2023 Honda CB500X Features & Benefits

Designed and developed to address the disparate requirements of adventure riding while still delivering exceptional value, the CB500X is an exceptional urban commuter that’s also ready for off-road excursions and even canyon-riding outings. The essence of a modern mid-displacement adventure machine, the CB500X is both practical and rewarding to ride, and truly adventure-ready.

Originally launched in 2013, the CB500X brought crossover adventure style to Honda’s fun-focused twin-cylinder “light middleweight” engine platform. The model’s usefulness was down to a straightforward equation—a perky, well-regarded twin-cylinder engine that produced real torque and drive from low rpm, and revved hard up top, plus a chassis that gave a comfortable ride around town and on the open highway, all wrapped up in distinctive adventure styling.

Driven by customer feedback, the CB500X has become more adventurous over time. A 2016 upgrade included a larger fuel tank and more wind protection via an adjustable screen. The bike also gained LED lighting, a spring preload-adjustable fork and an adjustable brake lever. Another evolution happened in 2019, with a switch to a 19-inch front wheel (from 17 inches) injecting even more “True Adventure” performance, and the CB500X has delivered competence and adaptability for a wide variety of owners, effortlessly slipping between the roles of short-hop commuter and weekend tourer. Long-travel suspension ironed out irregular road surfaces, a wide handlebar provided leverage and the upright riding position delivered comfort and a wide field of view. In other words, the CB500X has been an all-rounder in every sense of the term.

Having proved its popularity over nearly a decade, the CB500X received additional improvements for the 2022 model year and is back for 2023.

The CB500X’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 maximize all-around handling performance, this model uses a Showa 41mm inverted Separate Function Fork Big Piston (SFF-BP) fork with 5.9 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 optimized.

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. Rear-wheel travel is 5.3 inches.

Dual 296mm petal-style rotors and axial-mounted Nissin two-piston calipers are standard. The required lever pressure when braking is minimized, but the small disc size keeps weight to a minimum.

The 19-inch cast-aluminum front wheel minimizes unsprung weight for good turning ability. It’s crowned by a tough fender design. Trail-pattern tires are sized 110/80-R19 front and 160/60-R17 rear. Curb weight is 439 pounds with all fluids and a full tank of fuel. Wheelbase is 56.9 inches, with rake and trail of 27.5°/108mm (4.3 inches).

The CB500X has an aggressive, “ready for the wild” adventure style, with the long radiator shrouds and fairing giving a strong three-dimensional texture front to rear, linked by interlocking side covers and fuel tank. But this is a bike as much about function as form; high-pressure air flowing around the fairing and screen (with two available height settings—56.9 inches and 55.5 inches) is managed for good wind protection at highway speeds. The sharply chiseled headlight uses extra-powerful LEDs.

A slim seat profile allows for free movement around the machine and aids easy ground reach, and to help maneuverability, the steering angle is 38° from centered to full lock. A gunmetal-gray, tapered steel handlebar elevates control. Seat height is 32.8 inches, and the upright riding position is very accommodating while providing excellent visibility. Overall dimensions are 84.9 inches long x 32.7 inches wide x 56.9 inches high, with 7.1 inches of ground clearance.

LCD instruments—set in a multi-surfaced, textured surrounding—feature Gear Position and Shift Up indicators; this is set to a default 8,750 rpm but can be adjusted in 250 rpm increments from 5,000 to 8,750 rpm. The fuel tank holds 4.7 gallons, including reserve.

The CB500X’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 the settings optimize 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 lower valve-spring load and reduced friction.

A silent (SV Chain) cam chain has the surface of its pins treated with Vanadium, reducing friction with increased protection against wear. Inlet-valve diameter is 26.0mm, while exhaust-valve diameter is 21.5mm.

The piston shape is carefully designed to reduce 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 HondaCare® Protection Plan.

  • Meets current EPA and CARB standards
  • California version differs slightly due to emissions equipment

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