The new 2013 Honda CBR500R
attempts to win over buyers with styling derived from the CBR1000RR
superbike and an all-new, rider-friendly, parallel twin that delivers efficient performance. The CBR500R targets enthusiasts seeking the thrills of a sport bike and the comfortable touring attributes of a medium-displacement street bike.
Built in Thailand, the 2013 Honda CBR500R will give you plenty of bang for your buck:
- Diamond-shaped steel frame;
- Full fairing;
- Hex hardware all around;
- Stainless steel muffler and other parts;
- RR-style wheels;
- Premium finish.
Similar to the NC 700
family, Honda's 500 comes in three different models: CB500F
(crossover), and CBR500R (sport). The last one tilts the rider's upper body a bit more -- nothing too radical, though. The windshield offers more protection than the small windscreen of the CB500F, but not as much as the larger windshield of the CB500X.
The 2013 Honda CBR500R is available in two colours. While Millennium Red will definitely turn heads, I think Graphic Black makes for a racier look that screams “factory racing.”
The low, relatively narrow seat, foot pegs mounted a bit closer to the rear, and fairly high handlebars contribute to a relaxed riding position that makes the 2013 Honda CBR500R more accommodating. Sadly, there are no adjustable brake and clutch levers, and no hinged fuel cap. On the other hand, I liked the premium-looking digital instrument panel and the storage compartment under the seat.
Easy to exploit
|The Honda CBR500R tilts the rider's upper body a bit more -- nothing too radical, though. (Photo: Stephan Bauer)
The liquid-cooled 471cc engine of the 2013 Honda CBR500R is a fantastically designed and attractive piece of engineering with impeccable casting, glorious satin finish, and no disgraceful fluid lines.
On the road, this powerplant delivers smooth and linear performance that's always easy to exploit. The heart of the powerband -- from 3,000 to 7,000 rpm -- confirms that it prefers to stay away from higher revs. The 48 horsepower flow from the engine to the ground without ever disrupting the rider's confidence. At low and medium revs, it produces a healthy dose of vibrations along with a much harsher exhaust note than the engine on the Kawasaki Ninja 300
(its main rival).
In the city, the 2013 Honda CBR500R impresses with above-average balance and precision. The transmission kills some of the fun as it struggles to change gears at low speeds, but once you get used to it, it's no big deal.
A true sport bike?
|The liquid-cooled 471cc engine of the 2013 Honda CBR500R is a fantastically designed and attractive piece of engineering with impeccable casting, glorious satin finish, and no disgraceful fluid lines. (Photo: Stephan Bauer)
Yes, sir! A small country road is where the 2013 Honda CBR500R shines the most, with a chassis that's more than happy to obey your commands. You can throw this little sport bike around corners in sharp, stable and effortless fashion. The suspension is just firm enough to encourage reasonably aggressive riding and delay braking manoeuvres a tad.
Despite using a single disc with a 2-piston caliper up front, the 2013 Honda CBR500R produces safe stops courtesy of Honda's Combined ABS technology -- a further example of this bike's fun, friendly and fundamentally sound nature. The only thing that curbed my enthusiasm was a lack of character, but that just makes it even more suitable for beginners. Once you start to feel at ease, you can bring your significant other along for the ride since the CBR500R is much more apt for two-up riding than a 250cc or 300cc model.
|You can throw this little sport bike around corners in sharp, stable and effortless fashion. (Photo: Stephan Bauer)
- Plenty of value
- Friendly package
- Stylish and flexible engine
- Good fuel economy
- Engine lacks character
- Black plastics are delicately finished (read: fragile)