Honda’s CBR500R ‘pocket rocket’ gets an aggressive, aerodynamically driven sports makeover, plus a racier riding position. The engine has more low-to-mid range power and torque, and is it now equipped with an assist/slipper clutch. New LCD instruments and LED indicators round out the updates.
Honda’s fully-faired CBR500R gives a genuine sporting energy to its fun-focussed 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.
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.
The engine now makes 4% more power and torque between 3-7,000rpm 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.
Honda CBR500R The CBR500Rs LAMs friendly, 8-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 zappy top end.
Already strong off the bottom, the target for 2019 development was faster acceleration through a boost in low-to-mid-range power and torque in the 3-7,000rpm range; the 4% improvement comes via altered valve timing – with ‘close’ timing accelerated by 5° – and lift increased 0.3mm to 7.8mm.
Feeding the PGM-FI fuel injection is now a more-or-less straight shot of airflow through the airbox and throttle bodies. The battery has been re-positioned further away (44.1mm versus 13.4mm) from the rear of the airbox intake duct to allow greater airflow; the exhaust muffler now features dual exit pipes, adding a sportier sounding edge to each pulse. Peak power of 35kW arrives at 8,500rpm, with 43Nm torque delivered at 7,000rpm.
A six-speed gearbox mirrors that of its RR cousin and uses the same gear change arm structure and link mechanism. New for 2019 an assist/slipper clutch enables lighter upshifts and smooths out any hard downshifts.
For its 2019 evolution the CBR500Rs 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 5-8,750rpm Seat height remains low at 785mm, making the CBR500R very easy to manage and its riding position comfortably accommodates riders of any height. The fuel tank holds 17.1L, including reserve and combined with the engine’s excellent fuel economy gives a range of 480km (over 260 miles).
The 41mm telescopic front fork, with 120mm stroke, delivers a compliant yet controlled ride and gives great feel for front tyre grip. A new single-tube rear shock absorber (as found on larger capacity sports bikes) replaces the double-tube design of the previous model; its large-diameter piston ensures excellent suspension response and temperature management. It has 9-stage spring preload adjustment and works through a rigid box-section steel swingarm, which now features pressed steel chain adjustment end-pieces. Final drive is via sealed 520 chain. Lightweight, 17-inch cast aluminium wheels employ hollow cross-section Y-shaped spokes. Front wheel width is 3.5inch with a 120/70-ZR17 tyre, the rear 4.5inch with a 160/60-ZR17 tyre. A single front 320mm wavy disc and two-piston brake caliper is matched to a 240mm rear disc and single-piston caliper. ABS is fitted as standard.
The CBR500R will be available in the following colour options: Matt Axis Grey Metallic, Grand Prix Red, Pearl Metalloid White.
Perfect for learner riders, the CBR500R is LAMS approved. Please consult your local authority before purchasing a motorcycle for learner use. Each state and territory has its own regulations relating to the range of motorcycle models approved under the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme. Honda does not warrant or represent that the models shown are approved in each state and territory.