Honda’s fully faired CBR500R – launched in 2013 alongside the naked CB500F and adventure styled CB500X – gives a genuine sporting energy to its fun focused twin cylinder ‘light middleweight’ trio.
Suitable for riders looking to move up from a smaller machine, it instils the excitement of sports bike ownership into every ride yet also delivers sensible running costs, making it a great bike to both commute through the working week and enjoy at the weekend. It’s also found favour with experienced riders looking to downsize their machinery, while preserving the essence of enjoyable motorcycling.
In 2016 the CBR500R assumed sharper styling and LED lighting to go with upgrades to its front suspension; for 2019 it gets an even more aggressive makeover, with a new form and riding position that outlines a keener sporting intent. Its engine is stronger off the bottom and spins readily to the redline, delivering a thrilling howl in the process.
The CBR500R has always proved fast, frugal, affordable and fun. And for 2019 its spirit has not changed – more of the same, yes; and a little something extra.
Contrasting angles and shaping – between the very slim and more muscular – from the fairing nose to the seat unit outline the CBR500R’s new look. It’s an ergonomic design for the rider to use aggressively which also features improved aero management. Clip on handlebars now mount below the revised top yoke and the riding position is canted further forward.
While its engine maintains the 35kW required for A2 licence holders, it now makes 4% more power and torque between 37,000rpm thanks to revisions to the inlet, exhaust and valve timing. It also now features an assist/slipper clutch.
New LCD instruments feature a Shift Up and Gear Position function and the indicators are now LED, to match the rest of the lighting. While the chassis remains essentially unchanged a new rear shock absorber delivers consistent damping performance and improved control.
Styling & Chassis
• Aggressive new lines with purposeful, dual LED headlights
• Aerodynamically efficient and ergonomically comfortable
• Resited clip on handlebars give a sportier riding position
• New LCD instrument display, with Gear Position and Shift Up indicators
• LED indicators
For its 2019 evolution the CBR500R’s fully faired form is made more aggressive still 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 – have been narrowed to improve ergonomics and movement. Sharply chiselled dual LED headlights stare menacingly ahead, and the addition of LED indicators now means all lighting is LED.
The view forward, from the CBR500R’s cockpit, is pure sports. The handlebars now clip on beneath the sporty, redesigned top yoke and as a result the riding position is canted 8° further forward; the fairing is also set lower, to give the rider Total Control – the design philosophy behind the styling redesign, and a mantra for Honda’s super sports range since the 1992 arrival of the Fireblade.
New 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 58,750rpm.
The 35mm diameter steel diamondtube mainframe is unchanged for 2019. It’s 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.