Honda’s CB500F: The nearly per­fect com­muter

As easy as pie to ride and around 60mpg make this bike a sec­ond­hand cracker

Motorcycle Monthly - - Used Bike Review - Words and photography: Bob Pick­ett

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.

Giveme­some spec

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.

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