By Anne DT
This is a continuation of our article about the rise of lower-displacement bikes and how the motorcycle manufacturers are fighting over the market for beginner riders. With Honda’s latest release of three middleweight motorcycles Honda says to Kawasaki “I’ll see your Ninja 300 and raise you three versions of Honda 500cc’s.” The battle over new riders in a tight economy continues…
With the lineup of Honda’s three new 500cc models for 2013, the line includes the “modern, sporty and naked” CB500F, the “middleweight” MotoGP-inspired CBR500R, and the affordable “adventure-style” CB500X in an attempt to create a motorcycle for any new rider’s style.
And why wouldn’t riders consider Honda’s new line of 500 cc machines? They look amazing, have incredible mileage and the insurance is just a fraction of what you pay for a 2000cc cruiser. These two alone can sum up to a lot of savings for a new beginner rider over a year. Starting at $5,499 this will attract a lot of new riders to the Honda showrooms in 2013.
Among Honda’s six new models for 2013 are three middleweight motorcycles that are powered by a new fuel-injected 471cc parallel-twin DOHC engine with Pro-Link single-shock rear suspension, and come with a 41mm fork, 17-inch wheels and 320mm front and 240mm rear disc brakes. Honda has come up with three affordable motorcycles that hopefully will help bring new riders to a deflated market and appeal to a younger generation.
The three new 500cc models from Honda share the same 35mm steel tube frame, engine and running gear. This combined with Honda building them in Thailand keep costs low and means that Honda is able to put a price tag on these three new middleweight bikes of under $6,000.
The CBR500R is a middleweight sportsbike aimed at riders moving up from the CBR250R or even for more experienced riders that are looking for a great value alternative to larger sports bikes. The all-new CBR500R is the fully faired version of the three-bike CB500 line. The standard model is available in black, pearl white/blue/red or red with the ABS version available in red only. The standard model will sell for $5999 with the ABS version going for $6499. The CBR500R will hit showroom floors in April.
Honda offers the CB500F for the rider that likes the naked style motorcycle. The affordable CB500F is expected to attract first-time buyers of full-size motorcycles. The naked version of the CB500 line includes all the features of the CBR, but has a more neutral, upright riding position. It looks very much like the like the CB1000R.The standard model is available in black or pearl white with the ABS model coming in black only. The standard model comes in black or pearl white at an MSRP of $5,499. With ABS it is $5,999. The CBR500F will be available in April.
The third of the trio, the CB500X adventure bike is taller and with a longer travel suspension and wheelbase, 4.9 inches of rear suspension travel compared to 4.3 in the other two. It looks like a smaller version of the NC700X adventure bike. It is equipped with a wider handlebar and a larger capacity fuel tank, 17.3 instead of 15.7 litres. The bike has an compact adjustable windscreen. The riding position is upright and relaxed and gives the rider a more comfortable ergonomics. The CB500X adventure-style motorcycle will more than likely ride on more asphalt than dirt, but it will give the rider the option to use it as both a commuter bike and fun rides on the back roads on the weekend. Optional accessories include hand guards, heated grips, a 35-liter top box, sidecases, centerstand and a taller windscreen. The X model will come in matte black metallic in standard and ABS models, but won’t be available until July 2013.
It will be interesting to see exactly how the middleweight motorcycle battle will unfold with bikes such as the…