Honda's capable CB500 twins receive a host of updates in 2019, including boosted performance, alongside style and chassis updates...
For its 2019 evolution of Honda’s LAMS 500s see the CB500F nakedbike, CBR500R faired supersport styled machine and CB500X adventure-tourer receive a host of updates including to the twin-cylinder powerplant, as well as in styling and chassis components.
The CB500 range’s learner licence friendly, eight-valve liquid-cooled parallel twin-cylinder layout offers a well proportioned balance of physical size and willing, enjoyable power output, with an energetic character.
Already strong off the bottom, the target for 2019 development was faster acceleration through a boost in low-to-mid range power and torque in the 3000-7000rpm range; the 4% improvement comes via altered valve timing – with ‘close’ timing accelerated by 5° – and lift increased by 0.3mm to 7.8mm.
Feeding the PGMFI fuel injection is now a more-or-less straight shot of airflow through the airbox and throttle bodies thanks to a repositioned battery to allow greater airflow. Peak power of 35kW arrives at 8500rpm, with 43Nm torque delivered at 7000rpm.
Bore and stroke is set at 67mm x 66.8mm and compression ratio remains 10.7:1; the crankshaft pins are phased at 180° and a primary couple balancer sits behind the cylinders, close to the bike’s centre of gravity. The primary and balancer gears use scissor gears, reducing noise. The crank counterweight is specifically shaped for couplebalance and its light weight allows the engine to spin freely, with reduced inertia.
Acting as a stressed member, the engine complements the frame’s rigidity with four frame hangers on the cylinder head. Internally the cylinder head uses roller rocker arms; shim type valve adjustment allows them to be light, for lower valvespring load and reduced friction.
A silent (SV Chain) cam chain has the surface of its pins treated with Vanadium, reducing friction with increased protection against wear. Inlet valve diameter is 26.0mm with exhaust valve diameter of 21.5mm.
The piston shape is based upon those used in the CBR1000RR Fireblade to reduce piston ‘noise’ at high rpm. Friction is reduced by the addition of striations on the piston skirt (a finish that increases surface area, introducing gaps in which oil can flow for better lubrication). As with the CBR1000RR, an AB 1 salt bath process, used after isonite nitriding, forms a protective oxidisation membrane.
The ‘triangle’ proportion of crankshaft, main shaft and countershaft is very similar to that of Honda’s four-cylinder RR engines and much of the internal structure and engineering is taken directly from the CBR1000RR. The crankcase uses centrifugally cast thin walled sleeves; their internal design reduces the ‘pumping’ losses that can occur with a 180° phased firing order.
Using the same internal relief structure as that of the CBR1000RR, the oil pump features improved aeration performance, with reduced friction; a deep sump reduces oil movement under hard cornering and braking. Oil capacity is 3.2L. New for 2019 is also an Assist/Slipper clutch enables lighter upshifts and smooths out any hard downshifts.
The 35mm diameter steel diamondtube mainframe is unchanged for 2019. It’s light and strong, with a tuned degree of yield that gives plenty of feedback to the rider as road surfaces change. The shape and position of the engine mounts, plus the frame’s rigidity balance also reduces vibration.
A new single-tube rear shock absorber (as found on larger capacity sports bikes) replaces the double-tube design of the previous models; its large-diameter piston ensures excellent suspension response
and temperature management. It has nine-stage spring preload adjustment and works through a rigid box-section steel swingarm, which now features pressed steel chain adjustment end pieces.
See below for specific model changes for 2019 across the three models:
2019 Honda CB500F
The CB500F has evolved for 2019 and now wears aggressive bodywork to create a more muscular wedge-like muscularity. Tapered handlebars add further riding feel. New LCD instruments feature a Shift Up and Gear Position function and the indicators are now LED, to match the rest of the lighting.
Wheelbase is 1410mm and rake and trail are set at 25.5°/102mm, giving nimble, yet confidence inspiring steering. Mass centralisation, with the engine in close proximity to the swingarm pivot point, delivers turning agility and optimum front/rear weight distribution ensures stability. Kerb weight is 189kg.
Seat height remains low at 785mm, making the CB500F very easy to manage and its neutral riding position comfortably accommodates riders of any height. Overall dimensions are 2080mm x 790mm x 1060mm, with 145mm ground clearance. The fuel tank holds 17.1L including reserve, and combined with the engine’s excellent fuel economy gives a range of 480km (over 260 miles).
The 41mm preload adjustable telescopic front fork, with 120mm stroke, delivers a compliant yet controlled ride and remains unchanged in 2019. Lightweight, 17inch cast aluminium wheels employ hollow crosssection Y-shaped spokes.
Front wheel width is 3.5inch with a 120/70ZR17 tyre, the rear 4.5inch with a 160/60ZR17 tyre. A single front 320mm wavy disc and two-piston brake caliper is matched to a 240mm rear disc and single-piston caliper. ABS is fitted as standard.
The CB500F will be available in the following colour options: Grand Prix Red, Matt Gunpowder Black Metallic, Pearl Metalloid White, Candy Energy Orange.
2019 Honda CBR500R
For its 2019 evolution the CBR500R’s fully faired form is made more aggressive still with straight, wedge-like feature lines and extended lower fairings that emphasise a real sense of speed. The rider’s seat pad and seat unit – plus the upper and side fairings – have been narrowed to improve ergonomics and movement. Sharply chiselled dual LED headlights stare menacingly ahead, and the addition of LED indicators now means all lighting is LED.
The handlebars now clip on beneath the sporty, redesigned top yoke and as a result the riding position is canted 8° further forward; the fairing is also set lower.
New LCD instruments feature a Gear Position and Shift Up indicator; this is set to a default 8750rpm but can be adjusted in 250rpm increments between 5000-8750rpm. Lightweight, 17inch cast aluminium wheels employ hollow cross-section Yshaped spokes. Front wheel width is 3.5inch with a 120/70ZR17 tyre, the rear 4.5inch with a 160/60ZR17 tyre. A single front 320mm wavy disc and two-piston brake caliper is matched to a 240mm rear disc and single-piston caliper. ABS is fitted as standard.
The CBR500R will be available in the following colour options: Matt Axis Grey Metallic, Grand Prix Red, Pearl Metalloid White.
2019 Honda CB500X
The 2019 CB500X has been reborn with a much more aggressive adventure style. With the popular CRF1000L Africa Twin offering a guiding light, Honda’s development engineers have extended the radiator shrouds and fairing with substantive angles, while the fuel tank now interlocks with the side covers, linking the front and rear of the machine.
Thanks to improved aerodynamic performance, the high-pressure air flowing around the fairing and screen has been reduced, improving wind protection for the rider at highway speeds. The seat profile, too has been slimmed by shaving the shoulders at the front, allowing for easy movement around the machine, and aiding the already comfortable ground reach.
To help the CB500X’s manoeuvrability the steering angle has increased 3° to 38° from centred to full lock, and the addition of a gunmetal grey tapered steel handlebar further aids control.
New LCD instruments – set in a multisurfaced and textured surround, echoing the overall design theme – feature a Gear Position and Shift Up indicator; this is set to a default 8,750rpm but can be adjusted in 250rpm increments between 58,750rpm. The tubular screen stay can also mount a GPS above the instruments.
Wheelbase is 1445mm and rake and trail are set at 27.5 108mm giving nimble, yet confidence inspiring
steering. Mass centralisation, with the engine in close proximity to the swingarm pivot point, delivers turning agility and optimum front/rear weight distribution ensures stability. Kerb weight is 197kg.
Seat height is 830mm; overall dimensions are 2155mm x 825mm x 1410mm, with 180mm ground clearance. The fuel tank holds 17.5L including reserve, and combined with the engine’s excellent fuel economy of 27.8km/l (**mpg) (WMTC mode) gives a range of 500km (over 300 miles).
The 41mm preload adjustable telescopic front fork also features an extra 10mm travel, up to 150mm; and rear wheel travel has been raised from 118m to 135mm with the addition of the new shock mentioned above.
The 17inch front wheel has been replaced with a 19inch which – along with the longer travel suspension – ensures confident, supremely stable handling on rough surfaces. The lightweight aluminium rim wears a 110/80R19 trail pattern tyre, the 17inch rear a 160/60R17 tyre. A single front 310mm wave pattern disc and two piston brake caliper is matched to a 240mm rear disc and single-piston caliper. ABS is fitted as standard.
The CB500X will be available in the following colour options: Grand Prix Red, Grand Prix Red, Matt Gunpowder Black Metallic, Pearl Metalloid White.