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Honda CB500F Review – The Best Do It All Middleweight Naked?

The Honda CB500F is marketed as an all around athlete, a do-it-all fun motorcycle that does everything well. It is a bike for the real world, one that offers room for new riders to grow into and one that is ready for experienced riders to really test their skills enjoying the usable horsepower on offer.

The worlds most reliable motorcycle manufacturer have developed the model to be mean and aggressive, it is packed with an attitude not dis-similar to the MT range from Yamaha or the Duke line from KTM. It has been built to be a performance focused naked bike with bags of street fighter attitude and I am all for it.

Will it satisfy the most speed-focused riders? Perhaps not, but it will satisfy pretty much everybody else who wants a motorcycle that is a fun ride with all of Honda’s quality control and reliability.

Engine and Performance

2023 Honda CB500F

It shares the same tried and trusted parallel twin engine as the CB500X, CBR500R, CMX500 Rebel and the new for 2023 Honda CL500. Although they all use the same 471 cc engine they’ll all be mapped for their different purposes – cruising, adventure, hooliganism etc.

Engine Spec’s

  • Engine – Parallel twin, four-stroke, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder

  • Capacity – 471 cc

  • Bore x Stroke – 67 x 66.8 mm

  • Compression Ratio – 10.7:1

  • Cooling System – Liquid-cooled

  • Starting – Electric

  • Induction – PGM-FI with 34 mm throttle bodies

  • Transmission – 6-speed

  • Final Drive – O-ring chain

  • Max Power – 46.9 horsepower at 8,600 rpm

  • Max Torque – 43 Nm at 6,500 rpm

  • Top Speed – 100 mph

Honda CB500F Performance

close up shot of Honda's 500 engine used in various middleweights

The Honda CB500F engine has been mapped to have plenty of torque, low end horsepower, a wide rpm range with smooth linear power delivery.

This is why it is so great for new and experienced riders alike; novices get an easy to use pleasant motor, and experienced riders can roll the throttle to squeeze as much out of the engine as possible.

The CB500F is at home out on the back roads but also excels with around town riding. Quick acceleration off the line means you can outrun most other vehicles from a stop at traffic lights, while the latest generation has more power for you to chase the red line on the twisties.

Honda have updated the fuel injection system, so you now have a smoother throttle response and any jerkiness experienced on older models has been eliminated.

Overall most riders will be quite happy with the CB500F’s performance, a quick draw of energy is available from a couple of quick downshifts and there is enough there for you to sit at highway speeds for a short burst (the lack of wind protection is the issue as opposed to any lack of capability).

On top of all that the bike’s exhaust note is surprisingly raspy which is quite pleasing as you ride along.

Fuel Economy

2021 naked CB500F

Another huge benefit of the Honda CB500F for all riders is the pretty good fuel economy.

Honda claims 80 mpg giving a massive tank range of 300 miles. This is really quite impressive, leaving you to focus on riding with loads of miles between fuel fill-ups.

Across the board with those who have tested the CB500F the average fuel consumption seems to be around 74 mpg with a tank range of 280 miles.

So, the reality is not that far off from the factory claims.

The good fuel economy is on par with many smaller capacity machines which makes it an ideal choice for those using their bikes to commute, as you get the extra boost in power with equal fuel efficiency!

Clutch and Transmission

pearl dusk yellow CB500F
Pearl dusk yellow

The Honda CB500F comes equipped with an engineering slipper assist clutch to make gear shifts seamless, up-shifts are smoother and quicker and the system helps prevent rear wheel lock up in aggressive downshifts.

The clutch lever effort is minimal, so around town when continually changing gears there is minimal fatigue in your hand so you can ride for longer.

The transmission is a 6-speed, with the sixth gear acting as a cruising gear for highway speeds; a few downshifts will soon unleash enough horsepower for any overtakes before shifting back to sixth for cruising.

Suspension and Handling

Front Suspension

Honda have updated the suspension on the CB500F, the motorcycle is now fitted with a Showa 41 mm, SFF-BP USD fork.

The front fork offer excellent feedback and add to the agile handling in tight city situations as well as precise steering for throwing it around in the canyons.

There isn’t any serious nose-diving under heavy-braking and small mid-corner adjustments are no bother with the suspension set up.

Rear Suspension

On the rear is a mono-shock fitted to a new lightweight swingarm.

The rear system is five-step adjustable for preload, so you can really dial it in to what you want and need depending on the circumstances.

Braking and Safety

2016 Honda naked CB500F

Braking System

Honda have fitted new front brakes to the CB500F and it now comes with dual 296 mm discs and two-piston Nissin radial mount calipers, there is just a single disc on the rear.

Overall the brakes are strong and powerful, offering more than enough stopping prowess.

Anti-lock Braking System

Equipped with ABS the Honda CB500F is ready to make controlled stops in less than ideal conditions.

Without ABS in some circumstances the rear wheel automatically locks under heavy braking which can cause it to skid and be out of control.

ABS essentially stops this from happening, so even under hard-braking in wet circumstances you can brake safely and in complete control of your motorcycle.

It is a great feature particularly for novices to keep them safe.

Honda CB500F Design and Features

Body and Appearance

As a naked bike the Honda CB500F is minimal in design, there is just enough to give it a personality but that is largely dictated by the bare bones on display.

The US is restricted to just Matte Gray Metallic paint scheme, whereas those in the UK can choose between the Gray, Pearl Smokey Gray, Grand Prix Red or Pearl Dusk Yellow.

The paint scheme only changes the fuel tank and headlight cowl, the rest of the bike remains the same though.

So regardless you get a dark and moody aesthetic, the bike is mostly blacked out with some of the engine casings bronzed which adds a touch of class. Aluminium foot pegs stand out among the black along with anodized gold forks.

The chassis is compact which lends itself to be naturally agile, it has a relatively low height which makes it accessible to most owners of varying heights.

There is a comfort step seat as standard equipment, which means the rider is tucked in properly to the bike supported from both behind and in front by the fuel tank. There’s also room for a passenger.

The handlebars are nice and wide for a commanding, comfortable, riding position paired with neutral footpegs.

Honda’s theme for the CB500F is clearly aggressive and mean with an intimidating presence that demands attention.


Comfort is top of the benefits list for the CB500F, from the low seat height, the specially designed step seat, adjustable preload suspension and wide handlebars, owners will have little to complain about.

Overall the comfort should improve confidence for real world riding and it won’t be long before you can truly unleash the versatility of the CB500F.

Wheels and Tires

The CB500F is equipped with 17″ wheels paired with Michelin Road 5 tires.

Honda CB500F Dimensions

  • Wheelbase – 1410 mm/ 55.5″

  • Rake – 25.5 degrees

  • Trail – 102 mm/ 4″

  • Length – 2080 mm/ 81.8″

  • Height – 1060 mm/ 41.7″

  • Width – 800 mm/ 31.4″

  • Seat Height – 789 mm/ 31″

  • Wet Weight – 189 kg/416.6 lbs

  • Fuel Capacity – 17.1 liters/ 4.5 US Gal

Value and Ownership


The Honda CB500F price is $6,799 in the US and £6,099 in the UK.

Build Quality

You would be hard-pushed to find much wrong with the bike straight out of the factory, the quality is what you expect from Honda.

Apart from essentials such as ABS there is a lack of tech on the CB500F compared to other modern motorcycles these days, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it keeps things simple and has less things to go wrong.

A simple LCD screen with all the information needed does the job, the bodywork is all clean and well-built, nothing feels flimsy or cheap.

As for reliability, the bike is tried and tested as a workhorse, it is virtually bulletproof, after all it is a Honda.

Servicing Cost

Servicing costs are very reasonable for the CB500F.

The first service should be in the region of $100 and a major service going forward will be around $250. This can vary though from dealer-dealer.

According to the manual the first service should be done at 600 miles then every 4,000 miles thereafter.

Comparison with Competitors

The Honda CB500F competes with a couple of other bikes on the market: the Kawasaki Z400, Suzuki SV650 and the Yamaha MT-07 or perhaps a fairer comparison would be the smaller Yamaha MT-03.

Although it is the only 500 cc bike in the category and for that reason it stands out immediately with a bit of an advantage over the others.

A 500 cc offers more power than a 300/400 while not being quite so intimidating as the 650’s and 700 cc machines. It is the perfect in between model for the road, offering just the right amount of everything for it to be fun to ride.

The CB500F is smoother than the Z400 or the MT-03 with a broader power band but it cannot compete with the legendary nature of the pleasant SV650.

The Yamaha MT lineup is famous for encouraging the inner-hooligan rider in all of us, so it would be unfair to really compare the CB500F directly, although it looks aggressive, the Honda cannot compete with the unparalleled torque delivery from the Yamaha MT-07.

The Honda sits in a sweet spot filling a gap in the market, so while there is competition, its capacity and purpose defines the bike as a standalone model in the middleweight-naked sector.

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