2013 Honda CB500X

Saturating the dual-sport market

FOR the specs and details of Honda's new CB500X the best bet is to have a read of our CBR500R story – in terms of engine and chassis, the two are basically identical.

The CB500X, though, slots into Honda's “adventure” range – giving the firm the widest selection of road-oriented, off-road-styled, touring-capable bikes of any manufacturer. With the CB500X, in 2013 Honda now has dual-sports at 125cc (Varadero 125), 500cc (CB500X), two at 700cc (NC700X and Transalp), 800cc (Crossrunner), 1000cc (Varadero) and 1200cc (Crosstourer). Let's hope for their sake that the fad for this type of bike doesn't evaporate in the next few months.

For a cheap bike, though, the CB500X does look good. The parallel twin, 471cc engine makes 35kW (47bhp) to suit the new A2 licence category, while in 'X' form the bike gets an extra big fuel tank – 17.3 instead of 15.7 litres – to add to its touring range, reckoned to be over 290 miles per tank. While the frame is basically the same as the CBR500R, its rake is stretched to from 25.5 to 26.5 degrees – probably a result of longer forks raising the nose rather than physical alterations to the chassis itself.

The bigger tank probably contributes to a fractionally higher kerb weight, 196kg, but the same brakes as the CBR500R are used, including the standard ABS.

With the NC700X costing under £6000, the CB500X will presumably slot in somewhere in the region of £5000 – and if you were legally forced to ride a sub-47bhp bike for two years, as all new riders under the age of 24 will be from January, it might be looking pretty tempting.