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Honda CBR500R (2022) - Road test review

BikeSocial Publisher since January 2017.



Honda CBR500R 2022 Review Price Spec_36


Honda’s CBR500R is approaching its tenth year in production. This 2022 version adds a set of upside-down front forks, new swing-arm, additional front brake disc and radial calipers, revised styling and a raft of smaller changes. All of which add more sportiness and stopping power, leaving just the rear suspension needing an upgrade.


  • Capacity defying brilliance

  • Comfy for a sports bike

  • Looks like a Fireblade from 20 metres away

  • Mismatched front and rear suspension

  • Instruments hard to read

  • Sidestand access still not perfect

A lot more bike than last year for just £100 more


2022 Honda CBR500R Price

The 2022 CBR500R has a list price of £6399 – just £100 more than the outgoing 2021 bike. That’s a bargain considering it has upgraded forks and twice the front brakes. On the showroom floor, you might find dealers doing some sharp deals on the 2021 model though making that price difference a little bigger.

Honda’s PCP deal has an APR of 5.9% and lets you ride a new CBR500R for £1237.55 deposit, 36 payments of £79 and a £3049 final payment. Given that previous CBR500Rs hold their value exceptionally well (a three-year-old bike typically sells for about £4k right now), even the trade-in price at the end of the PCP should leave a few quid spare for the deposit on your next one. That makes a PCP a very good way to ride a new CBR right now.


46bhp is the same as last year, but the Honda’s Euro-5 (and A2-licence) compliant engine feels much more lively then you’d expect


2022 Honda CBR500R Power and torque

The CBR’s engine was already Euro-5 compliant and Honda hasn’t done much to it for 2022. Power and torque remain the same as previously at 46bhp and 32lb-ft. This means the CBR is A2-licence compliant meaning some riders might look down their noses at you for ‘only’ having 46bhp. Ignore them, they’re chumps because what this engine does is deliver everything it has in such a way that makes every journey enjoyable. Chugging along at lower revs is easy. Cruising on motorways doing 75mph at 6000rpm is relaxing and amazingly economical. But, what many of those snooty power rangers don’t understand is how quickly a CBR500R can shift when you keep the engine spinning between 8-9000rpm. It’s the perfect bike to learn how to ride sportily – using the revs and all the gears instead of relying on the torque and bottom-end power of a bigger bike.

Once in the top third of the revs there’s enough power in hand for overtaking slow cars on the back roads too.


These days we take things like having a gearbox stacked behind the engine for granted. Doing this allows a compact motor positioned in the chassis for quick steering and stability too. 


2022 Honda CBR500R Engine, gearbox and exhaust

Honda has been making twin-cylinder middleweights for more than 50 years. It’s part of their heritage and almost every single one has been loved by its owners and ignored by the wannabee racers in the bike press. This particular engine dates back to 2013. Liquid-cooled, fuel-injected and in a relatively low state of tune. Honda twins have always been revvy, but they haven’t always been this much fun.

For 2022 the CBR engine remains mostly the same as before. The fuelling and power delivery at low-medium rpm has been smoothed-out to make it even more flexible and the six-speed gearbox makes it easy to swap gentle cruising for wide-eyed mischief with very little effort.

The clutch action is light, gearchanges are positive and things like finding neutral are natural in a way that’s easy to overlook as a rider approaching 40 years on a bike, but matter when you’re still a bit new to all this.

The slipper clutch forgives riders who shift down a gear while still at high revs by preventing the rear wheel locking and the interaction between winding on the revs and releasing the clutch means you’d have to be very clumsy to stall it in town.

The latest emissions regulations mean most bike exhausts are bulkier and less pretty than we’d like. The CBR hides it well and still manages to sound sporty at high revs, if a little like a sewing machine in town. 


3.7 gallon fuel tank and 68mpg average equals 250 miles between fill-ups


2022 Honda CBR500R Economy

It’s a slightly dull-but-worthy part of a road test that we need to gather fuel consumption figures for town riding, motorways and brain-out loopiness too. That part of the testing is a lot more interesting when the numbers are as high as this. A worst figure of 64mpg chasing through the lanes with the rev limiter seemingly permanently illuminated is mightily impressive. I doubt you’d see much more in similar circumstances from a sporty 125 or 250cc bike. To put that in perspective, I had Yamaha’s equally-impressive R7 on test at the same time and under the same circumstances it gave 54mpg riding at very similar speeds.

Careful motorway riding, sticking to the speed limit, takes the Honda’s mpg figure into the low-70s. Town riding, where the challenge of getting dead weight moving at each traffic light is offset by the relatively low revs required gives an average of 68mpg.

Talking to owners of previous-model CBRs suggests that servicing costs are low, reliability is excellent and things like tyres and chains last a long time, meaning these are economical bikes to own and run. Bikes with trackers fitted need to be kept close to a battery charger when not being used or the battery goes flat quicker than you’d expect.


Handling is good on smooth roads, but the new forks ask questions of the rear shock that it struggles to answer


2022 Honda CBR500R Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

The 2022 CBR500R’s biggest visual changes are a swap to upside-down forks and an additional brake disc on the front wheel. There’s a new swing-arm at the back and, as far as we can tell it has the same rear shock absorber as the old model.

Some clever weight saving across the bike means Honda has offset the additional mass of the forks and extra brake disc and kept the kerb weight the same as before. One of the biggest changes is that it now comes on Michelin Pilot Road 5 tyres which are in a different league to the standard tyres fitted on the last CBR500R I tested in early 2019. The Michelins help the bike steer more consistently across dry, wet and cold road surfaces.

Every road tester has their favourite roads for putting suspension through its paces. Mine is a challenging few miles of bumps, changes in road surface, camber and gradient. All of which allows a bike to highlight how it copes with bumps, jumps and braking hard going into a downhill hairpin bend where the camber changes mid-corner just before the patch of gravel. The CBR handled all the above challenges well on January’s cold, gripless road surfaces. That’s impressive for a bike at this price, but there were some issues.

The new forks are essentially the same as those used on Honda’s CBR650R and feature Showa’s ‘Big-Piston’ technology that gives a more consistent damping response as the forks compress and extend. There’s no adjustment, not even spring preload (which is less critical on the front forks than the rear shock but matters more on sports bikes where set-up is part of the learning process).

The rear shock absorber is where the main chink in the CBR’s performance appears. While the new forks absorb the bigger bumps brilliantly, there’s a mismatch between them and the softly-sprung rear shock that, even at moderate speeds makes the new CBR feel loose and imprecise, with not quite enough damping at the rear. There’s an imbalance in the way the chassis feels that I don’t remember from previous CBR500Rs, which were softer overall, but the front and rear worked better together.

It's almost as if the additional performance of the new forks is highlighting areas at the rear that need improving to keep up.

There’s a caveat here that at 13 stone I might be on the heavy side for a typical CBR500R rider and more time setting the rear preload would have helped. But I’ve done a lot of miles on a 2018 CBR500R on standard settings without this imbalance.


Twin discs and improved forks make braking more confident if not massively more powerful than the old model


2022 Honda CBR500R Brakes

I never had a problem with the old single-disc set-up on previous CBR500Rs, but I understand how from a marketing perspective, only having one front disc adds to the perception that this isn’t a ‘proper’ sports bike.

The new twin disc set-up should allow riders to brake much harder but Honda has smartly chosen a compound of brake pad that isn’t too sharp for what-are-often relatively inexperienced riders who buy the CBR. So, you have to grab the lever hard to get full power and there’s plenty of predictable, softer braking when you just need to lose a little speed.

The new front forks help braking enormously. They dive predictably when you grab the brakes hard and extend in the same easy manner when you release the brakes giving a lot more confidence going into corners.

The rear brake, as before is more useful adding some stability to very low speed riding than bringing more stopping power. And the simple ABS system works unobtrusively when it switches in.


Seat is comfortable, footpegs are low enough and handlebars high enough to be sporty but comfy in town too


2022 Honda CBR500R Comfort over distance and touring

Sports bikes shouldn’t be this comfortable but no one does sporty road bikes like Honda. The bars are high enough to ease the pressure on your shoulders, back and neck at lower speeds, while footpegs are low enough to not require fidgeting. None of which stops the CBR feeling like a sports bike, or allowing the sort of control needed to move your body around in a corner.

The last CBR500R I rode (2018 model) had the sidestand in a position that made it really hard to locate with your boot heel. This one is marginally better, but still not as easy as it should be. That sounds like nit-picking, but it gets surprisingly annoying for a bike whose ergonomics are otherwise so good.


No traction control or riding modes. No TFT dash or Bluetooth connectivity either. Honda spent all the money on getting the basic bike right.


2022 Honda CBR500R Rider aids and extra equipment / accessories

Standard equipment is very limited. There’s no traction control or riding modes, no Bluetooth connections or quickshifter. Virtually no adjustment on the suspension and the instruments are simple LCD items, shared with the CBR650R. All the information you need is there, but some of it is hard to see at a quick glance and glare from the low winter sun can be an issue.

Our test bike came with optional heated handlebar grips, which are expensive at £400 (plus fitting), which is twice the price that Triumph charges on its Trident 660 (and admittedly twice as warm as the triumph items too), but absolutely worth it to anyone who rides between October and March in the UK. There was also a small tank bag, which is handy for phones, cameras and can hold a surprising amount of stuff, but at £120 is something that I’d suggest you haggle for when buying the bike and see if you can get a deal (same with the heated grips as well).

If it were mine, I’d prefer a top box to the tank bag. It’ll cost more but will be much more useful for carrying many more things and turns the CBR into a genuinely useful commuter.


It looks great, goes much better than the spec sheet suggests, is comfy, practical and probably the best value sports bike on the market.


2022 Honda CBR500R verdict

At this price there’s not really much to compete with a CBR500R. Honda has avoided going for too much power, preferring to make it usable instead. Likewise, they kept the riding position comfy and friendly for riders either still getting used to a sports bike or downsizing from bigger, more extreme machines that their aching, bones no longer fit on easily.

Put simply, the 2022 CBR500R is a brilliant ego-free machine for sensible money. Fast enough to leave most traffic well behind, easy to ride and confident in all corners. It needs a better rear shock to match the new forks, but there are plenty of aftermarket suppliers can help with that.

The CBR500R looks terrific, is well put together and priced well enough that pretty-much anyone with a job and a credit rating can afford it. Running costs should be low, resale values will be high. For many riders it’ll be a no-brainer.


Huw’s been riding for 46 years so it’s fair to say he knows what he likes…and needs. He’s thrilled with his CBR


I’ve got the previous model

Huw from Sussex has owned his a 2020 CBR500R for nine months. He’s been riding since 1976 and does around 3000 miles a year. His bike is lightly modified with R&G heated grips, Tail Tidy, Crash Bungs, Tank protector, DataTool Alarm plus Datatag.

'Having owned 2 Tracer 700s plus a 900GT  but no longer needing a sports tourer I was unsure  how to keep having fun without breaking the bank. The CBR500R won, it’s drop-dead gorgeous in HRC red and black and looks like a baby Fireblade. It’s affordable and made with good fit and finish. The full LED headlights look great and it doesn’t have the Yamaha’s irritating ‘cyclops’ look. 

The CBR is very rideable  - you can wring its neck  without frightening yourself and it still returns 80 mpg.  The slipper clutch is light at the lever and you can be as brutal as you want on the downshift. A quickshifter would be lovely but you can’t have it all. Exhaust note is great with all sorts of popping and crackling on the overrun. Being the wrong side of 60, and 6’2” tall, riding comfort was a worry before I bought it. Overall, it’s fine for Sunday blasts and the occasional longer journey. Ideally the pegs would be a couple of inches further back to ease my knees! You very much sit in the bike, not on it, and the whole rig has an air of solidity and purpose. The display is comprehensive and readable. Kerb weight is very manageable – no problem moving it around and holding it up. 47hp is plenty quick enough for me as a fun weekend bike. It’ll cruise at motorway speeds with power in reserve but it’s not going to pull your eyeballs out! Braking is progressive and the handling is neutral and predictable on what is budget suspension. Watch out for vibes through the pegs at high engine speeds – give it a try before you buy. Final tip, use a battery conditioner if not in regular use. Overall 8/10.


2022 Honda CBR500R spec

New price

From £6399



Bore x Stroke


Engine layout

Parallel twin

Engine details

Liquid-cooled, 8-valve


46bhp (35kW) @ 8600rpm


32 lb-ft (43Nm) @ 6500rpm

Top speed

115mph (estimated)


6 speed, final drive type

Average fuel consumption

68mpg tested

Tank size


Max range to empty (theoretical)

251 miles

Reserve capacity

40 miles

Rider aids



Steel diamond

Front suspension

41mm USD forks

Front suspension adjustment


Rear suspension

single shock absorber

Rear suspension adjustment

Spring preload

Front brake

2x296mm discs with twin piston radial calipers

Rear brake

240mm disc, single piston caliper

Front tyre

120/70/ZR17 Michelin Pilot Road 5

Rear tyre

160/60 ZR17 Michelin Pilot Road 5




2080mm x 755mm x 1145mm (LxWxH)



Ground clearance


Seat height


Kerb weight



Unlimited miles / 2years

MCIA Secured rating

Not yet included



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What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars, based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard

  • An ignition immobiliser system

  • A vehicle marking system

  • An alarm system

  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has, and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.