Watch MCN ride the CBR500R and CB500F

Dailies -



European media outlets are riding the new 500cc Honda range a bit before we get to here in The States. MCN’s first with this video review. The publication is known for its dedication to focussed sportsbikes, but here seems totally impressed with the performance of these humble parallel twins.

  • Dan

    Thoughts on these becoming the new rookies’ cup bikes? Don’t get me wrong, I love small bikes and think the more fun options out there for new riders, the better. But I can’t help but think that the old rookie KTMs looked like a lot more fun.

    • Wes Siler

      It’s hugely positive that real racing will be taking place on real motorcycles that the people watching it can buy.

      • Dan

        Completely agree that accessible racing is good. But these are the bikes for the European Junior Cup, which used a 690 Duke platform last year (also publicly for sale, although more expensive than the CBR500). I realize I said “rookies” rather than “juniors,” so maybe you’re thinking of the much more exotic Moto-3 bikes (also by KTM) from the Red Bull Rookies Cup?

        • Wes Siler

          $5k > $10k. Dealer Network > no dealer network. Accessible performance, insurance and maintenance > specialized bike for wealthy experts.

          • Dan

            All good points. The last one only holds true for American teenagers though: CBR5 requires at least an A2 license, so buyers will have to be at least 19y/o. Ironically, that means that for the most part, a Euro Junior Cup contender (ages 14-19) can race to his heart’s content but wouldn’t be allowed to ride this bike around town. (Age limits for the Duke would be even higher, something crazy like 21 or 24, I think).

  • Blu E Milew

    If the reasoning behind these is to fit a tiered licensing system with regards to HP, did honda put any “restrictor” of sorts to get it to that level? If so, it would be great to make an easy tweak or two and uncork the beast.

  • Strafer

    MCN also has a video on the 2013 Ducati Hypermotard:

    (rain, dubstep, and that cool follow cam thingie included)

  • Eric Cherry

    I’m still waiting to read/hear about how well it handles sustained highway speed.

    • Wes Siler

      Well, the CBR250R cruises on the highway just fine, so making 19bhp more, this thing shouldn’t have a problem.

      • Eric Cherry

        Was hoping to hear (however unlikely) “has plenty of power to pass an occasional ____ on the freeway.” Even if it were farm equipment.

        • nick2ny

          It passes anything that is going more slowly than it, and it can go up to 105 mph.

          It will go by any Lambo, Ferrari, and Porsche in America, and every truck (and a few minivans) in Germany.

  • tobykeller

    A bunch of places already have these for rent here in Chiang Mai. Hoping to try one out this weekend.

    • Yaw Anokwa

      @tobykeller:disqus I’m going to be in Chiang Mai in a month. Could you let me know where you rent ‘em from?

      • tobykeller

        There are half a dozen along Kotchasarn road (along the eastern side of the moat). “Pop” is the largest. They all charge the same amount, though you can haggle if you’ll be renting for a longer period.

        • Yaw Anokwa

          @tobykeller:disqus Thanks. I’ve got a local connect who suggests Pop, so guess Pop it is.

      • Jay Meyer

        Be careful who you rent from. Prices are pretty much the same everywhere, but bike quality and customer service is not. Check out the bikes thoroughly and ask if they offer insurance and what their policy is if something breaks. There are some shady rental places, but also some really good ones, so don’t be afraid to walk away. You should also consider bringing your own helmet. Most helmets in Thailand are pretty flimsy. Enjoy Chiang Mai! It is a great city with lots of outdoor activities, and be sure to check out ‘The Corner Bar,’ an adventure/touring biker hangout.

        • Yaw Anokwa

          @facebook-100001859235656:disqus Thanks for the tips.

  • tobykeller

    Got a rented CB500F in the driveway now. First impressions: easy power delivery, good usable torque, surprisingly good handling. Suspension does not feel cheap at all. Brakes are excellent. Gearbox is slick, though first gear seems really tall.

    Fit and finish is ok… I own a CBR250R and it’s about the same, build quality-wise. The CB500 gets a bit vibey between 7-8k RPM, which is a shame, since that’s where you want to be quite often. Instruments include current and average fuel consumption, but not a distance-to-empty.

    Feels like about 80% of an ER-6N, which makes sense, because that’s basically what it is. I’ll be picking up an ER-6N over the CB500F in the end, because the extra power and polish is worth it to me.

  • Ben Guzman

    I wish the CB500F with ABS was available in white here in the states.