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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  #31  
Old 20 Jun 2013
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Chris, many good points about the CRF versus CB500X.
I read your report in the CRF250L some time ago, and my take is that you couldn't have picked an area less suited to a 250. It's like me pushing an R12GS through the jungles of Vietnam, or island hopping it across the Philippines and then declaring it to be totally unsuitable for RTW purposes.

Plus, I still think the CRF you were on probably wasn't set up for the conditions, as most running at altitude put in a 13T sprocket, and some go to a bigger rear sprocket as well. I also suspect that the fueling module made the bike run richer than stock, which kills power at altitude.

Dealer parts availability for ANY bike in the USA is pretty poor, the dealers all run very low inventories. I get better much better parts availability for my Yamaha in large Filipino dealers than I have had for any US bike, other than a few Husky dealers I used to mail order stuff from.
The point of getting a locally available bike is that at least the parts are available in-country, which saves the hassle of dealing with ordering, shipping, duties, customs, blown schedules and the rest.
Not so bad if you have the time and money to wait around, not great otherwise.

The tire strategy you suggest is very sensible, but doesn't take into consideration that 'stuff happens'.
I ripped the rear sidewall open on my GS riding on the freeway, with only 1K miles on it. That would have ruined plans if I hadn't been able to find another tire quickly, and even in the USA it took the (non-BMW) dealer 2 days to source me another.
Somewhere like the Philippines you would be very lucky to find one outside of Manila, and I can guarantee you that wouldn't be something exotic like a K60.
A dirt worthy tire in CB500X sizes would be impossible to find.

On my 200 running standard sized dirt bike tires, not an issue. Nearly every tire shop has something in stock.

As for punting a 500 with road or 80/20 tires across the tracks that the locals run on 125s, it can be done, but it isn't a whole lot of fun for many reasons.
Most of those 125s weigh half of a CB500X (or less), many have dirt tires fitted, and the riders have likely been riding those roads since they were kids and have far better skills than I will ever have.
Local knowledge also counts. Earlier this year we took what looked like a main road on the map as part of an island tour, only to end up riding 20 km of road construction, including several stretches with mud up over the axles.
This was after a big overnight rainstorm, so conditions were worse than usual.

We realized afterwards that the bikes we'd been seeing (none on the really bad sections) were mostly going to small villages towards the beginning or end.
All the through traffic had gone a much longer way round, as they knew the conditions.
That kind of thing happens pretty regularly out here, even on some of the highways.

We were 2 up on my 125 dualsport which is light and low with 18" knobbies, so didn't have too many problems apart from having to reverse the bike a few times to free up rocks and mud trapped between the tire and fender.
On a less suitable bike we'd probably have turned around, or dropped it a few times, or my girlfriend would have ended up walking.
Not necessary with the 125, and we got to see some beaches, mangrove forests and other things sights we probably wouldn't have otherwise.

I actually enjoy riding the 125 as much as the 200, even though the 200 makes way more power, and has proper sized wheels, a decent dualsport riding position, monoshock and upside down forks. The smaller, lighter bike is just so easy to ride. Very little traffic runs faster than 80 km/h, so we keep ahead of most as long as I'm prepared to spin the motor a bit.

Different perspective to the whole thing: as I said a few posts ago, it very much depends on where you will ride. For the trip you did, there was nowhere that the advantages of a small bike could be used. Where I live, a big bike is next to useless.

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  #32  
Old 20 Jun 2013
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Quote:
Chris, many good points about the CRF versus CB500X.
Thanks but I don't believe there were any. My recent ride was just cited to help make a couple of points.

Quote:
I actually enjoy riding the 125 as much as the 200...
There are many threads on the HUBB debating the pros and cons of overlanding on small bikes. In certain environments, such as dirt roads in SWUSA/Morocco, and in particular yours in SE Asia I can see their benefit.

But here please let's stick to the OP's topic:
'Honda CB500X - Serious consideration for a RTW machine?'

That is what interests me and others.
Addressing a post's specific query makes the masses of info on the HUBB more useable.

Ch
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  #33  
Old 23 Jun 2013
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Why not?
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  #34  
Old 5 Jul 2013
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Honda CB500X - Serious consideration for a RTW machine?

Scott, Go for it with the new Honda CB500X. Having owned a 500 you already know they have plenty of power and carrying capacity for a one up RTW. I presume you are comfortable riding within your limits and that of the machine, so that is already a bonus for you. You will get a touch more travel in the suspension with the new bike. Honda built it as a road machine with some off-road capability, which if you plan your route accordingly should be a nice combination.

Do the usual RTW upgrades, heavy skid plate, perhaps crash bars etc. throw on some Pelican boxes (which are not as cool looking as aluminum, but virtually indestructible), find the right screen if the stock model doesn’t hit right for you and you are almost ready to go. Take a few of the dollars you save and get a very comfortable riding suit, you will be living in it.

I would also suggest looking around for a dealer that can be excited for you so you have a back home contact if needed. That, and find one who will sell you a few hours of mechanical training if you are not mechanically minded. Someone to help you Loctite all the nuts and bolts, teach you how to change and adjust cables, repair a flat or plug a tire along the road, and do a basic tune-up. The new CB has been introduced around the world so major cities can provide service. Be meticulous in taking care of it and you can probably avoid most major issues with some luck.

The biggest advantage you have already mentioned, and that is price. The money you save will allow you, depending on your travelling standards, to save enough for 3 to 5 months on the road. And the number of the months you would have to continue to work to save that amount could easily cause you to never get around to actually leaving. Life has a way of sucking us in with one more thing that must be paid for or tended to. In sailing they say; “go simple and go now, or never get around to going”.

In a few of the posts concerns were expressed about tires. If you plan, you can pre-order from dealers in major cities and have replacement tires waiting for you, as well as other replacement parts for general maintenance. Just remember road conditions will shorten the usual life of the tires and you don’t want to be heading in on unsafe tires, or have spent money or time on emergency replacements before planned changes.

As to those who would recommend taking a 250cc instead. There are great bikes in that size. I would happily head out on one for any major leg of a RTW, but not a full RTW. If you follow any riders blogs to the end on 250’s, by the time they finish the machines are pretty well limping in and shot from riding the abusive conditions of poor roads and extra weight. To be fair my experience is not with 250cc, so take that thought with a grain of salt.

Best of luck and keep us all posted.
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  #35  
Old 8 Jul 2013
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Surely this bike is proof that the the 'adventure' bike fad has hit it's peak and onto it's downwards trajectory. This is just a 500cc roadbike with some plastics styled in a vaguely similar way to some other 'adventure' bikes. What features of this bike make it more suitable for an 'adventure' than an old cb/cbf 500?

However in answer to the original question, this would probably be a great bike for a round the world trip.
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  #36  
Old 19 Jul 2013
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I ve owned a cb 500x for bout 6 weeks now, thought I d give you my thoughts on it... First of all it's mpg... On a 125 mile round trip to work and back I averaging high 70s.. And that's not hanging about.. Worst I ve had when absolutely ragging it was 67 mpg... Best I ve had over 113 miles was 100 mpg really nursing it.. One tank again when taking it easy igot 312 miles out of 16.5 litres...93 mpg... Would of thought rtw with speeds of 50 -60 mph and lower most of the time high 80 s would be easy possible even with a full load of luggage.. As for rest of bike it holding together well nothing fell off in 3000 miles so far.. Feels light enough to move about at stand still..weight feels low.. Corners well.. Hardly any chicken strips left so it leans well !!!!.. Plenty of room on seat to move about though I think seat made of granite!! So uncomfy even after 3000 miles. Think an air hawk a must. Side stand a bugger to put down.. Peg sits to close to foot peg so ya struggle to find it. Even worse now centre stand fitted. I now put side stand down by putting my foot on spring instead of trying to find peg.. Standard screen fine for me in raised position. I only 5foot 7 though. No buffeting but fair bit of wind noise.. Gonna try new helmet weekend to see if it that rather than screen. Would of thought plenty powerful enough for rtw ..8000 mile service interval though a valve check at 600 miles sucks. But I got a fixed service price off dealer for 120 quid so iwas ok..overall. I think it d be a great servant to any one who wanted to rtw on it.. Though 2 up I d say no purely because it like a 3/4 size bike when stood next to a v strom.. But one up no problem.. And those mileage figures mean it would pay for itself.. Hope this helps.. Check out others mileage on fuelly.. All in high 70s or higher still
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  #37  
Old 19 Jul 2013
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Couple of other things I forgot to mention.. Rear suspension rather basic, fine on smooth roads but bumps can unsettle it.. Top speed approx 105 mph though clock reads bout 115.. Could easily run with taller gearing if ya wanted more mpg.. First gear very very short, it can pull away in second no prob without too much clutch slip.
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  #38  
Old 20 Jul 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brclarke View Post
I am sure the bike is more than up to the task.
The only real caveat I see is that it is a brand new model.

What will parts support be like in countries where Honda doesn't import this bike?
?
It's a Honda, just carry a new rectifier and a camchain tensioner
All will be fine
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  #39  
Old 20 Jul 2013
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Originally Posted by floyd View Post
It's a Honda, just carry a new rectifier and a camchain tensioner
All will be fine
I think Honda solved those problems about a decade ago......
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  #40  
Old 20 Jul 2013
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  #41  
Old 29 Jul 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Melgreen View Post
Scott, Go for it with the new Honda CB500X. Having owned a 500 you already know they have plenty of power and carrying capacity for a one up RTW. I presume you are comfortable riding within your limits and that of the machine, so that is already a bonus for you. You will get a touch more travel in the suspension with the new bike. Honda built it as a road machine with some off-road capability, which if you plan your route accordingly should be a nice combination.

Do the usual RTW upgrades, heavy skid plate, perhaps crash bars etc. throw on some Pelican boxes (which are not as cool looking as aluminum, but virtually indestructible), find the right screen if the stock model doesn’t hit right for you and you are almost ready to go. Take a few of the dollars you save and get a very comfortable riding suit, you will be living in it.

I would also suggest looking around for a dealer that can be excited for you so you have a back home contact if needed. That, and find one who will sell you a few hours of mechanical training if you are not mechanically minded. Someone to help you Loctite all the nuts and bolts, teach you how to change and adjust cables, repair a flat or plug a tire along the road, and do a basic tune-up. The new CB has been introduced around the world so major cities can provide service. Be meticulous in taking care of it and you can probably avoid most major issues with some luck.

The biggest advantage you have already mentioned, and that is price. The money you save will allow you, depending on your travelling standards, to save enough for 3 to 5 months on the road. And the number of the months you would have to continue to work to save that amount could easily cause you to never get around to actually leaving. Life has a way of sucking us in with one more thing that must be paid for or tended to. In sailing they say; “go simple and go now, or never get around to going”.

In a few of the posts concerns were expressed about tires. If you plan, you can pre-order from dealers in major cities and have replacement tires waiting for you, as well as other replacement parts for general maintenance. Just remember road conditions will shorten the usual life of the tires and you don’t want to be heading in on unsafe tires, or have spent money or time on emergency replacements before planned changes.

As to those who would recommend taking a 250cc instead. There are great bikes in that size. I would happily head out on one for any major leg of a RTW, but not a full RTW. If you follow any riders blogs to the end on 250’s, by the time they finish the machines are pretty well limping in and shot from riding the abusive conditions of poor roads and extra weight. To be fair my experience is not with 250cc, so take that thought with a grain of salt.

Best of luck and keep us all posted.
Hi Frank

Thank you very much for this. The suggestion of finding a local dealer who could help me in the maintenance/repair department is a great idea. This is the area I am most concerned about as I have little experience with repairing/fixing motorcycles.

I will also give the Pelican luggage you speak of a good look!

I am still yet to get my leg over the new CB500X, but when I have, I will report back and compare its ride to my current CB500 (Which I was considering taking on the trip previously!)

Scott
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  #42  
Old 29 Jul 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nath View Post
Surely this bike is proof that the the 'adventure' bike fad has hit it's peak and onto it's downwards trajectory. This is just a 500cc roadbike with some plastics styled in a vaguely similar way to some other 'adventure' bikes. What features of this bike make it more suitable for an 'adventure' than an old cb/cbf 500?

However in answer to the original question, this would probably be a great bike for a round the world trip.
Hi Nath

The reason I started this thread was to hopefully answer some of these issues! As a current CB500 owner, I was intrigued as to whether the HUBB community thought the new machine (CB500X) would be an improvement on my current machinery, or, as you put it, think that it was simply a "fad" motorcycle. From what I have heard so far, it appears that the CB500X would be more than capable of going RTW, with the obvious limitation of not being able to handle to much aggressive off-roading.

This particular web page may help to answer some of your questions regarding features (2013 CB500X Innovations - Honda Powersports)

I look forward to your response.

Scott
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  #43  
Old 29 Jul 2013
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Originally Posted by Bikerkev View Post
I ve owned a cb 500x for bout 6 weeks now, thought I d give you my thoughts on it... First of all it's mpg... On a 125 mile round trip to work and back I averaging high 70s.. And that's not hanging about.. Worst I ve had when absolutely ragging it was 67 mpg... Best I ve had over 113 miles was 100 mpg really nursing it.. One tank again when taking it easy igot 312 miles out of 16.5 litres...93 mpg... Would of thought rtw with speeds of 50 -60 mph and lower most of the time high 80 s would be easy possible even with a full load of luggage.. As for rest of bike it holding together well nothing fell off in 3000 miles so far.. Feels light enough to move about at stand still..weight feels low.. Corners well.. Hardly any chicken strips left so it leans well !!!!.. Plenty of room on seat to move about though I think seat made of granite!! So uncomfy even after 3000 miles. Think an air hawk a must. Side stand a bugger to put down.. Peg sits to close to foot peg so ya struggle to find it. Even worse now centre stand fitted. I now put side stand down by putting my foot on spring instead of trying to find peg.. Standard screen fine for me in raised position. I only 5foot 7 though. No buffeting but fair bit of wind noise.. Gonna try new helmet weekend to see if it that rather than screen. Would of thought plenty powerful enough for rtw ..8000 mile service interval though a valve check at 600 miles sucks. But I got a fixed service price off dealer for 120 quid so iwas ok..overall. I think it d be a great servant to any one who wanted to rtw on it.. Though 2 up I d say no purely because it like a 3/4 size bike when stood next to a v strom.. But one up no problem.. And those mileage figures mean it would pay for itself.. Hope this helps.. Check out others mileage on fuelly.. All in high 70s or higher still
Hi Bikerkev

Great to hear from someone who owns the machine and has first hand experience. The mpg you are obtaining is certainly something that attracted me to the CB500X in the first place, as that will be vital on a RTW tour. The fact it is light is also important as I want to be able to pick it up when (not if!) I drop it! The few niggles you speak of sound a little irritating but not major issues? Have you found the centre stand useful or is it not worth it? I agree that 1 up it would be more than possible to go RTW but 2 up with luggage would be a struggle.

Have you had any mechanical issues to date? I am trying to ascertain how robust the machine is considering that this was the first Honda to be built on a "budget" in Thailand. Does it take a great deal to keep the bike in top nick or does it effectively look after itself? Have you purchased any of the optional extras and if so have they been worth the cost? I am aware there are luggage options as well as LED ruining lights, cowl guards, performance exhaust etc.

Scott
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  #44  
Old 31 Jul 2013
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Hi Scott, the centre stand a must just for ease of any maintenance you may have to do whilst on ya trip. Costs £80 and bout the only genuine honda part I d buy, rest is just unbelievably expensive, running lights over 500 quid lol, that's with out the bar they fix too!!! Rear rack over 200, so is top box .. But others are now starting to make stuff, ya just gotta dig around for it. Now done over 4000 miles and no problems... Some on honda forum have had a small bolt come out of engine casing, 3 or 4 people so far so worth keeping an eye on that bolt, but hundred s have not, check cb500x forum for more details. Other than that no other problems I ve heard about..mpg still great not used a drop of oil thus far in 4000 odd miles, think ya talking over 800 quid for full honda luggage though, again though others ll be soon making better
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  #45  
Old 31 Jul 2013
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Got an early finish from work the other day, ambled home 70 miles through as many single track lanes as I could find, took it steady and went back to work normal roads next day again going steady.. 99.1 mpg.. That's amazing figures and being fuel is one of the biggest costs when on rtw trip ya should be able to go a lot further... And as for panniers and all the extras, as someone on here said they wish they not spent £1200 on them because they could of travelled for another month with cheaper gear.. Just a thought !
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