The Honda 500 twins are a series of straight-twin motorcycles made by Honda since 2013. They are the CB500F standard/naked bike, the CBR500R sport bike, and the CB500X adventure touring bike. Their introduction coincided with new European licensing regulations establishing a mid-range class of motorcycles of limited power. The new 500 twins are similar to the earlier CB500 parallel-twins discontinued in 2003, but with new engines, frames, and other parts. They are made in Thailand, where Honda had previously only made smaller displacement motorcycles. All three models used the same 471CC (29 cu in) twin-cylinder, inline, transversely mounted engine whose power output and cubic capacity were below the European driving licence A2 upper limits. All models also shared the same six-speed gearbox and the majority of cycle parts. The CB500X had a larger fuel tank and longer front suspension travel making it slightly taller. On its release, the CBR500R powered the European Junior Cup in 2013 and again in 2014. The three models were announced on the eve of the November 2012 EICMA show in Milan:
2013 April: CBR500R released - a faired sport bike; ABS optional
2013 April: CB500F released - a naked standard; ABS optional
2013 July: CB500X released - an adventure-styled multi-purpose bike; ABS optional
2016: All models restyled adding LED lamps and ABS as standard on all models; larger fuel tanks on F and R versions
Since its launch, the range received many favourable reviews; some preferring the taller X model while the sporty R model was one of Honda's top selling bikes in Canada during 2015 and best selling sports bike in Australia. Many commentators, especially in off-road and long distance touring, argued the need for such middleweight bikes. Perhaps as a consequence, in 2015, RallyRaid, a British after-market specialist, created upgrade kits for the R & F machines and a full adventure conversion kit for the X model.