See how the 2013 Honda CBR500R stacked up against the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 and 650 in this photo gallery. Read more in the 2013 Honda CBR500R vs Ninja 300 & 650 comparison review.
- The Honda CBR does its thing, cutting right between the Ninja power curves – topping out at 42.9 hp and 29.19 lb-ft. However, the CBR torque curve is remarkably flat, producing 25 lb-ft right off the bottom with its peak horsepower coming right at redline.
- The dyno charts are a fair evaluation of how the engines perform out on the street. The different natures of the 300 and 500 are immediately apparent.
- The Honda 500 looks physically larger than the 300, in no small part from its larger tire profiles.
- Tuned for street-friendly torque, the CBR mill redlines at 8500 rpm – a full 2500 less than the nearest bike, the Ninja 650R.
- The base model CBR500 is $1200 more than the Ninja 300 at $5999, with the ABS version $6499 – though the Honda’s also include a $310 destination charge.
- Honda’s CBR500R builds off the success of its 250 sibling.
- The CBR can comfortably exceed 200 miles between fuel stops.
- The CBR actually shares the same 30.9-inch seat height as the 300, and its correspondingly easy reach to the ground, but from there the similarities end. The Honda bars feel taller, with the pegs much lower – equating to a more relaxed riding position.
- The Honda is also easy to launch with its well-sorted six-speed gearbox. The seamless clutch engagement and gentle throttle make for a brilliant beginner bike transmission.
- Braking from the Honda’s set-up outperforms the little Ninja’s similar arrangement. Its back brake, however, felt relatively grabby and was quick to lock up. Unfortunately, we did not test the ABS version of the CBR.
- The CBR continues to split the difference between the two Ninjas when it comes to curb weight. At 423 pounds, it is 37 pounds heavier than the spritely 300 and 41 pounds less than the 650.
- At the pump, the smaller displacement mounts sipped a near identical amount of fuel – at 53 and 54 mpg. The nod here goes to the CBR, but it’s really a wash between the two.
- Honda’s Parallel Twin is a completely new design shared by the entire CB500 lineup.
- Our test riders found the CBR500R display easier to read with its large, centrally-located digital speedo.
- The Honda churns out a steady beat of torque everywhere, including right off idle. A perceptible boost kicks in between 6 to 8K, but the overall power delivery is mind-numbingly linear.
- On the road the CBR feels heavier than the 300, but is still easy to toss around and lighter on its toes than the 650.
- All three bikes sport non-adjustable forks, with preload adjustable rear shocks. The CBR’s softer suspension gets overwhelmed before either of the Ninjas, but it also proves more comfortable for commuting and backroad jaunts at a less aggressive pace.
- Our brief first ride aboard the CBR500R displayed the 500’s easy-to-ride nature, but left us wanting more sporty confines to test the chassis. Its 471cc Twin felt an obvious increase over the 300, but we weren’t sure exactly where it stacks up in the sportbike class. After riding all three, the CBR's middle road performance matches the displacement.