– 2021 Honda CB500F Review / Specs / R&D Info + More! | Detailed Buyer’s Guide: 500 Naked Sport Bike / StreetFighter –
The CB500F makes a return for 2021 to the USA… and the rest of the world gets more color options than us, as always haha! However, let’s look at the glass as half full – instead of half empty as we didn’t get the CB500F for 2020 in the USA. We do get a 2021 CB500F so that’s something to be happy about. Honda’s CB500F is proof that less can be more. Boasting a sporty look and feel, this mid-displacement naked bike offers lightweight, nimble handling and practical performance around town. Ideal for the college commute, daily trips into the city or weekend outings to the countryside or mountains, the CB500F blends performance with a neutral riding position. Meanwhile, the bike’s rider-focused feel is honed through decades of iconic Honda CB models that paved the road for this latest parallel-twin platform.
Quick overview of 2021 CB500F Changes: Another great all-rounder, do-everything bike from Honda returns following its redesign in 2019 with new graphics and color schemes for 2021. The 2021 CB500F is also now homolgated for EURO5 regulations, for those that live across the pond.
- Quick CB500F Info (for those in a hurry):
- 2021 CB500F Model Lineup Options:
- Option 1: 2021 CB500F ABS
- 2021 CB500F Price / MSRP: $6,499
- 2021 CB500F Release Date: January 2021
- 2021 CB500F Colors: Darkness Black Metallic (USA), Matte Gunpowder Black Metallic, Grand Prix Red, Candy Caribbean Blue Sea, Candy Moon Glow Yellow
- 2021 CB500F Horsepower: 50 HP @ 8,600 RPM
- 2021 CB500F Torque: 31.7 lb/ft TQ @ 6,500 RPM
- 2021 CB500F MPG: 71 Miles Per Gallon
- 2021 CB500F Seat Height: 30.9 inches
- 2021 CB500F Weight: 420 lbs (curb)
- 2021 CB500F Fuel Tank Capacity / Size: 4.5 gallons
- 2021 CB500F Front Suspension: 41 mm conventional telescopic fork; 4.3 in. travel
- 2021 CB500F Rear Suspension: Pro-Link single shock w/ nine-position spring preload adjustability; 4.7 in.
- 2021 CB500F VS 2020 CB500F Changes: Yes, explained above and below.
- 2021 CB500F VS 2020 CB500F Price Change: Technically, there wasn’t a 2020 CB500F for the USA as I mentioned above so we’ll compare it to the 2019 model year. There was not a price increase for the 2021 CB500F when you look at the model options, the ABS model cost the same at $6,499. However, the price of entry has gone up since Honda has now dropped the non ABS 2021 CB500F from the production lineup. In 2019, you could get into the standard CB500F for $6,199 and now you have to jump up to the ABS model which does have an upcharge – bumping you up to $6,499.
- 2021 CB500F Model Lineup Options:
- 2021 CB500F Review Contents:
- 1. | Introduction
- 2. | Model Overview
- 3. | Key Features / Development
- 3.1 | Styling & Equipment
- 3.2 | Engine
- 3.3 | Engine Electronics
- 3.4 | DCT Automatic Transmission (optional)
- 3.5 | Chassis
- 4. | Accessories
- 5. | Photo Gallery / Pictures
- 6. | Technical Specifications
1. | Introduction
The naked CB500F – originally launched in 2013 alongside the adventure-styled CB500X and fully-faired CBR500R – has proved that one of Honda’s tried-and-trusted formulas for building popular motorcycles has lost none of its relevance.
That formula? An entertaining twin-cylinder engine wrapped in a simple, lightweight, sporty chassis, which is as much fun for an experienced rider as it is for those still building their riding career. And while a 35kW peak power output makes it suitable for A2 license holders in Europe, the CB500F offers so much more than ‘entry level’ performance. The CB500F is far from slow, with the CB500F pumping out 50 horsepower in 2021 for the USA and only tipping the scales at 420 lbs – this bike is a hoot!
While its compact dimensions and welcoming manners make it an easy machine to manage, ride and learn on, those same attributes also make it a genuine pleasure for those – whether stepping up from a 125 or coming down from a bigger machine – who want to explore just what it can do at the weekend. Sensible running costs, whatever the situation, add strongly to the appeal.
In 2019, the CB500F was redrawn with uncompromising lines that elevated its technical and mechanical aspects, and a host of upgrades that enhanced the riding experience even more. 2021 sees the introduction of updated graphics, two new colors and EURO5 homologation for one of Honda’s most popular machines.
2. | Model Overview
The CB500F’s engine is A2 license-compatible and benefits from the 2019 upgrades to the inlet, exhaust and valve timing, which added 4% more power and torque between 3-7,000 RPM compared to the previous model, and were accompanied by an enhanced exhaust note and a new assist/slipper clutch. We’ll dive more into those engine changes to the CB500F below.
LCD instruments include a Shift Up and Gear Position indicator, and all the lighting is LED. While both engine and chassis are unchanged for the EURO5-homologated 2021 year model, new colors do help mix things up.
3. | Key Features / Development
3.1 | CB500F Styling & Chassis
- Aggressively-styled bodywork
- Tapered handlebars for excellent control and feel
- LCD instrument display, with Gear Position and Shift Up indicators
- Full LED lighting
For its 2019 evolution, the CB500F’s naked faired form evolved front to rear, exuding a new-found aggression. Led by the penetrating headlight design, the machine’s stance is low-set and ready for action; the side shrouds interlock with the fuel tank and fully emphasize the engine, while the side covers and seat unit continue the theme of muscular angularity.
Tapered handlebars give intuitive feel and leverage. LCD instruments feature a Gear Position and Shift Up indicator; this is set to a default 8,750 RPM but can be adjusted in 250 RPM increments between 5-8,750 RPM.
The 35mm diameter steel diamond-tube mainframe is unchanged for 2021. 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.
Wheelbase is 55.5 inches (1410mm) and rake and trail are set at 25.5°/102mm, giving nimble, yet confidence-inspiring steering. Mass centralization, with the engine in close proximity to the swingarm pivot point, delivers turning agility and optimum front/rear weight distribution ensures stability. Curb weight is 420 lbs (189kg).
The CB500F seat height is low at 30.9 in. (785mm), making the CB500F very easy to manage and its neutral riding position comfortably accommodates riders of any height. Overall dimensions are 81.9 in. x 31.1 in. x 41.7 in. (2080mm x 790mm x 1060mm), with 5.7 in. ground clearance (145mm). The fuel tank holds 4.5 gal. (17.1L) including reserve, and, combined with the engine’s excellent 67 MPG fuel economy (28.6km/liter), gives a range of almost 300 miles (480km).
The 41 mm preload-adjustable telescopic fork delivers a compliant yet controlled ride and gives great feel for front-tire grip. A single-tube rear shock (as found on larger-capacity sport bikes) with 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 features pressed steel chain adjustment end-pieces. Final drive is via a sealed 520 chain wrapping around a 15T front sprocket and 41T rear sprocket.
Lightweight, 17-inch cast aluminum wheels employ hollow cross-section Y-shaped spokes. Front wheel width is 3.5inch with a 120/70-ZR17 tire, the rear 4.5inch with a 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 now on the 2021 CB500F in the USA. Anti-Lock Brakes have been standard equipment on the CB500F for a couple of years in select countries around the world but this is the first year in America for the CB500F.
The CB500F will be available in the following color options:
- Darkness Black Metallic (USA)
- Matte Gunpowder Black Metallic
- Grand Prix Red
- Candy Caribbean Blue Sea
- Candy Moon Glow Yellow
3.1 | CB500F Engine
- Lively twin-cylinder power plant’s internal architecture mirrors that of the 2019 CBR1000RR Fireblade
- Usable power and torque across the range
- Sportier sound from the dual-exit muffler
- Assist/slipper clutch eases upshifts and manages downshifts
- Now Homologated for EURO5
The CB500F’s A2-licence friendly, 8-valve liquid-cooled parallel twin-cylinder layout offers a well-proportioned balance of physical size and willing, enjoyable power output, with an energetic, high-revving character and zappy top end.
Already strong off the bottom, the recent CB500F engine upgrades in 2019 saw faster acceleration through a boost in low-to-mid-range power and torque in the 3-7,000 RPM range; with a 4% improvement coming via altered valve timing – with ‘close’ timing accelerated by 5° – and lift increased by 0.3mm to 7.8mm.
Feeding the PGM-FI fuel injection is a more-or-less straight shot of airflow through the airbox and throttle bodies – the 2019 upgrade saw the battery re-positioned further away from the rear of the airbox intake duct to allow greater airflow. The exhaust muffler features dual exit pipes, giving a sporty sounding edge to each pulse. Peak horsepower for the 2021 CB500F is 50.0 HP @ 8,600 RPM with 31.7 lb/ft TQ at 6,500 RPM (35kW / 43Nm).
Bore and stroke is set at 67mm x 66.8mm and compression ratio is 10.7:1; 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.
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 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 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 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 AB1 salt bath process, used after isonite nitriding, forms a protective oxidization 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. 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 qt (3.2L).
The CB500F’s six-speed gearbox is very close to that of its RR cousin and uses the same gear change arm structure and link mechanism. Introduced in 2019, an assist/slipper clutch enables lighter upshifts and smooths out any hard downshifts.
For vibration, Honda used a couple-balanced crank counterweight and a primary couple balancer. This resulted in a top grade parallel-twin engine that we were also able to make more lightweight.
The CB500F, like its 500cc stablemates, is homologated for EURO5, which from January 1st 2020,introduced significantly stricter engine emissions standards compared to EURO4. These requirements include substantial reductions in permitted carbon monoxide emissions, an over 40% decrease in total hydrocarbon emissions, tougher misfire detection and the introduction of a particulate matter limit.
4. | CB500F Accessories
A range of Genuine Honda Accessories are available for the CB500F. They include:
- 35L top box
- Rear carrier
- Tank bag
- Seat bag
- High Screen (clear)
- Heated Grips
- 12v Socket
- Rear Seat Cowl
- Centre Stand
- Wheel Stripe
- Tank Pad
5. | Photo Gallery / Pictures
6. | Technical Specifications
|Type||Liquid-cooled, parallel twin|
|Bore & Stroke||67mm x 66.8mm|
|Compression Ratio||10.7: 1|
|Horsepower||50.0 HP @ 8600 RPM (35kW)|
|Torque||31.7 lb/ft TQ @ 6500 RPM 43Nm|
|Oil Capacity||3.4 qt (3.2L)|
|Induction||PGM FI fuel injection with 34mm throttle bodies|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||4.5 gal|
|Fuel Consumption (WMTC)||76 MPG (28.6km/liter)|
|Battery Capacity||12V 7.4AH|
|Clutch Type||Wet multiplate|
|Transmission Type||6 speed|
|Final Drive||O-ring sealed chain; 15T/41T sprockets|
|Dimensions (L´W´H)||81.9 in. x 31.1 in. x 41.7 in. (2080mm x 790mm x 1060mm)|
|Caster Angle||25.5 degrees|
|Trail||4.0 in. (102mm)|
|Seat Height||30.9 in. (785mm)|
|Ground Clearance||5.7 in. (145mm)|
|curb Weight||420 lbs (189kg)|
|Type Front||Conventional telescopic front forks, 41mm, pre-load adjustable|
|Type Rear||Pro-Link® single shock w/ nine-position spring preload adjustability; 4.7 in.|
|Type Front||Multi-spoke cast aluminum|
|Type Rear||Multi-spoke cast aluminum|
|Rim Size Front||17 x MT3.5|
|Rim Size Rear||17 x MT4.5|
|ABS System Type||2-channel|
|Type Front||Single two-piston caliper w/ 320 mm petal-style disc; ABS|
|Type Rear||Single one-piston caliper w/ 240 mm petal-style disc; ABS|
|INSTRUMENTS & ELECTRICS|
|Instruments||Digital speedometer, digital bar graph tachometer, dual trip meters, digital fuel level gauge & fuel consumption gauge, digital clock, gear position indicator|
|Headlight||Low 4.8W. Hi 12W. (LED)|