Honda is continuing to make the most of its massively popular 500 twin platform
It might not set your pants alight, but Honda’s 500 twin range has done cracking business over the past decade or so. You can have the same compact A2-licence friendly engine in a choice of naked CB500, sporty CBR500R or light adventure CB500X chassis, with decent performance, superb economy, and all the usual Honda benefits of utter reliability and solid build.
For 2024 there is one stand-out change: the CB500X mini-ADV machine is rebadged as an NX500. ‘Why is that a stand-out Al?’ I hear you ask. Well, as any fool will know, NX is an old 1980s model code for the NX650 Dominator (and lesser-known NX250 which wasn’t imported to the UK), standing for New X(Cross)over. So Honda’s digging into its reserves of heritage, while giving the solid CB500X a restyle. And it looks much sharper now, with a full set of slick rally bodywork, and has a few neat chassis upgrades including lighter wheels. Very NX-y, you might say.
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In addition, the CB500 is restyled as the CB500 Hornet, again tapping into a heritage brand and extending the Hornet family downwards nicely. The whole 500 range – CB500 Hornet, CBR500R and NX500 – share a tweaked engine with new fuel-injection settings and a (doubtless superfluous) traction control set up. Power stays the same at 47bhp, and the bikes all get a dash upgrade: 5” colour LCD dash with Bluetooth, backlit switchgear and full LED lighting. Your pants will probably remain uncombusted – but expect the 2024 500s to remain gigantic sellers and very useful motorcycles all round.