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2013 Honda CB500F First Ride

Thursday, May 23, 2013
Honda has proved surprisingly prolific with new-model releases of late. Big Red has added 19 models and counting to its powersports lineup in the last two years. Of that near score of new bikes, several are purpose built to engage riders as affordable, easy-to-ride entries into motorcycling. MotoUSA sampled the epitome of this new shift in market focus, with a brief first ride on the 2013 Honda CB500F.

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The CB500F is the naked standard in the new CB500 lineup, joining the fully-fared CBR500R sportbike (reviewed along with the F) and the forthcoming CB500X adventure bike. The 500F sports the lowest MSRP of the three, at $5499 for the base model and $5999 with ABS. Like its CB500 siblings, the F sources Honda’s all-new 471cc Parallel Twin. The tubular steel frame, Showa suspension and dual disc stoppers are also shared with the other 500s.

Technical details of the new engine and chassis are spelled out in our CBR500R first ride review. The 500F’s engine performance is indistinguishable from the 500R, with a smooth, forgiving power delivery that peps up in the top-end. The new Twin tops out at 47 horsepower and features a torque-rich, linear powerband.

The 500F departs from its sportier R sibling in styling and ergonomics. We’ll delve into the nuances of the naked look in a minute, but it’s the ergos that shift the bike’s attitude from sporty to a more relaxed standard. The F swaps the R’s clip-ons out for a riser and single handlebar, which lifts the bar height 1.9 inches (49mm).


Naked styling and raised handlebar differentiates the 500F from its sport CBR500R sibling. The ergonomic change facilitates a more upright riding stance.
It’s a subtle change, but the shortened reach to the bar makes the riding position more upright (while we didn’t ride the CB500X, one was in the Honda HQ garage and its ergos felt even more upright). Some riders may prefer the forward cant of the sportier R model, but I favor more relaxed upright riding positions afforded by standards like the CB500F – which felt quite comfortable during our short ride.

Hopping off the R and onto the F for the first time at a photo stop, the immediate sensation is it feels lighter on its toes and quicker to turn. Steering geometry on both bikes is identical – 25.5 degree rake, 4.05 inches trail and 55.5-inch wheelbase – as are the 120/70 front and 160/60 rear Dunlop Sportmax tires. The five pounds worth of bodywork shed by the 420-pound F (424 pounds in ABS trim) may contribute imperceptibly to the lighter feel, but it’s the extra leverage of the taller, wider handlebar that warrants the credit.

As a naked model the 500F does give up wind protection. We didn’t sample it on the freeway – rushing back to Honda HQ on I-10 aboard the 500R – but the F exposes the rider to more wind with its half fairing and small cowling. A long-distance tourer or daily freeway commuter may prefer the 500R.

As for the styling question, this tester has always been partial to the naked look – and the 500F is no exception. But I’m swimming against the current on this one, and the R is expected to far outsell the F in the U.S. market. American riders, for whatever reason, shun naked bikes. Fully faired sportbikes still drive sales in the non-cruiser road segments – and the naked standards that are so wildly popular in Europe have long struggled in the States. We don’t even get to see many of the best-sellers, like the Kawasaki Z750, now Z800, which has been the top-selling bike in France for some years. Honda has experienced this phenomenon first-hand too, with its 599 standard, which disappeared from the U.S. lineup after a sporadic appearances.

Honda reps seemed cautiously optimistic that the 500F would not suffer the 599’s fate. The company is certainly peddling the F as one of its easiest sells with the $5499 base MSRP. As mentioned in the 500R first ride, the CB500 bikes are world models, unchanged for various global markets, and are produced in Honda’s Thailand facilities. Both facts contribute to the budget-friendly price tag. But the low pricing is even more impressive considering how much the Japanese manufacturers have suffered in recent years from currency woes. A strong yen and subsequently weak Euro have benefited the European manufacturers, at the expense of the Japanese. That the 500F in ABS trim can be had for less than 6K is an important, if unheralded, feat.

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The 500F doesn’t feel cheap, with solid fit and finish. The instrumentation and switchgear, shared with the 500R, befit a full-sized street bike. And the 500F does emote a hair more panache with its blue-tinted display console, as opposed to the more monochromatic display on the R. Paint and overall built quality don’t feel like a budget bike. It is a pity, however, that the ABS version will only be available in boring black – as the Pearl White is far more fetching in person.

In our first ride evaluation of the CBR500R, we label it perhaps the most intriguing bike to watch this riding season. And in terms of volume units, it figures to have a bigger impact, but the importance of the 500F to Honda shouldn’t be discounted. The F is marketed to a slightly younger crowd (20-30 year-old) than the 500R (20-40 year-old), and Honda expects 500F customers to be less experienced and more price conscious.

American ridership started aging a decade ago – it’s now officially aged. While the grey haired crowd still commands the market, and drives sales (think Honda’s F6B Gold Wing), Gen X and Gen Y consumers are the most coveted demographics for brands. Honda is courting the youth market with these 500 models as fun, affordable mounts. And based off our quick ride assessment, we’d rate the 500F the most attractive entry-level offering in the Honda lineup.

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Comments
OutOfTheBox   May 2, 2014 05:36 PM
It also says that you should take the bike in to the dealer just to get the air-filter changed.
LeatherWings   March 4, 2014 08:20 AM
@ComedyGenius who wrote: " "But why should I change oil and filter every 1000 miles?" Because that's what the manual recommends. Curious about this myself, I googled the CB500F manual. Oddly enough it recommends an oil-change every SIX HUNDRED miles plus a filter-change every other oil-change." DUDE. I suggest you re-read the manual. It suggests that you do an initial oil and filter change after the *first* six hundred miles. After that, oil and filter changes are done every six THOUSAND miles. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BwmYWlzMWkPhMmZyakJKemJRMTg/edit
ComedyGenius   July 12, 2013 05:11 PM
" But why should I change oil and filter every 1000 miles?" Because that's what the manual recommends. Curious about this myself, I googled the CB500F manual. Oddly enough it recommends an oil-change every SIX HUNDRED miles plus a filter-change every other oil-change. At least now you can use a spin-on filter and it only takes 3 liters of oil, not 4. At 1000 miles/month that's still $8/quart for organic oil every 3 weeks plus another $5 or so for a filter every 6 weeks. Maybe you can try a nice expensive synthetic 4-stroke motorcycle-oil and see if you can stretch that out to 1200 miles or more per change. I see a number of semi-synthetic blends for about $7/liter that seem to be rated well online at 2500 mile intervals. You're still talking about risking the motor just to reduce the cost of oil...that's a hell of a gamble. 600 miles at 60 miles/gallon is 10 gallons of gas plus 3 liters of oil at $7/liter (roughly 3/4ths of a gallon) about $70 worth of fluids. That's twice what I pay in bike-insurance each month. Another way to look at it, pay half as much for the bike and the insurance is also cheaper. So even if it gets half the MPG you still have a couple of years to make up for that plus you don't lose as much in trade-in value plus you're not riding it year-round anyway but you're still paying finance and insurance-costs year-round.
Tik   July 9, 2013 05:16 PM
To argue with MonsigneurDeMotorcylist - I never made calculations about additional costs of riding because I'm not riding out of necessity, I like to have fun and in the same time commute; But why should I change oil and filter every 1000 miles? Why should I pay 1o$ parking/day? Insurance was 40$ for 6 months. Tyres are cheaper than in your mathematics. On the other side, why do people pay tickets at Disneyland or to see a movie? Why do you pay cable TV? Some people pay a fortune to fly in space or donate all their earnings to some church and they are perfectly happy and have no regrets about their spending. Why should I have then spending more money on bikes than others on a luxury sedan.
Tik   July 9, 2013 04:51 PM
Don't criticize my English, I'm from the other side of the ocean. Riding a bike does not equal to drive a car. That is why you English language speakers say 'ride' and not 'drive'. Travelling from A to B can be boring by car and funny by bike. Each person is unique so why should we have the same ways of having fun. Those who do not enjoy riding bikes or some types of bikes should just find forums sharing their own passions. Or maybe their passion is just messing here. I have lots of fun riding the bike as long as there is no ice on the road no matter what kind of weather it is and I like riding fast on twisties with my Buell, I like fooling up and down on stairs with my XT660R, I like very very much buzzing around with my Yamaha Aerox 50cc and I don't like riding a Fat Boy from HD because I cannot take corners without scratching the asphalt with it's pegs. But that's me and I do not criticize those who like choppers or fast cars or ATV's or whatever. Back to CB500F, is a bike extremely easy to handle, with linear power at any rev, nicely built for what it is: 475cc street bike. - of course is not for everyone, every bike has to tick some squares for it's owner. If I would have to decide for only one bike, I would probably go with something dual purpose, not to heavy, tall, with big tank, reliable. But I'm riding since 1982 and what I like now is not what I was dreaming at 30 years ago.
DJOakTree   July 8, 2013 09:27 PM
"You seem to have missed the hypocrisy part that I led off with." "And trust me I've done it more than enough times to know." I'll bet you have. Nom nom nom nom
SpeedV4   July 8, 2013 06:05 PM
"Again, I guess what I'm trying to say is SHUT UP AND RIDE. " you seem to have missed the hypocrisy part that I led off with.
SpeedV4   July 8, 2013 06:03 PM
...there are a lot of assholes and a lot of idiots out there, some are both. You buy a bike & ride it enough you will find more than enough of them. Occasionally you will look into the mirror and see one. When you start riding a motorcycle on the highway in the rain when it's 40deg and windy because you're riding through a cold front or riding at 1500ft AGL in the late summer? You're an idiot. Doesn't matter how good your tires are or how nice and warm your protective gear is. Riding a bike in the rain is idiotic. And trust me I've done it more than enough times to know.
SpeedV4   July 8, 2013 05:56 PM
"I like buying new, it just feels more like "my bike" that way. And, my budget can afford it. I currently ride a CBR250R" gotta admit I did indeed LOL when I read this. Your comment had me snarking all the way through up to that point, then that brought a full-blown guffaw. And then it just goes on and on almost like you're trying to talk yourself into believing that you're saying something significant. BUY THE BIKE ALREADY. That's all you really need to say. Do you realize how many people get on here and yammer on and on and on about bikes they say they want to buy but then...they never buy anything? Ok so you bought a CBR250, Mr. Wise-Ass, and now you're unhappy with how well your 250cc dirtbike with MotoGP styling runs on the highway? Sorry you didn't think enough before you bought it. Maybe this time you will. Let me just tell you from experience: no bike really "runs well" on the highway if there is a lot of wind OR a lot of traffic. Wind & traffic will dominate the experience. Without those two things to worry about, just about every bike does. As long as the suspension and wheels are in good shape, you will find a cruising speed that is comfortable. I hope that helps. But most of all...don't talk about buying the bike. Either buy it, or talk about how much you want to buy it. But don't get on the Internet and go "I'm going to buy a blah blah blah (I can easily afford it)". PLEASE.
DJOakTree   July 8, 2013 05:28 PM
Oh, and I'm sorry to hear that you live in such an ...unsavory neighborhood. I hope that your fortune in life improves. Throwing rocks at it, I tell ya... What if I trip on my way out the door? Oh my god, you've enlightened me! I should be deathly afraid of kids with rocks! If you need me, you can contact my new assistant who will handle the computer from now on. I would type myself, but unfortunately the computer can't come into my bubble. I tried but the bubble guy said that there's not proper ventilation for a computer in there. Try to bear with me, he's a slow typist.
DJOakTree   July 8, 2013 05:20 PM
Took that fair weather comment to heart huh? Wasn't even aimed at you, but here goes. It's raining: buy tires that have decent wet performance, and maybe some rain gear. They race MotoGP in the rain, buddy. And I'm sure you've noticed on rainy days that some guys still ride. I bought Pirelli tires for my 250, and they feel better in the rain than the stock tires did in the dry. It's cold: You ever been skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling? Same speeds (unless you ride like an ass), what's the solution? Oh, yeah, buy a jacket. Again, I don't ride if there's a possibility of ice or high winds. Oh, and if it gets stolen, that's what insurance is for, my brother. Insure it for the full value, they'll buy you a new one. Accessories (like exhaust, seat cowl, rim tape) covered too. So then I'll have another "my bike." Cost of operation? Let's not even get into the service schedule, gas mileage, and insurance (!) costs of an R1. Believe it or not, this isn't the first time I've made a budget. They quoted me $175 a month for a Ducati Monster. Cheaper, half the power. I'm sure the insurance on an R1 is ridiculous. My point was that the poster there went from "How does the CB500F feel when ridden?" to some rant about how motorcycling isn't as good transportation as taking the bus. Am I the only one who thought that was a bit out of place here? You don't see me posting on the ride review of an Aprilia RSV4, talking some nonsense about how you don't "need" the APRC electronic package, or about how you will get wet in the rain (like EVERY OTHER MOTORCYCLE EVER!), and about how I don't have the balls to ride in the rain, so I take the walk of shame to the bus stop. And if you take the car instead of the bike on a day with a 10% chance of rain, and worry about the "unsavory characters" stealing your bike, you may as well buy yourself a plastic bubble and live in it. Have some balls, brother, live your life. Can't spend every rainy day inside. Eventually I may get a ridiculous bike like an R1, and if I was on an R1, with all that power, no traction control, ABS, etc, I wouldn't ride it in the rain. But I would bust out my daily rider (read:CB500F in this case) and get out there. Again, I guess what I'm trying to say is SHUT UP AND RIDE. What is with you people? To me, riding is a lifestyle, not a weekend thing. And if you all want to discuss that that's fine, but I think it's a bit out of place on a first ride review of a brand new bike that NONE OF YOU HAVE RIDDEN, I'm sure. Sheesh!
SpeedV4   July 8, 2013 04:39 PM
Dude...your hypocrisy aside...it takes a certain kind of idiot to ride a motorcycle in the rain not to mention in the cold or the cold rain and you're damm right that you should think about that each time you swing a leg over a bike (at least until my patented system for real-time weather radar is up and running). Same with the cost of operating and maintaining it. First time, last time, whatever. And as far as it feeling like "your bike"? Keep that in mind when you come out and find it lying on its side. Or, it's not there at all, or a bunch of kids are playing on it. Or someone's driving by and throwing rocks at it. Or you're riding it somewhere where any one of many unsavory characters can walk up to you and knock you right off it. Yep, it's all yours, because you bought it new...sure, whatever you want to believe :)
DJOakTree   July 8, 2013 01:07 AM
Monsigneur, This article is about a motorcycle. Not walking, not riding an R1. Not public transportation, commuting, warranties (really dude?) or anything else even remotely related to a word that you typed. Like many articles on this website, it is about a person's impression of a (First Ride...) of a motorcycle, in this case a CBR500F. I am sorry to hear that you have such a contentious relationship with motorcycling. It must be difficult to be a fair weather rider. I will buy this motorcycle. I will put a carbon fiber exhaust, a passenger seat cowl and red rim tape on it. Black, with ABS. I like buying new, it just feels more like "my bike" that way. And, my budget can afford it. I currently ride a CBR250R. Love it, but would like something that can pace highway traffic easily. This bike will do that. Is it a great 'only' bike? I don't know. I'll let you know after I ride it for a while. Every day. Rain or shine, cold (gets down to ~35 or so in the winter here) or hot (today was 100, and high humidity). The only time I don't ride is when there is the possibility of ice, or high winds. Then I bust out the car that gets driven a few hundred miles a year. And you know what? I don't think about all that stuff you talked about. I don't. Not one bit. I buy when I can and I ride what I have. I guess what I'm really trying to say is: shut up and ride.
MonsigneurDeMotorcylist   July 7, 2013 09:16 PM
"But it's not "super" for anything. " well that's not exactly true. It's super compared to buying a $15k sportbike if all you're going to do is chew-up miles on the street riding around on it. That is true whether you're a beginner or a seasoned rider, a commuter or just a touring-rider. Of course, the yang of that is that there just isn't much like burning-up miles on a $15k sportbike (or likewise an expensive high-performance touring bike), and if you're going to ride a motorcycle, that's definitely a great way to do it. But sure, if I'm just cruising a few hundred miles on the highway at a loafing pace, I'd probably prefer to ride this bike than an R1. If I'm more or less free to ride at the speed and distance of my choosing and I'm not trying to stretch every dollar, I'll take the hit in fuel-economy and comfort and stick with the R1 over this bike. But I'm sure that many others would make the opposite choice.
MonsigneurDeMotorcylist   July 7, 2013 09:06 PM
...if you don't have to pay for parking and you lease the vehicle or you get a car with one of those 100,000 maintenance warranties where all you have to pay for is tires and gas...if your commute isn't too bad, or you need a secure vehicle or a weather-proof vehicle or you need to carry significant material...it's a no-brainer to just buy a really-nice car instead of a motorcycle. Of course, if you make enough money and you don't have a lot of financial burdens then it's not a problem. But my guess is that if you're like that you already own a bike that costs more than this one, or you would buy such a bike. It's not a bad bike, don't get me wrong. But it's not "super" for anything. It's a good 500cc standard, nothing more and nothing less. And it still has the same problems that every other new bike has: even if it gets great gas-mileage it's a hell of a lot of money to pay and a lot of trouble to deal with just for the pleasure of riding on two wheels vs driving in a car or riding a bus or even carpooling. to me, on this job, in this weather, it's worth it. But the day will come soon where it's just too cold to ride, and daily I drive my car to work anyway. Cause I work 4 hrs during the day in the office and 4 at night on field-assignment and I cannot reliably ride a motorcycle out on field-assignments. I do however get to come into the office late and during the day I usually ride if it's not too cold or wet to ride.
MonsigneurDeMotorcylist   July 7, 2013 08:53 PM
And when the weather sucks you can't ride it, so you still need something else to commute with. Either a car, or public-transportation. As I've already said it's cheaper for me to commute in my car. For public-transportation that's at most $15/day for me with no support costs...even cheaper still. I commute on my bike because I far prefer to ride it to work downtown through rush-hour traffic than to drive and I absolutely hate public-transportation. But when I was broke and starting a new job with barely enough money to eat that day, you'd damm well better believe that I rode the bus to work. Until I got sick of it and began to walk home from work, all the way across town, just to save money for a bike. I bought a dirt-cheap old bike so that I would not have to spend much money on it OR burn up my car driving back and forth to work. Even though I could easily afford to do so. But I've easily spent another $5k maintaining that bike in the 3 years since I got it, not to mention gas and insurance. So if paying that much or more just to commute in good weather and then still having a car or riding the bus anyway isn't a problem for you, then go for it. If it is a problem then you might want to think twice about buying a motorcycle to commute, regardless of its MPG. Especially if it's a brand-new bike.
MonsigneurDeMotorcylist   July 7, 2013 08:40 PM
I guess you couldn't quite believe the mpg was actually that high :) seriously the bike is $7k new. Just for the bike. Now, I commute on my bike just about every day, 25 miles each way through city traffic. At $3.75/gallon for 93 octane gas, that's 250 miles a week, 1000 miles a month. My bike gets about 35mpg. Say this Honda doubles that. I would spend $107/month in gas just commuting. My insurance is $30 a month and my parking is $10/day, $200/month. That 1000 miles also costs me $40 in oil and a filter, as I have to change the oil every 1000 miles. 10,000 miles I'm looking at new tires front and rear, $150 each plus $50 each for mounting & balancing, $400/10=$40/month in tire-wear. Throw in pads, rotors, sprockets, bearings and a chain, that's a total of about $500/month to commute on my bike. My *car* means spending about the same in gas but doubling the parking and insurance but the maintenance is *far* less plus of course it's safer and an all-weather secure vehicle (in fact I drive to assignments and commute by bike to the office). I already own both outright so they cost me nothing in finance costs. Now for a beginner the insurance would be far more expensive, probably just about the same as the monthly finance cost for a $6k 500cc bike ($1500/year for 5 years=$125/month or so). Commuting on it would drive the cost up even more. You're looking at, easily $750/month or more for a beginner to buy this bike, likewise for a commuter. The only savings they would get would be in gas @ $50/month vs $100/mo and oil-changes, maybe they could get 5k per change vs 1k, maybe it would cost them $10/month vs $40. If you focus only on the handling and mpg, sure it might be "a great bike for commuters or beginners". If you look at the finances it simply sucks. It only makes financial sense compared to a bike that cost a lot more money. But just about every other bike that costs LESS makes more sense than this one.
Tik   July 7, 2013 07:19 AM
Sorry, I have to correct the previous comment - 76mpg not 66; 66 was when I drove it constantly with 70 to 80 mph.
Tik   July 5, 2013 02:46 PM
Keeping the bike at 50-60 mph, out of town my wife did 66 mpg more than once. Computer shows more, this is what I calculated for full tank to full tank at 200 miles round-trips. Super bike for beginners or commuters.
Muzzy   June 16, 2013 04:47 PM
LOL I did wait 4 days ;) couple of notes, I think that I've figured out what is the truly-significant difference between a 300, 600, literbike and 1400. The weight really matters a lot less than it seems that people think. The power matters a lot more than they think, I believe. The one thing that I don't hear people talking about much is how the front-end gets unloaded under acceleration out of the turn. That means the front tends to push wide making the turn take more room and last significantly longer than with less-powerful bikes. So just going from a 600 to a literbike, all else equal (such as with the Gixxer 600 and Gixxer 1k) you end up getting yourself into more trouble more easily at both ends of a straight especially with a fresh rear which bites well. The other note is that it seems that Ninja 300 owners have rallied from the initial setback of the CBR500 release. Despite the power advantage the lower redline and higher clipons have apparently capped the bikes' "street-cred" among the boy-racer types. So wouldn't you know it, now the Ninja 300 crowd is calling the CBR500 (not to mention CBR250) crowd a bunch of posers with their bikes best used as starter-bikes for little girls, and streetfighters for 150lb wanna-be tough-guys to go with their brain-buckets and leather jackets, boots and jeans. Funny how the more things change, the more things stay the same.
Muzzy   June 13, 2013 07:11 PM
" But a little more never hurts, eh?" an interesting thought. Just how "little more" is even significant, when it comes to passing? One can balance out any gain with an equal minus. You have 15% more power? You're that much more likely to wait longer to need it all, again. Just as a higher income means greater spending and more taxation, in the long run the balance is questionable.
Muzzy   June 10, 2013 09:55 PM
"@ Muzzy - I live nowhere near Lake George, NY, so I can post more than the banned jfc1 has done in a lifetime in the time it would take me to go to Americade and back" I think "DramaQueen2013" would be a more suitable name for you. It would take you 3 days at most to do that ride, if you'd stop whining and actually do it.
Muzzy   June 10, 2013 09:43 PM
ok which weighs more, the alloy frame on the 1900cc monster that's 3x the displacement of the 600F4i that you, your racing instructor and half of the Ninja 300 riders out there always whining about as having too much power, or the steel frame of the CBR500 that you now want a week after it hit the stores, which has even less power (and shorter gearing) than the NT700V you're whining about now?
Piglet2010   June 10, 2013 08:50 PM
@ Muzzy - I live nowhere near Lake George, NY, so I can post more than the banned jfc1 has done in a lifetime in the time it would take me to go to Americade and back. Besides, I remembered the Road Star review, so it only took about a minute to find the link. And yes of course the frames differ in details and form, but not in basic function; your dodging and weaving is noted, however. || “Just ride it at the speed limit in top gear, that's the best you can do.” - Completely besides the point to the fact that the NT700V would get better mileage with a 6th gear. || If you know anything about materials, you would know that all (OK, maybe not the worst Chinese crap) aluminium alloy motorcycle frames are heat treated after welding for precipitation hardening. And titanium alloy valves are to allow for higher rpm operation, not overall bike weight savings. || The power of the NT700V is perfectly adequate for passing – just a couple of days ago I safely passed several vehicles in very short passing zone, a couple of times with oncoming traffic visible. But a little more never hurts, eh?
Muzzy   June 9, 2013 03:58 PM
ps at the risk of posting 3 times and having all 3 deleted, Al has about 1/3rd the density and strength of steel requiring additional mass, given an optimal steel design converted to Al, to reach the same strength. 2000 and 7000 series Al alloys "can be precipitation hardened to strengths comparable to steel" (wiki is awesome). You're going to see a reduction in weight for a design of comparable stiffness but it's not like going to be an order of magnitude lighter. Likewise titanium valves are lighter than steel valves but not *hugely* lighter. They are, however, hugely more expensive, and go a long way to explain why a CBR600RR is twice the price of a CBR500R. These are engineering tradeoffs that the buyer pays for. "- what if I use engine speed close as possible to peak power already when passing?" You're practically never going to be "at peak power" when passing someone. That's just life, deal with it. Besides, as New Englanders are wont to say, "you shouldn't need 65hp to pass a car at highway speeds, with a motorcycle...you shouldn't be riding a motorcycle at the first place, much less passing cars on one".
Muzzy   June 9, 2013 03:37 PM
" And finally the bike as is get near 50 mpg on highway trips, so some weight reduction and a 6th gear could easily make up the difference." Just ride it at the speed limit in top gear, that's the best you can do. Oh wait, you could not ride it at all :) anyway one thing that stands out for me from my recent trips: the bike really comes secondary to the weather and the road-surface.
Muzzy   June 9, 2013 03:34 PM
"At 37 lbs, the frame on the Deluxe is 25 lbs lighter and 56 pieces less complex than Star’s Road Star." It's a different design altogether, dude. Besides, it's a 1900cc bike, highly irrelevant to you, right? Except for arguing on the Internet? LOL ...interestingly enough, both Honda and BMW had demos at Americade. If you hadn't spent the past week seaching furiously for something to prove me wrong you might have gone up there and taken a ride on the new CBR500R :) also BMW had the S1000RR up there in quantity as well. I didn't have time to ride all the bikes that I wanted to ride so I rode 3 and took off for Montreal. Overall it was a great DRIVE :) don't know if I would have ridden it, but it was a great outing.
Piglet2010   June 7, 2013 04:46 PM
@ Muzzy - Yamaha/Star saved 25 pounds when switching from a steel to aluminium alloy frame on one of their cruiser models, so your "Aluminium frames are worth 10 lbs at most over steel tube frames" contention is a gross error. See http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/275/5991/Motorcycle-Article/2010-Star-Stratoliner-Deluxe-First-Ride.aspx
Muzzy   June 7, 2013 11:30 AM
...really what it shows is how little I think about your bike. Please forgive me. I hope that it doesn't unsettle you when you ride it.
Piglet2010   June 6, 2013 09:25 PM
@ Muzzy - Shows how little you know about bikes if you think a Honda NT700V is 750cc when it is actually 680cc, think it weighs 550 pounds when it has a manufacturer listed wet weight of 562 pounds (569 w/ABS) which goes up to 573 (or 580) pounds with the top box. And your comment about using higher rpm does not make sense - what if I use engine speed close as possible to peak power already when passing? And I wrote nothing about a close-ratio gearbox - the point of a 6th gear would be to drop engine speed on the freeway from the 5000 rpm range to nearer 4000 rpm. And did you not read where I wrote that other measures besides frame material should be used to reduce weight? There is no reason why the NT700V could not be updated to weigh about the same as a BMW F800GT. And finally the bike as is get near 50 mpg on highway trips, so some weight reduction and a 6th gear could easily make up the difference.
Muzzy   June 5, 2013 05:30 PM
Shows how little you know about bikes, bud. Aluminium frames are worth 10 lbs at most over steel tube frames. You get 5 more hp just by riding it at a high-enough RPM...which would defeat the purpose of putting a 6th gear on it. It's not a sport bike with a cammy engine, you don't need a close-ratio 6-speed gearbox. It's a 750, suck it up. And where is 50mpg supposed to come from on that bike other than riding it at a constant 40mph? It only weighs 550lbs wet as it is. You keep asking for these miniscule improvements on a percentage basis to bikes that are pretty-much already what you're asking for. It may happen eventually anyway, it may not...but in any case ride the bike and be happy, or admit that you're just fundamentally not happy with that bike.
Piglet2010   June 5, 2013 03:37 PM
@ Muzzy - The bike I would really like to see Honda make is an updated NT700V with a twin-spar aluminium alloy frame and other "diet" measures to drop the wet weight to about 500 pounds, about 5 more horsepower from the engine, and a 6th gear. Would have plenty of power for real world street riding, and real world mileage in excess of 50 mpg when ridden reasonably.
Muzzy   June 4, 2013 05:36 PM
With a nice balance between cost, weight-savings, and mid-range performance vs a no-compromise "balls to the wall" engine that is ultra-light and ultra-powerful. More FZ1/FZ8 even, Z1000, CB1000, Ninja 636/FJ6R at the low end...bikes that are already out there. Just make them more fuel-efficient & cheaper without sacrificing quality. And that means more standardization, fewer models and fewer parts, and making the two-stroke concept work in the modern regulated world. Let the aftermarket pick up the slack when it comes to optimization. Honda is taking the opposite approach and bringing out 500 different models with 5 different varieties each. This is inefficient and counterproductive...the sign of a management that has lost its way.
Muzzy   June 4, 2013 05:25 PM
I just don't see how you can get decent gas mileage on a bike on the highway when you're constantly revving the crap out of it, no matter how slow you go. And if it doesn't give you great gas mileage then there's no rationale for riding it long distances at highway speeds especially in less than optimal riding conditions. So even if they are cheap and frugal they don't get you far except as an around-town bike. Yet a bike that is fast yet "inefficient" works only as long as you have the pain-tolerance and the money (or stupidity) to make it work. The thing is that if you graph rider-enjoyment vs riding-distance, one starts at "great" and trends down with increasing distance, the other starts at "suckage" and trends up. But they can only trend up so far for so long, as in both cases we're still talking about a motorcycle. So high mpg and high power/acceleration/speed are at opposite ends of the spectrum. So which is best? Take a fast bike and improve the mpg without a major loss of power, or take a high-mpg bike and improve the power without a major loss of mpg? the former is easy and there are a dozen ways to do it. The latter is practically impossible. And in any case high MPG will only get you so far on a motorcycle because you can only make so much use of it in real-world riding. Power has the same problem, but it's much easier, safer and faster to do 0-60 blasts than it is to ride 500 miles on a bike. High power with improved efficiency would win this every time, except for the fact that small, light low-power high-MPG bikes are much cheaper. But you can still get almost there by making the bike simple & cheap, like Honda is doing here. It just needs a bigger motor...it needs a simple, cheap, functional design with a liter engine. More like the CB1000 than this bike.
Piglet2010   June 4, 2013 03:49 PM
@ Muzzy - It is a lot easier if you relate torque and power in SI units. And the most efficient engines are very slow revving, 2-stroke, overhead valve, turbo-diesels. But even a Boss Hoss is too small to fit one. ;) http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2011/07/largest-diesel-engine.jpg
Muzzy   June 4, 2013 01:25 PM
...most of you all know that HP is proportional to torque as well as RPM. Did you know that the exact equation is HP= Torque (lb-ft) * RPM/5250? Did you also know that HP=33,000 lbs-ft of work / minute? Ever really think about these two equations? They reveal two key facts. First, at 5250rpm, the output in HP is the same as the output in ft-lb torque. So simply doubling the RPM should double the output HP all else being equal. Second, the much more subtle point is that torque in ft-lbs does not equal work in lbs-ft. 1 ft-lb of torque is equal to about 6.3 lbs-ft of work (33,000/5250). Which gets us to the topic of brake mean effective power. BMEP is a measure of combustion efficiency. Torque is a function of BMEP and displacement only. HP is a function of torque and rpm. Up to a point, increasing the # of cylinders and raising the compression-ratio increases BMEP which increases torque which increases HP. It also increases cost, along with increasing engine complexity, such as a 4-valve/cylinder 4-stroke engine vs a simple 2-stroke reed-valve engine. The most efficient engines (and consumately, the highest BMEP, torque and HP per L of displacement) are multi-cylinder 2-stroke engines with moderately-high combustion-ratios. So what happens when you convert the engine to 4-stroke, reduce the number of cylinders, use cheap valvetrain components that can't support high RPMs and lower the combustion-ratio? In the case of the CBR500, you end up with a bike that isn't nearly as good yet cost more (taking inflation into account) as a 30 year old VFR500 Interceptor. Even saddling the 30 year old bike with carbs and outdated manufacturing techniques vs a modern FI system & modern parts. But hey: it's trendy and that's what counts.
BTRDAYZ   June 2, 2013 12:20 PM
What I'd like to see is how this 500 compares to an old 500... the VF500 Interceptor.
Piglet2010   June 1, 2013 10:29 AM
@ jfc1/Sheene/Gibernau/Bayliss/Biaggi/(next nym) - "You seriously think that riders are too stupid to actually control their bikes in the moment based on their own intelligence but they are smart and logical enough to know who to listen to and who to ignore about the very question of controlling their bikes not to mention actually decide to ride motorcycles in the first place?" This is what is known as a "straw man" argument, as jfc1/Sheene/Gibernau/Bayliss/Biaggi creates an argument I did not make, then attacks it as being mine.
Piglet2010   June 1, 2013 10:27 AM
@ jfc1/Sheene/Gibernau/Bayliss/Biaggi/(next nym) - Let us apply reductio ad absurdum to your contention that a rider should be consciously thinking about all control actions. If this is true, one could become an expert rider simply through "book study", without ever riding a motorcycle and developing "muscle memory". I, and everyone else, will believe that when it happens, and not before. So try applying logic to your contentions before accusing others of logical fallacies. Or better yet, establish the "jfc1 Riding School" and see how many successful students you turn out (and please post their post school professional motorcycle racing career résumés).
Piglet2010   June 1, 2013 12:40 AM
For any newbies reading these comments, ask yourself this? Would you take the advice of those skilled enough to be successful racers, who have now made it their career to learn as much as possible about motorcycle riding techniques to be more effective teachers, or a Internet keyboard warrior who has to constantly nym-shift when he is banned by moderators, and recommends instead of learning how to corner well just going real slow in the turns, and gunning it on the straights on a high powered bike? I can guarantee you that anyone with a factory MotoGP ride is *not* thinking about how to operate the controls or even body position, as things happen too fast for a conscious thought process to keep up. The same is true in many other activities from other sports to playing a musical instrument - the very best have practiced to a point where they no longer have to consciously think about technique.
Piglet2010   May 30, 2013 05:52 PM
@ Michael D - To paraphrase Keith Code, one should be thinking about what one wants to do while riding, not how it is done, e.g. think "I want a smooth launch", not "I need to feed the clutch in gradually with moderate throttle". If a rider is not yet to the latter stage, he/she is best off on a lighter and lower powered bike with good handling. From all reports, the CB500F would be an excellent bike for a new rider, or an experienced rider who wants a bike that is nearly automatic to ride, so he/she can focus on the road, traffic, etc instead of the bike.
x2468   May 29, 2013 11:07 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if an exhaust, fi tuner, high comp pistons and reground cam you could get 60-80hp out of it.
Michael D   May 25, 2013 02:28 PM
Really? Repetition is the way to better yourself at anything you do. Starting out on a Hyabusa would be ignorant. Starting small builds confidence so as you move up to a larger bike, it eases the learning curve. And the Mistakes you make are not as severe. Ive been riding 40+ years and have rode all types and sizes of bikes, and also have raced MX competitively. I do track days every year. Had I started on a large powerful bike with little experience I probably wouldn't be here today. With experience I learned to control and respect a Motorcycle and learned how to control it.
Piglet2010   May 24, 2013 09:55 PM
@ jfc1/Sheene/Gibernau/Bayliss/...? - 1) Why is the consensus among those who develop advanced riding training opposed to your contention on what is an appropriate bike for a newer rider to learn on? Do you suggest broad incompetence among the top professionals, or maybe a vast conspiracy in the industry? For most riders, just whacking open the throttle on a supersport, heavyweight sport-tourer or heavy cruiser is gong to be unsettling to scary, since unless they are filthy rich, they have never driven a car on the street that is capable of a sub 12-second quarter-mile, much less the ~10-second quarter-mile of the hypersport, superbike, and muscle cruiser bikes you would put a newbie on. And yes, newbies with less than "alien" talent may unintentionally whack the throttle at an inopportune time. 2) Risk taking is independent of skill level, and the very best riders take relatively few risks even while winning races at the professional level. And all the top stunt riders I can think of only practice and perform on closed roads/parking lots, etc, and not on open public roads. 3) I cannot speak for the MotoUSA staff, but on general principles of behavior in western society, if you do not want to be banned and have your comments deleted, I suggest avoiding ad hominem attacks, insults, foul language, and inappropriate debating techniques.
Piglet2010   May 24, 2013 09:32 PM
@ jfc1/Sheene/Gibernau/Bayliss/...? 1) In my case, I end up doing a lot of miles on rural freeways/expressways, which is some of the safest and least demanding riding. But as much as I like a Suzuki TU250X or my Yamaha TW200, I would not want to ride 3 to 6 hours at near top speed on a tiddler due to vibration and possible engine overheating. While I have obviously not ridden a new CB500F, it should be suitable for such use (as was the CB400T Hawk I owned a quarter of a century ago). 2) Your question is based on a false premise, which is very poor debating form. My belief is that riders should stay off heavy/powerful bikes until all the control actions and techniques used in normal riding become automatic. This may be a couple of days if you have "alien" level talent, or many months for a person who is slow to develop "muscle memory" and only rides infrequently. 3) Again you pose a question based on a false premise, and also one that is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. 4) An over-simplification, as the events leading to a crash involve inputs that affect the traction of both tires.
Piglet2010   May 24, 2013 05:10 PM
@ Gibernau - The reason some of us would take longer trips on the highway is that we use motorcycles for actual transportation and not just weekend toys. I will ignore your insults and not respond to the rest of your postings.
nosferatux   May 24, 2013 01:49 PM
When we are going to have the supersport shootout 2013? can't wait for it.
neo1piv014   May 24, 2013 07:01 AM
Considering the CB500F is priced the exact same as the Ninja 300 ABS, that's a fairly clear shot at Kawasaki. For the same outlay of cash, the Honda is a significantly more powerful bike, and I Honda's legendary reliability is worth something extra in and of itself.
fireblot   May 24, 2013 04:28 AM
Looks like Honda has successfully knocked off the 20+ year old Ninja 500. No increased power, no increased stopping distance, but a BIG increase in price. Guess that's progress.....
Piglet2010   May 23, 2013 10:15 PM
I wish the CB500F had been available a few years ago when I got back into riding. Unlike the Suzuki TU250X and new GW250 (not to mention the unlamented Honda Nighthawk 250), the CB500F has enough power/gearing/weight to be a reasonable bike for longer highway trips, but not so much as to be overwhelming to a new rider the way a supersport or heavyweight sport-tourer is. Throw on a windshield and Givi hard bags, and I would be willing to tour one-up on the CB500F.