First Ride

Honda Honda CBR500R (2019) review

Visordown was in Tenerife for the press riding launch of Honda’s new A2 sportsbike – here’s how we got on.

Details
Manufacturer:
Honda
Category:
Sportsbikes
Price:
£ 6099
Overall
4.5
Average: 4.5 (1 vote)
The aggressive styling changes look epic
Rear brake lacks bite

Honda CBR500R video review

Scene

THE LAUNCH for Honda’s restyled CBR500R was on the mountainous Island of Tenerife, where the tight, undulating, and winding roads were perfectly suited to the dynamics of the little CBR. Hammering along the switchbacks turns that cover the island, with that TFT dash and pointed bubble screen – I could have sworn I was on the latest Fireblade, albeit with a fraction of the power.

Style

The little 500R gets a well-needed facelift for 2019 to pull it in line with its bigger siblings. It’s pointed bubble screen and sharp led lights really make this middleweight look like a full thoroughbred RR. Even little things like the blue top caps on the fork tubes and shark fins on the belly pan help to sustain the illusion. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the raised clip-ons, you would be hard pressed to tell them apart when sat in the seat.

Price

CBR500R: £6,099

Not the bargain of the century with the Ninja 400 coming in £5,249 but as you plant your backside on the seat and grab the grips, you feel the quality. Even the handlebar switches and footpegs have weirdly satisfying clicks when you use them - if you’re into that sort of thing.

Engine

Power is derived from an 8-valve, 471cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin motor. Max power of 35kW (46.9bhp) arrives at 8600rpm and makes the Honda perfectly A2 compliant. With some inlet and exhaust valve wizardry, Honda managed to extract 4% more power out the motor compared to last year’s model and you can just about feel it, although any changes at this level are hard to notice. The max torque of 43Nm (31ft-lb) comes at 7,000rpm but you can keep ringing the nuts off the motor right up to 9.5k rpm. The sweet spot on the bike was around 5,500 where the motor really comes to life, especially in second and third gear.

The CBR’s standard end-can doesn’t actually sound half bad and believe me, I'm not a fan of standard cans. Rolling off the throttle at low rpm you get little pops and bangs like a Moto3 bike, it really sounds pretty cool. And that all appeals to the youth of today doesn’t it?

The all-new, super-light slipper clutch fitted to the 2019 model helps to keep the bike composed under breaking and heavy downshifts. At times I took the mickey by hammering down the box as I pinged into a sharp hairpin, slightly crapping myself, but the hardware does a really good job of keeping things in line. Shifting up though the six-speed box is just as delightful, thanks to components shared with the CBR600RR (RIP), that make for a fast, accurate and thoroughly enjoyable system to use. There is little to no free play in the shifter and its shifts are nice and direct, no false neutral hit what so ever (despite some pretty feeble shifts by me). 

The review continues on page two >>>

The aggressive styling changes look epic
Rear brake lacks bite

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