The CBR500R is styled a “sports middleweight twin”. It’s aimed equally at the rider looking to move into the world of sport bikes and at someone who wants an alternative to the focused nature (never mind the price) of more powerful machines.
Designed around low ownership and running costs, it doesn’t lack for character either, thanks to design input from its CBR1000RR big brother. As a result, it will suit a range of riders and uses from commuting and touring to sports riding.
Is it worthy of the CBR designation? Remember, it’s R for Racing – and yes, the CBR500R has done duty on the track, in the European Junior Cup. The DOHC fuel-injected twin produces a healthy 35 kW. It is located in a steel diamond frame tuned for both responsiveness and vibration damping. Running gear is 41mm telescopic front forks, Pro-Link rear monoshock and beefy tyres on cast aluminium wheels front and rear. According to Honda, the siting of the engine close to the swing arm pivot point concentrates mass centrally for better agility without impacting negatively on stability.
Question of balance.
The almost square cylinders have their crankshaft pins phased at 180°, with a centrally situated primary couple balancer plus a lightweight crank counterweight specifically shaped for couple-balance. Honda says careful attention has been paid to internal design to reduce the pumping losses that can occur with a 180° phased firing order.
Going with the flow.
Computational flow dynamics was used to maximise gas flow efficiency, says Honda. That meant keeping the route from airbox to exhaust pipe as straight as possible; a plate in the airbox separates flow to each cylinder. A secondary air injection system is built into the cylinder heads; an 02 sensor and catalyser are sited inside the 2-1 exhaust.
Engine: 471 cm3, parallel twin
Output: 35 kW
Gear ratios: 6
Economy: 3,7 L/100 km
Fuel tank: 15,7
Range: 420 km est
Weight: 194 kg
Seat height: 790 mm
Price: R 69 900, including Honda Academy training and 12 months’ roadside assistance