The entry-level performance motorcycling segment in India has been on the boil for quite some time now. The beginning of this decade saw the Honda CBR 250R ruling this sphere but later on, the competition caught up and the good old CBR 250R started feeling dated. Honda then discontinued the quarter-litre machine and introduced the CB300R ‘Neo-retro’ naked. There have been speculations that Honda India might bring in their 500cc bikes in India to reinforce their presence in the performance biking space. They currently have four 500cc motorcycles which share the same engine and platform and cater to a different set of riders. Here’s a detailed look at 2 of them:
It is basically a streetfighter version of the CBR500R. The CB500F’s main focus is to be tractable, peppy and comfortable. In order to achieve the same, Honda has eliminated the fairing and have tweaked the riding ergonomics a little while the engine remains the same and delivers the same amount of power and torque as the CBR500R. It gets wide handlebars instead of clip-ons like the CBR500R and the footpegs too, are more forward set as compared to the CBR500R. It derives power from 471cc, liquid-cooled, 4V, DOHC, parallel-twin motor.
The twin-cylinder streetfighter makes 47 hp @ 8600 rpm and 43 nm of torque @ 6500 rpm. It might not sound like a lot on paper considering the engine configuration and the fact that KTM’s 373.2 cc single makes around 43 hp but the CB500F is known to deliver power in a linear and smooth manner. Compared to the previous iteration, the motor has been tweaked to make 4% more power and torque between 3000 to 7000rpm, thanks to revisions to the inlet, exhaust and valve timing. It features a 17.1-litre fuel tank.
The CB500F uses a 41mm preload-adjustable telescopic fork and a monoshock with 5 steps of preload adjustability. Bringing the bike to a dead stop is a single 320mm front disc and a 240mm rear disc paired with dual-channel ABS. Its 17-inch cast aluminium wheels come shod in 120/70-section front and 160/60-section rear tyres. The bike tips the scale at 189kg kerb.
The CB500X is an adventure tourer and retains the same 471cc, liquid-cooled, 4V, DOHC, parallel-twin motor. The engine’s characteristics match this motorcycle in a perfect manner. It comes with a taller seat height at 830mm which grants the rider a commanding riding position. To suit the character, the suspension gets more travel as compared to the rest of the motorcycles in this list. To provide optimum wind resistance, it also gets a half fairing and a windscreen. The CB500X shouldn’t be considered as a hard-core off-roader but with its 19-inch front wheel, it could take some beating off the road.
This compact ADV takes its design cues from the Africa Twin and features long-travel suspension. The road-biased tourer will take on the likes of the Benelli TRK 502. The affordable ADV-tourer segment in India has been on the rise and has seen quite a few new entrants.
Expect Honda to bring the bikes to India via the CKD route for the initial phase. However, it may even go to the extent of localising the bike in the future to keep costs in check. If they manage to price these motorcycles aggressively, it will prove to be an all-out attack from the Japanese giant while these motorcycles serving as the perfect ammunition.