When less really is more!

After a few days spent with Honda’s CBR500R, we think that 46bhp might just be the magic number!

When less really is more!

HUMANS are weird creatures, we constantly strive for the biggest this or fastest that, but how often do we actually use 100% of machine’s potential?

You wouldn’t buy a 16-bedroom mansion to house you, your other half and your two sprogs – so why do we ride around on 200hp crotch-rockets when we rarely have the balls, or a road long enough, to make full use of it?

This human quirk was made very clear to me while taking part in Honda’s Ron Haslam Race School the other week. Riding to and from the track takes in a stretch of road called the A444 that links the A5 and the A42. It’s not mega challenging but is a good mix of fast sweeping bends and decent length straights for overtaking.

And I can honestly say that on that day the 46bhp that the new Honda CBR500R was producing was absolutely spot on for me. And it’s not that I don’t like fast, powerful bikes – I love em’. It’s just I bet I never get near to using the full potential of the thing. Apart from the occasional motorway blast, when the weather’s good and the roads are clear, I reckon I rarely get to 75% of a bike’s full potential. But on the little CBR I can extract almost all of it, almost all the time.

Hammering around a bend on the CBR500R, with the pegs decking out and the digital tacho flashing red at me is exciting, but if I tried to pin a blade through those corners flat out, I’d end up in a tree. And that’s not me saying I’m riding A2 licence bikes or nothing, not in the slightest. I’m just saying that riders might snub small capacity bikes like this as being weedy, underpowered or slow. But the little CBR makes about the same amount of power as a Norton from the 60’s – remember, the superbikes of the golden era of motorcycling. But it weighs less, has better brakes, better suspension and is more reliable. I don’t think any of the sportsbike riders at the local bike meet are going to refer to the Norton as weedy or underpowered, are they?