Author Topic: CB500X model history (2013 to date)  (Read 1154 times)

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Online JMo

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CB500X model history (2013 to date)
on: April 04, 2019, 07:54:42 PM
As part of updating the Rally-Raid Products vendor section, I've put together this brief history of the model year changes, and feel it would also help the general readership when deciding which CB500X to buy:

Honda CB500X model history and summary of key changes from 2013 introduction to date:

With the introduction of some key and fundamental changes for the 2019 model year, we have taken this opportunity to look back at the evolution of the Honda CB500X over the years, and list the various manufacturer specification changes over the history of the model.

The CB500X model was first introduced to the world-wide market in 2013, and shared the platform and many key components with sister models: the CBR500R (faired ‘sports’ model) and CB500F (naked street bike). Fundamentally it shares the same frame, swing-arm, forks (although the X model fork internals do offer 15mm more travel) and 17 front and rear cast aluminium wheels; with essentially only bodywork changes differentiating the three model range.

In comparison to the F and R models, the X was ‘Adventure’ styled - a more upright seating position, windshield, larger fuel tank and one-piece dual seat - and arguably the most versatile of the three for multi-purpose and general riding, although the 17” front wheel and relative lack of ground clearance does limit it’s more serious off-road ability as standard.

The 2013-15 model years remained unchanged other than various colours available in different world markets. In primarily North America the CB range was available in a [slightly cheaper] non-ABS version, but generally speaking the CB500X comes with ABS brakes as standard, and which work very well both on and off road.

2016 saw the first series of updates to the X model - primarily cosmetic including a more contemporary front-end restyle which also featured a taller windshield as standard, alongside the introduction of LED head and tail lights. Other specification changes included an adjustable front brake lever, adjustable fork preload caps and a flip-up fuel filler cap. There were also minor revisions to the fork springs and gearbox action.

The following year - 2017 - also saw the introduction of a more contemporary styled exhaust silencer and reshaped footrest hangers (now matching the F and R models which had seen those updates the year before) - although it should be noted that the foot-pegs themselves remain in the same location relative to the seat for all model years - and continue to do so on the new 2019 model.

The 2017 and 2018 model years remain the same specification, other than colours for different markets.

19” for 2019

The new 2019 model sees the first real fundamental change for the CB500X, and a move away from it’s R and F model siblings - with the introduction of a 19” front wheel on the X, together with longer travel suspension (150mm/6”) both front and rear. This immediately gives the standard CB500X a far more all-terrain worthy specification, although it should be noted that the CB range as a whole is still intended to be Honda’s entry-level/budget range of mid-size motorcycles.

The 2019 model also features another styling update to the front and fairing side-panels of the bodywork, together with a more comprehensive [multicoloured] dash display, and tapered ‘fat-bar’ handlebars as standard; and together with the introduction of a slipper clutch and the 19" front end, the general feel when onboard the new machine is that of a much more mature and genuine alternative to the larger twin-cylinder ADV bikes on the market.

The #1 FAQ.

Ever since the announcement towards the end of 2018 that the new version of the X would feature a 19” front wheel as standard, the #1 FAQ has been will it fit on the earlier versions of the CB500X - in the same way as Rally-Raid Products were able to reengineer the front end and raise the suspension to accommodate their 17/19” spoked wheels…

And the answer simply, is no - not without a series of fundamental component changes (those which Honda themselves incorporated) which would entail spending a lot of money on brand new parts from Honda, which really precludes a ‘retrofittable’ conversion from a financial perspective.

for info. The new parts from Honda would have to include new top and bottom triple clamps (and associated risers), new fork leg lowers, new axle and spacers, new abs ring, new 310mm front brake disc, new 19” front wheel, new 19” fender - never mind that the dramatic difference in front ABS sensor ring (now much smaller) would suggest there has also been some reprogramming of the ABS ECU too. note. You would also have to consider that a 19” front wheel would lift the front of the bike at least 1” higher than it was before, so you’d really need to raise the rear of the bike a similar amount to keep the rake and trail figures similar, and in the case of the 2019 model parts - this includes a completely new shock, linkage and swing-arm. Once the bike was raised, you’d also need to consider a longer side-stand too.

Hopefully this helps to illustrate why the Rally-Raid LEVEL 2 kit (which gives 170mm travel front and rear, plus 17/19” spoked wheels) is so comprehensive, and indeed we are flattered that Honda have now seen the same potential in this bike as we did back in 2014.

It’s worth explaining that the key difference between the existing Rally-Raid kit and the new 2019 OEM specification (other than the extra 20mm travel the RR LEVEL 2 kit provides) is that Honda achieved their geometry revisions by increasing the fork off-set (essentially lengthening the wheelbase by 1”) in combination with reshaped top triple clamp so that the larger front wheel will fit and not hit the radiator on full compression - while the RR kit retains the original fork lower triple-clamp and off-set [primarily as a conversion cost consideration], and instead uses a deeper stepped triple clamp to achieve the same clearance.

However, while the RR kit does ultimately still offer another 20mm more travel (and suspension adjustment) than the 2019 model revisions, it does have a correspondingly higher seat (860mm overall); so Honda should be applauded for the way they have been able to incorporate a 19” front wheel while only raising the seat height by 20mm (to 830mm), albeit with less travel of course.

For more information about the latest Rally-Raid introductions, do visit the dedicated thread in their Vendor section. In the meantime, if you have any more general questions, I'll do my best to answer then here too.

Jenny x
Last Edit: April 04, 2019, 07:56:40 PM by JMo
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