The Honda CB500X is a road-biased adventure bike which promises to be ideal for the andhar bahar gamen riding environment. Visually, it makes a great impression because its size and proportions are spot on.
The angular bodywork and LED lighting all around give it a premium look and feel. Seat height is at 830mm, but it feels quite approachable because the seat is slimmed down near the 17.7-litre fuel tank. It also helps that the bike does not have an exaggerated sense of top heaviness that can make big ADVs intimidating.
Finish and quality levels are good, but there is no escaping the sense that the CB500X has been built with cost-effectiveness in mind. The fork is not upside-down and the swingarm is a simple box-section unit. Instead of a flashy TFT, you get a rather small and simple negative LCD display. It is a similar story with electronic assists and there is no traction control, quickshifter or cornering ABS to be found here.
Nevertheless, comfort is excellent, with a very spacious seat and an upright riding position. The windscreen works well and is adjustable.
The CB500X runs a 471cc parallel-twin that produces 47.5hp and 43.2Nm. Power delivery is absolutely linear and the strong bottom-end/mid-range is surprisingly encouraging of first-gear wheelies. The motor is also very tractable, and you will find yourself in sixth gear well below 60kph.
The 6-speed transmission shifts with a positive sensation and a slipper clutch helps with smoother downshifts. Refinement levels are generally good, and you only start to feel vibrations if you rev the bike towards its 8,750rpm redline.
Matching the effortless performance is a chassis that is a breeze to get along with. The bike feels lighter than its 199kg kerb weight and there is plenty of steering lock available. Factor in the tractable nature of the engine as well as the light clutch, and this is quite an easy-going bike in urban conditions.
On an open road, a 100kph cruise is completely relaxed; all manner of bad roads are dealt with very well and the suspension setup feels rather plush. It does not take much effort to get the bike turned in and there is plenty of lean angle available. The bike can flow through corners at a quick pace, but it does not appreciate being ridden too aggressively.
With 181mm of ground clearance, the CB500X will not shy from deviating off the tarmac; it has the suspension composure to take on a few mild jumps. Other hints at the Honda’s abilities come in the form of the rubber foot pegs, the lack of a bash plate and the inability to deactivate the rear ABS without pulling a fuse.
The experience offered by the CB500X is perfect for our market. At ₹6.87 lakh, Honda has priced this CKD motorcycle far higher than expected. It is hard to justify a price that is so close to the Kawasaki Versys 650 — which is certainly heavier, both in person and on the pocket, but a bike that is also undoubtedly in a segment above.