When Honda brought the CBR250R stateside in 2011, the single-cylinder motorcycle immediately caused a stir in the entry-level sportbike scene.
Until the arrival of the CBR250R, Kawasaki was the clear leader of this segment, considering its Ninja 250, available since 1986, was the only entry-level sportbike available stateside. But Honda brought pressure, and Kawasaki had to react. And this happened with the unveiling of the Kawasaki Ninja 300 in early September.
Now another war may be brewing. Ahead of the EICMA in Milan, Honda has unveiled another motorcycle that will cause a stir in the entry-level sportbike scene – the CBR500R. Honda says the bike is for those riders that are moving up from the CBR250R as well as “more experienced riders who will appreciate the CBR500R’s light and nimble handling.”
But it’s clear that Honda is also filling a void left by the discontinuation of the Ninja 500 (1987-2009). And it will be tough for others to fight back, considering the technology offered on the Honda CBR500R, and it’s sub-$6,000 price tag (without ABS).
The 2013 Honda CBR500 R is powered by an all-new, liquid-cooled, 500cc parallel-twin DOHC engine that features Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) and a counterbalancer. The engine, which is hooked to a six-speed transmission, will also be used to power two other new 2013 models – the standard CB500F and the adventure CB500X.
The bike features a steel-tube frame, with a 41mm front fork and a Pro-Link single shock with nine-position spring preload adjustability out back. Stopping the 2013 CBR 500 R, which rolls on 17-inch rims, is a single 320mm disc squeezed by a twin-piston caliper up front, and a single 240mm disc out back squeezed by a single-piston caliper.
The bike is also available with ABS, which only adds four pounds to the standard’s weight of 425 lbs.
Taking styling cues from the CBR600RR and the CBR1000RR, the CBR500R features a full fairing design, the bodywork providing “significant advantages in air management for added rider comfort, along with a low drag coefficient and effective engine cooling.”
Honda says the CBR500R will be available in April 2013. Following are the highlights, specs, color options and MSRP for the 2013 Honda CBR500R.
2013 Honda CBR 500 R Highlights:
- Sportbike riding position keeps the rider balanced in a dynamic seating stance that’s comfortable and efficient.
- All-new 500cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin DOHC engine is thoroughly modern in design and produces a broad power spread for enjoyable and economical riding.
- Four-valve cylinder head design uses lightweight rocker-arm valve actuation with shim-type valve adjustment.
- Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) continuously monitors several variables to ensure the correct fuel mixture is delivered for the existing riding and atmospheric conditions for crisp throttle response throughout a wide variety of riding conditions.
- Engine counterbalancer and 180-degree crankpin reduce engine vibration for superior rider comfort.
- Preloaded, scissors-type gears for the primary drive and engine counterbalancer gears help reduce engine noise.
- Diamond-shaped 35mm steel tube frame is lightweight and rigid for responsive sport handling.
- Stout 41mm front fork with 4.3 inches of travel returns a plush yet controlled ride.
- Sophisticated Pro-Link single-shock rear suspension offers nine-stage spring preload adjustability and 4.7 inches of controlled travel.
- Lightweight cast aluminum wheels, 120/70-17 in front and 160/60-17 rear, return sporting feel and handling traits.
- Front 320mm wave-style disc brake and 240mm rear provide strong stopping power.
- ABS version available for enhanced braking characteristics in less than ideal conditions.
- Instrument display features speedometer, tachometer, odometer/A&B tripmeters, fuel gauge, clock, mpg, average fuel consumption, and current fuel consumption.
- Modest 30.9-inch seat height helps build rider confidence.
- Honda Genuine Accessories: Sport Screen, Color-Matched Passenger Seat Cowl, Carbon Fiber-Look Front Fender, Carbon Fiber-Look Lower Headlight Cover, Carbon Fiber-Look Rear Tire Hugger, Carbon Fiber-Look Tank Pad
2013 Honda CBR500R / CBR500RA (ABS) Specs:
- Engine Type: 500cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin
- Bore and Stroke: 67.0mm x 66.8mm
- Compression ratio: 10.7:1
- Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder
- Induction: PGM-FI with 34mm throttle bodies
- Ignition: Computer-controlled digital transistorized with electronic advance
- Transmission: Six-speed
- Final Drive: O-ring-sealed chain
- Front Suspension: 41mm fork; 4.3 inches travel
- Rear Suspension: Pro-Link single shock with nine-position spring preload adjustability; 4.7 inches travel
- Front Brakes: Twin-piston caliper with single 320mm wave disc
- Rear Brakes: Single-caliper 240mm wave disc
- Optional Honda ABS
- Tires: Front: 120/70-17; Rear: 160/60-17
- Wheelbase: 55.5 inches
- Rake (Caster Angle): 25° 5′
- Trail: 103mm (4.05 inches)
- Seat Height: 30.9 inches
- Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gallons including 0.7-gallon reserve
- Estimated Fuel Economy: TBD
- Curb Weight: 425 pounds (CBR500R) / 429 pounds (CBR500RA)
2013 Honda CBR 500 R Color Options / MSRP:
- Black / $5,999
- Pearl White/Blue/Red / $5,999
- Red (ABS model available in Red only) / $5,999 / $6,499 ABS