Honda’s moving its CB500X adventure bike forward for 2022 with updates to chassis and the EFI system. The rest of the 500 series will see similar updates for next season as well.
The CB500X is based around Honda’s 471 cc liquid-cooled parallel twin. Using the same engine for three of its most popular models helps Honda keep the price down, especially as Honda has kept the engine mostly unchanged over the years. It’s the same story this year. There’s a new, lighter radiator, and the EFI system sees revised settings, making the bike Euro5-friendly, but otherwise, this is pretty much the same engine as before.
The biggest changes for 2022 come to the chassis. The CB500X gets preload-adjustable Showa 41 mm Big Piston forks, with separate function configuration (damper in one leg, spring in the other). The new SFF-BP forks have 135 mm axle travel, with 150 mm cushion stroke.
Honda’s 650 four-cylinder series already has this general setup, and now the 500 series gets a similar arrangement.
The CB500X also gets a new front wheel, with lighter spokes. It’s still a cast 19-inch wheel, though, and there’s still a 17-inch unit in back. It’s good that the X gets a lighter front wheel, as it’s now gone to a dual disc front brake setup, with 296 mm rotors and radial-mount Nissin calipers. While this will certainly result in more powerful braking capability, some riders may have preferred the simpler, lighter single-disc setup. At least the wheel’s been slimmed down to compensate for the added weight.
The 500X sees no changes to the frame, but the swingarm is also lighter, made of thinner steel with a hollow cross-member.
Finally, Honda’s Half-rica Twin also gets revised LED headlights and indicators. Again, not a major change, just an incremental update.
The rest of the 500 series
While ADVers would be most interested in the CB500X model, the rest of the world is probably more keen on the CBR500R and CB500F machines, which are particularly popular as starter machines in the Euro market.
Those bikes also get the dual-disc update for 2022, and the updated Showa SFF-BP suspension and other chassis updates (lighter wheels and swingarm). Obviously, with shorter-travel suspension, the sportbike and naked bike models aren’t exactly the same as the ADV machine, but it’s the same technology here.
Both machines also get the updated EFI and lighter radiator. All the 500-series bikes will get new paint options for 2022 as well.
What about North America?
These updates are all announced for the Euro market at this point, with no confirmation for North America. They’ll arrive here for next season, of course—but when? Asian motorcycle manufacturing still seems to be suffering from the COVID blues, and supply chain issues still seem to be clogging the system. In other words: Maybe these 500s will be here right early in the ’22 selling season, or maybe we’ll have to wait, like we’ve had to wait for most other things lately.