Honda NX500 review: Costly, comfy mile-muncher


Honda is back with its 471cc parallel twin with a revamped design. For those of you who don’t know, the NX name traces its roots back to the Honda NX650 Dominator that used to be a single-cylinder dual-sport made between 1988 and 2003. However, this bike is the successor to the CB500X and like that bike, you really can’t call it a dual sport, despite the new name. With added equipment and a fresh design, is the NX500 the tourer we’ve all been waiting for?

More sizeable than the CB500X.

Honda NX500 design, features

At first glance, the NX500 looks and feels more substantial than the CB500X. It features a redesigned headlamp and tail-light, and the fairing sits a lot higher and seems wider than before. Taking inspiration from the Transalp, Honda has designed a fairing that shares a similar silhouette. Looks can be subjective but I think the NX500 is a stylish motorcycle. However, it can very easily fly under the radar should you pick a darker shade. A lot of what you see on this particular motorcycle doesn’t come standard (or cheap), but more on that later.

5-inch TFT screen is easy to read.

Honda took notes from the CB500X and has made improvements with its successor. Gone is the old negative LCD, and in comes a new TFT display sourced from the Transalp. It’s bright enough and legible on a sunny afternoon, however, there is no distance-to-empty readout, which feels like a sore miss in an ADV designed for touring. Honda has added traction control, but switchable ABS still remains out of the picture. The buttons feel tactile and have great feedback even with gloves on.

Honda NX500 ride and handling, underpinnings

The NX500 feels quite comfortable to ride, and at low speeds, it smoothens out most bumps. Manoeuvring this motorcycle at low speeds or through traffic was an easy affair. Heat management is excellent, and despite the scorching summer, the NX500 seemed to dissipate heat rather well. The seat, too, is well supported and will keep saddle soreness at bay. If I had to nitpick, I’d probably prefer wider foot pegs for those long hours in the saddle, but it’s nothing I can’t get used to or easily replace via aftermarket options.

On the equipment front, Honda has carried over most of the parts found on the CB500X. For example, Honda claims that the spring rate of the forks and the damping has been fine-tuned for better results. The braking, too, has seen an improvement with an additional disc at the front to help with extra stopping power. While the initial bite is still a little too soft, these brakes perform well when you give the lever a good squeeze.

Honda NX500 engine and performance

The 471cc, parallel-twin engine has received minor tweaks to the fuelling for better low-end performance. Honda also claims an overall 3kg weight reduction from before although you won’t really be able to tell. Like earlier, the engine and gearbox combination are a peach and work in tandem to alleviate any stress you’d face commuting. An easy-going motor combined with a smooth gearbox and a light clutch left me feeling lively even after doing around 100km inside the city. In fact, I can positively say that the NX500 is a comfortable mile muncher.

Honda NX500 Verdict

Honda was never known for its stellar pricing. What it is known for is making well-built and reliable motorcycles, and the NX500 is no exception. With an ex-showroom price of Rs 5.90 lakh in Mumbai, the NX500 may seem like quite a bad bargain, but compared to the CB500X, it’s a much better deal. More importantly, its strength cannot be experienced on paper and this bike’s attributes make gobbling miles a comfortable endeavour.

Rear rack costs Rs 33,000!

We often associate performance and flamboyance with luxury but being able to ride without breaking a sweat and the promise of not having to visit your nearest service centre very often is a luxury in itself. The NX500 is that experience, and once you’ve felt it, it feels well worth the money. However, all is not gold and Honda does charge a bomb for its accessories. The bike we tested has accessories worth over Rs 90,000 (crash protection, centre stand, 12V socket, top-box mount and more) on it, and paying any more over this already expensive proposition feels like a stretch. But if your pockets are deep enough and your hunger for travel hasn’t been satiated, the NX500 could be the bike you need.

Also See:

Honda NX500 video review

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