With all-new styling that offers a sharper, more aggressive look and improved airflow for increased rider comfort and better handling, plus refinements like LED headlights and taillights, the new CBR500R adds great curb appeal to legendary performance and reliability. Other updates include a new muffler design for improved mass centralization, lighter weight and an improved exhaust note, plus an adjustable front brake lever, smoother gear-change feel, a larger fuel tank with a hinged fuel cap and front suspension with adjustable preload. The CBR500R also now uses a wave ignition key for smoother function. The inline-twin 471cc engine offers accessible power output that smoothly revs up to redline, while emphasizing low- to midrange torque for real-world usability. Honda Genuine Accessories are also available for the new CBR500R, including a high windscreen, seat cowl, tank pad, 12v accessory socket and seat bag.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Model overview
- 3 Key features
- 4 Quick overview of features
- 5 Development
Fast, frugal, affordable and fun, Honda’s CBR500R – on sale since 2013 – has helped redefine and re-energize the middleweight class and brings sporting energy, plus engineering DNA of larger CBRs, to Honda’s twin-cylinder line-up. Dozens of young riders from around the world developed their racecraft on CBR500Rs in the first two seasons of Honda’s one-make European Junior Cup race series.
Suitable for riders looking to move up from a 125 (or holding an A2 licence) it injects the excitement of sports bike ownership into every ride, yet also delivers real-world comfort with sensible running costs, making it a great bike to commute through the working week – and cut loose at the weekend on.
And with its giant-killing capacity, the CBR500R has also found favor with experienced riders looking to downsize their machinery, while preserving the essence of enjoyable motorcycling.
The 2016 CBR500R is a considered and thorough evolution that elevates the machine further to offer the maximum sporty performance, style and presence from a genuine A2 licence-compliant motorcycle.
2. Model Overview
While its 471cc DOHC engine (producing 35kW and returning 29.4km/litre) and steel diamond-tube frame remain unchanged, the CBR500R is redrawn with aggressive and flowing new lines front to back. The styling integrates fluidly and creates an aerodynamic form ready to carve cleanly through the air; an LED headlight and taillight also add a premium feel. A range of dynamic new colours add further to the visual appeal.
A larger fuel tank extends range, and detail improvements – hinged fuel cap, adjustable-reach brake lever, redesigned seat and ‘wave’ style ignition key – elevate the overall owning experience.
The ride is improved with the addition of adjustable spring preload in the front forks, redesigned shift drum for smoother gear changes and new short exhaust muffler, with tuned internals, that emits a crisp howl worthy of the engine’s character and the machine’s CBR prefix.
3. Key Features
3.1 Styling, Equipment & Colors
The CBR500R has found popularity among owners because of its manageable size for riding in and around town, and sports performance out on the open, twisty roads. For the next stage of the machine’s development, the target for Honda’s engineers was to maintain its compact form, but give it a unique and hard-edged look. The styling concept is simply headed ‘Aggressive Speed Shape.’
It starts at the front of the sharply angled fairing, and each curve and angle flows through to the sporty upswept tail unit. The sharply-angled dual LED headlights are compact but bright, and – combined with twin position lights – contribute to the CBR500R’s assertive forward stance.
Narrow slits feature above each headlight, guiding air inside the fairing, reducing frontal pressure; a duct in the lower part of the screen reduces turbulence and promotes smooth flow around the rider’s helmet.
There’s a sense of continuity in the design theme with the angular contour surface of the fairing cowls – which also feature ducting to help aerodynamics and air flow to the airbox – plus heavy side slits, tying in with the ’character’ line and shaping of the side cowls and fuel tank. Each line interlocks and complements the next, and partially blacked-out fairing lowers and side cowls underscore the whole design.
Detail upgrades for rider benefit include a hinged fuel cap and 5-step adjustable span brake lever. The new ‘wave’ key also has a smoother, more premium feel in use. Both rider and passenger footpeg hangers have been reduced in size, with die-cast aluminium footpegs and integrated grab rails for the passenger adding further touches of class and quality. The rear seat unit is eye-catchingly small, and finished with a clear-lensed rear LED light unit and sharply-designed (and easily removable) steel fender mount.
The comprehensive dash features a digital speedometer, digital bar graph tachometer, odometer, dual trip meters, clock, plus digital fuel level gauge and fuel consumption. HISS (Honda Intelligent Security System) is built in to the ignition; there’s space under the seat to store a U-lock. The HISS feature is not available on the USA model.
2016 CBR500R Colors:
- Ross White and Millennium Red (Tri-color)
- Lemon Ice Yellow/Graphite Black
- Graphite Black/Candy Energy Orange
- Millennium Red
- Pearl Metalloid White
- Matt Gunpowder Black
- Matte Black Metallic (USA)
- Red (USA)
- Pearl White (USA)
2016 CBR500R MSRP / Price:
- 2016 CBR500R Price: $6,499
- 2016 CBR500R ABS Price: $6,799
Honda Accessories for the CBR500R include heated grips, carbon-look front mudguard, seat cowl, U-Lock, sports tail pack, rear hugger, tank pad and AC charging socket.
The CBR500R’s 8-valve liquid-cooled parallel twin layout offers a great balance of physical size and flexible output. 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 both the CBR600RR and CBR1000RR.
Bore and stroke is set at 67mm x 66.8mm; the crankshaft pins are phased at 180° and a primary couple-balancer sits behind the cylinders, close to the bike’s center of gravity. The primary and balancer gears use scissor gears, reducing noise. The crank counterweight is specifically shaped for couple-balance and its light weight allows the engine to spin freely, with reduced inertia.
2016 CBR500R Horsepower / HP: 49.6 at 8,500 RPM
2016 CBR500R Torque / TQ: 31.7 lb ft at 7,000 RPM.
The engine acts as a stressed member, reinforcing 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 valve-spring 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 dust. Inlet valve diameter is 26.0mm with exhaust valve diameter of 21.5mm.
Bore size of 67mm is identical to that of the CBR600RR. The piston shape is based upon those used in the CBR1000RR 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 CBR600RR and CBR1000RR, an AB 1 salt bath process, used after isonite nitrating, forms a protective oxidization membrane.
The crankcase uses centrifugally cast thin-walled sleeves, and the same bore interval as the CBR600RR helps them be as compact and light as possible. 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 3.4 quarts.
A six-speed gearbox mirrors that of its RR siblings using the same gear change arm structure and link mechanism. In an update for 2016, for easier urban riding, the shift drum stopper spring load has been revised, along with the shape of the shift drum center. The result is smoother, easier gear changing.
The gasflow route from airbox to exhaust is as straight as possible and a plate in the airbox separates the airflow to each cylinder. A new exhaust muffler design uses two internal chambers, joined by a punched link pipe; it’s physically shorter (aiding mass centralization), 1.2 pounds lighter and delivers a crisp exhaust note as rpm rises.
The CBR500R’s 35mm diameter steel diamond-tube mainframe is 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, reduces vibration.
Wheelbase is 1410 mm and rake and trail are set at 25.5°/4.01 inches giving nimble, yet reassuring steering. Mass centralization, with the engine in very close proximity to the swingarm pivot point, delivers turning agility and optimum front/rear weight distribution ensures stability. The 2016 CBR500R curb weight comes in at 423.2 lb.
Seat height is low at 30.7 inches, making the CBR500R very easy to manage and its sporty riding position will comfortably accommodate riders of varying heights thanks to a relatively high handlebar position.
Overall dimensions are 81.8 inches x 29.5 inches x 45 mm, with 5.51 inches ground clearance. The fuel tank now holds 4.4 gallons, including reserve, and combined with the engine’s excellent fuel economy gives a range of over 300 miles.
The 41mm telescopic front fork, with 120mm stroke, delivers a compliant yet controlled ride; for 2016 the CBR500R gains spring preload adjustment and the fork legs are topped with Blue Aluminum. Pro-Link monoshock rear suspension features 9-stage preload adjustment and works through a rigid box-section steel swingarm. Final drive is via 520 sealed chain.
Lightweight, 17-inch cast aluminium wheels employ hollow cross-section Y-shaped spokes. Front wheel width is 3.5 inch with a 120/70-ZR17 tire, the rear 4.5 inch and 160/60-ZR17 tire. 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.
4. Quick Recap of 2016 CBR500R Info / Features
- Supersport Styling
Take a close look. Like what you see? The CBR500R offers all-new styling for 2016 that keeps it right at the front of the pack in terms of eye-appeal. The aerodynamic bodywork also provides significant advantages in air management for added rider comfort, along with a low drag coefficient and effective cooling.
- LED Headlights
The CBR500R gets new dual headlights for 2016. The LED lights are small but bright, with a stylish new shape. It completely changes the CBR500R’s presence and gives the front end a unique look while also projecting plenty of light on the road for visibility.
- Stainless Steel Exhaust
Beautifully polished stainless steel exhaust is integrated with the rear footpeg set for clean, functional design. The exhaust tucks in tighter this year for better mass centralization (and consequently better handling) while also providing a crisper exhaust note.
- DOHC Twin-Cylinder Engine
Honda twins are famous for their versatility, and the CBR500R engine is one of our best ever. Using the same piston bore size as our CBR600RR sportbike, the parallel-twin engine offers accessible performance across all RPM ranges. Choosing a 500 isn’t a compromise, especially when it’s an engine with as much development behind it as Honda’s parallel twins. Liquid-cooling, double-overhead cams and bulletproof reliability make this a great all-around powerplant for any kind of riding you have in mind.
- Step Seat
The CBR500R offers a stepped two-piece seat with a low height. Perfect for around-town riding or winding roads, it also offers plenty of room for a passenger and is specially designed to fit a wide range of riders.
- Pro-Link® Rear Suspension
For 2016 the CBR500R gets new shock settings for improved ride comfort. Its sophisticated chassis uses Honda’s Pro-Link® rear suspension; the nine-stage preload and 4.7 inches of travel gives you a comfortable ride over small bumps, while capably absorbing bigger bumps to increase riding comfort and handling.
- Cast Wheels
Strong and stylish, the CBR500R’s aluminum 12-spoke cast wheels are easy to keep clean, look great, and are another feature that just makes sense.
- Steel-Tube Frame
A motorcycle’s frame is the basis for its handling. A take on a classic construction, the CBR500R’s diamond-shaped 35mm steel-tube mainframe ties to the engine with four mounts, offering a rock-solid foundation for a superior ride and handling.
- Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)
Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) continuously monitors several variables to ensure the correct fuel mixture is delivered for the existing riding and atmospheric conditions, ensuring a crisp throttle response throughout a wide variety of riding.
- Digital Instrumentation
A full LCD screen features a digital speedometer and tachometer and more, including a clock, odometer, trip meter, real-time and average fuel consumption meters, and illuminated engine diagnostic indicators.
- Disc Brakes
The front 320mm wave-style disc brake and 240mm rear provide strong stopping power. And new for 2016, the front-brake lever is now adjustable for a perfect fit.
- Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
Available ABS on the CBR500R helps you make confident stops under less-than-ideal conditions.
- Passenger Seat Strap
A handy rear passenger seat strap offers a firm handhold for your passenger or tie-down point for smaller items.
2016 CBR500R Changes:
- – A complete new look based on a design theme of “Aggressive Speed Shape” with angled dual LED lights and the up-swept tail equipped with LED lighting.
- – Front suspension upgraded with adjustable pre-load
- – Larger fuel tank with new hinged fuel cap (the old one just came off in your hand).
- – Adjustable brake lever
- – Honda’s “wave” style ignition key
- – A new shorter exhaust muffler for enhanced mass centralization, with internal structure tuned for a satisfying low, crisp exhaust note.
5. Honda CBR500R ABS Development Story (Including CB500F / CB500X)
There’s a whole new generation of young riders looking to enter the sport of motorcycling on bikes that are fun to ride, nimble and easy to handle, affordable and economical to operate, plus distinctive in appearance. For this set of buyers, Honda has hit a grand slam by creating a trio of modern-era 500cc machines that redefine the middleweight category. These three bikes take aim at three popular styles of bikes that resonate with their own identity, yet all are filled with Honda quality and value, through and through.
First, there’s the CBR500R, a lightweight and nimble middleweight sport bike that’s just right for riders moving up in displacement categories, as well as for experienced riders who just love riding a great-handling bike. Next, there’s the CB500F naked sport bike, a great choice for independent-minded riders in search of a mid-sized entry-level bike with extra attitude, but one that’s also a great daily ride. And there’s also a middleweight adventure-style bike, the CB500X, a bike that follows the lead of the popular NC700X introduced in 2012. For riders who want to add a smaller, lighter and eminently affordable adventure-style bike to their lives, the CB500X is just the ticket.
Each of these brand-new models has its own look and personality plus a tie-in to larger bikes in the Honda lineup, and they also share that distinctive, high-quality Honda feel. Despite their unique appearances, these three bikes share the same basic chassis components and engine—a smart move, since sharing common elements helps reduce development and production costs, resulting in a markedly lower consumer price point.
As its name suggests, the CBR500R features full bodywork much like that found on the potent CBR600RR and CBR1000RR Honda sportbikes. Sportbike riders, whether well established in the sport or still developing their motorcycling skills, always prize the excellent handling traits that come with a light and responsive mount. And the new, lightweight and nimble CBR500R absolutely delivers in that department—there’s plenty of well-rounded performance on tap here. It’s just the right size for sport riders moving up from the entry-level Honda CBR250R, but even experienced sportbike riders will appreciate the handling characteristics of this 425-pound bike. Its aerodynamic bodywork provides significant advantages in air management for added rider comfort, along with a low drag coefficient and effective engine cooling, rounding out a package that looks as good as it works.
Naked sport bikes form another distinct category of motorcycling, one that fosters the image of independence and non-conformity. And that’s especially true with the CB500F, a bike that looks like a first-cousin to the liter-sized CB1000R. This modern and sporty 500cc naked bike not only carries a full load of attitude and style, it also delivers plenty of performance and versatility. Tipping the scales at only 420 pounds, it’s got everything you need, and nothing that you don’t. Whether it’s used as a daily commuter machine, an affordable weekend ride for backroad day trips, or a bike for hanging out at the local gathering spot, the CB500F serves as a great option for just about any kind of street use. Its comfortable, neutral riding position and slim profile let riders feel right at home in the saddle. For a bike that’s affordable, stylish and fun, it’s tough to top the new CB500F.
We all understand that half the fun of motorcycling is the mental escape it provides when you’re tied down at the 9 to 5 job. For riders who love to dream about getting far away on a ride, the middleweight CB500X is a fantastic option that follows in the tire prints of the recently introduced and highly acclaimed NC700X adventure-style bike. This is a bike that begs to travel new roads and discover new sights, a fun-to-ride motorcycle with an extra dose of versatility. The compact windscreen can be adjusted in height, and it also has a comfortable adventure-bike seating position, plus a larger-capacity fuel tank that has been carefully shaped to allow the rider unrestricted movement. It features a longer-stroke 41mm front fork that produces 4.9 inches of travel, and a wider handlebar allows for easy steering inputs. And while this the CB500X works well for longer-range adventure tours, it also serves as a versatile ride to fulfill those everyday needs too. For riders seeking a little more adventure in their lives, the CB500X delivers on that idea at a very affordable price.
Regardless of market placement, all three bikes share an all-new engine and Honda’s engineers decided that a sleek parallel twin would serve best to generate sufficient torque in the low-rpm range to produce the kind of fun, easily accessible powerband that is a hallmark of all three bikes. And so this series of bikes became 500cc liquid-cooled parallel twins with a bore and stroke configuration of 67 x 66.8mm. The stroke of 66.8mm was the maximum possible, given the compact engine dimensions the engineers had also set as a priority. The 7mm bore interval in this engine is the same as the bore intervals in the CBR600RR; this tight distance results in a compact—and light weight—engine.
The valvetrain incorporates four valves per cylinder actuated by dual overhead camshafts. The intake valves measure 26mm in diameter, the exhaust valves 21.5mm, and narrow valve stems help reduce reciprocating weight and engine friction. This DOHC configuration was chosen for higher performance; it gave the engineering team greater latitude in developing the shape of the combustion chamber, the shape of the ports and the layout angle of the valves, while also allowing the use of lighter valves. Careful attention was paid in particular to creating a markedly straight-line flow from the air cleaner through the intake ports and out the exhaust pipe to maximize efficiency.
The cylinder head design also incorporates a roller rocker arm for a more compact layout along with reduced friction. The choice of a shim-type valve adjustment system allowed incorporation of a lighter rocker arm setup that, in turn, allowed for a lower valve-spring load to further reduce power losses through engine friction. The cams are driven by a silent-type cam chain for reduced engine friction, and the surfaces of the cam-chain pins are treated with vanadium for lower friction and increased toughness. Compression ratio is set at 10.7:1, and to reduce piston noise and friction at the relatively high top engine speeds slated for these bikes (redline is 8600 rpm and rev-cut occurs at 9100 rpm), the short 67mm piston features asymmetrical skirts that are the same length but differ in width. Using technology applied to the CBR600RR, striations on the piston skirts aid oil retention for better lubrication, and the piston pins and connecting rods are also treated with a friction-reducing special protective coating. The 180-degree crankpin design and an engine counterbalancer help smooth operation, and preloaded scissor gears are used for the primary and balancer gears to reduce gear whine/engine noise. All in all, a sophisticated package.
A six-speed gearbox complements the power output of this engine, and the triangulated layout between crankshaft, mainshaft and countershaft is very similar to that of the four-cylinder CBR-RR engines, which aids in creating a very compact unit. Engine weight, at 116 pounds, is laudably light. In addition, the gear-change mechanism uses the same gearshift structure and gearshift link design used in the ultra-high-performance CBR600RR and CBR1000RR sport bikes to yield high-quality shifting action and feel.
Honda’s Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system delivers the appropriate fuel mixture according to existing riding and atmospheric conditions for crisp throttle response. A pair of 34mm throttle bodies feed the engine, with the injectors located within the throttle-body assembly. All of this technology helps give all three 500s an especially responsive, revvy nature and a high-quality feel.
The engine hangs as a stressed frame member housed in a monocoque frame evocative of Honda’s MotoGP racing machines. The cylinder head features four solid attachment points for engine hangers, which allows the rigidity of the engine to add to chassis rigidity. Such a design lends itself to a more simplified frame shape, yielding a more lightweight and compact chassis. The resulting frame is a diamond-shaped unit with a 35mm steel tube main member, and the final design is significantly lighter than other comparable designs, which adds greatly to the handling prowess of all three bikes.
The CBR500R and CB500F share the same wheelbase of 55.5 inches, while the CB500X spans 55.9 inches between axles. The X model also has one degree more steering rake than its two siblings (26° 5′ versus 25° 5′), and its 41mm fork yields 4.9 inches of travel in contrast to the 4.3 inches of fork travel with the other two bikes. All three share the same Pro-Link® single-shock rear suspension system, which offers nine-step cam-style spring preload adjustability and 4.7 inches of travel. Thanks in part to this slightly taller suspension setup the CB500X seat is slightly taller at 31.9 inches, versus 30.9 inches for the CBR500R and CB500F. Even so, the CB500X seat is perched nearly an inch lower than that of the larger NC700X adventure-style bike, which makes it distinctly more friendly feeling for riders with shorter inseams.
All three models share the same lightweight cast aluminum wheels, a 120/70-17 front and 160/60-17 rear. These wheels follow the designs used for the latest CBR600RR and CBR1000RR wheels. The brake setups are likewise identical among all three 500s: a twin-piston caliper and 320mm wave-style disc up front, and a 240mm wave disc in back. The front brake in particular offers excellent stopping power and feel. The wave design reduces unsprung weight and it also offers excellent heat-dissipating qualities. ABS is an option with all three bikes and the ABS systems are independent, not linked, between the rear and front brakes.
So there you have it: three different bikes, three different riding experiences for three different kinds of riders. But all three bikes are lightweight, nimble and fun to ride, and each one possesses a level of quality and sophistication that makes it a fantastic value for the money.