Fast, frugal, affordable and fun, Honda’s fully-faired CBR500R has received a makeover for 2021. If you have to commute sometimes then a mid-range 500 makes a refreshing alternative to a car and is much more agile when it comes to beating traffic jams. Here’s the word from Honda UK.
In 2016, the CBR500R assumed sharper styling and LED lighting to go with upgrades to its front suspension; in 2019 it got an even more aggressive makeover, with a new form and riding position that outlined a keener sporting intent. Upgrades were also applied to the engine, to deliver stronger performance off the bottom, a strong surge through the rev range to the redline, and a more distinctive howling note.
For its 2019 evolution the CBR500R’s fully faired form was made more aggressive with straight, wedge-like feature lines and extended lower fairings that emphasise a real sense of speed. The rider’s seat pad and seat unit – plus the upper and side fairings – were narrowed to improve ergonomics and movement. Sharply-chiselled dual LED headlights stare menacingly ahead, matching the LED indicators.
The view forward, from the CBR500R’s cockpit, is pure sports. The handlebars clip on beneath the sporty top yoke and as a result the riding position is unmistakably ‘sportsbike’; the fairing is also set low, to give the rider the control and stability for which Honda sports bikes have long been famed.
LCD instruments feature a Gear Position and Shift Up indicator; this is set to a default 8,750rpm but can be adjusted in 250rpm increments between 5-8,750rpm
The 35mm diameter steel diamond-tube mainframe is both light and strong, with a tuned degree of yield that gives plenty of feedback to the rider as road surfaces change. The shape and position of the engine mounts, plus the frame’s rigidity balance also reduces vibration.
Wheelbase is 1410mm and rake and trail are set at 25.5°/102mm giving nimble, yet confidence-inspiring steering. Mass centralisation, with the engine in close proximity to the swingarm pivot point, delivers turning agility and optimum front/rear weight distribution ensures stability. Kerb weight is 192kg.
Seat height is low at 785mm, making the CBR500R very easy to manage and its riding position comfortably accommodates riders of any height. Overall dimensions are 2080mm x 755mm x 1145mm, with 130mm ground clearance. The fuel tank holds 17.1L, including reserve and combined with the engine’s excellent fuel economy gives a range of 480km (over 260 miles).
The 41mm telescopic front fork, with 120mm stroke, delivers a compliant yet controlled ride and gives great feel for front tyre grip. The single-tube rear shock absorber (as found on larger capacity sports bikes) with its large-diameter piston ensures excellent suspension response and temperature management. It has 9-stage spring preload adjustment and works through a rigid box-section steel swingarm, which features pressed steel chain adjustment end-pieces. Final drive is via sealed 520 chain.
Lightweight, 17-inch cast aluminium wheels employ hollow cross-section Y-shaped spokes. Front wheel width is 3.5inch with a 120/70-ZR17 tyre, the rear 4.5inch with a 160/60-ZR17 tyre. A single front 320mm wavy disc and two-piston brake caliper is matched to a 240mm rear disc and single-piston caliper. ABS is fitted as standard.
The CBR500R will be available in the following colour options:
Matt Axis Grey Metallic
Grand Prix Red
Pearl Metalloid White
Factory accessories include heated grips, a top box and rear carrier, plus tank bag and seat cowl.