Honda to launch sub-500cc motorcycles in India
Recently in a conversation with Fast Bikes India, Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Director, HMSI suggested that Honda is readying a sub-500cc motorcycle for India. The motorcycle is 'already sold abroad' he said and will be locally produced in the country. Which obviously means that the pricing will be competitive. Going by his statement, we are expecting Honda to launch the CB500 range in India which includes the CB500F, CBR500R and CB500X. There's also the Rebel 500 which shares the engine with the CB500 range. Here's all you need to know about these Hondas:
All the bikes are powered by the same 471cc, liquid-cooled, 4V, DOHC, parallel-twin motor with a 67mm bore and 66.8mm stroke. We have ridden all the bikes in Malaysia and can tell you that the engine is typical of a Honda - very refined and not very aggressive. The power and torque outputs are rated at 50bhp at 8500rpm and 45Nm at 6500rpm. As the figures suggest, these aren't substantial numbers for a twin considering the KTM 390 Duke churns out a healthy 43bhp using its single-cylinder 373.3cc single motor. As aforementioned, this is a very relaxed and refined motor and is suitable for comfortable cruising while the tractability makes it easy to ponder around the city. The engine is mated to a slick six-speed transmission and also comes with a slipper clutch.
Now let's take a look at the complete CB500 range followed by the Rebel.
The naked streetfighter comes with aggressive looks and a very comfortable riding position. The 'bars are wide and the seat is large. In fact, it gets a stepped seat for a more touring oriented approach. The rake is 25.5deg and weight is 188kg making it slightly lazy to tip into corners but the CB500F is extremely stable. What surprised me the most was the motor's lowdown grunt. But that does not come at the cost of a lazy top-end. The engine revs freely upto 9000rpm and power is delivered throughout the range, making it a comfortable naked to ride. In terms of electronics, you get nothing but dual-channel ABS and that's about it. If launched, it'll be priced at around 3.5 lakh rupees.
The CBR500R is exactly same as the CB500F with the exception of clip-on handlebars and a full-fairing. The CBR500R looks very attractive in the flesh especially in the red shade. It weighs 190kg, kerb making it heavier than the CB500F by 2kg. The geometry remans identical and so does the engine. If launched in India, the CBR500R would be priced at roughly Rs 3.70 lakh.
The CB500X is an adventure tourer and this is where the engine feels the most perfect. The CB500X comes with a taller seat at 830mm and offers a very commading riding position with wide handlebars and mid-set pegs. The front is raked out at 27.5deg while the suspension gets more travel at both ends (150mm), which equates to a longer wheelbase at 1445mm. You also get a thinner front tyre at 110mm while the weight is up by 7kg over the CB500F at 195kg, which is almost the same as the Royal Enfield Himalayan BS6. If launched in India, the CB500X would cost around Rs 3.8 lakh.
The Rebel is an authentic, single-seat cruiser with slightly forward set pegs and a tall handlebar. The seat is very low making you feel like you are sitting 'in' the bike, instead of sitting 'on' the bike. The Rebel 500 looks uber cool and should do well in India, owing it to its contemporary design. Again, it shares the engine in the exact tune although the geometry is completely changed. It gets a small fuel tank at just 11 litres which also brings down the kerb weight to just 185kg. However, owing to its lazy intentions, it gets a hefty 130-section tyre at the front and a 150-section rubber at the rear. If launched in India, the Rebel would be priced at around Rs 3.5 lakh.