First Look at the Honda CBR500R Race Bike

11/13/2012 @ 4:47 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

With the debut of the 2013 Honda CBR500R street bike, Honda has somehow managed to get the 500cc parallel twin budget bike to be the weapon of choice in the European Junior Cup — displacing the KTM 690 Duke from its racing duty. A grooming series for World Superbike Racing, the EJC series is a cost-effective way to get young future stars on bikes and in front of the people that could make or break their careers.

Hoping to give the CBR500R a bit more performance cred, something the 47hp machine might need to appeal to new riders who have to adhere to the A2 License requirements, but still want a proper “sport bike” for their first ride. As such, the Honda CBR500R race bike was debuted at EICMA today, and even got a little star power from one Jonathan Rea. Photos and video after the jump.

Photos of the 2013 Honda CBR500R:

Source: Honda Europe

  • Brian

    This is a HUGE step backward from the KTM 690 Duke they raced last season.

    690 Duke
    70 HP
    330 lbs


    Honda must have put up a LOT of cash to make this happen.

  • 2ndclass

    When everyone’s riding the same bike performance figures don’t matter much, and when you’re in a series that’s designed to showcase up-and-comers, being able to shine on an average machine will make a big impact.

  • Gutterslob

    ^ I suspect it’s also partly to keep costs down. Not sure how much less (or more) this costs compared to the KTM, but am pretty sure racing parts will be cheaper. No one does race OEM like Honda.

  • Damo


    Note the race version of the CBR500 will NOT weigh 400lbs and I guarantee with out the road spec exhaust and ECU is wont be down that much on power from the KTM. It will also me more reliable a metric butt ton cheaper. (See the CBR250 cup bike as a platform reference)

  • Cpt.Slow

    AAAHhh, damn it… would be cool to have this next to my tracked cbr2!

  • Silas

    Can someone please explain to me why Honda makes these things with the handle bar position of an upright or non-faired bike? It looks totally ridiculous in my opinion to have a fully faired bike with a riding position of a naked or day to day street bike? It’s the same with the CBR125 and 250.

    Yamaha and Aprilia at least make their 125s as actual sport bike replicas. That used to be the way with the smaller displacement Honda’s (VFR 400) and Suzuki’s (RGV250).

    Honestly this CBR500 (and the 250 and 125) are the motorcycling equivalent of a Thai Ladyboy – at first glance everything seems normal but a millisecond later your minds going ‘get me the hell out of here!’

  • Franxou

    The north-american cbr500 is supposed to make 54 hp (or rwhp?), the 47hp version is for licence-restricted markets. It’s true the 500 might be slower than the 690, but newbie-cups are usually budget-oriented to get as much people as possible on the grid and I can’t believe a 500cc honda would cost more than a 690cc KTM, right?
    Then you get to the race parts, preparation and maintenance, then again a honda is usually cheaper than a ktm… For a junior cup, they probably have made the right move, I don’t think honda had to spend much more than a fact-sheet explaining why their new 500cc would be better fot the organisation.
    This doesn’t stop anyone from putting up a ktm 690 cup for amateurs, right? It would be great if dealerships, enthusiasts and racetrack officials had a way of easily meeting each other and spreading news… My local bike club seems more disorganized than my socks drawer.

  • SuspectAnalogy

    @ Silas

    Honda’s attempt to make sport bikes with more comfortable riding positions is a way to ease people into the sport bike segment. Much like the way Thai Ladyboys apparently work for you. Odd that you would make that comparison….

  • James

    This is rediculous! Why would honda make a 1 off random bike with no equivalent competition? If the simply modernized the V4 RVF and VFR or even just resold the original production bikes maybe with EFi THEY WOULD SELL LIKE HOTCAKES and you would find most other manufacturers would get on board as they ALL (kwaka, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki) would all get on board as they already have the production capability! Best entry level class (and cost effective ) you could have!! BRING BACK THE RVF for 2013!!!

  • TrueHondaFans

    @ Silas

    You have a funny way of comparison, but what you said was actually very true. You see a nice bike (cbr500r) looks cool and aggressive (sexy) with cheap price but once you take her out for track days your realize that she (cbr500r) is not made for track but only on streets or for show. Honda use European Junior Championships as a platform to tell people : ” hey this is a race bike!” to get more sales from racing lovers enthusiastic.
    I agree with James where are the V4 Honda where are the legends (VFR,RVF,MC28 and many more!) that you’ve built???
    There is only 2 way that cbr500r going to get high sales and that is phasing out the 600cc next year 2014 but I doubt it.
    Or HRC comes out with many products for (cbr500r) marking it up to 70bhp-80bhp then that can transform this ladyboy (cbr500r) into a real beauty.

    If not we will just have to call her the Honda’s Ladyboy bike!

  • Franxou


    I don’t think you are right about the 500cc killing the 600, they are completely different products for completely different buyers. A lot of people want a true racebike, good for them, cbr600/1000 it is, but an other lot of people want a cool looking and agressive (sexy) bike while having good manners in real-life situations, that is city, road, highway, parking lot and everywhere else. Pretty much anyone will know the instant they sit on the cbr500 that it’s not a racebike, the same way the ninja250/300 and ninja650 are not ninja600/1000. It’s absolutely possible to drive a porsche 911 gt3rs to the grocery store and come back with food but it would have been easier in a less twitchy and twin-storage compartmented porsche boxster, isn’t it?
    If the cbr500 was ever to replace the 600, it would not have a heavy steel frame, and it would not sell for that cheap either. It’s going to be sold alongside the other the same way a porsche boxter is being sold alongside the race-winning porsche 911 gt3rs.

  • James

    Franxou did you read any of the above? The title clearly states “race bike” and it is being marketed as such in “junior cup” events, its aim is not a commuter at all. My main issue is that essentially it IS a commuter, but got (god knows how with a single front disc brake) an R classification. At best CB 500f is appropriate. What your suggesting us t

  • James

    … Piece of shit phone… What IM suggesting is that they are trying to have their race bike cake and eat it too, which is bullshit, and rehashing old crap that there is no competition in the market for. Bring back the RVF with a new look and some EFI, and watch the Race classes fill up with them, and competition companies jump on the band wagon immediately. I simply have a problem with trying to make an everything bike and sell it to us like we are idiots.

  • Franxou


    I agree with you that CB 500F would have been a better name, though I would have voted for CBF500 in order to get it aligned with the CBF600 and CBF1000.

    The thing here is that the “race version” of their CBR500R bike is probably nothing more than a race-prepped version of the stock cbr500r. Being a cheap honda bike, it is supposed to be cheaper for euro junior cup racers in the long run than the KTM and I think it is why honda got the gig. That and probably some endorsement money, business being business.

    It does not mean that the cbr500r is meant to be a race-winning bike, it just is a marketing move in order to give some race-cred to a bike marketed at new or young riders. It is in the same way Harley-Havidson had an 883-class and later a XR1200 challenge or that Dodge puts some Chargers in Nascar, the H-D XR1200 and Dodge Charger are absolutely not meant to be racers, they are volume sellers (not the xr1200 though) that benefit a little from race credential.