Perhaps I’m a bi-biker; my procrastination so far in my moto-life is whether I’m an urban chickadee or wannabe MotoGP racer. When I laid eyes on the 2019 Honda CB500F ABS, it was definitely the racy blood that reared its head. Anyway, as long as we’re on two wheels, then we’re on the inside of that club and have found the key to The Good Life.When I first saw the Honda CB500F, it struck me as a stallion. It has an eager stance with pricked-up ears, angular lines, brushed gold engine casings, and a standout red tank. The naked face of the 2019 Honda CB500F is attractive and practical. From the front, thanks to the headlight nacelle, I was reminded of the face of the Predator.
This style of motorcycle can be intimidating. However, once I got my leg over, I found I was housed in a nice position. I was leaning forward naturally, yet not thrown into a fully committed race-position. The tank sits well. I find some sportbikes push into my gut and encroach upon my space—the CB500F doesn’t do that. The mirrors, as usual with Honda, give a clear view.The seat is comfortable with plenty of room behind me for extra butt, if this COVID climate has you on that bandwagon. The pillion seat is higher up and is actually a seat, not just a little pad, furnished with a nice loose-fitting grab-strap at the front for easy reach. The rear seat is easily lifted off to reveal a little store-space, which takes a small bottle of water and gives access to fuses and a tool pouch.The oblong dash is situated in just the right spot for instant information. It happily includes a rev counter, while displaying my selected gear in the middle of a circle. Additionally, there is a well-defined fuel level, odometer, and trip meter for my viewing pleasure. Below this, nestled amongst the handlebar, cables, and wires is a pop of color. Aesthetically pleasing spanky blue caps on top of the fork sliders—I liked this racy touch.This Moto is well proportioned and balanced like a beaut. For me—5’6” with a 29-inch inseam—when I’m only on my toes, it puts confidence questions in my head. However, because the Honda CB500F is not top-heavy and is so harmoniously balanced, maneuvering at slow speed in gas stations and parking lots has been a good experience.With a 471cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine, the 2019 Honda CB500F is obligingly responsive. Its power delivery has a positive feel and is not snatchy. I wouldn’t say it has a sense of urgency, but it is aggressive enough and has good acceleration for overtaking on the freeways. However, the power delivery is cordial and does not dishearten new or intermediate riders. Good riding was made great because I was happy to challenge myself into keeping up with my friends in the twisties—and on the straightaways.Speaking of that, I was riding on a straight road—zero traffic, no junctions. Off went I from 4th gear shifting affirmatively up into 6th; throttle twisted to the stop and accelerating cheerfully. Focused a little too keenly on my speed and revs, thinking that when I get to the maximum, then I’d melt down on the tank to see if there was any more speed to be had. Flashing red and blue lights rather rudely cut me short just as I spied 99mph on the clock. I had no desire to be picked up by the fuzz, and luckily for me, the radar was not switched on. The warning was heeded. So, the CB500F’s top speed is unproven by me at this time, but I can say it’s more than enough.The gearbox is user-friendly. I could hold on in first gear for some welcome get-up-and-go that kept me with my riding buddies. The powerband is broad, so I didn’t feel the need to rev up to the redline. Neutral can often be like sending out a search party on some bikes, but the CB500F almost slipped into neutral for me, though never unexpectedly. I found the transmission reassuring; minimal movements are required to change gears.The CB500F handling is neutral, heading through curves intuitively. The feel is balanced, making it easy to focus on the road—nothing sloppy happening, Honda CB500F does precisely what I ask of it. The Michelin Road 5 tires worked well without me having to think about them. They are stable right from cold, which makes me confident when accelerating and braking. I did not experience any questionable moments of grip.Honda modestly equipped the CB500F with a 41mm fork and a linkage-assisted shock that has spring preload adjustability—there are no damping adjustments. As is appropriate for a sporting motorcycle, the Honda’s suspension is firm but not hard. It cushions me well over uneven road surfaces, taking the bumps in its stride.The brakes are brilliant. Honda stepped up to CB500F braking duties with aplomb. The front and rear single disc brakes hauled me to a stop really quickly with confidence-inspiring control. Engine braking is instant and smooth. ABS is optional, and I strongly recommend spending the extra $300.The horn wasn’t really horny enough for me—a bit of a whispery peep. My preference is for a louder parp that will make people jump to attention. Having said that, the horn button is larger than usual and positioned a tad high for easy access; in fact, all of the controls are spot on regarding placement.Honda has created the perfect motorcycle for encompassing a wide variety of riding enjoyment, whether learning, improving, or simply enjoying some speed. It’s all combined with a beautiful aesthetic appearance at a good price. Quality performance without demanding constant attention; the 2019 Honda CB500F ABS will no doubt enhance your passion.Photography by Don WilliamsRIDING STYLE
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
My name is Arthur Coldwells.
This week’s Podcast is brought to you by Yamaha motorcycles. Discover how the YZF-R7 provides the perfect balance of rider comfort and true supersport performance by checking it out at YamahaMotorsports.com, or see it for yourself at your local dealer.
This week’s episode features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the beautiful new Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST that is loosely based around the original FXRT Sport Glide from the 1980s. Hailing from The Golden State, these cult-status performance machines became known as West Coast style, with sportier suspension, increased horsepower, and niceties including creature comforts such as a tidy fairing and sporty luggage.
In past episodes you might have heard us mention my best friend, Daniel Schoenewald, and in the second segment I chat with him about some of the really special machines in his 170 or so—and growing—motorcycle collection. He’s always said to me that he doesn’t consider himself the owner, merely the curator of the motorcycles for the next generation.
Yet Daniel is not just a collector, but I can attest a really skilled rider. His bikes are not trailer queens, they’re ridden, and they’re ridden pretty hard. Actually, we have had many, many memorable rides on pretty much all of the machines in the collection at one time or another.
From all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!