It’s raining adventure tourers in 2021, and the latest one to join the lineup from Honda is the CB500X. Compared to the rest of big-bulky adventure touring motorcycles, the 500X is slim, accessible and yet still quite capable. In many ways, like the “X” in the name would suggest the CB500X takes the crossover philosophy and applies it on two wheels. In theory there’s no denying that sounds almost perfect for the 500cc entry level space where most riders are just graduating to their first adventure tourers, and testing the limits of their own off-road capabilities. Keep in mind, this is no sports tourer, it’s got a proper staggered wheel setup, long travel suspension and top of the line Dunlop Trailmax knobbies, so making this formula work is a pretty tall-order.
First though, let’s talk a little bit about the way it looks. In the flesh, those familiar with Honda’s global product line up will easily be able to identify the X’s similarities with the 500F roadster, especially when you’re zeroed in on the headlamps, but that’s where the similarities end. Where the headlamps end the X gets a tiny beak that sets the tone for its adventure touring credentials. The LED headlamps are nestled in a proper adv-style fairing that deflects the wind and hot air from the motor away from the rider. Overall, Honda has taken the minimalist approach instead of the usual flair and it has paid dividends in function on the 500X. The Honda 500X may not have the flair, but it makes it up in accessibility and function.
When you look closer you see the intelligence in Honda’s approach to the design. To start with, the wheel setup, 19-inch wheels up front and 17inch at the rear. While they are alloy wheels, as opposed to spoke, they are wrapped in very offroad friendly Dunlop Trailmax tyres. You have long travel suspension on both ends with 41mm telescopic shocks upfront and an 8-step adjustable rear-monoshock. The fuel tank despite its slim proportions holds 17 and a half litres of fuel, meaning that you can easily do 400km between fuel ups and that is undoubtedly impressive.
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