Adventure-style bikes are clearly hot, but Honda has decided to pursue the more street-oriented end of that broad class of motorcycle. The NC700X was the first of Honda’s new 2013 motorcycles to shake up the establishment, and its styling fits right into that urban-adventure genre. But Honda has one more X-style bike up its sleeve in the brand-new CB500X, which was recently unveiled along with two other parallel-Twins for 2013: the CBR500R and CB500F.
Like the rest of the trio, the CB500X—which looks eerily similar to the NC700X—has the same new liquid-cooled engine, a counter-balanced 500cc dohc parallel-Twin with a 67.0mm bore and a 66.8mm stroke. The valves, four per cylinder, are actuated by twin cams with lightweight rocker arms, and the intake mixture is delivered via Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) with 34mm throttle bodies.
A diamond-shaped steel tube frame is shared with the CB500R and CB500F. The key difference is the X’s added front suspension travel, and revised geometry. The same conventional 41mm fork is used, but it offers 4.9 inches of travel compared to 4.3 in the others. Out back, the same Pro-Link single-shock suspension system has 4.7 in. of travel, identical to its stable mates. A slightly more relaxed 26.5-degree rake angle (compared to the R’s 25.5) and a touch more trail (4.29 in. compared to 4.05 on the
R) and a longer 55.9 in. wheelbase (CBR500R: 55.5), should provide stable handling on any type of road.
The 17-in. wheels, shod with a 120/70 front tire and a 160/60 rear, give a good indication of the bike’s asphalt intent. But that’s not to say dirt roads are out of the question. Braking is handled by a 320mm wave-style disc with a twin-piston caliper up front and a 240mm disc and single-piston caliper out back. Optional ABS braking is available, but we don’t know the price. We suspect it will be a $500 premium.
What really sets the CB500X apart visually and functionally, is the upright and relaxed adventure-style riding position. The comfortable ergonomics should make the X an ideal commuter, weekend explorer or errand runner. A wide and upright handlebar, adjustable windscreen and larger-capacity fuel tank (4.5 gallon compared to 4.1) make touring a definite possibility. Optional accessories include sidecases, a 35-liter top box, hand guards, heated grips, centerstand and a taller windscreen in addition to a bunch of bolt-on pieces with the look of carbon fiber.
You probably won’t be attacking single-track dirt trails on the new CB500X, but this urbanite should make adventure touring a whole lot more affordable as Honda hopes to sell the bike for right around $6000, although the official price has yet to be announced. Expect the new CB500X, only available in Matte Black Metallic, to hit dealerships early next summer.