Review - CB500X v R1200GSA - Getting old

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by Homer GSA, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. Homer GSA

    Homer GSA R1200GSA 2008

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    Howdy

    Probably limited interest.

    Six months ago I bought a 2019 CB500X as a second bike possible replacement for my R1200GSA and thought I could share my experience / thoughts / review.

    Storyline.
    Mid fifties riding for 42 yrs mainly on sports / tourers and enduro bikes.

    I use the GSA as a daily ride 150km round trip (90miles ?) 50% urban 50% highway, touring two up and exploring dirt roads etc. The GSA has been awesome and has 380'000 ks on it.

    Following a total knee replacement I found the behemoth size of it a worry with the new knee. This thing was hard enough to lift and manouvre around with a good body but with the new knee a real worry. We also two up tour and even after six months I wasn't confident.

    So I figured I would downsize and keep the adventure going. After testing a lot of different smaller adventure bikes I went with the CB500X 2019 update model. I tested this both in urban and highway and it seemed to fit the bill. It had just on 1000k's when I bought it and it was fitted with aftermarket handle bars, crash bars and additional electrics. I fitted it with barkbusters and a shad top box. Most of my soft luggage fit well. Only performance upgrade was a 16 tooth sprocket for the highway.

    Initially impressions were it was the ducks guts. Build quality is awesome, starts and runs like a Swiss Watch and gets awesome fuel economy (2.7 lphk). So easy to move around and flat foot at the lights. Lane filtering is awesome. Seat comfort and position good. Footpegs feel like two bolts. Handles okay and is good on dirt.

    I thought I was on a winner. But...

    This thing is exhausting to ride even moderate distances / times. 2hrs and I'm beat. It buffets around when there is a slight breeze and if theres a reasonably strong wind its a fight. The power is good around town but only adequate on the highway. It feels like it could go a 17 tooth front but I dont think that would fit so you would need a change to the rear.

    I took the GSA for a decent ride yesterday around 4 hrs (For Aussies the run from Gold Coast to Casino via Lismore back via Kyogle and Murbah). So refreshed I could have done it again.

    So I am figuring its not for me. Perhaps riding the big beemer has spoilt me?

    Not sure whether there is a lesson in this for those of us getting older or carrying injuries and ridden big bikes for years. Perhaps the jump to a 500 is just too much?

    Cheers

    Homer

    Photos of both
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    Just the CB


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    Stupid knee

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    IMG_2002.jpg
    #1
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  2. journeySA

    journeySA n00b

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    I have recently gone from a nc700x to a sten - also doing 120km round trip per day + the odd weekend ride.

    If your used to the power & road presence of the beasts I think it will be difficult stepping down, although thinking about it, I rode in a group a whole back where the most experienced rider sold his AT for a crf 250 rally and said it opened many new opportunities for him, so it really depends..
    #2
  3. Jeffo

    Jeffo Been here awhile

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    I was in a similar position when i got to my mid 50's 5 years back. I just couldn't put up with the weight and size of my S10 anymore. Chopped it in and have had a few bikes since then.
    Coming up 60 now, i love the CB5X. It has just enough power for me and i love how light & nimble it feels. But it is only a 471cc with 47bhp, so you have to accept its limitations. But it goes better than these figures would suggest.
    From reading your post OP, maybe the Wee Strom would have suited you better than the CB5X. It has a big bike feel, has reasonable power and is a fair bit lighter than a GSA.
    #3
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  4. Motopumps

    Motopumps Long timer Super Supporter

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    +1 on the WeeStrom. Have had a few over the years. I am lucky to have a bunch of bikes right now. As I near 55, I like light more and more. I just got a R1250GSA low. That is very easy to handle, and the weight is low. I also have a 790 ADV. Amazingly light and low center of gravity. I spent a week touring on it and was amazed at how light and easy handing it felt when I jumped back on my '15 Super Adventure. Before spending that week riding, I thought the SA was easy. Now it feels like work at times. Go sit on a 790 ADV if you can. Better yet, get a test ride. It is a decent windshield away from surprisingly great ADV and Sport Touring.

    Keep at it. Strengthen where you can and lighten where you have to.

    Ride On!
    Rob
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  5. Homer GSA

    Homer GSA R1200GSA 2008

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    Awesome replies folks. Thanks!
    #5
  6. ScorpionT16

    ScorpionT16 Been here awhile

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    Lucky you can ride, its winter here with snow, bikes all parked up for at least 6 months...That ocean view looks amazing! I'd be happy to be there on a bicycle let alone the CBX :lol2

    Maybe a F800GS would be better? Fuel tanks at the back and lower, lighter than the 1200, and that BMW feel.
    #6
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  7. Vandergraf

    Vandergraf --------------------

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    Sorry if a stupid question but what's a sten?
    #7
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  8. racer

    racer Long timer

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    S10...........Super Tenere.
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  9. racer

    racer Long timer

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    I had a S10 also, and while I really liked the bike, I felt it was getting too heavy for my 70 year old body. Took an Edelwiess tour on an Africa Twin and was sold on it. Came home, shopped around and traded the S10 on a new AT. Loved the bike and lighter weight, but it was really tall. After a second bout with cancer and losing another 40 pounds and strength, I started looking around and ran across the CB500X and like what I was hearing about the 2019 upgrades. Cut a deal with the local Honda dealer on a trade, ordered the bike and waited two months for Honda to ship to the US.

    Since then, been loving the bike. Light, agile and I can now get it up on the center stand, which I couldn't do with the AT anymore. My ego took a little while to adjust to half the power, but I don't miss it now. Frankly, the AT was getting to be a handful. The Halfrica Twin is easier to ride and more relaxed, besides, my racing days have long since gone by. Now happy just to be out on two wheels. Racer
    #9
  10. Motopumps

    Motopumps Long timer Super Supporter

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    Agreed. Had an S10 for 22,000 miles. Loved the bike for touring, but heavy and way top heavy. The AT even feels pretty top heavy compared to the 790 and GS.
    Rob
    #10
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  11. HandCanonShootr

    HandCanonShootr Been here awhile Supporter

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    My S10 sits next to my '16 CB500RR3. My 61yr old Knee & Hip enjoy the CB much more. Enjoy being able to move the CB around, by myself, walking it or lifting her. But the S10's main strength is eating miles with comfort. The CB is a Lighter bike period, but after following my buddy on several ride & camps, with a fair bit of fireroads, the CB went everywhere my S10 did, easier. Except the open road, only trade-off. So I bought the Rally-Raided CB500 from him. Have not rode the S10 much...

    Mike B
    #11
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  12. ex_MGB

    ex_MGB Been here awhile

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    I feel strongly both ways. For my day rides in the summer to the beach, 1.5 hours or so each way, 30 to 40 mph, I prefer my X-300. But for riding 5 or more hours per day on a big tour out West, Bob's your uncle, I'll be taking the AT.
    #12
  13. Vrode

    Vrode Not my problem Supporter

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    I have a similar dilemma. Love my S10, but it’s a beast to move around and I dread having to pick it up. On the road though, it’s fantastic. I think the CB500X is not quite stout enough for the riding I like to do. I’m thinking maybe a WeeStrom after next year. Seems like long distances are ok on them from what I’ve read.
    #13
  14. HighwayChile

    HighwayChile greetings from Wa state

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    Another for the DL650, big bike feel but not so heavy. what about checking out the the new Guzzi V85 ? my bitch with the 300-500 Japanese models is the cheap suspension . riding 51 years, 61 years with a bad knee, yes its the right one, the kick start knee ;-)
    #14
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  15. markinthailand

    markinthailand Long timer

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    This is timely. Not to hijack the thread too much... but... ;-)

    Just finished up two long days (5+ hours each day) through the mountains of N. Thailand where I live, two up with the wife on my Rally Raided CB500X. We're both mid 50s and our knees were aching by the end of the day. I've lowered the pegs a bit in the front, but am thinking again about an Africa Twin for more room for her to move around and not be so cramped...

    Thoughts?
    #15
  16. LouisPoland

    LouisPoland Been here awhile

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    I'm both mid 50s. I had KTM BMW R80GS, R100R, DL650, KTM690, KTM990, KTM1190. Now I have CB500X 2019 and I am very pleased.

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    #16
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  17. Motogasoline

    Motogasoline Been here awhile

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    I loved my cb500x and could ride it all day. Your issue is the same as everyone else's that wants comfort. The windshield! Got to get a big ole windshield. I went through half a dozen before getting a vstream tall version. It looks hideous and doubles the height of the bike but really changes everything. Suddenly it was quiet and peaceful to ride. I loved the handlebar position and seat. It was also easy to work on with exception to getting to the valves which most forget about anyway. Now im on a new versys 650 LT and after fitting it with a seat and big ole windshield its still not as comfortable to ride as I remember the cbx being. But its so nice at the same time.
    #17
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  18. twinrider

    twinrider Pass the catnip

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    Mid 50s. I have an S10 for commuting and sport/touring, and an XT250 for running around town and exploring off the beaten path/offroading. That combination works for me.
    #18
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  19. Krons

    Krons Been here awhile

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    A bit late to this thread...but I think this is it. You need better wind protection. As an easy quick fix the something like this:
    Motorcycle Windshield Extension
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M7YBB3N/ref=cm_sw_r_other_taa_DnxnEbEWE9A2V

    I got one for my GSA and made a big difference, can now ride with helmet shield open at highway speed. I do get your issue...I bought a DR650 to do more dirt than my 1200GSA and while I love the light weight (and power is good) I do miss the wind protection. It is all tradeoffs.
    #19
  20. ReedJ

    ReedJ Adventurer

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    So I ride a CB500x here in VA. Many rides throughout the WV & VA mountains. For me it is all about the ability to use gears where I know, I have limited power. Being able to shift through curves etc. I like the idea of using my gears to get around the lack of power. I am 59 and while my camping days are almost over ( hotel stays are starting to become my norm) The CB500X through mountains here are a blast. I can take off down a dirt road on a whim, and no clue where I might end up. the occasional ride down a fire trail is not a worry.
    I have often thought of upgrading to the NC700X for the little bit of extra power and I find it odd that we do not see a lot of reports on the bike. Still, for me the 500x runs the highway at 70mph just fine for me, but I acknowledge not having anything to compare to at this weight and size. Does anyone have a report on the NC700/750x?

    Attached Files:

    #20
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