Honda Honda CB500X (2021) First Impressions ride review and walkaround

Honda CB500X A2 adventure motorcycle

We’ve been trying out the Honda CB500X, the A2 friendly adventure styled motorcycle. Here are our first impressions after 40 miles.

HONDA has sent us the CB500X to try on for size for a couple of weeks, and after a couple of rides, this could well be one of the leading mid-size adventure-tourers for the A2 category. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s break down what this Honda CB500X is all about. 

This could well be one of the go-to motorcycles for those on an A2 licence looking for their first step to adventure motorcycles.

Honda CB500X (2021) First Impressions Review

New Honda CB500X 2021 Walkaround | A2 Friendly Adventure Motorcycle |

Instantly I felt at home on the bike, the upright position is nice and comfortable, and with raised, wide handlebars you can really carve out the road - this CB500X loves the backroads, which are plentiful around my local area. Seat height is 830mm, which for an adventure bike is on the lower side, but I’m not convinced this truly is for off-roading (he says having yet to try it off-road).


The power is inviting, and always there when you want it across the rev range, the 471cc liquid-cooled twin giving you 46 bhp peaking at 8600 bhp, and 43 Nm of torque at 6500 rpm - perfectly usable figures, and you can really start pushing it to its limits on windy roads (of which there are plenty in my local area). You do feel crosswinds at higher speeds, but tucking in behind the screen does prevent a good deal of oncoming buffeting - something riders from 125cc will be used to if stepping up, but riders used to the brutes of the heavyweight ADV world may be surprised when coming down.


Overall, the CB500X is great fun to ride, and more than happy to be flicked about - although I did read a previous owners review who said you really had to push it to lean, and I have to say I find it quite the opposite on the 2021 model, riding feels really fluid and responsive.

It weighs 197kg, and the weight does sit fairly high up on the bike (to give it the 180mm ground clearance), but once you get moving it all feels perfectly balanced. A shorter rider may have a challenge manoeuvring the bike in tight spaces, but it's certainly manageable.

Whilst the suspension is soft, it does deal with uneven roads well, and keeps two wheels planted without throwing you out of the saddle. Standing up on the pegs feels stable, but you'll have to wait for me to go off-road on it to give the full low-down on that.


When it comes to the rider features, Honda has kept it quite straight to the point. There’s no riding modes or switchable ABS, and the LCD dash is good for the basic information you’re after. But it does get a little bit of glare in direct sunlight, a TFT dash would be nice but not essential. The 2021 model of CB500X has a new decal pack, is Euro 5 compliant, and a couple of styling touches, but I’m still searching for huge differences from the previous model in terms of outright features.

That being said, previous reviews noted the juddering throttle at low-speeds, and vibrating handlebars above 65mph, both of which are yet to rear their heads for me - so perhaps Honda have been tweaking these small details behind the scenes.

Is the Honda CB500X the perfect A2 adventurer?

Who is this bike for? Well, adventure fans would instantly raise their hands, but let me put it this way - it’s a young adventure bike that’s put on a suit and tie and is heading off to the big city for their graduate job in finance. All very sensible. But underneath all that sensibility is a motor (or graduate) that just wants to have a laugh, and keep a hold of their underlying adventure style. It may not be outright adventure-ready, but it's got all the fundamentals for a solid all-rounder.

So, the CB500X is brilliant fun to ride, and I’m definitely enjoying myself after just a couple of days on it. This could well be the perfect option for a beginner who is looking upwards to an Africa Twin in their future, and passed their test on a CB650F. So give me a week and I’ll come back with a more in-depth review for you!

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If you want more info on the 2021 Honda CB500X, click here.