Does Living With A 500cc Motorbike Get Boring?

The more I ride the CBR500R, the more I like, but people always say one thing: 'you'll get bored with the low power'. So here are my thoughts on that...
Does Living With A 500cc Motorbike Get Boring?

Before lockdown, I’d been daily riding a Honda CBR500R around 25 miles every day. Except for falling off - completely my fault - I enjoyed getting to know the bike, but the one comment I always heard was “wait until you get bored and want more power!” Well, I have had more power before - I used to ride a CR650R - so thought it was time to address the matter.

Because, guess what…you’re right.

Does Living With A 500cc Motorbike Get Boring?

Now don’t get me wrong: revving a bike out like the CBR500R is fun, but when you see cars closer than expected in your mirrors, the sense of satisfaction after launching hard from the lights quickly fades.

What’s more, the twin-cylinder’s exhaust note doesn’t give me the fizz, and when I pull up at the lights next to boys with bigger bikes, my manhood retreats into myself.

That is until I remember one thing:

Does Living With A 500cc Motorbike Get Boring?

Compared to a lot of you, I’m old at 35, which means that I like different things. So while I agree that 21-year old me would probably crave that sweet, sweet power hit, 35-year old me just wants to hit sweet, sweet MPGs. In other words, my maxim has switched from fast is fun in favour of boring is beautiful.

To call a sports bike like the CBR boring is nonsense though, but the benefits of having a more sensible bike like this far outweigh the fun I could have on a 1.0-litre superbike. After all, London isn’t a racetrack, and I have to pay for fuel.

If this were my bike to keep, the first thing I'd do would be to swap the exhaust for something far louder
If this were my bike to keep, the first thing I'd do would be to swap the…

Now one drawback I expected from the 500R was lacklustre performance on motorways, but I’m happy to report that isn’t the case; 47hp and two-cylinders is plenty to get me and the bike up to speed, and the mid-range, 32lb ft torque has surprising punch. What’s more, the CBR is fun on a B-road without being too scary and is easy to place on the road.

My greatest love for this bike is its size, though. Because it’s small, and because it only weighs 192kg (a CBR650R weighs 207kg), it’s easy to manoeuvre in traffic, simple to back into a parking bay and always feels lithe; there’s nothing worse than riding a bike you’re not confident on.

Does Living With A 500cc Motorbike Get Boring?

Its low 785mm seat height (versus 810mm on the bigger 650) also means that I can flat foot the 500, because as I’m sure many of you know already, what I lack in height I make up for in a lot of terrible car purchases.

The looks and riding position also get a thumbs up from me, which surprised me. During my time with the CB650R, I thought it was the bees, but leaning slightly more towards the handle bars on the CBR is more enjoyable. As for the aesthetics, I’ve grown to love the aggressive design, but the naked CB still clinches it.

Does Living With A 500cc Motorbike Get Boring?

So to answer my question of ‘can you really live with a 500cc bike?’, the answer, for me at least, is yes. My days of driving like a dick while listening to Akon (the guy in the 2000s who sang about smacking it all on the floor, being lonely and getting locked up) are done, and I’ve realised now that most girls aren’t impressed with a sick second-gear fly-by.

What I really want is something that looks good (tick), is easy to ride (yup) and doesn’t demand fill ups every other day (with over 80mpg, filling up happens once every two weeks, so job’s a good ‘un).

Now of course if my name were Ron Haslam, and if I lived on a race track, there’s no way that 500ccs would cut it. But for daily rider duties, a bike like the CBR500R is all the machine you’d ever need.


🎺🎺thank mr skeltal

If you’re not driving on motorway regularly, you could even get by with a 125cc bike. They are cheap to buy, (relatively) cheap to insure, get great fuel economy, are usually even lighter than a 500c bike, and you can legally operate them with an A1 license, which is not that expensive to obtain. Sure, you’ll max out somewhere around 60mph, but on B roads you’re not allowed to go faster than that anyway. A 125cc is not the bike you’d buy if you want a fun weekend ride, it’s a financially sensible decision for cost-effective commuting.

04/12/2020 - 09:50 |
16 | 8

I’m 36 and I love my CBR1000RR, took it on a ride from Bristol to Yorkshire and it averaged 49 MPG which I think is pretty good, but my god the rush when you pin that throttle back, it just doesn’t get boring.
I guess the main thing getting older does, is being sensible enough to know when to use that power and have fun, not doing it in 30 zones but finding a nice quiet road with good visibility.

04/12/2020 - 11:11 |
6 | 2

I’ve been riding now for just under 2 years on a rebel 500 (same engine as a cb/cbr500) and i do find i’m slowly getting bored of it, Don’t get me wrong its still a pleasure to ride and has enough power but i think the 650 cb/cbr is a far better unit not a massive jump but enough that long motorway rides would become more bearable. find the 500 tends to be reving fairly high at 70

04/12/2020 - 14:34 |
2 | 0

I’ve been the proud owner of a 2012 Ninja 250r for the past 5 years and I wouldn’t say im bored of it.
Although I have been thinking of getting a bigger bike (something like an old SV650) but thats mostly for longer rides. Even though I’ve owned it for half a decade, it just puts such a huge smile on my face every time I jump on it and for short journeys its an absolute blast. Just couldn’t bring myself to sell it and it costs so little to run anyway I may aswell keep it even after i get something bigger.

04/12/2020 - 14:55 |
4 | 2

If you think that is good, you’d love one of these.

04/12/2020 - 15:02 |
8 | 0

I ride a a cb500x with the same engine, rode 23 countries around europe on it, great bike, great fuelling.
Its made me like a smaller engine, but dont need it anymore so im changing it for a duke 390 which is a bit quicker and a bit more fun in the twisties. I live being able to get all up in the gears.
But riding the 500 on motorwayd was a drag, too high in the rev range when sitting at 75mph. Sitting at 90 on the autobahn at 90-100 for an hour was not pleasant.
Also overtaking past the 70mph mark really shows its lack of power.
So what i say is its absolutely perfect for the city and commuting, but if your on the motorway daily its a no from me.

04/12/2020 - 15:22 |
2 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

err the Duke is an unreliable pos… better off buying a Ninja 400 or a CB650R

04/12/2020 - 17:00 |
2 | 0

The CB650R you had weighed 202 kg not 207 kg :P
Secondly, if leaning over the handlebars was your thing, why didn’t you go for the faired CBR650R?
It hits both the “Nice mpg” and “Nice power” at once :P

04/12/2020 - 16:59 |
0 | 0
Jan Kunc CZ

I am 16 now, i was planning that i will buy cbr125 in summer, well…thanks to that situation i think i will buy suzuki gs500as a first bike in 2 or 3 years…but first i want to buy a car…

04/12/2020 - 17:34 |
0 | 0

I really don’t get how anyone can “get bored” of a CBR500R or similar bike.
Sure they’re not the fastest of bikes, but they are still far faster than 99% of all vehicles on the road. Every time you open up the throttle you get that rush, but at the same time they are not unhinged like some more powerful bikes are.

While you always have to be mindful when riding a bike, I’ve found with more powerful bikes you just end up being more cautious, knowing that at some point the bike might bite back. Unless you’re a track day regular (like once a month or more) a CBR500R really does everything you could want compared to litre bikes, except for highway ramp antics which are highly frowned upon by the law.

04/13/2020 - 02:28 |
2 | 0
Olivier (CT's grammar commie)

Lol everyone here posting their bikes, while I’m wondering how the hell you could be 35 when I thought you were like 28 or 29 max

04/13/2020 - 06:35 |
4 | 0


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