From Cycle World's 2016 Travel & Adventure issue. Get your copy here.
Honda's CB500- and CBR500-series twins are machines I like to think of as “solution” bikes, motorcycles that are fun, practical, affordable, generally easy to ride, and a great choice for a wide range of riders. The adventure-styled CB500X is a real do-all favorite. But note we said adventure-styled; if you plan to ride many unimproved roads, you’ll probably want something with a little more ADV cred.
Enter the folks at Rally-Raid Products, a UK firm that’s an ADV rider’s candy store. They offer three kits that make your 500X far more dirt capable, turning it into something of a mini Africa Twin. Opt for the Level 3 treatment and you’ll get a new rear shock with 2 inches more travel than the original, along with a remote reservoir and fully adjustable damping. Depending on how much you weigh and how much you intend to carry, you can also choose from three different spring weights; new linkage also accompanies the spring and shock.
Up front new fork internals (springs, damper rods, shim valve stacks, adjustable preload caps, and 1.2 inches more travel) are held by a new top triple clamp incorporating a Scotts steering-damper mount and an adjustable bar/riser block. Standing on its taller suspension, a longer sidestand is also included. The most visible changes are a new 17-inch rear wheel and a 19-inch front, both laced using stainless-steel spokes (these replace the standard wheels, which are 17-inch cast pieces front and rear). A new front fender completes the list. Add a set of ADV tires and you’re ready to go.
The kit is available directly from Rally-Raid Products in the UK or Giant Loop here in the US. The latter also offers additional pieces like footpegs, engine guards, luggage racks, and more for the CB500X. Total price from Giant Loop for the Level 3 kit is $2,899.
8 Williams Way
Wollaston, Northants NN29 7RQ
+44 (0) 1933 663386
Giant Loop LLC
63025 OB Riley Road, Suite 17
Bend, OR 97701