The Honda CB500X and CB500F are among the most popular beginner-friendly motorcycles in Honda's roster available in the U.S. and most parts of Europe. With just enough power to make freeway riding a viable option, Honda's 500 line of motorcycles has proven to be a solid choice for first-timers, as well as experienced riders looking for a no-frills machine that's reliable as things get.
It's interesting to note, however, that in countries like China and Japan, a 500cc motorcycle is considered a big bike, and strict licensing parameters restrict newer riders to machines with displacements not exceeding the 400cc mark. With this in mind, Honda has tweaked its popular naked and adventure model to suit the needs of the market. Launched in the recently held Shanghai Auto Show, the new Honda CB400F and CB400X are expected to make their way to the Chinese and Japanese markets. On the surface, these two bikes look just like their western 500cc counterparts. They also share quite a few of the same features.
Starting with the CB400F, this naked streetfighter gets similar styling as the CB500F, with a split, two-up seat, angular bodywork, and as usual, remarkable Honda build quality. It gives of a rather aggressive aesthetic, thanks to its muscular bodywork—doing a good job of deceiving you into thinking it has way more than just 44 horsepower on tap. On the other hand, the CB400X retains its unmistakable adventurous styling. Sporting a 19-inch front wheel, this bike, in 500cc form, has proven itself capable in light off-road scenarios. No doubt the CB400X, equipped with the same underpinnings, will be pretty capable on gravel and light off-road.
The biggest differentiating factor these two bikes have when compared to the CB500 range of bikes is of course the engine. In place of the 471cc parallel twin, we find a smaller 399cc parallel twin. Equipped with a 180-degree crank, it pumps out an adequate 44 horsepower, and sounds like your good old run-of-the-mill beginner sportbike.