These 3 motorcycles have a few things in common; they are Honda’s latest variants featuring Euro5 emission standard, inverted front Showa suspension, double disc front brakes and radial-type front brake Nissin calipers. But only the newer X-ADV 750 II comes with Version 2.0 of Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) system.
What’s the improvements over their respective predecessors, apart from the new features mentioned?
For starter, the CBR500R’s parallel twin engine has been tweaked for better torque and midrange performance, resulting in noticeable acceleration from stop/start and holding the grunt without a drop when maneuvering out of tight traffic situations. With its generous capacity of 17.2-litre fuel tank plus a claimed 28.9km/litre mileage, the CBR500R goes a long way (over 470km!) before it needs refueling.
Its only limitation is the inability to fit a genuine Quick Shifter to assist in changing gears as Honda doesn’t make any available. Of course, the owner could always fit a 3rd-party kit to it.
Despite being a supersport, the CBR500R has an even narrower width than the CBR650R, making lane filtering easier too. Equipped with an Assist Slipper Clutch, the lack of a Quick Shifter isn’t an issue as gear shifting is a breeze, needing only a soft touch. Unlike the CB650R/CBR650R, the CBR500R is equipped with Honda’s ProLink rear shock absorber, used in many of the brand’s motocross, supersports and MotoGP bikes.
This model is part of Honda’s line-up for the Neo Sports Café series, which comprised of the CB125R, CB250R and CB1000R. But the same engine/chassis combination is also featured in its supersport sibling, the CBR650R.
Because of that, the rear pillion seat looks uncanny & weird when seen on the CBR sibling as compared to this naked model.
Yes, the CB650R can fit the same optional, genuine Honda Quick Shifter kit designed for it and its supersport sibling, enabling smooth & precise gear upshifting. However, it’s designed to work in 1-direction only as downshifting requires manual operation.
Being a naked bike, overall fuel consumption is noticeably “thirstier” than the full-fairing CBR650R, due to lack of wind pressure protection, given similar mileage distance. Having rode the CBR650R with Quick Shifter, performance is a bit wanting on this stock standard CB650 which is not installed with it.
Overall, handling and lane filtering are as good as its fully faired sibling although at times, the wider handlebars may force rider to reduce speed if gap between other vehicles is too tight go through.
Having said that, steering the bike out of tighter places is easier done than the CBR variant, as there’s no fairing to restrict its movement. Like the CBR650R, it can also fit the optional pillion seat cowl made by Honda, or a 3rd-party version. Steering geometry on the CB650R is generous despite its longer wheelbase than Honda's 250cc supersport/naked bikes as making a U-Turn is as agile.
X-ADV 750 II
There’s a massive improvement for DCT version 2.0 over the type available on the original model. The newer X-ADV's DCT comes with Artificial Intelligence (AI) built-in, allowing it to adapt the owner’s preferred style of riding via Deep Learning… and did it quite quickly. Albeit within half an hour or thereof.
Another noticeable improvement is the DCT’s ability to keep the right gearing when the bike is going up steeper or downward terrains as compared to the first-generation X-ADV model. The DCT toggles between 2nd and 3rd gears in these situations, never goes into 1st or 4th. When I test rode the first-gen X-ADV a few years ago, it always set the wrong gearing to the extent I had to engage manual override, using the left handlebar's +/- switches.
Version II lets the owner performs that aspect if it’s needed but during my test ride with it, I didn’t have to engage the option at all. The AI feature did its work as intended. In part, the new X-ADV performs better than the CB650R/CBR650R series of motorcycles in navigating daily commuting traffic. I only need to keep my left thumb on standby at the horn button while right hand is for controlling the throttle with 2 fingers on front brake lever. Nothing else to operate for a seamless ride throughout. Well done, Honda.