Honda Makes A Naked-bike 500 Twin Perfect For New Riders
The Honda CB500F is the naked-bike version of Honda’s popular series of 500 twins. Introduced in 2013, the CB500F strips off the fairings used by its 500R sibling in favor of a wind-in-your-face riding experience.
I am a huge fan of the naked-bike style and the raw, visceral experience they provide. By taking away the bodywork and reworking the rider ergonomics, Honda gives the CB500F a distinctive personality among the 500 twins. Based around a 471 cc parallel-twin engine churning out 47 hp and sharing the suspension, brakes, frame, and wheel setup with the excellent CBR500R, the Naked-bike version sits the pilot a bit more upright with a wider set of bars to grip.
For new riders planning to spend most of their saddle time in the city, the CB500F makes an excellent platform to hone their skills.
Our Take: Why You Should Buy a CB500F
At 471 cc’s, the CB500F is knocking on the door of the middleweight bikes. Slotted smack dab in the middle of Hondas Naked bike offering, the CB500F is a nice step up in power from the CB250/300F and slightly more approachable than the CB650F. Making 32 lb-ft of torque at 7000 RPM, the fuel-injected twin engine is able to pull smoothly from low in the RPM range and shows a nice linear progression of power topping out at 47 horsepower. The CB500F is easy to carve through city traffic thanks to its slick 6-speed gearbox.
Honda engineers put together a solid chassis design, using a diamond-shaped steel frame with a telescoping 41mm front shock and a preload-adjustable Prolink single shock controlling steel square pipe double-sided swingarm in the rear. The CB500F is composed and agile in the majority of riding situations, while heavy riders may find it a bit soft the overall ride is controlled and confidence-inspiring.
Ergonomically the CB500F has wider-spaced grips placed slightly higher than the CBR500R due to the move to a handlebar versus the R’s clip-ons. Centered behind the small headlight nacelle/bodywork is a clear, easy-to-read digital instrument cluster providing all the basic information. A new LED display thoughtfully gains a gear position indicator over the previous basic green “N”, during the upgrades for the 2019 models.
Overall the CB500F is a very approachable, comfortable bike that just feels right from the saddle, traits that allow new riders to keep their focus on improving riding skills instead of oddball behavior from the bike. Ripping around the city is just smile-inducing on the CB500F and though powerful enough to maintain highway speeds, getting back into medium speed corners and point and zip traffic fun is where this bike shines.
Bottom line: The Honda CB500F is a killer choice for new riders wanting a Naked-bike bike. The 471 cc twin engine makes great torque, great sounds, and goes a lot of miles between fuel stops. Compared to the competition, the look and feel of this Honda is more high-end and less bargain bin plastic. It lives up to the Honda stereotypes of quality and dependability mixed up with sporty goodness.
Reasons to buy the CB500F:
47 hp is good power for most new riders (you won’t outgrow it too fast, you won’t find it too much).
It is the just-right choice for new riders in Honda’s Naked-bike lineup.
The 471cc parallel-twin engine delivers power in a strong linear fashion.
The more upright riding position (compared to sportbikes) is more comfortable overall
The brakes are better than average and ABS is optional.
Perfect for around-town riding or winding roads, a stepped two-piece seat also offers room for a passenger.
Reasons not to buy the CB500F:
The pricing is on the higher side, and Hondas have great resale value, meaning you have to open the wallet a bit more to start.
It is so smooth and refined it’s almost boring, words you say when struggling to fault this bike
Production Run & Notable Model-Year Changes
Production Run & Model Generations
Honda introduced the CB500F in 2013 as part of a family of 471cc parallel-twin machines.
First Generation (2013-2015)
Introduced in 2013 as a three bike family, April: CBR500R, CB500F released; July: CB500X released.
The 471 cc engine was designed to meet the restricted power requirement of the A2 European driving license limit.
Second Generation (2016-2018)
EURO 4 compliance with smaller exhaust.
New LED headlamp.
Preload adjustable front suspension.
Larger fuel tank.
Third Generation (2019 – )
Revised exhaust system.
Full LED lighting.
New LCD instrumentation.
Revised rear shocks.
ABS becomes standard.
Owner Reviews of the Honda CB500F
Press & Magazines
2019 Honda CB500F Review: Enhance Your Motorcycle Passion
“The 2019 Honda CB500F is obligingly responsive. Its power delivery has a positive feel and is not snatchy. I wouldn’t say it has a sense of urgency, but it is aggressive enough and has good acceleration for overtaking on the freeways. However, the power delivery is cordial and does not dishearten new or intermediate riders. Good riding was made great because I was happy to challenge myself into keeping up with my friends in the twisties—and on the straightaways.”
“During commutes, the good torque of the 471cc parallel-twin provides easy low-rev getaways and decent roll-on performance. The F is no rocket ship, but its engine, which is ideal in the urban theater, has enough performance to keep you entertained on a twisty weekend ride.”
The power – the CB500F has a smooth engine that delivers great power from down low in the RPM range. Great in the city traffic.
Riding comfort – Honda gets the riding position just right. I find this to be a very comfortable bike.
Reliability – It’s a Honda, what else can I say? They just never seem to break!
Fuel efficiency & range – getting near 70mpg and having a 4.15-gallon tank means less time at the pump.
What Owners Complain About
Soft suspension – heavier riders find it a bit soft.
Price tag – why Honda are you between $500 and $1000 more than everyone else?
The Bottom Line
The Honda CB500F isn’t a motorcycle that captures your attention in a crowd of crotch rockets. All of the “look at me” elements have been stripped away from Naked-bikes, where it gets you is in the quality of the ride, and the purity of the experience. The seating position is upright with a bit of aggressive forward lean, the bars give that “I got this” sort of vibe, and the wind flows around your helmet and chest unimpeded. The CB500F looks unassuming and delivers a fun ride that keeps you logging miles.
Be prepared to pay a bit of a premium for Honda reliability. This level of quality and just overall appeal of the Honda 500 twins ensures they hold value on the used market, so be prepared to pay a bit more. This is a bike that will keep you happy for quite a good while.
Honda CB500F Competitors
If you’re looking at a CB500F, you may also want to check out the Kawasaki Z400.
Honda CB500F Specifications
The important specs are listed below. See the Wikipedia page for more detailed specifications.
471cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin
Est. 185 km/h (115 mph)
47 hp @ 8,500 RPM
32 lb-ft (43.4 N⋅m) @ 7000 rpm
F: 41mm fork; 4.3 inches travel
R: Pro-Link single shock with preload adjustability; 4.7 inches travel
F: Twin-piston caliper with single 320mm wave disc