc. I was a bit suspicious before riding, but they were light to operate, effective and smooth even when I grabbed a handful. The suspension’s progressive nature also helped to keep the ABS from biting too early, which I always find a bit unsettling.
Both 2016 Honda CB500F & CBR500R produce a claimed 47 BHP at 8.500 RPM – the highest level of power allowed in the A2 licence category. Maximum torque is 32lb-ft at 7.000 RPM, but the engine pulls keenly from lower revs too. Although the motor is not new, the air flow into it has been improved, which means a more instant throttle response and better pick-up from across the rev range — the engine really feels like it’s punching above its weight.
There’s enough power for the bike to shoot out of corners with intent, but still remain composed – impressive for an A2 licence-friendly machine – but it’s delivered smoothly enough that it won’t feel threatening for new riders. There’s also plenty of usable torque lower down the rev range, so you can be a bit lazy with downshifts at times; having said that, to keep the 2016 Honda CB500F ready to attack, it’s best to keep the revs between 6.000 and 8.000 RPM.
It’s not just the mechanical performance that makes the 2016 Honda CB500F pleasant to ride. For me, a good chunk of the enjoyment came from how easy and pleasant the bike was to ride, and the relaxed and natural riding position in particular. The wide (and fairly high) bars and the upright body position make it easy to control the bike both in the city and on faster roads. The relatively low seat (785mm) is very comfortable – even if it doesn’t look it – and the foot pegs are nice and low.
2016 Honda CB500F Specifications and Price
Engine : 4-Stroke, Inline-Twin, DOHC 8-Valve, Liquid-Cooled
Bore x Stroke : 67 x 66.8 mm
Capacity : 471 cc
Compression Ratio : 10.7 : 1
Induction : PGM-FI
Transmission : 6-Speed, Chain-Drive
Power : 47 BHP @ 8.500 RPM (claimed)
Torque : 43 N.m @ 7.000 RPM (claimed)
Dimensions (LxWxH) : 2080 x 790 x 1060 mm
Wheelbase : 1410 mm
Seat Height : 785 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity : 16.7 Litres
Weight : 190 kg (kerb, claimed)
Frame : Tubular Steel Diamond Frame
Front Suspension : 41mm Telescopic Fork, Adjustable Preload
Rear Suspension : Monoshock Pro-Link® with 9-way Adjustable Preload
Front Brakes : 320mm “Wave” Discs, with 2-Piston Caliper
Rear Brakes : 240mm Discs, with 1-Piston Caliper
Front Tyre : 120/70 – ZR17 M/C (58W)
Rear Tyre : 160/60 – ZR17 M/C (69W)
Price : £5099