Honed through decades of iconic Honda CB models, the CB500F has proven itself as an enjoyable and reliable naked bike for veteran and rookie riders alike. Mixing light weight and nimble handling with a smooth power delivery, the CB500F is a capable commuting tool that’s also ready for weekend outings or bike nights. Exceptionally versatile, the CB500F is proof that minimalist looks needn’t come at a price that breaks the bank.
Originally launched in 2013, the naked CB500F has quietly proved that one of Honda’s tried-and-true formulas for building popular motorcycles has lost none of its relevance. That formula? An entertaining twin-cylinder engine wrapped in a simple, lightweight, sporty chassis that’s as much fun for an experienced rider as it is for those still building their riding careers.
While its compact dimensions and welcoming manners have made the CB500F an easy machine to manage, ride and learn with, those same attributes also made it a genuine pleasure for those—whether stepping up from a smaller machine or coming down from a bigger model—who want to explore just what it could do on the weekend. Sensible running costs added to the appeal. In 2019, the CB500F was redrawn with uncompromising lines that elevated its technical and mechanical aspects.
Having proved its continued popularity, the CB500F received additional improvements for the 2022 model year and is back for 2023.
DESIGN / STYLING
The CB500F’s naked form exudes aggression. Led by the low-set headlight design, the machine’s stance suggests that it’s ready to attack. The side shrouds interlock with the fuel tank and emphasize the engine, while the side covers and seat unit continue the theme of muscular angularity.
A tapered handlebar adds feel and leverage. LCD instruments feature Gear Position and Shift Up indicators; the latter is set to a default 8,750 rpm but can be adjusted in 250 rpm increments between 5,000 and 8,750 rpm.
CHASSIS / SUSPENSION
The CB500F’s light, strong 35mm diameter steel diamond-tube mainframe has 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, keep vibration to a minimum.
With the aim to heighten all-around handling performance, this model uses a Showa 41mm inverted Separate Function Fork Big Piston (SFF-BP) fork with 4.7 inches of cushion stroke, held by upper and lower triple clamps. By dividing the functions—Big Piston pressure separation damper in one leg, spring mechanism in the other—reaction and ride quality are maximized. (The four-cylinder CB650R uses the same setup.)
The single-tube shock absorber (as found on larger-capacity sport bikes) has a large-diameter piston that ensures excellent response and temperature management; it features five-stage preload adjustment with an optimized spring rate and damping settings to match the fork. Rear-wheel travel is 4.7 inches.
The front-wheel width is 3.5 inches with a 120/70-ZR17 tire, and the rear is 4.5 inches with a 160/60-ZR17 tire.
The 2022 CB500F’s curb weight is 416 pounds (with all fluids and a full tank of fuel), and its 49.7/50.3 front/rear bias percentage places more weight on the front wheel to promote nimble handling and excellent front-end grip. Wheelbase is 55.5 inches, with rake and trail of 25.5°/102mm (4.0 inches).
The naked form exudes aggression. Led by the sharply chiseled headlight with extra-powerful LEDs, the machine’s stance is low-set and ready for action; the side shrouds interlock with the fuel tank and fully emphasize the engine, while the side covers and seat unit continue the theme of muscular angularity. The compact front fender is drawn directly from the CB650R.
The tapered handlebar offers intuitive feel and leverage. Seat height is low at 31.3 inches, making the CB500F ABS very easy to manage, and its neutral riding position comfortably accommodates riders of any height. Overall dimensions are 81.9 inches long x 30.1 inches wide x 45.1 inches high, with ground clearance of 5.1 inches. The fuel tank holds 4.5 gallons, including reserve.
ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN
The CB500F’s 471cc, eight-valve, liquid-cooled, parallel twin-cylinder layout offers a well-proportioned balance of physical size and willing, enjoyable power output, with an energetic, high-revving character and zippy top end. The engine’s overall performance and character belie its relatively small capacity. Acceleration is impressive, due to good low-to-midrange power and torque in the 3,000 to 7,000 rpm range.
Feeding the PGM-FI fuel injection is a relatively straight shot of airflow through the airbox and throttle bodies, and new settings improve torque feel and character without compromising performance. The exhaust muffler features dual exit pipes, giving a sporting edge to each pulse, as well as a rasping high-rpm howl.
Bore and stroke are set at 67mm x 66.8mm, with a compression ratio of 10.7:1; the crankshaft pins are phased at 180°, and a primary couple-balancer sits behind the cylinders, close to the bike’s center of gravity. The primary and balancer gears use scissor gears, minimizing noise. The crank counterweight is specifically shaped for couple-balance, and its light weight allows the engine to spin freely, with reduced inertia.
Acting as a stressed member, the engine complements the frame’s rigidity with four hangers on the cylinder head. Internally, the head uses roller rocker arms; shim-type valve adjustment allows them to be light, for low valve-spring load and minimal friction.
A silent (SV Chain) cam chain has the surface of its pins treated with Vanadium, minimizing friction with good protection against wear. Inlet-valve diameter is 26.0mm, while exhaust-valve diameter is 21.5mm.
The piston shape is carefully designed to minimize noise at high rpm. Friction is reduced by striations on the piston skirt (a finish that increases surface area and introduces gaps in which oil can flow for better lubrication). The “triangle” proportion of crankshaft, main shaft and countershaft is efficiently compact. The crankcases use centrifugally cast thin-walled sleeves; their internal design reduces the pumping losses that can occur with a 180° phased firing order. A deep sump reduces oil movement under hard cornering and braking; oil capacity is 3.2 liters. The slick-shifting six-speed transmission is managed by an assist/slipper clutch.
One-year, transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.
- Meets current EPA and CARB standards
- California version differs slightly due to emissions equipment
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