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2014 Honda CB500FA Review

9-28-2014

by Pascal Bastien , moto123.com

Here comes the CB500FA, the little naked bike in Honda's 500cc trio that also includes the CBR500R and CB500XA. While primarily aimed at new riders (low price, easygoing nature, etc.), this model will appeal to most thanks to its mainstream looks and quality finish.

Compact and accessible, the 2014 Honda CB500FA accommodates all body sizes with a seat that's just 790mm high. The riding position feels relaxed as you sit a bit more upright than on the sportier CBR500R.

In terms of equipment, the CB500FA boasts a fully digital instrument panel that includes a fuel gauge, but unfortunately no gear indicator. The brake and clutch levers are non-adjustable, and the fuel filler cap comes without hinges. On the other hand, the radiator cowls look sharp, and the cargo space under the seat accommodates a U-lock and other items.


Rider-friendly? You bet!
On the highway, you'll obviously feel the rush of wind on your head and upper body, but credit the small windscreen for allowing short and medium jaunts you can tolerate. On the road, the compliant, progressive-rate front fork is calibrated for a comfortable ride, while the firmer rear shock seems to have two-up riding in mind. The passenger benefits from a wide, sculpted seat, low-mounted footrests, and a pair of grab bars.

The single front disc and rear disc, backed by excellent ABS technology, are easy to modulate and ensure safe stops at all times, making the 2014 Honda CB500FA even more rider-friendly. With reasonable weight and great overall balance on top of that, you won't find a middleweight street bike that's easier to ride and manoeuvre than this one.

2014 Honda CB500FA disc
The single front disc and rear disc, backed by excellent ABS technology, are easy to modulate and ensure safe stops at all times. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)

Is the CB500FA sporty?
The smooth and discreet-sounding engine is a model of easy operation. It doesn't complain when sprinting from just 2,000 rpm, and delivers more than satisfying performance between 4,000-8,000 rpm. Far from explosive, this 470cc twin-cylinder prefers to rely on a broad powerband, teaming up with a friendly 6-speed transmission that's perfectly geared to extract the most juice from the delightful engine.

Sporty riding is encouraged at the helm of the 2014 Honda CB500FA, although the soft fork produces excessive nosedive when braking late. Remarkably, it's a tad more agile through twists and turns than the fully clad CBR500R, and adequately stable around the apex. Beautiful ergonomics make it easy to lean over in those corners. While high-speed stability remains average, the CB500FA is slightly less affected by crosswinds than the CBR500R.

2014 Honda CB500FA engine
The smooth and discreet-sounding engine is a model of easy operation. It doesn't complain when sprinting from just 2,000 rpm, and delivers more than satisfying performance between 4,000-8,000 rpm. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)

Bottom line
Sleek, versatile, and easy to ride, the 2014 Honda CB500FA inspires plenty of confidence. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider, this Japanese naked bike provides lots of fun at a low price, and you may very well keep it longer than you initially expected.

Pros
  • Rider-friendly
  • Agile
  • Nicely finished
  • Fun for the price
Cons
  • Engine is short on thrills