The Honda CB500 has always been a bit of a workhorse. Almost every rider training school in the country uses them, couriers love them and savvy commuters would choose one over the train any day. It’s easy to see why, it’s reliable, dependable and built to last. It’s the Honda way.
Of all the ways we could describe the CB500, desirable is unlikely to be the word that immediately springs to mind, until now.
Clever thinking born out of necessity means that for 2019, your CB500 comes in three flavours. There’s an R version for those of you that want to live out your first sports bike fantasy, there’s a naked F model for those that prefer the upright riding style and practicality of a naked bike and then there’s the X model. The X is the adventure styled bike, designed to appeal to those that are looking to escape the normality of life whenever possible. Even if only on the commute to and from the drudgery of the office.
It has a 19 inch front wheel and dual purpose tyres designed to cope with trail riding and tarmac duties. It has slightly longer travel suspension compared to its R and F brothers and it has a windscreen that allows the rider to shelter from the wind and rain. We rode all three in Tenerife but it was the X that stood out for us.
Powered by the same A2 licence friendly parallel twin engine as the other two, the X model is a surprisingly lively bike to ride on the road. It climbs through the revs, delivering smooth, linear and useable power all the way to the 8250rpm peak. A handy shift light on the dash let’s you know it’s time to add another gear. The dash also displays gear position, speed and all the other useful info you’ll need on your ride.
The brakes and suspension are matched perfectly. You can adjust forks and shock if you need to, we didn’t. Even when our ride went from super smooth tarmac to rutted off road trails, the X just got on with the job of making us smile. Of course if pure off road riding is your thing then you should look at other bikes, but will they be able to cope with your 9-5 commute as well? Will they be able to deliver 70mpg day in day out? Will they leave you with the feeling that you’ve picked a bike that really could deliver you across Europe just as easily as it could cart you to the office? Maybe not. Aside from the smiles and the fact it’s a Honda so you know it’ll still work in ten years time, we were most impressed by the price. Chuck a thousand pound deposit down and you can ride the CB500X for £90 a month. Oyster cards cost more than this bike. It represents so much more than just value for money though. Don’t take our word for it, grab a test ride from your nearest dealer and you’ll be as surprised as we were at how much fun this little diamond is to ride.