2013 Honda CB500X Long-Term Update — Month 4

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Category: Reviews

The Good
Pirelli Scorpion Trail tires are an excellent match for the CB500X’s versatility, working equally well on broken surfaces in the city as they do on mountain roads in the rain or even in sub-freezing temperatures. Over 3,000 miles in, they’re about one-third worn and haven’t yet begun to square off.

All day comfortable. I chose the CB500X over the other bikes in our garage for a reason. It might be small, but it’ll cruise all day on the highway without complaints from you or it.

Great brakes. The additional 20mm of fork travel, grippy tires and ABS help here, as does the relatively light (for the ADV class) 430 lbs (wet) weight. Whether you’re trailing into a corner with two fingers or grabbing a handful in panic, the CB500X’s single front disc and sliding caliper deliver outstanding feel and are reassuringly strong.

The 31.9-inch seat height delivers a spacious riding position, but keeps the bike accessible for most riders. Even for us tall guys, it makes getting on and off the bike easy, even while loaded down with luggage.

Handles a passenger surprisingly well. Passengers report good comfort on shorter rides, but wouldn’t want to do an all-day trip on it. Outright handling ability at high lean angles does suffer, but normal riding doesn’t.

The parallel-twin sits at a relatively high 7,000 rpm at an 85 mph cruise, but it’s so smooth those revs don’t lead to vibrations or any other negative effects. Because of that relatively short gearing, it pulls surprisingly hard. No, you’re not going to be overtaking liter bikes, but it’ll haul you and your luggage up The Grapevine as well as anything.

2013 Honda CB500X
The 2013 Honda CB500X's swingarm, chain and linkage obscure access to the pre-load collar.

The Bad
I still haven’t found the right tool to access the link-type monoshock’s pre-load collar, so it’s stuck on the stock setting. The swingarm, chain and linkage combine to “hide” the collar from access.

Over the life of the bike, our average fuel economy is stuck at just 52 mpg. Doesn’t seem to matter if we’re commuting around town, trashing it in a canyon or cruising on the highway, it always delivers 52 mpg. That’s good, but not as great as we’d expect from such a small motor.

The fuel gauge reads empty long before you reach the tank’s theoretical 230-mile range. We’ve yet to strap on a Jerry can and test it, but none of our fill-ups has totaled more than 3.8 gallons yet.

2013 Honda CB500X
The 2013 Honda CB500X's clocks are distinguished by an amber cover.

The Price
The CB500X is $500 more than the CB500F, but the same price as the CBR500R. We think that premium over the F is justified by the much more spacious riding position, protective fairing, longer tank and unique forks. The X is our pick of the 500 range.

That price also hugely differentiates the CB500X in the wider market. Comparing the ABS model to the Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS, the Honda is $2,050 cheaper and is our pick for both city and twisty road riding. It’s also 40 lbs lighter with a lower center of gravity, making it much easier to manage.

2013 Honda CB500X
There are plenty of places to tie things down on the 2013 Honda CB500X.

The Verdict
The Honda CB500X is an astoundingly capable motorcycle. Riding it, you don’t think $6,000 and 471cc, you think comfort and feel. That said, you mostly just think about the ride, because the bike gets out of the way, just doing anything you ask of it. Need a commuter that can double as a toy on weekends and handle the occasional road trip? Look no further.

RideApart Rating: 10/10

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