Personally I like simple (for example, the simplicity of a single is a plus). I would like to see better build quality on the CB500 range. There again, who wants to be sitting by the side of the road admiring the build quality of a premium Italian or German motorcycle, when a relatively tinny bike from the budget end of Honda's range just keep going.
I know it's not been long, but any updates, John?
Over the last few days I've developed an urge to buy one and I'm not sure why?
I'm a bit taller than average, I do wonder if it might feel a little small?
Thinking of going back to commuting on the bike, it's only 6 miles each way and these seem right up my street (or maybe an NC750X).
The only thing I HATE about that whole range is the skinny cheap looking bars.
I had a CB500 as a loaner about 18 months ago, great little bike, just about managed to tease to the ton. It kind of demands you wring its neck. I think an NC750 would encourage far more sedate "mid range" behaviour
CB500X's are cheap as chips.. like two year old 8,000 miles for £3500
There's a 2015 with less than 400 miles and the full Stage 3 Rallyraid kit (about £2k worth) fitted on ebay for a couple of hundred quid less than a new one...
The older NC700X's are surprisingly affordable too.
But what I really want it Honda to do a 0% PCP offer on new ones.
I'd expect the CB500X to be a good bike, although I've not ridden one. Had a brief chat at Oxford services a few years ago with a guy who had one (I was on my NC700X). He said he'd tried both and preferred the 500, because the engine was - for him - more "bike like". Ie it revved up to 8k or so, as opposed to the 700's 6k. Personally I'm happy with the 'high torque, low-rev, turbo diesel' feel of the 700, but it's horses for courses.
There is plenty of room on the bike for me. I am nearly 6 foot but with only 31" inseam. Just about perfect.
I am away, so have not had a chance to use it since picking it up. Will give more thoughts later. The first test is whether it starts when I get back as it is not on charge.
Reason for not buying the NC700 / 750 was that the tank pushes out the knees a bit. All bikes give me hip pain, and the CB seemed a better fit. Different pain levels outweigh almost every other point of comparison between bikes. CB500X should also have better tank range than NC750, and having to stop for fuel bugs me. The NC750 was on my shortlist. CB500X is a bit lighter, though no lighter than the Tracer 700 which was also on the shortlist and might have been the pick if I were buying new. Getting a bike with FSH and full Givi luggage below £3,500 was also a massive plus. Not too bothered about the nature of the engine as neither NC750 nor CB500 are what I would pick for character. The guy who sold it told me that the CB500 felt quicker than his 700. Either will be quick enough to get through London area traffic and do a bit of motorway work as fast I as would want to go on an almost unfaired bike (or any bike, really). Speaking of which the CB500X is astonishingly stable on the motorway, though I have not tried it in high winds yet.
A big factor for me was that I am reluctant to spend a lot of time effort and money every year on a bike which probably will not get much use, as I am abroad a lot. Maybe that caution about over-spending will change and I will get tempted by a Ducati or KTM or something. The CB500X looked like a bike which should give some fun rides, and a bit of practical transport, without asking for a lot back on any level (money, maintenance, breakdowns, effort to ride).
Seemed time to give a little review now I've ridden the bike a bit. Went down to Ryka's today from North London, and I have use the bike most days when the weather is OK and when I am around, though I am away a lot.
Supension is crap, front suspension is seriously bad. So what? It is not really uncomfortable. People complain that small irregularities make the bike feel unsettled. That is true. Unlike most riders I don't care because I doubt it is causing anyone to crash. Yes it can feel a little scary, and I can imagine that if the bike was for track use you would want to upgrade the suspension. For road use, I am reasonably sure it is safe just keep going without getting scared by a little wiggling.
One other downside: you are sitting upright, mostly, with a fig-leaf screen, so any bike is going to get windy at motorway speeds. The benefit is that you get a decent view. Another downside: the exhaust looks and probably is heavy, and sounds anemic.
It is easy to see why owners like this bike so much. Simple instrumentation without mutliple levels of electronics are all I need. Lights are OK. Mirrors work. I never noticed in vibration, though they may be a bit there. Performance though not amazing, is better than you were expecting. Comfort is definitely better than you were expecting, and there is scope to move on the seat and enough leg room without enough height or weight to be challenging in traffic. Steering is, well, not razor-sharp but, but you can put the bike where you want it for normal road use. Stability is better than you were expecting, even when loaded with luggage. Fuel consumption and tank range are better than you were expecting. Maneouverabiliy is good. Braking, though not sharp enough to feel bite-y, is pretty good. It is not a bike for stoppies or wheelies. No normal rider will ever have a problem with the gear box. Cable clutch is pretty light. Reliability--I don't really know, though if I were planning to ride round the world with only light off-road use I would feel comfortable choosing this bike. Even looks are arguably better than you were expecting.
If you want a bike to get you around in comfort, with enough power for a little fun, on public roads, this bike will do everything you need. Nothing is missing, and in some ways it will suprise you how good it is and how few compromises you have to make. If you are seriously capable track rider, or if you want a bike to make you feel like a seriously capable track rider when you are not, it will probably fall short, not that I know. For an ordinary general purpose motorcycle that can make a reasonable fist of most kinds of riding from cruising to carving to commuting, without being a specialised tool for any particular job, it is suprisingly good. It does not stir the soul with passion, and yet many owners including me are so happy with it as a bike that is easy to live with in almost every situation, that they end up really really liking it, and willing to settle down with it long term.
Pretty much sums up my experience with my NCX.
The forks are rubbish, but not dangerous, but if you accept it for what it is, a budget commuter then you'll be happy.
I'm still not sure why Honda make the the NC and the CB X's, they've almost the same power and MPG figures.