Now With More Power In The Mid-Range, Right Where You Need It

Honda spruced up its CBR500R ahead of MY2018, and in an unusual move, buffed it up yet again for MY2019. The new model dips further into race-tastic territory with aerodynamics and ergonomics as the main front-burner considerations for an effort far beyond the BNL treatment, and the factory also tweaked the drivetrain to give it a bit more go to match the sporty new show.

  • 2019 Honda CBR500R
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Parallel-Twin
  • Displacement:
    471 cc
  • Top Speed:
    116 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    6699
  • Price:

2019 Honda CBR500R Design

2019 Honda CBR500R
- image 822193
Overall, the new look is quite a bit edgier and angular than the previous gen with an angry-looking brow giving it a mean mug that seems to say “serious business.”

The CBR500R makes a good upgrade-bike for riders who have already cut their teeth on a lower-displacement machine and are ready for a ride with a bit more bite to it. Lean as a snake, the CBR500R brings a skinny-muscular blend to the table that starts out with narrower upper- and side-fairings to go with a skinnier seating area. In contrast, the lower fairings are extended even further, and they meet up with the chin spoiler with new vents in both to help integrate the waste air with the slipstream while they keep drag-inducing turbulence low.

Overall, the new look is quite a bit edgier and angular than the previous gen, and if it were just about looks, that wouldn’t be very noteworthy, but because it all plays into improved aerodynamics (read: speed/quickness), I consider it to be a critical component to be considered. The visage presents the recessed LED headlights to the world with an angry-looking brow giving it a mean mug that seems to say “serious business.”

It looks like the CBR500R leads the way with the same vented front fender as last year, but the bubble screen, mirrors and turn signals were tuned up to improve penetration. LED turn signals finish off the forward lighting to displace the last of the incandescent lights making this an all-LED machine. The new ergonomics are largely due to the clip-on bars that cant the pilot even further — 8 degrees to be precise — into the pocket over the 4.5-gallon fuel tank, so yeah, this bike won’t necessarily make a very comfortable commuter; if that’s what you’re looking for I would direct your attention to the CB lineup.

Behind the screen is the all-in-one instrument panel that uses color-LCD technology to deliver the critical metrics with a digital clock for the tachometer and a numeral readout for speed. Fuel level and average fuel-economy rating join an engine-temp indicator, and this year, you can rely on a gear indicator and shift prompt that help keep you in the usable powerband. Ya know, just in case you haven’t developed that skillset just yet. The shifter idiot-light comes set at 8,750 from the factory, but you can dial it in anywhere you like between five grand and the redline.

A narrow waist brings tank, saddle and body together with very little bulk to bite into your thighs when you’re waddling around the parking lot or throwing some body English in the corners. The rise to the p-pad forms a nice butt-stop for the pilot with polished-aluminum, fold-up footpegs for the passenger that are mounted to the subframe for comfort, because let’s face it, swingarm-mount footpegs suck, and there ain’t no way around that.

A pointy tail terminates the bodywork with a molded-in, LED taillight and standoff-style blinkers on the mudguard/plateholder to finish off the rearward lighting.

2019 Honda CBR500R Chassis

2019 Honda CBR500R
- image 822190
The CBR500R is eager in the corners, and the factory took steps to centralize and lower the center of mass to improve its flickability and reversal speeds.

Honda saved some R&D resources where the frame was concerned, because it carried the diamond-tube frame directly over from last year. It rocks welded, 35 mm steel tubes for strength, but don’t let that worry your nerves. The CBR500R has a curb-weight of 419 pounds, plus four pounds if you go for the ABS-equipped variant, so the steel bones don’t necessarily tip the scale all that much.

The steering head rides at a fairly standard 25.5 degrees with an even four inches of trail to make the CBR500R eager in the corners, and the factory took steps to centralize and lower the center of mass to improve its flickability and reversal speeds. Additionally, the seat rides at a relatively low 30.9 inches off the ground, and that provides good leverage for keeping it dirty-side down while you Fred Flintstone it around the parking lot.

The wheelbase measures out at 55.5-inches long between the cast, 17-inch wheels with a 120/70 up front with a 160/60 out back, and they come with hollow, Y-shaped spokes to keep the unsprung weight down at the axles. Brake duties fall to the single, twin-piston caliper that bites the 320 mm front disc and the single-pot caliper and 240 mm rear disc, and in the U.S. market, you get a choice between an ABS and non-ABS model.

The suspension is pretty vanilla; the 41 mm front forks come with fixed damping values, and the rear has only the obligatory spring preload feature with nothing else in the way of ride-quality adjustment.

Front Suspension: 41 mm fork; 4.3 inches travel
Rear Suspension: Pro-Link® single shock with nine-position spring preload adjustability; 4.7 inches travel
Rake: 25.5 degrees
Trail: 4.0 inches (102 mm)
Front Brake: Twin-piston caliper with single 320 mm disc (ABS model w/ ABS)
Rear Brake: Single-caliper 240 mm disc (ABS model w/ ABS)
Front Tire: 120/70R-17
Rear Tire: 160/60-17

2019 Honda CBR500R Drivetrain

2019 Honda CBR500R
- image 822191
Honda's engineers borrowed from the CBR1000RR program for the innards of the powerplant to give the CBR500R's engine more mid-range torque for quicker acceleration.

Honda’s engineers borrowed from the CBR1000RR program for the innards of the powerplant. They tweaked valve-timing and lift to deepen the torque well and give the CBR500R’s engine more mid-range torque to the tune of four percent for quicker acceleration. The grunt levels off at 7,000 rpm with 31.7 pound-feet on tap, and the horsepower is similarly beefed up down low to max out at 49.6 ponies at 8,500 rpm. It’s a parallel-twin mill nearly square in its layout with a 67 mm bore and 66.8 mm stroke that give it a total displacement of 471 cc and a 10.7-to-1 compression ratio. Dual over-head cams time the 8-valve head, and a water jacket and radiator deal with the waste heat.

A pair of 34 mm throttle bodies are fed by an almost straight-shot intake tract designed to minimize resistance to the benefit of the engine’s volumetric efficiency. There’s a crank counterweight to take the edge off the vibrations from the 180-degree firing offset and prevent your bottom and hamburger shovels from getting numb. The pistons are built to reduced skirt-slap with a texture that holds oil for reduced piston-to-cylinder friction and wear, and the bottom end has a deep sump for better oil control in the corners with generous vents to reduce pumping losses.

A new-for-2019 slipper clutch ahead of the six-speed transmission provides a lighter pull at the lever with some backtorque mitigation that protects the rear contact patch during hard engine-braking. However, that and the ABS are the only traction insurance you get as the CBR500R come with nothing in the way of electronic fandanglery such as traction control, power modes et cetera. The U.S. release date is in March of 2019, but it looks like the top speed is going to clock in around 116 mph, plenty fast for public roads.

Engine: 471 cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin
Bore x Stroke: 67.0 mm x 66.8 mm
Induction: PGM-FI with 34 mm throttle bodies
Ignition: Full transistorized
Compression Ratio: 10.7:1
Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder
Transmission: Six-speed
Final Drive: O-ring-sealed chain; 15T/41T

2019 Honda CBR500R Pricing

2019 Honda CBR500R
- image 822182
MSRP is just a bill over 2018, which isn't bad considering the improvements.

The 2019 CBR500R base model rolls in Grand Prix Red or Matte Gray Metallic for $6,699. If you want ABS protection, you can expect to tack another three Benjamins onto that total. This marks a $100 increase over last year’s model.

Model ID: CBR500R (ABS model: CBR500RA)
Warranty: One Year Transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty (optional extended coverage available with a HondaCare Protection Plan®
Colors: Grand Prix Red, Matte Gray Metallic
Price: $6,699 (ABS model: $6,999)

2019 Honda CBR500R Competitors

2017 - 2019 Yamaha YZF-R6
- image 750518
2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R600
- image 773710
2019 Honda CBR500R
- image 822194
2017 - 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 650
- image 741074
Since the Ninja 400 claims 28 pound-feet of torque, it may actually make for a better competitor than a cursory glance would indicate.

Honda kind of has the 500-ish cc sector sewed up with its CBR500R, evidenced by the fact that I couldn’t find an absolute apple to compare it against. Looking the the Japanese Big Four, Yamaha’s YZF-R6 measures in with a 599 cc, four-bore mill and a $12,199 price tag that puts it far beyond the Honda’s MSRP. Suzuki’s long-running Gixxer family gives us the GSX-R600, but that, too, packs in an insurmountable 599 cc plant with a sticker that breaks the $11k mark at $11,399. If you’re looking for something around 7 K, the aforementioned are probably way above your budget.

Kawasaki brackets the 500 cc mark with its Ninja 400 and Ninja 650. The 650 is obviously far too large, powerful and pricey to be a suitable competitor, and its Ninja 400 falls short at 399 cc even if the $4,999 sticker ($5,299 for the ABS model) is more palatable. The trade off, of course, lies in the power, but since the Ninja 400 claims 28 pound-feet of torque, it may actually make for a better competitor than a cursory glance would indicate.

He Said

“I’m not all that impressed by the CBR500R unto itself. Sure, it’s strong/fast enough for interstate work, but as a commuter, it’s just not that suitable. However, if I look at it through the lens of a race trainer, suddenly the “500” becomes much more attractive. It’s fast enough to give a good feel for acceleration and handling, and the factory refrained from chucking on a bunch of electronics, so it’s actually a fairly raw ride with honest feedback, just what you want for a second, or even first, rung on your climb up to the “RR” family of machines.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Last year’s model was nice. It was a fun ride, very smooth, and linear power, and it’s probably the most comfortable of the CBR line. This update brings the CBR500R performance more in line with what you’d expect from a bike wearing the CBR label. It’s still not a 650 or a 1000, but not everyone wants one of those and not everyone is working their way up the ladder to get one of those. I think this could be a good commuter as long as you tuck in on the highway so the wind doesn’t beat you down, and this would filter like a champ.”

2019 Honda CBR500R Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 471 cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin
Bore x Stroke: 67.0 mm x 66.8 mm
Induction: PGM-FI with 34 mm throttle bodies
Ignition: Full transistorized
Compression Ratio: 10.7:1
Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder
Transmission: Six-speed
Final Drive: O-ring-sealed chain; 15T/41T
Chassis:
Front Suspension: 41mm fork; 4.3 inches travel
Rear Suspension: Pro-Link® single shock with nine-position spring preload adjustability; 4.7 inches travel
Rake: 25.5 degrees
Trail: 4.0 inches (102 mm)
Front Brake: Twin-piston caliper with single 320 mm disc (ABS model w/ ABS)
Rear Brake: Single-caliper 240 mm disc (ABS model w/ ABS)
Front Tire: 120/70R-17
Rear Tire: 160/60-17
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 55.5 inches
Seat Height: 30.9 inches
Curb Weight: 419 pounds (ABS model: 423 pounds)
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Top Speed: 116 mph (est)
Details:
Model ID: CBR500R (ABS model: CBR500RA)
Warranty:: One Year Transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty (optional extended coverage available with a HondaCare Protection Plan®
Available Colors: Grand Prix Red, Matte Gray Metallic
Price: $6,699 (ABS model: $6,999)

Further Reading

Yamaha YZF-R6

2017 - 2019 Yamaha YZF-R6
- image 716669

See our review of the Yamaha YZF-R6.

Suzuki GSX-R600

2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R600
- image 773699

See our review of the Suzuki GSX-R600.

Kawasaki Ninja 400

2018 - 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 400
- image 767088

See our review of the Kawasaki Ninja 400.

Kawasaki Ninja 650

2017 - 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 650
- image 741071

See our review of the Kawasaki Ninja 650.

Honda CBR650R

2019 Honda CBR650R
- image 814066

See our review of the Honda CBR650R.

Honda CBR1000RR

2017 - 2019 Honda CBR1000RR
- image 774576

See our review of the Honda CBR1000RR.

Honda

ALLYN IMAGES - DO NOT DELETE
- image 794666

Read more Honda news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: honda.com, kawasaki.com, suzukicycles.com, yamaha-motor.com

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