Honda’s CB500F: The nearly perfect commuter
As easy as pie to ride and around 60mpg make this bike a secondhand cracker
The CB500F is one of a trio of machines released in 2013 (the X is more trailbike-styled, the sporty R features a full fairing) modelled around the same frame and engine. At 47bhp it is planted precisely at the top of the A2 licence category.
The bike we tested was a 2014 model, earning its keep as a courtesy bike until it finds a new home.
A 471cc, liquid-cooled parallel twin engine is housed in a tubular steel backbone frame, putting out 47bhp at 8500rpm, with maximumtorque of 32lb-ft at 7000rpm. Economy is impressive, estimate at around 60mpg. Braking comes courtesy of a single 320mm wavy disc with two piston callipers up front, supported by a 240mm wavy disc with a single piston at the rear. ABS is optional, as on our test machine.
So what’s it like to ride?
The first thing you notice about the little Honda is how userfriendly it is. Our test ride started just after a heavy downpour, so the ability to lay down the power gently, along with the nicely balanced feel to the ride was welcome. Knowing ABS was in place was also a comfort.
Later in the day, the weather picked up and the road dried out, allowing the CB500F to showwhat it can do. And what it can do, it does well.
The engine wants to work (it was happiest running at about 6000 revs and upwards), rewarding a twist of the throttle with decent acceleration – quickly planned overtakes on the CB500F are easy as pie. In town, it didn’t like lowrevs in lines of traffic, feeling lumpy, but when you do open up the ride smoothes out considerably – I don’t think I have ridden a parallel twin that gives such a vibration-free ride.
The way to ride the Honda is smoothly – it likes to describe graceful arcs, holding the line with confidence. Chucking it about will not get the best out of the suspension. The suspension was up to most challenges, giving reasonable feedback and never once allowing the wheels to step out of place. The brakes are more than enough to haul up the CB500F, with the optional ABS giving reassurance to newly qualified riders (or, when you are first on board on cold tyres on wet roads).
I mentioned the economy earlier – and it is impressive. The fuel indicator refused to move all day, until right at the end of the ride when it finally dropped one notch. The CB500F would make for an excellent commuter bike.
What nick is it in?
There is a rather long scratch on the end can, otherwise nothing notable to report.
What’s it worth?
The dealer is looking for £4695 for a 2014 model with just 400 miles under its belt and a scratch on the exhaust. The dealer search revealed precious few alternatives around, which ranged from a 2013 model with 250 miles on the clock at £3400 to another 2013 bike with 1300 miles on the clock for £4199. There are pre-registered bikes available at anywhere from £4500 to £4999.