Honda CBR500R (2013 - 2016)

There are a lot of people out there who get excited by sensible stuff
Manufacturer
Category
Price
£5099
Available from
2013
Looks the business; should get young hearts aflutter
With 47 bhp hauling 194 kg, it's not out to thrill
The next generation's first sportsbike? A2-licence-compliant sporty model offers beginner thrills

User Reviews

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Submitted by Bodders (not verified) on Tue, 30/12/2014 - 16:09

Overall Review

If you're stuck on a A2 license for a few years this bike is ideal. Its accelerates rapidly all the way to 100mph, its got more than enough beans for most roads. Really manageable size and weight as a stepping stone from learner to experienced rider. Natural position change from riding a CBF125. Really nice build quality as you'd expect from a Honda, everything feels solid and nicely finished. Only major issue would be the stock exhaust as with many new bikes these days, so strap on an aftermarket can and you've got the full package IMO. Also great for commuting - quite a narrow bike so its easy to slice through traffic, great fuel economy in and around town 70mpg+. Get about 250 - 300 miles from a 12 litre fill up.

Strengths

Perfect step up from 125cc's. Riding position is extremely comfortable, very similar to CBF/R 125. Engine: Power of the bike is perfect, enough to thrill but not to kill you if you're new to bigger bikes. Never find the bike struggling for power if keep above 3000rpm Brakes: ABS is fitted as standard - cant recommend enough. Feel much more confident in an emergency Economy: After 6k miles on the bike I've averaged 68-80mpg depending on the conditions. 68 mpg while slicing through the peak district is good going Price: good quality, sturdy, attractive looking bike for £5k

Weaknesses

Soft Suspension: As you've probably read in some reviews the springs are a bit soft on this bike compared to some. It makes it very comfortable but if you want a more responsive feel through hard cornering a few notches more of pre-load is needed. Sound: Although its much more appealing noise than a 125/250 its still too quiet. I would recommend looking at an aftermarket can (i have a yoshimura which sounds sublime) Passengers: The grab bars on this bike aren't very easy to hold if you want to go 2 up and ride hard. First service is now ~£100, no longer need valve clearance check (2014 model)

Rating Breakdown
Engine
Brakes
Handling
Comfort
Build Quality
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Overall Review

So what is it actually like to live with? In short, great. I’ve done 12,000 miles in 18 months, a mix of A road and city commutes, weekend ride outs and tours to Wales and the peak district. There is certainly no evidence of cheap build quality and in fact it feels very well put together compared to competitors from other big Japanese manufacturers which I test rode. It has scraped pegs down sweeping country roads, navigated remote mountain passes, devoured 250 mile dual carriageway slogs, shrugged off fully loaded camping trips, and it has never complained. The acceleration will leave behind all but the most expensive cars, and it will cruise at 100mph at ease (on private roads of course). Handling is predictable and dependable even on the OE tyres, although switching to Michelin pilot road 4s has given me more confidence in the wet. I guess a good measure of how much I like the bike and how well it suits my needs is the fact that I haven’t needed to spend loads on modifications; a scorpion can added some extra attitude and a OE rear hugger really should come as standard, but otherwise, it behaves exactly as it should. Like anybody, I occasionally find myself lusting after new more shiny and more powerful bikes, but I don’t have space for 2 bikes and honestly don’t believe anything out there suits my needs better as an all rounder. In summary. A good bike for what it is, but don't try to trick yourself (or others) into thinking its a sports bike.

Strengths

Cheap to buy and to run: *Relatively low power and low weight means tyres, brakes, chain etc. last forever, insurance is cheap. *Relatively low tech design means servicing is easy to do yourself and there isn't much to go wrong. *Amazingly frugal. 65 mpg+ according to the dash. I don't even start looking for a petrol station until I've covered 200 miles. Practical: *Decent tank range, decent grab bars to strap luggage to, decent OEM tyres, fairing and windscreen for weather protection, ABS as standard, 8,000 mile service intervals. *Sporty styling (personal preference)

Weaknesses

*A couple of recalls - make sure they have been done. *No rear hugger (OE rear hugger costs £80). *Front suspension is fine but not outstanding. MY2016 come with adjustable forks. *Misconception that it is trying to be a race bike. You will get no respect from straight line heroes and willy wavers, and you will get left behind if all your mates ride supersport bikes.

Rating Breakdown
Engine
Brakes
Handling
Comfort
Build Quality
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Overall Review

The CBR500R is a great bike for a beginner, or someone moving to a bigger bike for the first time, or even just for a 'regular' rider who wants the looks of a big bike but without the price tag and dangers. The engine is powerful enough to handle comfortable speeds, without being able to set any records. It's easy to ride and feels like it has plenty to give, but without being unreasonable. It's simple - almost too easy - to ride at slow speeds, and fairly often I've glanced down at the speedo to find I'm going slower than I had expected. The bike is extremely comfortable, with a nice seating position and great seat height. For someone wanting to commute, the MPG is excellent, even when ridden 'vigourously'. Some of the cons - like the hinged cap - have been fixed in the 2016 model, however for me the 2015 model is still a better bet if the price makes sense.

Strengths

For an 'entry level' sportsbike, the CBR500R looks amazing. It looks just like some of its bigger brothers, and means you're not embarrassed to pull up at the lights. However, despite looking large and impressive, it never feels unwieldy. I'm small, and fairly light, so I appreciate the ease I have in putting my foot down when stationary, and the simplicity in manoeuvring the bike. The engine, whilst not the largest and most aggressive, gives more than enough power to get up to speed and can cope with high-speed traffic on motorways and dual-carriageways with ease.

Weaknesses

The CBR500R lacks some finishing touches that would add to it. Although I'm clearly in favour of beginners getting the CBR500R, a gear indicator would be a useful addition, especially for new riders - one less thing to concentrate on. The sound of the engine is not the greatest, although uprating the exhaust (such as the - quite expensive - Akrapovic slip on does go some way to help. At some times, it feels lacking - compared to bigger bikes 1st gear feels weak and barely enough to get you moving before the engine starts screaming. Finally, no hinged fuel cap is just annoying.

Rating Breakdown
Engine
Brakes
Handling
Comfort
Build Quality
Click for more details
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