Its been a dream come true for many, when Honda finally launched the CB500x. The Indian biking enthusiasts have been waiting for this bike since the last decade, but it seems Honda was preparing for itself a base in India, until now. With the launch of CB 350 Highness and CB350RS now the CB500 X, Honda is pulling out one trick after the other, all via its Big-wings dealerships, offering India a chance to taste their big bike line-up.
Since the CB500x has got launched, its been compared to the Benelli TRK502, Kawasaki Versys 650 , even the KTM Adv390, saying they offer better value for money. First things first , let me clear out the misconception that all these mentioned options cant even come closer to what the CB500X has to offer. Its one of the most responsive, balanced nimble & agile adv bikes sub 650cc segment available in India. Senior riders will always that, that in touring, you’d always want your bike to be lightweight & nimble, not bulky & difficult to manage. Because, all that weight & bulk, restricts you from enjoying the bike’s capabilities. A kerb weight of 198kgs, 47ps of power from the twin and Honda’s reliability & cheap spares parts, makes the Honda CB500x the most loved bike out there in the world market. The platform has already proved its worth worldwide, since its inception a decade ago.
So, what does 7.5 lakh rupees get you??
Well, A motorcycle tested for decades for its reliability, performance & adventure quotient, along with the reliability of a Honda. Honda engines are known to last for decades, you still have 1990’s era superbikes in operations in India, even in cars, you can see the Honda 1.3 & 1.5L models still running on the roads, kicking ass. Did you know, India’s fastest drag & track race car, by Joel Joseph was based on a 1.5L Honda city. So, you spend once, and get a bike, that shall be with you for-ever, and Honda, being Honda, not Benelli or Kawasaki or any other Twin or OEM, you shall get spares & parts uninterrupted through-out the motorcycle’s lifetime at decent prices.
Honda big bikes, worldwide are known for their cheap maintenance & spare parts availability. I won’t say the same for India though, I have had bad experiences arranging spares for CBR250s & CBR150s, and at times we have had to wait for weeks. But, if you plan a Benelli or any other brand too, chances are you’ll spend more money and months in waiting time, just to get your bikes running. Again, the CB500X would be managed by the Big-Wings dealers, and as a platform, its been around for more than 8 years now, and continuous to be produced, its Honda’s one of the best selling motorcycles, so parts wouldn’t be a issue. Enough of the Why Honda saga now. Let’s dive into the motorcycle.
The 471cc liquid-cooled 8-valved engine twin engine, produces 47.7Ps of Power at 8500rpm and 44Nm of Torque at 5500rpm, clearly telling you, that the engine loves to be revved hard to reach that peak power. The Twin cylinder engine, is butter smooth coupled with an equally smooth gearbox. The Bore X Stroke measurements for the block piston are 67 x 66.7, clearly telling you, that it’s a square engine. These types of engines deliver power right from the lower end, to its peak power distributed equally, and so does the CB500X. There is power on demand, anytime & every time you twist that throttle. Popping a wheelie is as easy, as de-clutch and some revving up to 5k rpms. The engine maxes out at 175kmph, which is more than enough frankly. All the mentioned competitors also deliver similar figures, in terms of top speed & mileage. The CB 500X promises a mileage of 24-26kmpl, which is a standard respectable figure In its segment. Its as fast as a Kawasaki Versys 650 or a Suzuki V-storm, so let’s stop whining about the 150cc downgrade, shall be. Engine wise, at par with the best in 650cc segment.
But, where the Honda shines out every other motorcycle is the ride quality, comfort, the agility and the sheer nimbleness & control it offers. Overall, the CB 500 X is neutral in character, just like Honda bikes are. It can be your daily commute too, and your weekend adventure tourer too. Please note, that Honda says, its not a pure off-roader, but can easily take on broken roads & trails. In rocky conditions, care needs to be taken or your alloy wheels might just bend or crack. That’s the only thing that limits the CB 500 X.
Other than that, the ride quality is amazing thanks to the Dunlop Trailmax Mixtour 110-80-19 inch tyre on the front, and a 160/70-17 inch tyre on the rear, that provide excellent grip on tarmac and dirt conditions. The Body balance is amazing, and the bike runs planted to its line on the deepest of corners. All you need to just is twist, and I can guarantee you, you will end up with a smile on your face. In terms of braking, it gets a 310mm disk on the front, and a 240mm disk on the rear. It gets Nissin callipers, and deliver sufficient bite & feedback to rip the roads apart. Some were unhappy, that it doesn’t get dual disk brakes, like Versys or Benelli, but there is frankly no need of it, then why even have it?
In terms of comfort & rider triangle, the riding position is laid back just like a tourer should have. The tank gets panels to hold with your knees & practice optimum weight transfer without damaging your tank paint or loosing grip on the motorcycle. The comfort department gets taken care by the 41mm telescopic forks with pre-load and re-bound adjustability, while the Rear is a Honda mono-shock with 9-step adjustability. You can tune your ride, as per your requirements & weight factor, which will ensure a comfortable ride no matter how far you want to ride. That 17.7 litres fuel tank will at least take you 300-350kms before you plan on refuelling it.
In terms of accessibility, it’s very light & easy to handle, so an average person can easily ride the CB 500 X. The seat height of 830mm might look daunting, but the seat is narrow, allowing a person as low as 5ft 4inches to easily ride it. In colours, Honda offers the CB 500 X in a Black colour & Red colour option. In terms of wind deflection, the windshield is manually adjustable and comes with 2 different settings to adjust the wind buffeting. And amazingly, setting it on the top setting was able to deliver a stress free ride for me, I am 5ft, 10 inches tall, and it’s able to block most of the winds, that’s Honda’s experience of last 8 years working for you.
In terms of features, it gets all LED lighting, the indicators seem to be borrowed from the CB350RS. The CB500X gets a RFID key, making it next to impossible to start & take your bike away without the original key, Honda calls it HISS. It also will get a main-stand, hand-guards & USB charger as an accessory. In terms of safety, it gets a dual channel ABS, which is non-switchable. But, you can always pull that fuse out, right.
In terms of maintenance, just to give you a comparison, it will cost 1890rs/- for 3 litres of engine oil every 6000kms. Brake pad, both front and rear will cost under 1200/- , chain sprockets too under 8000/-, well to simply tell you the truth, that’s dirt cheap. EBC pads, a pair cost some 3-4k at least, a Rolon chain sprocket for Kawasaki Versys 650 costs some 15000/-. Well, I ain’t forcing you, its your money, you decide where you spend it.
Simply, if you love that rear sliding out, love a nimble & agile motorcycle, love ripping in the trails & broken roads and are looking for a Reliable motorcycle with cheap spare parts & maintenance costs, and don’t forget, that’s easy to pick up once it falls, CB500X is the one for you. Go get a test ride today, and then tell me, if you too felt the same happiness & adrenaline rush, I felt after riding this beauty. And remember, there is no price tag to happiness, and owning something that does not give you that smile is actually worse.