2013 Honda CB500F revealed

The template for an “A2” motorcycle

LOOK at the EU's restrictions on the new A2-class licence holders that will cover a huge number of young new riders from next year and you might as well be looking at the spec sheet of Honda's new CB500F. This bike has a focus.

The rules allow up to 35kW (47bhp). The CB500F makes 35kW (47bhp). The rules allow bikes that powerful to weight no less than 175kg. The CB500F has a dry weight of 175.4kg. We probably don't need to explain which market Honda is hoping to corner with this bike. But when you consider that anyone under the age of 24 who wants a bike licence will have no option but to spend at least two years on an “A2” class bike, then it's clear there's going to be some serious demand for machines that make the most of the limits placed on that category.

That's why Honda has revealed not one but three bikes that fit the class, the CB500F, CB500 and CBR500R. You can read about the other two in separate stories, but all three are basically the same. Same 471cc DOHC parallel twin motor, with square bore and stroke dimensions for a wide spread of torque peaking at 32lbft at a relatively low 7000rpm. Same tubular steel frame and box-section steel swingarm. Same 41mm right-way-up forks. Same 320mm single front disc and two-pot caliper, with ABS as standard. Very different styles, though.

The CB500F is the plain vanilla version of the bike. Although it's actually the same from the fuel tank back as the CBR500R, the front gets higher, wider bars and a Hornet-esque headlight, with radiator cowls to stop it from looking too much like a poverty-spec machines. This will, however, be the cheapest of the new Honda 500s, presumably with a sub-£5k price tag.