– 2021 Honda CB500X ABS Review / Specs + Buyer’s Guide Explaining 2021 CB500X VS 2020 CB500X Changes –
The Honda CB500X is back for 2021 and with a couple of new changes. The first change for the 2021 CB500X is the most noticeable, it is the color. Instead of the same Grand Prix Red that they have done for the last two years Honda has introduced this Matte Black Metallic color scheme with red accents. The next change for 2021 comes in the way of ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System). Up until now, it has been an option – you could get your CB500X with or without ABS where in other countries it was slowly becoming a “standard” feature and people didn’t have that option. Now for 2021, we lose that option here in the USA and all 2021 CB500X models come standard with ABS. It makes business sense from Honda’s side of things but there will be some people that won’t like not having the option.
Nothing delivers the feeling of freedom like an adventure bike, and the latest generation CB500X (2019+) went through significant performance upgrades to make it ready for adventure without losing any of its city manners. A completely revamped intake tract, new fuel-injection nozzles that concentrate their spray, improved cam timing and a new, more precise crank sensor add up to a 3 to 4% torque gain in the 3,000 to 7,000 RPM range of the 471cc DOHC, four-valve, parallel-twin engine. Power is tuned for strong low-end and precise throttle control, ideal for the unique needs of the rider who ventures where others turn back. The new slipper clutch makes downshifts smother, and lever pull is 45% lighter. The front wheel is now 19 inches, improving bump absorption. A new rear shock, increased suspension travel front and rear, higher ground clearance and a new tapered handlebar combine to prepare this midsized machine for full-sized adventures, and a revised steering angle improves high speed cruising yet also allows a tighter turning radius. The rear brake has been redesigned for improved control, and ABS settings have been optimized. We’ll cover more of the details on what Honda changed in the last refresh back in 2019 below, these were just some of the highlights.
Key 2021 CB500X Info (for those in a hurry):
- 2021 CB500X ABS Price / MSRP: $6,999
- 2021 CB500X Release Date: October 2020
- 2021 CB500X Colors: Matte Black Metallic
- 2021 CB500X Horsepower: 49.6 HP @ 8,500 RPM
- 2021 CB500X Torque: 31.7 ft/lb TQ @ 7,000 RPM
- 2021 CB500X MPG: 65 Miles Per Gallon
- 2021 CB500X Seat Height: 32.8 inches
- 2021 CB500X Weight: 434 lbs (curb)
- 2021 CB500X VS 2020 CB500X Price / MSRP Increase: None
- 2021 CB500X VS 2020 CB500X Changes: Yes. ABS now standard and new color.
- 2021 CB500X Review Contents:
- 1. | CB500X Introduction
- 2. | CB500X Model Overview / Recent Changes
- 3. | CB500X Key Features / Development
- 3.1 | CB500X Styling / Chassis
- 3.2 | CB500X Engine
- 4. | CB500X Accessories
- 5. | CB500X Pictures / Photo Gallery
- 6. | CB500X Technical Specifications
1. | 2021 CB500X Introduction
The CB500X – originally launched in 2013 alongside the naked CB500F StreetFighter and fully-faired CBR500R Sport Bike – brings crossover adventure style to Honda’s fun-focused twin-cylinder ‘light middleweight’ trio. It is a motorcycle that, without fanfare, quietly gets on with the job of being supremely competent, and adaptable in use for a wide variety of owners.
The CB500X’s usefulness is down to a straightforward equation – a perky, well-regarded twin-cylinder engine which produces real torque and drive from low rpm (and revs hard up top) – plus a chassis that gives a supremely comfortable ride both around town and out on the open highway.
It slips between the role of short-hop commuter to weekend touring bike effortlessly. Long travel suspension irons out irregular road surfaces, wide handlebars provide leverage and the upright riding position offers both comfort and a wide field of view for the rider. In other words, the CB500X has proved an all-rounder in every sense of the term.
In 2016 (2017 for USA), a the first round of upgrades and changes saw the CB500X receive a larger fuel tank, more wind protection and a taller screen. It also gained LED lighting, spring preload-adjustable front forks and an adjustable brake lever.
Then, 2019 brought forward a major evolution for the CB500X. More sophisticated adventure style – that highlights and confirms the unique proposition it offers – plus more engine performance and a number of chassis upgrades ensure that while the new CB500X remains confident in its wide-ranging abilities, its ‘X’ factor has been amplified a good deal louder.
Now, for the 2021 CB500X it has still went unchanged but the big change is that Honda is no longer offering a non ABS CB500X in the USA. We have always had that option but now on the 2021 CB500X it comes standard with ABS and that’s the only way you can purchase it.
2. | 2021 CB500X Model Overview
Honda’s CB500X proves that adventure is everywhere. Light, powerful and rugged, the bike embraces Honda’s “True Adventure” concept while simultaneously offering easy-to-access performance that is suited for commuting. From urban commuter to weekend explorer – the CB500X is ready for anything.
Driven by customer feedback over time, the CB500X has become more adventurous than ever with a bump-absorbing 19-inch front wheel, long-stroke 41 mm fork offering 5.9 inches of travel, wide handlebar and touring-focused features such as a tall windscreen. On the city streets, gravel backroads or dirt roads leading into the mountains, the CB500X is a machine that’s both practical and rewarding to ride.
And while the CB500X’s engine maintains the 49.6 HP mark from its original generation, the current gen CB500X now makes 4% more power and torque between 3-7,000 RPM, thanks to revisions to the inlet, exhaust and valve timing. The new dual-exit exhaust muffler features an enhanced exhaust note and the engine now also features an assist/slipper clutch.
LCD instruments include a Shift Up and Gear Position indicator, and the indicators are LED to match the rest of the lighting.
Recent CB500X Changes / Updates:
- Here are details on the most recent changes to the CB500X that occurred in 2019:
- Engine refinements for an increase in overall power, including 3 to 4% more torque from 3,000 to 7,000 rpm.
- Fuel-injector spray narrowed, fuel-droplet size optimized for improved spray penetration in intake. Improves combustion and therefore creates more linear power from first crack of the throttle through to rpm redline.
- Smaller battery, repositioning of components enable increased air-intake volume and addition of filter element in tract below headlights. Straighter velocity stacks and reshaped separators between the cylinders make for decreased turbulence, resulting in improved power at every rpm.
- New valve timing increases torque and improves roll-on response.
- New crank-sensor system with over 2.5 times more-frequent crank-position readings and model-specific fuel-injection settings allow more linear power delivery, with emphasis on low- and midrange power and more precise throttle response.
- New muffler with increased volume before and after catalytic converter. Back pressure optimized for improved low-end and midrange power. New dual-outlet muffler tip makes exhaust note racier-sounding to match new power.
- New transmission gear-dog design is more precise for more accurate, sure shifting action.
- New slipper clutch design adapts to load stresses for increased hook-up under heavy acceleration and reduced engine braking under downshifting.
- New clutch design, with the same engineering found in the CBR1000RR, decreases lever pull by 45%, especially helpful in stop-and-go traffic. Lever shape improved as well.
- Larger, 19″ front wheel for better bump absorption, improved high-speed handling.
- Steering caster angle slackened by 1 degree (now 27.5 degrees) for improved handling.
- New front and rear tire design with deep-grooved tread.
- New shock with advanced pressure-separation design from Honda’s large sport models is more stable and predictable for improved rear-wheel tracking and traction.
- Increased suspension travel (up .4 in. in front, 1.2 in. rear) for improved performance through stroke, reduced bottoming and increased ground clearance.
- On ABS version, upgraded modulators improve precision during ABS engagement.
- Revised hydraulic ratio in rear brake, combined with ABS, achieve improved brake modulation in low-traction situations.
- Lighter seat rails for improved mass centralization and better handling.
- New, full-featured display has larger screen and thinner bezel, includes new upshift indicator that can be set to different rpm settings.
- Turning radius reduced by nearly 8 inches for easier maneuvering.
- Windscreen is 20mm taller for great wind protection during high-speed cruising.
- Seat narrowed above pegs to aid touching feet to ground at stops.
- New tapered handlebar improves feedback, control and style, while new rubber-mounted handlebar clamp minimizes vibration to rider’s hands.
- More aggressive adventure styling with new fuel tank, radiator shroud, headlight, clear taillight lens and new LED turn signals. New shroud design helps direct radiator heat away from rider’s legs.
3. | 2021 CB500X Key Features / Development
3.1 2021 CB500X Chassis / Suspension
- Large, 19″ front wheel for good bump absorption and high-speed handling.
- The rear tire is designed with a deep-grooved tread for good off-road traction.
- The shock features an advanced pressure-separation design from Honda’s large sport models, resulting in stable and predictable performance for good rear-wheel tracking and traction.
- Long-travel suspension provides strong performance through the stroke, as well as minimal bottoming and good ground clearance.
- The full-featured display has a large screen and a thin bezel. It includes an upshift indicator that can be set to different rpm levels.
- The tall, adjustable windscreen offers great wind protection during high-speed cruising.
- The seat is narrow above the foot pegs to aid touching feet to the ground at stops.
- The tapered handlebar provides good feedback, control and style, while the rubber-mounted handlebar clamp minimizes vibration to the rider’s hands.
- Adventure styling looks aggressive, while the shroud design helps direct radiator heat away from the rider’s legs.
The latest CB500X has been reborn with a much more aggressive, ‘ready for the wild’ adventure style. With the popular Africa Twin CRF1000L offering a guiding light, Honda’s development engineers have extended the radiator shrouds and fairing with substantive angles that give a strongly three dimensional texture and feel, while the fuel tank now interlocks with the side covers, cohesively linking the front and rear of the machine.
And while the CB500X styling may have come of age, its recent redesign (2019+) is about much more than looks. 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 maneuverability the steering angle has increased 3° to 38° from centered to full lock, and the addition of a gunmetal grey tapered steel handlebar further aids control.
LCD instruments – set in a multi-surfaced and textured surround, echoing the overall design theme – 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 tubular screen stay can also mount a GPS above the instruments.
The 35mm diameter steel diamond-tube mainframe was unchanged for the refresh in 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 reduce vibration.
Wheelbase is 56.9 in. (1445mm) and rake and trail are set at 27.5º and 4.3 in. (108mm) 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 on the 2019 CB500X 430 lbs and 434 lbs on the ABS model.
Seat height is 32.7 inches (830mm); overall dimensions are 84.8 in. x 32.5 in. x 56.2 in. (2155mm x 825mm x 1410mm), with 7.1 inches (180mm) in ground clearance. The fuel tank holds 4.6 gal (17.5L) including reserve, and combined with the engine’s excellent fuel economy of 65 MPG (27.8km/l) gives a range of over 300 miles (500km).
The 41mm preload-adjustable telescopic front fork features an extra .39 inches (10mm) travel, up to 5.9 inches (150mm); rear wheel travel has been raised from 4.7 inches to 5.9 inches and a new single-tube rear shock absorber (as found on larger capacity sport bikes) replaces the double-tube design of the previous model (2018 and prior); its large-diameter piston ensures excellent suspension response and temperature management.
The CB500X has 9-stage spring preload adjustment working through a rigid box-section steel swingarm, which now features pressed steel chain adjustment end-pieces. Final drive is via sealed 520 chain.
The 17-inch front wheel was replaced with a 19-inch in the 2019 refresh which – along with the longer travel suspension – ensures confident, supremely stable handling on rough surfaces. The lightweight aluminum rim wears a 110/80-19 trail-pattern tire, the 17-inch rear a 160/60-17 tire. A single front 310mm wave-pattern disc and two-piston brake caliper is matched to a 240mm rear disc and single-piston caliper. ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System) is now a standard feature on the CB500X for 2021. Up until now we still had the option of a non ABS versus ABS on the CB500X whereas Europe and select other countries had ABS as standard. Now, it’s across the board for the 2021 CB500X – all models have ABS.
The CB500X will be available in the following color options for the USA:
- Matte Black Metallic
3.2 2021 CB500X Engine
- Small battery, plus positioning of components combine to enable good air-intake volume. Straight velocity stacks and separators between the cylinders make for minimal turbulence, resulting in good power across the rev range.
- Fuel-droplet size optimized for excellent spray penetration in intake, resulting in good combustion, which creates linear power from first crack of the throttle through to rpm redline.
- Valve timing maximizes torque for good roll-on response.
- Model-specific fuel-injection settings allow linear power delivery, with emphasis on low- and midrange power and precise throttle response.
- Muffler has large volume before and after catalytic converter. Backpressure is optimized for strong low-end and midrange power. The dual-outlet muffler tip results in a sporty-sounding exhaust note to match the power.
- The design of the slipper clutch enables it to adapt to load stresses for good hook-up under heavy acceleration and minimal engine braking under downshifting.
- The clutch design, with engineering found in the CBR1000RR, enables light lever pull, which is especially helpful in stop-and-go traffic.
The CB500X’s A2-licence friendly, 8-valve liquid-cooled parallel twin-cylinder layout offers a well-proportioned balance of compact size and willing, enjoyable power output, with an energetic, high-revving character and zappy top-end.
Already strong off the bottom, the target for the 2019 refresh development was faster acceleration through a boost in low-to-mid-range power and torque in the 3-7,000 RPM range; the 4% improvement comes via altered valve timing – with ‘close’ timing accelerated by 5° – and lift increased .3mm to 7.8mm.
- 2021 CB500X Performance Numbers:
- CB500X HP – 49.6 HP @ 8,500 RPM
- CB500X TQ – 31.7 ft/lb TQ @ 7,000 RPM
- CB500X kW – 35kW @ 8,500 RPM
- CB500X Nm – 43Nm @ 7,000 RPM
Feeding the PGM-FI fuel injection is now a more-or-less straight shot of airflow through the airbox and throttle bodies. The battery was re-positioned further away (44.1mm versus 13.4mm) from the rear of the airbox intake duct to allow greater airflow; the exhaust muffler now features dual exit pipes, adding a sportier sounding edge to each pulse. Peak horsepower of 49.6 (35kW) arrives at 8,500 RPM, with 31.7 ft/lb (43Nm) torque delivered at 7,000 RPM.
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 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 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 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. 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 qt.
A six-speed gearbox mirrors that of its RR cousin and uses the same gear change arm structure and link mechanism. New for 2019+ models an assist/slipper clutch enables lighter upshifts and smooths out any hard downshifts.
4. | 2021 CB500X Accessories
A range of Genuine Honda Accessories are available for the CB500X. They include:
- Center stand
- Side wind deflectors
- Knuckle guards
- Heated grips
- 35L top box
- Rear carrier
- Pannier mounts
- Pannier cases
- Tubular fairing protector frames
- Fog lights
- Tank bag
- Seat bag
- ACC charging socket
- Smoked screen
- Wheel stripe
- Tank Pad
5. | 2021 CB500X Pictures / Photo Gallery
6. | 2021 CB500X Technical Specifications
|Model||2021 CB500X ABS|
|Type||471cc liquid-cooled 18º parallel twin|
|Valve Train||DOHC; four valves per cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke||67.0mm x 66.8mm|
|Induction||PGM-FI fuel injection w/ 34mm throttle bodies|
|Ignition||Full transistorized ignition|
|Final Drive||15T/41T; #520 O-ring-sealed chain|
|Front||41mm telescopic fork; 5.9 in. travel|
|Rear||Pro-Link® single shock w/ nine-position spring preload adjustability; 5.3 in. travel|
|Front||Single two-piston caliper w/ 310mm petal-style disc; ABS|
|Rear||Single one-piston caliper w/ 240mm petal-style disc; ABS|
|Rake (Caster Angle)||27.5º|
|Trail||108mm (4.3 in.)|
|Ground Clearance||7.1 in.|
|Seat Height||32.8 in.|
|Fuel Capacity||4.7 gal|
|Color||Matte Black Metallic|
|Curb Weight*||434 lbs.|
* Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride Meets current EPA standards.