Released only a few years ago, Honda’s CMX500 became an instant hit in the Australian market, offering riders a unique bobber inspired, entry-level motorcycle. Interested to see how this sport-cruiser fared on Brisbane streets, I took the CMX 500 out for an afternoon… So how did it perform?
First of all, when seeing the CMX500 in the Honda showroom, it truly stands out from the Honda line-up. The stocky tyres, bobber inspired aesthetics and modern technology seamlessly work together to make one of Honda’s most unique, production motorcycles. Honda's intentions when designing the CMX500 was to give owners a blank bobber canvas, for individual customisation. It offers the best of both worlds... a refined motorcycle straight from the factory, as well as the ability for customisable self-expression (for those select few owners).
Saddling the bike, the seat felt well padded and handlebars well spaced. I stand at 180cm tall and felt the ergonomics were incredibly comfortable and welcoming. While riding for longer than 2 hours, I did find myself needing to stretch my legs, as the mid position foot-pegs were a little restrictive for my height. For anyone taller than 6 foot, I’d recommend looking into aftermarket forward controls, as longer journeys will be a lot more pleasant. Thank me later!
Anyone under my height should feel right at home. Following the bobber inspired aesthetic, the seat height is low, sitting at 690 mm off the ground. Most riders will be able to flat foot this bike with ease and the lower seat height makes maneuvering the bike incredibly manageable. The mirrors do work effectively, with little vibrations, yet felt like they did look a little ‘dorky’ on a bike like this. Some bar end mirrors would look sensational!
First impressions when starting the bike, was the bright modern dash and humble, low toned exhaust note. The LCD digital dash is clear and easily legible in direct sunlight. The circular display shaped dash looks timeless and perfectly portrays the necessary instruments, such as a gear-position indicator, fuel-consumption display, time, and speedometer. The exhaust note surprisingly reflects the cruiser aesthetic, producing a low toned rumple, which was something I wasn’t expecting.
Pulling out of the Honda Springwood dealership (TeamMoto & MCAS Honda Springwood), you instantly feel that low end torque from the liquid cooled, parallel twin. This is the same proven 471cc engine that is in the CB500F, CBR500R and CB500X. Honestly it's a little gem of an engine, offering usable street power and a surprisingly good amount of grunty torque.
The street focused powertrain is smooth and linear, always offering more than adequate power when needed. It's a forgiving engine, but has enough punch to well and truly pass speed limits, if you’re not careful.
The CMX500 features a smooth slipper clutch, which feels light and engages effortlessly. For beginner riders, this slipper clutch will reduce unwanted stalls and eliminate any achy hands after a full day of riding. The transmission is just as forgiving, sharply snapping into gears without question. Each gear feels direct and I never fell into a false neutral or skipped gears. In true Honda fashion, it's buttery-smooth.
As far as brakes and suspension, they aren’t anything industry leading, yet also aren’t bad. The twin rear shock set-up is firm, and on harsher ground surfaces, will be a little uncomfortable. The 41mm inverted front fork suspension has a good amount of travel, and absorbs most bumps on the road well. There was no bottoming-out, so apart from the rear being a little firm, I felt minimal discomfort during my ride.
ABS technology is seen both in the front and rear brakes, allowing beginner riders greater peace of mind and builds rider confidence. It’s great technology and never felt like the brakes were letting me down.
I had the pleasant experience of riding the CMX500 in the rain, which allowed me to unintentionally test out how the bike performed in the wet. Thanks to the fairly new tyres, and stable suspension, I had no issues here. The tyres cut through the wet surface and gripped the tarmac easily. Because of the lower centre of gravity, with the engine, the bike felt planted on the road, and experienced no slippages.
With full LED lighting, the CMX500 offers maximum visibility. I’m still a little torn about the amber turn signal lights constantly switched on. From an aesthetic point of view, it looks modern, engaging and stylish. My only concern would be that an inattentive driver may see the amber lights as the bike signalling a turn or having their hazard lights on. It would be nice to be able to toggle this feature on and off, yet perhaps I'm being overly paranoid.
My last test was to see how well it performed on the highway. To no surprise, the CMX500 had more than enough ‘go-power’ to travel well over the speed limit/ overtake other vehicles with ease. It felt planted during faster speeds and held intended lines effortlessly.
With modern technology, mixed in with timeless bobber styling, it allows provisional licence holders a great introduction into the sport cruiser segment. For what is included in the price, the CMX500 offers great value for money. Backed with the Honda badge of quality and reliability, the ownership experience is forecasted to be trouble-free.
Head to your closest TeamMoto and MCAS Honda dealership and book a test ride on a CMX500 today! Shout out to Kurt and the team at TeamMoto & MCAS Honda Springwood for lending the Demo CMX500.
Visit your local TeamMoto & MCAS Honda dealership today. Locations provided below!
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