Honda NX500 Review: New CB500X Replacement Tested on the Road


Honda has replaced its highly successful CB500X with a new model that revives an old name in the form of the NX500

One of the most appealing things about the NX500 is its ability to be many bikes all rolled into one

In announcing the new 2024 Honda NX500, the Japanese giant not only revived an iconic name from the dual-sport motorcycle world, but it also put some distance between it, and the other 500cc parallel twin-cylinder models in the range.

The last bike to wear the name was the NX650 Dominator, a bike that was discontinued in the early 2000s and succeeded, in certain regions, by the XR650L. The NX650 of old was a beloved bike, with commuters enjoying its dependability and easy-going delivery, while off-road riders enjoyed its rugged go-anywhere ability. Those are also traits that the CB500X shared with its forefathers, and they are things Honda is looking to amplify with this new model.

Price, colours and availability

The NX500 has a UK price of £6,799 and comes in three colours: Matte Gunpowder Black Metallic, Pearl Horizon White, and Grand Prix Red - as ridden. Bikes are available now and test rides and orders can be placed with your nearest Honda dealership.

Sizing the new bike up against the competition the new NX500 comes in slightly more than the £6,599 KTM 390 Adventure and the £6,250 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450. Given the option though, for purely on-road riding (especially longer stretches of motorway) the NX500 and its smooth-running parallel would be the one I’d be reaching for the keys of.

What’s new?

The styling is heavily revised over the outgoing model, and it’s all the better for it in my opinion, as is a slick new TFT screen with Bluetooth connectivity built-in. It now also gains traction control which you can disable via the button on the left handlebar.

Internally, the engine is basically the same as the CB500X although Honda claims more low-end acceleration thanks to tweaks to the ECU. The chassis specification is also an upgrade over its predecessor and is highlighted by 41mm Showa SFF-BP forks that are joined by dual 296mm front discs with radial-mounted four-piston Nissin callipers. The rear is suspended by a single-tube shock, and a 240mm disc with a single-piston Nissin calliper gets the stopping done at that end. New Y-shape wheels are also used, saving 800g at the front (19-inch) and 700g at the rear (17-inch) compared to the seven-spoke versions used on the previous CB500X.

What’s it like to ride

Having nipped over to sample the Northwest 200 road racing as a guest of Honda UK, the local dealership, Ballymena Honda, offered us some bikes to take out so we could sample the roads around the Causeway Coast, and further south and inland towards Ballymena - you can check out the route we took here. I was always a big fan of the CB500X and tested one exhaustively both on- and off-road. Sadly there wasn’t any off-road work to be had on the day I rode the bike, although I think only a small majority of owners will tackle the dirt.

My first impressions from the seat are that the NX feels nicely familiar, and like the bike it’s replacing it’s extremely comfortable and with controls that are perfectly placed for my five-foot-seven frame. Thumbing the starter and the engine barks into life, backed up by that raspy exhaust note that accompanies all of Honda’s 500 parallel twins models.

Snicking the bike into gear I’m immediately reacquainted with what is one of the nicest to use gearboxes on two-wheels. The short-throw lever is a delight to work with, and changes are crisp, direct and always guaranteed to engage cleanly, whether you use the clutch or not. And while we are on that subject, the clutch lever feels ridiculously light, and when I do need to use it a single digit on the lever provides all the pull I need.

Heading out for the day’s riding we are being absolutely spoiled by the Northern Irish weather gods, and while this part of the coast can quite often be cloaked in cloud and rain, we have horizon-to-horizon sunshine and a temperature in the high twenties. Our day was away from The Triangle circuit, and instead we were heading east to Torr Head along some of the most divine roads I’ve ever had the chance to sample.

It doesn’t take many miles to confirm that the NX500 is just as much fun on a twisty B-road as the CB500X was. Its handling is helped massively by Honda’s decision to not scrimp on the cycle parts, and the combination of Showa suspension and Nissin brakes pay dividends when you press on. 

The chassis dimensions of the NX are unchanged, the wheelbase is 1,445mm while the rake and trail are 27.5° and 108mm, respectively. At 196kg ready-to-ride its weight is also there or thereabouts when compared to the competition mentioned above, although I’m not sure either the KTM or the Royal Enfield could keep pace with the NX500 on most twisty B-roads. There is 135mm of wheel travel on offer at both ends, although with revised spring rates and damping settings, the NX feels much more sure-footed than before. Honda has also managed to dial out the front-end weave that could occur if you strayed above motorway speeds.

Braking is the same as before, and like the suspension it’s not needing anything bigger, beefier, or higher spec. The twin 296mm front discs are worked by a Nissin axially-mounted master cylinder mated to two-piston callipers and they are more than up for the job. Lever feel is good and they are nicely progressive with plenty of power on-hand should you need it. The non-switchable ABS is unobtrusive, and I’m having to work the front brake lever hard to get any kind of reaction from it - a big plus for me! The rear brake, too, feels strong, and you can just feel the ABS beginning to intervene when braking into tighter downhill turns.

One of the headline changes to the model is the technology now fitted, in the form of switchable traction control and that swanky new five-inch TFT which is identical to the one found on the XL750 Transalp. Within the TFT you have selectable information including range, average and instant MPG, a few trips and an odometer. The TFT brings with it Bluetooth connectivity thanks to Honda’s RoadSync app meaning navigation and more is now available on the entry-level adventure bike. As you’d expect from Honda, the switchgear is all nicely positioned and feels solid to the touch. 

Away from B-road scratching and in town the NX500 feels like the ideal bike. There is plenty of steering lock on offer, and unlike most other adventure bikes, the steering is feather-light, even at a standstill. The motor feels punchy enough in second and third gear to keep you out of trouble, and that extremely light clutch is helping to save my wrists from any unnecessary stress. The 830mm seat is also heavily contoured meaning even those with shorter legs can get a reassuring foot to the ground when needed. 

If there is one negative thing I can highlight it’s the throttle. Just in the initial part of opening the butterflies, it still feels a bit jerky, and I remember it being something I noted when testing the CB500X. It’s an issue that is highlighted by an extremely short ratio in first gear, almost unnecessarily short. You can mitigate this by rolling on the throttle with some back brake applied, or simply opt for pulling away in second gear and not first. The 31lb ft of torque provided by the engine is more than up to the job, and it makes picking up the throttle a much smoother affair.

Moving on from that one negative point to two positive ones: The comfort is still excellent and the fuel economy is brilliant. After a day of bouncing the NX off the rev-limiter and hammering up steep climbs, the bike is showing an average of 63mpg, which really is exceptionally good for a bike of this size. Taking that as given, and with Honda, it normally is Bob-on, the little NX500 could take you between 200 and 250 miles on a single fill of its 17.5-litre fuel tank. Those 250 miles will be about as comfortable as you get on two wheels, and with a vibe-free seat, handlebars, and footpegs, it feels like a bike I could happily ride from sunrise to sunset.

Should I buy the 2024 Honda NX500?

Probably one of the most appealing things about the NX500 is its ability to be many bikes all rolled into one. It’ll happily tour, hack through winter, play on a B-road, and even trundle up a green lane without any real trouble or fuss. It’s comfortable, good value for money (you can pick one up for under £100 on a PCP!), supremely accessible and arguably better looking than the bike it's replacing. Add to that the low cost of ownership, exceptional fuel economy and cost-effective insurance (not to mention Honda's dependability and excellent dealership backup) and there isn’t a lot to dislike about the new NX500.

2024 Honda NX500 specs




Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke DOHC parallel twin



Bore and stroke

67mm x 66.8mm

Compression Ratio

10.7: 1

Max. Power Output

35kW @ 8,600rpm

Max. Torque

43Nm @ 6,500rpm

Noise Level

Lurban 74.0dB Lwot 77.0dB

Oil Capacity





PGM FI electronic fuel injection

Fuel Tank Capacity

17.5L (inc reserve)

CO2 Emissions WMTC

82 g/km

Fuel Consumption (WMTC)

3.6L/100km / 27.8km/l (WMTC mode)



Battery Capacity

12V 7.4AH



Clutch Type

Wet multiplate, Assisted slipper clutch

Transmission Type

6 speed

Final Drive





Steel diamond



Dimensions (L´W´H)

2,165mm x 830mm x 1,415mm



Caster Angle




Seat Height


Ground Clearance


Kerb Weight


Turning radius




Type Front

Showa 41mm SFF-BP USD forks,

Type Rear

Prolink mono with 5 stage preload adjuster, steel hollow cross swingarm



Type Front

Multi-spoke cast aluminium

Type Rear

Multi-spoke cast aluminium

Rim Size Front

19M/C X MT2.5

Rim Size Rear

17M/C X MT4.5

Tyres Front


Tyres Rear




ABS System Type

2 channel

Type Front

Dual 296mm x 4mm disc with Nissin axial mounted two piston calipers

Type Rear

Single 240mm x 5mm disc with single piston caliper




5in TFT Meter with customisable layout, including but not limited to Speedometer, Tachometer, Clock, Gear position, Shift UP Indicator






Yes (Honda RoadSync)



12V Socket


Auto Winker Cancel




Security System

HISS (Honda Intelligent Security System)

Cruise Control


Additional Features