WE revealed a few months ago that Honda was planning a parallel twin sports bike based around the a doubled-up version of the CBR250R's single-cylinder engine. And we were nearly right – we suggested the machine would be a CBR400, while the actual thing carries over the CBR250R's cylinder dimensions too, making it a CBR500.
As well as the faired bike, Honda is to make a naked version around the same chassis and engine, probably reviving the CB500 name.
Pictures leaked via www.cbr250.net show the faired bike has styling that's surprisingly close to that of the CBR600RR rather than copying the more modern shape of the CBR250R (which itself was a copy of the VFR1200). Since the CBR600RR itself is due for a revamp next month, gaining restyled plastics and an underbelly exhaust, it's a little odd that the new 500 should be so similar to the outgoing model, which has carried the same styling cues for a decade now.
Although the pictures don't give a clear view of either the faired or naked bike's chassis, they're believed to use a tubular steel frame similar to that of the CBR250R. Budget right-way-up forks, a single front disc and the fact the bikes will be built in Thailand all point towards low prices as the main attraction. With the doubled-up CBR250R motor giving somewhere around 45bhp, they should fit in nicely to the new A2 licence class due to be introduced in Europe and the UK next year, which will limit most new riders to sub-47bhp machines for two years.