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Honda’s entry-level fun machine


A genuine gap exists between a 125cc - or even a 250cc or 300cc - motorcycle and the insanely fast 600cc machines available today. The jump in performance and indeed price is often too much for some, meaning that for many the sportiest bike they will have is something that was cool in high school. Thankfully Honda has realised that there is a gap for a reasonably sporty bike to introduce young riders to superbike-dom.

Enter the fully faired CBR500R, which slots in under the CBR600RR competition machine. The new model is said to offer a particular feel, character and riding position that will appeal to a broad range of riders and will see this bike being used in a number of different applications, from commuting to cruising and even sporty riding.

 The CBR500R is powered by a 471cc DOHC twin-cylinder fuel-injected engine that returns a claimed 3.7 litres/100km. Bore and stroke is set at 67mm x 66.8mm, which is the same as the CBR600RR. The crank counterweight is specifically shaped for couple-balance and its light weight allows the engine to spin freely with reduced inertia. Peak power of 35kW arrives at 8 500rpm with 43.1Nm of torque delivered at 7 000rpm.

 It features a six-speed gearbox like its RR cousins, allowing for a short engine and uses the same gear-change arm structure and link mechanism. The oil capacity is 3.2 litres; a deep sump reduces oil movement under hard cornering and braking. The engine and gearbox have been created to be as accessible as possible while still maintaining a certain level of dynamism.

 It uses a 35mm steel diamond frame, which is said to be light and strong and has been tuned to provide feedback to the rider as the road surface changes. The shape and position of the engine mounts as well as the frame’s rigidity have been carefully balanced to reduce vibration.

The suspension system features 41mm telescopic front forks matched to a Pro-Link rear monoshock set-up. There are also 17-inch cast aluminium wheels with wide 120-section front and 160-section rear radial tyres.

The kerb weight of 194kg with a seat height of 790mm and a fairly high handlebar position mean that it should offer a sporty riding position and can accommodate riders of varying heights.

 In terms of styling, it has been modelled on its bigger brother, the CBR1000RR. The display features a digital speedometer and bar graph tachometer, odometer, dual trip meters, clock, digital fuel level gauge and fuel consumption. The Honda Intelligent Security System is built into the ignition and the headlights feature two 55W H7 Halogen bulbs and multi-reflectors. There is space under the seat to store a U-lock.

 The CBR500R will be competing in a motorsport competition called the European Junior Cup (EJC). The EJC is designed to identify and develop young racing talent from around the world. It features young riders from 14 to 19 years old, based in countries from Europe to Asia as well as the USA and Australia (let’s hope that a local version of this racing series is created to harvest local talent).

 The Honda CBR500R retails for R69 990 is sold with a complimentary rider training through the Honda Academy, one year’s free roadside assistance and 2-year/unlimited warranty.

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