I’ve always seen the Honda CBR500R as sort of an outlier in the world of beginner-friendly sportbikes. While bikes like the Kawasaki Ninja 400 and Yamaha YZF-R3 usually get the spotlight among first-timers, there’s no denying that there’s quite a lot to love about Honda’s 500cc supersport-inspired machine. For 2024, the CBR500R is better than ever before. Let’s take a closer look.
Now, you may have noticed my careful selection of words with “supersport-inspired.” Indeed, this is because the CBR500R isn’t really a supersport, but rather, a sportbike that imitates the aggressive styling of Honda’s true supersport, the CBR1000RR. For the 2024 model-year, this is more evident than ever before, as the bike receives new, aggressively styled bodywork inspired by the liter bike. The updates for the 2024 model-year focus more on styling and tech, as the CBR500R received major updates to its brakes and suspension in the 2022 model-year.
Diving straight into the tech updates, the 2024 CBR500R boasts a new TFT disiplay measuring a generous five inches. The display can be toggled via an easily accessible switchgear on the left side handlebar. Meanwhile, smartphone integration has been thrown in the mix, with Honda’s RoadSync app offering automatic connection and enhanced adjustability and connectivity for the rider.
On the performance end, Honda’s CBR500R relies on the tried and tested 471cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, parallel-twin engine with the same old 180-degree crankshaft. Criticized for its boring sound and character, the engine does, in fairness, have a very linear and approachable powerband, and presents itself as an approachable powerplant for both beginner and intermediate riders. Honda says that the addition of updated PGM-FI technology translates in improved efficiency and performance, while a silent cam chain and reduced friction elements keep the engine running smoothly and more quietly.
To keep the bike’s already docile performance on tap, Honda has thrown in HSTC (Honda Selectable Torque Control), which is really just a fancy way of naming traction control. There’s also a slipper clutch thrown into the mix, so riders have a much more forgiving experience should they struggle to perform smooth downshifts.