2013 Motorcycle & Motorcyclist of the Year

By Motorcyclist Staff, Photography by Kevin Wing

Best Bang For The Buck

Honda CB500F

Bridging The Gap With Confidence We sometimes forget that not everyone is into motorcycling for an adrenaline-pumping thrill ride. For some, transportation is the main goal. Others are just happy to be outside. We get it. And so does Honda. The evidence is right here: the new world-spec CB500s. In truth, all three models we get here—the CBR500R sportbike, the CB500X adventure-styled machine, and the CB500F naked—are good values in totally middle-ground motorcycles, offering a lot of confidence and competence for around $6,000.

But it's the CB500F we're most fond of, in part because it's the cheapest version of these mechanically identical (or nearly so) machines. Just $5,499 gets you in the sport with a sprightly, economical, unusually smooth parallel-twin powerplant housed in a steel-member frame that looks like nothing special on the spec chart.

With mellow power, roomy ergonomics, and suspension calibrated toward the pillowy end of the scale, the CB-F aims for and solidly hits the broadest part of the new/returning-rider market. Well-built, charming, and inoffensive, the CB500F is in many ways the prototypical Honda—offering a safe, intelligent choice for those new to our sport, or even those coming back after a few years away.

Alternative Take

Triumph Street Triple R

What’s this? The high-spec Street Triple R lands in the Bang for the Buck category? Triumph’s uprated Street is so much better than the base model, for so little extra dough ($9,999, just $600 more) that we have to call this money well spent. Upgraded and adjustable suspension and much better brakes improve an already-agile, fast, and enjoyable machine.

By Motorcyclist Staff
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"It's what these guys do: defend old-tech machines by bridging the conversation from clanky machinery to unique engine architecture, significant historical precedent, the serenity of Lake Como, or some other specious attribute meant to make us look past obvious flaws."

Leave out the part about Lake Como - and you're describing a harley rider..
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