– 2021 Honda CBR500R ABS Review / Specs + Changes Explained in CBR Buyer’s Guide –
The CBR500R is back for 2021 and with some changes… Kind of. Honda didn’t make any mechanical (other than to meet EURO5 regulations) or aesthetic changes to the CBR500R for 2021 BUT they did remove the option of buying the bike without ABS. In 2020, you had the option of buying a CBR500R without ABS or one with it. Should we be surprised? No but it’s still something I have a difficult time getting 100% behind. We need more options, not less. Enough of my complaining though, let’s get to what you’re here for and that’s more info on the 2021 CBR500R ABS. Are you familiar with all of the changes that Honda threw at the CBR500R in 2019? If not, Click Here.
In the CBR500R, Honda’s championship-winning sport bike DNA blends with its appreciation for practical, user-friendly performance. Aggressive CBR styling and a sporty steel-tube frame are paired to a sporty, parallel-twin-cylinder engine that offers enjoyable performance in a range of riding situations, from the daily commute to weekend rides through the canyons. Combine that sporty performance with sensible running costs and a high-quality finish, and you have a motorcycle that’s equally entertaining for returning sport-bike enthusiasts and riders moving up from smaller-displacement machines.
Below, we’ll take a deep-dive into everything you need to know about the 2021 CBR500R from its changes when compared against the previous year model as well as all of the nitty-gritty specs and features you guys want to know about…
Key 2021 CBR500R ABS Info (for those in a hurry):
- 2021 CBR500R Price / MSRP: $6,999
- 2021 CBR500R Release Date: December 2020
- 2021 CBR500R Colors: Pearl White (USA), Matte Gray Metallic (USA), Grand Prix Red
- 2021 CBR500R Horsepower: 49.6 HP @ 8,500 RPM
- 2021 CBR500R Torque: 31.7 ft/lb TQ @ 7,000 RPM
- 2021 CBR500R MPG: TBA
- 2021 CBR500R Seat Height: 30.9 inches
- 2021 CBR500R Weight: 423 lbs (curb)
- 2021 CBR500R VS 2020 CBR500R Price / MSRP Increase: This one is hard to answer with the simple +$100 / -$100 etc that I normally do. Technically the price of the 2021 CBR500R ABS VS 2020 CBR500R ABS didn’t go up but since we lost the cheaper $6,699 non ABS CBR500R for 2021, your entry into a CBR500R just went up by $300.
- 2021 CBR500R VS 2020 CBR500R Changes: Yes, you no longer have a non ABS model and it’s EURO5 homologated.
- 2021 CBR500R Review Contents:
- 1. | CBR500R Introduction
- 2. | CBR500R Model Overview
- 3. | CBR500R Key Features / Development
- 3.1 | CBR500R Styling / Chassis
- 3.2 | CBR500R Engine
- 4. | CBR500R Accessories
- 5. | CBR500R Pictures / Photo Gallery
- 6. | CBR500R Technical Specifications
1. | 2021 CBR500R Introduction
Fast, frugal, affordable and fun, Honda’s CBR500R – launched in 2013 alongside the naked CB500F and adventure-styled CB500X – gives a genuine sporting energy to its twin-cylinder ‘light middleweight’ trio.
Popular with riders looking to move up from a smaller machine, it instils the excitement of sports bike ownership into every ride yet also delivers sensible running costs, making it a great bike to both commute through the working week and enjoy at the weekend. It has also become popular with experienced riders looking to downsize their bike while still experiencing the essence of enjoyable motorcycling.
In 2016, the CBR500R assumed sharper styling and LED lighting to go with upgrades to its front suspension; in 2019 the CBR500R got an even more aggressive makeover, with a new form and riding position that outlined a keener sporting intent. Upgrades were also applied to the engine, to deliver stronger performance off the bottom, a strong surge through the rev range to the redline, and a more distinctive howling note in the process.
2. | 2021 CBR500R Model Overview
Contrasting angles and shaping – between the very slim and more muscular – from the fairing nose to the seat unit outline the CBR500R’s look. It’s an ergonomic design for the rider to use aggressively which also features excellent aero management. Clip-on handlebars mount below the revised top yoke and the riding position is canted further forward compared to its two CB500 siblings.
The CBR500R’s 49.6 horsepower engine is A2 license-compatible for those across the pond and it 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.
LCD instruments feature a Shift Up and Gear Position function and all the lighting is LED.
3. | 2021 CBR500R Key Features / Development
3.1 | 2021 CBR500R Styling & Chassis
- LCD instrument display, with Gear Position and Shift Up indicators
- Aggressive lines with purposeful, dual LED headlights
- Aerodynamically efficient and ergonomically comfortable
- Clip-on handlebars give a sporty riding position
- Full LED lighting
For its 2019 evolution the CBR500R’s fully faired form was made more aggressive with straight, wedge-like feature lines and extended lower fairings that emphasise a real sense of speed. The rider’s seat pad and seat unit – plus the upper and side fairings – were narrowed to improve ergonomics and movement. Sharply-chiseled dual LED headlights stare menacingly ahead, matching the LED indicators.
The view forward, from the CBR500R’s cockpit, is pure sport. The handlebars clip on beneath the top triple clamp, and as a result the riding position is unmistakably ‘sports bike’; the fairing is also set low, to give the rider the control and stability for which Honda sports bikes have long been famed.
LCD instruments feature a Gear Position and Shift Up indicator; this is set to a default 8,750 RPM but can be adjusted in 250rpm increments between 5-8,750 RPM.
The 35mm diameter steel diamond-tube mainframe is both 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 in. (1410mm) and rake and trail are set at 25.5°/ 4.0 in. (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 on the CBR500R ABS (measured with fluids) 423 lbs (192kg). With a low seat height of 30.9 inches (785mm), the CBR500R is very easy to manage, and its riding position comfortably accommodates riders of any height.
Overall dimensions are 81.9 in. x 29.7 in. x 45.1 in. (2080mm x 750mm x 1145mm), with 5.1 inches of ground clearance (130mm). The fuel tank holds 4.5 gal., including reserve and combined with the engine’s excellent fuel economy gives a range of over 260 miles (480km).
The 41mm telescopic front fork, with 4.3 inches of travel, delivers a compliant yet controlled ride and gives great feel for front tire grip. The single-tube rear shock absorber (as found on larger capacity sports bikes) with its large-diameter piston ensures excellent suspension response and temperature management with 4.7 inches of travel. It has 5-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 sealed 520 chain.
Lightweight, 17-inch cast aluminum 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 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 available as an option for the USA but in some countries around the world, ABS comes standard.
The CBR500R will be available in the following color options:
- Matte Gray Metallic (USA)
- Pearl White (USA)
- Grand Prix Red
3.2 | 2021 CBR500R Engine
- Lively twin cylinder power plant’s internal architecture mirrors that of the 2018+ CBR1000RR
- Assist/Slipper clutch eases upshifts and manages downshifts
- Usable power and torque across the range
- Sporty sound from the dual-exit muffler
- Homologated for EURO5
The CBR500R’s, 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 peppy top end. The CBR500R is still A2 license friendly.
Already strong off the bottom, the 2019 engine upgrades 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.
- 2021 CBR500R Performance Numbers:
- CBR500R HP – 49.6 HP @ 8,500 RPM
- CBR500R TQ – 31.7 ft/lb TQ @ 7,000 RPM
- CBR500R kW – 35kW @ 8,500 RPM
- CBR500R Nm – 43Nm @ 7,000 RPM
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 (1.7 inches versus 0.5 inches) to allow greater airflow. The exhaust muffler features dual exit pipes, giving a sporty sounding edge to each pulse. Peak horsepower arrives at 8,500 RPM (35kW), with maximum torque delivered at 7,000 RPM (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 2018+ 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 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 2018+ 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.
The CBR500R’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 the last redesign for 2019, an Assist/Slipper clutch enables lighter upshifts and smooths out any hard downshifts.
The CBR500R, 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. | 2021 CBR500R Accessories
A range of Genuine Honda Accessories are available for the CBR500R. They include:
- 35L top box
- Rear carrier
- Tank bag
- Seat bag
- Tall screen
- Heated grips
- 12V Socket
- Seat Cowl
- Wheel Stripes
- Tank Pad
5. | 2021 CBR500R Pictures / Photo Gallery
6. | 2021 CBR500R Technical Specifications
|Type||471cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin four-stroke|
|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||O-ring-sealed chain; 15T/41T|
|Front||41mm telescopic fork; 4.3 in. travel|
|Rear||Pro-Link® single shock w/ nine-position spring preload adjustability; 4.7 in. travel|
|Single two-piston caliper w/ 320mm petal-
style disc; ABS
|Single one-piston caliper w/ 240mm petal-
style disc; ABS
|Rake (Caster Angle)||25.5º|
|Trail||102mm (4.0 in.)|
|Ground Clearance||5.1 in.|
|Seat Height||30.9 in.|
|Fuel Capacity||4.5 gal.|
|Color||Grand Prix Red, Matte Gray Metallic, Pearl White|
|Curb Weight*||423 lbs.|
* Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride Meets current EPA standards. Models sold in California meet current CARB standards and may differ slightly due to emissions equipment Specifications subject to change.