Home News Honda NX500: Road Test Review

Honda NX500: Road Test Review

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Honda NX500: Road Test Review
GalleryIntroduction Styling and Quality Ergonomics and Comfort Performance and Handling Features and Technology Fuel EfficiencyVerdict


This is the Honda NX500. It’s the successor to the CB500X and if you look at its pricing of Rs. 5.90 lakh (ex-showroom), it’s positioned in the middle of entry-level ADVs like the 390 Adventure and bigger ones like the Kawasaki Versys 650. Now, in terms of engine displacement and performance numbers, it sits very close to the likes of the Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 which starts from Rs 2.98 lakh. Then why is the price of the NX so much higher? In theory, two of the biggest reasons seem to be the presence of an extra cylinder and the CBU route that it takes to come to India. But are these the only reasons or does the NX500 have some tricks up its sleeves to justify that price tag? Let’s find out.

Styling and Quality

The NX500 looks significantly different from the CB500X, in a good way. It looks bigger as it has more muscle around the headlamp and fuel tank area, despite the headlamp being a smaller unit. Even the new upside-down front forks add to the visual mass of the motorcycle and the red colour, in particular, looks conspicuous on the road. The design might not be to everyone’s liking, but it does have road presence and attracts onlooker’s attention on the road.

In terms of overall quality, the NX500 is profoundly high-class. The paint finish, quality of plastic panels and switchgear, and the fitment of components feel premium and sturdy, almost as good as Honda’s much bigger bikes.

Ergonomics and Comfort

The NX500 is extremely comfortable in terms of seating ergonomics. At 830mm, some may find the seat height to be tall, but for my 5’11’’ stature, getting on the saddle and placing my feet on the ground is easy peasy. It should be doable for shorter riders as well. The riding triangle is upright and neutral and the seat has a lot of real estate so even larger riders will find it accommodating. The cushioning too is adequate for long hours of continuous riding. It is undoubtedly a reliable touring companion. If you want to stand up and ride, that’s doable too. But off-roading is not its strongest suit as it feels top-heavy and runs out of suspension travel too soon.

The suspension setup is the only thing that disappointed me about this package. Over insignificant undulations like minor road joints or manhole covers, the bike feels absorbent. However, give it anything more serious and the NX delivers a jarring ride quality. It lands violently in potholes and bounces off speed breakers, thereby sending a jolt to the rider, unless you slow down to crawling speeds. Even on the highway, the ride feels busy almost all the time, more so on largely imperfect Mumbai roads.

Performance and Handling

Honda has bestowed the NX500 with multiple elemental updates over the CB500X. First up is the introduction of Showa big piston separate function USD forks, unlike the telescopic units on its predecessor. Honda has also revised the spring rate and damping of this setup. The braking setup is also a departure from a single disc up front to dual petal-type rotors with Nissin calipers at both ends. Plus, the alloy wheels are lighter than before and, at 196kg, the kerb weight is 3kgs lesser than the CB500X.

The 471cc, parallel-twin engine gets changes to its fueling setup for better acceleration. However, the power and torque output numbers remain the same as before at 47bhp and 43Nm of peak torque. And this, I must say, is a peach of an engine.

The NX500’s motor is smooth, refined, and has useable torque across the rev range. The acceleration is not exciting and you don’t feel a sudden surge of acceleration anywhere across the rev band. However, the torque delivery is strong and flat which means you rarely fall short of the needed drive. It has great mid-range and tractability thereby being friendly and relaxed in the city. At the same time, even 130kmph on the highway, when it sits close to 7,000rpm, feels unstrained. You do feel a slight buzz on the handlebar beyond 7,000rpm but you’ll seldom find yourself crossing that mark.

Another highlight is the clutch operation which feels super light. In fact, this is one of the lightest clutches I’ve come across so far. Adding to that is a slick gearbox and a precise throttle response all of which concertedly deliver a creamy smooth experience. The icing on the cake is a bassy exhaust sound which also lets out pops and crackles at times.

When it’s time to stop or slow down, the dual Nissin callipers up front offer a strong bite, thereby inspiring a lot of confidence. It could do with a better lever feel but this never acts as a serious downer.

For a bike that weighs 196kg and gets a 19-inch front wheel, the NX500 handles impressively. Be it switching lanes spiritedly in the city or taking on corners, the bike turns with minimal effort and carries on with good composure. It’s only when you come across undulations around corners that the bike feels wobbly and unsettled and that’s down to the unforgiving suspension setup.

Features and Technology

Unlike the CB500X’s bland LCD dash, the new NX500 incorporates a new five-inch TFT dash that offers Bluetooth connectivity and shows a plethora of information. Interestingly, it also gets traction control now which is switchable via a dedicated button. The display is easy to read on the go in terms of brightness and positioning. For navigating through different options, there’s a cute little joystick on the left switchgear. The overall user interface is complicated to operate the first few times but things get easier over time. And in typical Honda fashion, the position of the turn indicator and horn switches are interchanged in comparison to other bikes. This felt obnoxious during my stint with the bike because I could never reach the horn switch in time.

Fuel Efficiency

In our test, the NX500 turned out to be decently fuel-efficient with a mileage of 24.8kmpl. This was largely in the city with moderate to high traffic. It should certainly be higher by around 3-4kmpl on the highway. Considering the aforementioned figure and its fuel tank capacity of 17.5 litres, expect a range of over 434km at least.


The NX500 is suitable for someone who wants something more premium than the KTM 390 Adventure or Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 but doesn’t want to spend as much as Rs. 7.70 lakh on the Kawasaki Versys 650.

It’s a motorcycle that’s hard to find major faults in. The highlights for me are the engine and the seating ergonomics. The 471cc motor is utterly refined even at high speeds and it’s quite potent too. The acceleration is not outright thrilling but it’s good enough to enjoy high-speed cruising and pulling off overtakes easily. Moreover, the seating ergos are almost perfect, including seat cushioning, for hours of riding. Plus, the brakes are strong, it offers a good amount of features, and the fit and finish are top notch.

I just wish it delivered better ride quality which acts as a tiny chink in the otherwise near-perfect package. But what’s the bigger shortcoming is its price tag of Rs 5.90 lakh which, for its displacement and overall package, is on the steeper side. Although that’s acceptable considering it comes to India via the CBU route, a bike as good as this should’ve been more accessible.

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi


Honda NX500
471 cc|46.9 bhp|196 kg
₹ 5,90,000Onwards
Avg. Ex-Showroom price
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