Test-ride: 2016 Honda CB500X ABS

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Lightly refreshed 2016 Honda CB500X ABS stands to offer you the best bang for your buck.

  • 471cc parallel-twin

  • 49.6hp / 44Nm

  • 196kg (kerb)

  • Improved for 2016

  • Perfect for touring and commuting

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In the local market, choices for middleweight twin-cylinder starter bikes beyond the 250cc and 300cc range are seemingly vast, especially for avid newbies with fresh B-full licenses. One example of such is this, the 2016 Honda CB500X ABS.

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Part of the face-lifted 2016 Honda CB500 series, the CB500X is the adventure-styled dual-sport option that’s offered alongside a sport and naked version. Though changes are somewhat minimal, the 2016 Honda CB500X ABS proved itself rather well during its weeklong stint in our hands.

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For starters, we quite like the refreshed 2016 model’s new face. Not only sharpened, there’s also a new full-LED headlights plus a large and new windscreen to boot. Compared to the older model, other changes all-round are barely noticeable so to speak, but they’re all welcoming nonetheless.

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Things felt just as good as it looks once we got the CB500X going. Thumb the electric start button and the liquid-cooled 471cc parallel-twin easily comes to life with just one crank. The stock silencer exhaust note somewhat embarrassing, but the mill makes up for this by being a smooth operator.

Typical of most parallel-twins, peak power of 49.6hp comes higher up in the rev band, but peak torque of 44Nm comes slightly lower, offering lots of pull from 4,000rpm onwards.

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A six-speed transmission and traditional chain drive setup sends it all to the rear wheel, with both the clutch and shift lever actions feeling very light and precise – a delight to both newbies and perhaps ladies too.

Though the figures seem low on paper, there’s actually sufficient power and torque to bring this bike’s claimed 196kg kerb weight up to speeds rapidly. More importantly, the mill proved to be a very frugal one too as we managed an excellent average of 4 litres/100km by the end of our testing stint.

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Again, newbies, ladies and veterans alike will appreciate the CB500X ABS’ low weight figure and near-perfect weight balance. This made this refreshed 2016 Honda CB500X ABS not only agile, but also very easy to manage, especially when commuting through the urban traffic condition.

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Adding to the low-stress environment here are the excellent ergonomics and the seemingly low 807mm seat height. All the controls are exactly where you’d expect them to be whilst the thickly padded and sufficiently wide seat makes long stints through an urban commute or long-distance tour ride a cinch.

Speaking of the latter, the large new windscreen makes life at speeds a lot easier too as it by offers improved wind protection than the outgoing model’s small-sized screen. Adding to this is the re-profiled front fairing’s lower air dams that channels air away from your legs.

Having ridden the CB500X through some twisties when we followed the Indian Motorcycles and Victory Motorcycles owners through Johore recently, this lightweight bike’s ride and handling felt as excellent anyone would expect.

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The high-travel suspension, with slightly revised hardware in this 2016 model, plus the aforementioned standard bike ergonomics, are what made the CB500X a sound choice compared to its sport-bodied CBR500R and naked CB500F siblings.

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What needs mentioning here too are the excellent grip levels offered by the new standard-equipped Dunlop tyres, along with the bike’s anchors as well. Don’t let the single-disc brake setup front and aft fool you; they actually provide all the stopping power that this lightweight dual-sport actually needs.

Though some argue that the standard CB500X sans ABS is a noticeably lighter bike to manage, this presence of ABS means that you’ll have added control during emergencies. Furthermore, this updated 2016 model now boasts a new five-level adjustable front brake lever as well, so you could set it up to you desired level for even greater control too.

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Overall, the array of light updates all-round have made the CB500X a slightly but noticeably better bike to ride than the pre-facelift model it replaces. Our only remaining gripe here is the continued absence of a gear indicator in the otherwise neat and easy-to-read digital instrument display.

We reckon that the rich local aftermarket motorcycle accessories market will remedy that. And whilst you’re at it, we highly recommend getting either a top-box or side panniers for added practicality as Honda have designed the CB500X to have either of which.

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Light, nimble and relatively straightforward, the 2016 Honda CB500X ABS will sate any and all demands that this type of bikes typically get subjected to. In fact, if you‘ve just got your B-full license and didn’t want either the Kawasaki ER-6 series or Yamaha MT-07, then this Honda deserves a serious look.

Presently, distributors Boon Siew Honda Sdn Bhd are retailing the face-lifted 2016 Honda CB500X ABS onwards from RM35,391.28 (basic with GST). Said figure also includes its standard offer of a two-year or 20,000km warranty plan.

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We’ll agree that in this sub-RM40,000 starter bike segment, the larger and slightly more powerful Kawasaki ER-6 series or even the Yamaha MT-07 does look more tempting. However we reckon that the CB500X’s offer in comfort, frugality and versatility would be enough to sway many into its favour.

2016 Honda CB500X ABS

ENGINE Liquid-cooled 471cc

parallel-twin with

electronic fuel injection

TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual with

wet multi-plate clutch

and chain drive

POWER 49.6hp @ 8,500rpm
TORQUE 44Nm @ 7,000rpm
SUSPENSION Front:

41mm telescopic forks

140mm travel

 

Rear:

Prolink single shock with

pre-load adjustability

120mm travel

BRAKES Front:

320mm disc with

dual-piston caliper

 

Rear:

240mm wavy disc with

single-piston caliper

 

ABS

WHEELS & TYRES Front:

120/70 R17

 

Rear:

160/60 R17

SEAT HEIGHT 807mm
FUEL TANK 17.5 litres
WEIGHT 196kg (kerb)
PRICE RM35,391.28 (basic with GST)
FROM Boon Siew Honda Sdn Bhd

http://boonsiewhonda.com.my