With the much-awaited launch of the new CRF1000L Africa Twin earlier this year, it might be tempting to dismiss these bikes as something of a sideshow, but the 2016 Honda CBR500R is an important part of its range. It‘s the point where riders moving both up and down the cc ladder meet, where car drivers are oﬂen converted into motorcyclists and where power restrictions allow enough oomph for most bikers to enjoy the ride, without the machines becoming too much to handle.
2016 Honda CBR500R – New Look!
|In an update for 2016, the shift drum stopper spring load has been revised, along with the shape of the shift drum centre, for smoother, easier gear changing.|
The Honda CBR500R first emerged in 2013, so isn’t a new bikes, but it has been seriously updated for this year. In fact there’s more than 200 enchancements, from the looks and sound to the response and handling, making the latest Hondas more economical, responsive and approachable.
The ﬁrst noticeable change in the new 2016 Honda CBR500R is the way they look. The design is more angular and aggressive than before, making the middleweight sportbikes appear more as ‘big’ bikes. The dress code is formal, and the full fairing oozes sporty eﬂiciency. The screen angle is sharper than before, the handlebars are low, and the overall impression is very, well, sporty.
The new 2016 Honda CBR500R rears are identical with the 2016 CB500F – The upswept tail, separate seats for rider and pillion, air vents in the seat unit, and a new stubby exhaust muffler. The new exhaust is not only lighter than before, it has also altered the engine note, with the new bikes letting out a full and surprisingly energetic roar as the revs rise. They are not loud bikes as such, but the noise is pleasing and ﬁts their look nicely.
Both Hondas (2016 CBR500R & CB500F) also share a digital dash, which houses the speedo, rev counter (with the redline at 8.500 RPM), fuel gauge, odometer and clock. There are also switchable trips and fuel consumption indicators. The dash is easy to read on the go, with the large speedo dominating the view – everything is clearly laid out. The controls for the switchable options are two pleasantly big buttons either side of the dash, easy to poke at, even with gloves on.
|Single, dual-piston Nissin calipers, paired with well damped suspension, are surprisingly good.|
The 2016 Honda CBR500R may have the same engine and chassis as its naked brother, but where the 500F has been stripped back, the “R” looks like a proper sports bike with the full fairing and lower bars. Despite the sporty appearance though, it didn’t initially feel that different. The riding position is quite upright for a sports bike, and the handlebars – although narrower and lower than those of the ‘F’ – are still easy enough to reach without flattening yourself on the tank.
In town traffic it was evident that the 2016 Honda CBR500R benefited from the same silky suspension and the steady throttle action as the F. Although the bars allow a slightly smaller steering angle before the tank gets in the way, the bike is still easy enough to navigate through traffic and handles well at crawling speeds.
As the ride gathered pace, the 2016 Honda CBR500R started to live up to its styling, tackling corners with effortless precision. The riding experience was not too different from that on the naked CB500F, with the main change being the fairing, which helped make faster speeds more streamlined. Other than that, there’s not much that separates the two bikes.
The 2016 Honda CBR500R is tempting for anyone looking to move up from 125cc or holding an A2 licence. Its 47 BHP puts among the most powerfull bikes you can ride with an A2 licence – And also has the looks, pedigree and feel of Hondas bigger all-out sportbikes.
2016 Honda CBR500R 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) : 2080mm x 750mm x 1145 mm
Wheelbase : 1410 mm
Seat Height : 785 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity : 16.7 Litres
Weight : 194 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 : £5599