These Mods Turn The Honda CB500X Into The Adventure Bike We Want

Illustration for article titled These Mods Turn The Honda CB500X Into The Adventure Bike We Want

Honda was ahead of the game when it came out with the CB500 trifecta (F, R, and X). They’re each light, fun, have adequate power, and compelling price tags. But the 500X, despite being billed as a quasi-ADV, doesn’t have the necessary kit for serious off-roading. Rally Raid Products is out to rectify that.

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Rally Raid has made a name for itself primarily for a series of mods that transform the KTM 690 Enduro from a barely legal dirt bike into something resembling a proper ADV. Now they’ve turned their attention to the CB500X with its new Adventure Kit.

It couldn’t have started with a more perfect platform, with a 250-mile range, solid ergonomics, and a fuel-injected, liquid-cooled 471cc parallel-twin putting out 47 HP and 32 lb-ft of torque. It’s also great for shorter and lighter riders, and is a better every day machine than a trail-oriented thumper or massive ADV. But where it falls short is primarily in the wheels, suspension, and protection department, and that’s what Rally Raid targeted.

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Illustration for article titled These Mods Turn The Honda CB500X Into The Adventure Bike We Want

First, they ditched the stock wheels for a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear, each with beefed up stainless steel spokes and both an aluminum hub and rim.

The front forks were gutted to make room for longer Tractive springs (with a choice of soft, standard, or hard rates), 30mm damper rods, and capped off with a 20mm, stepped billet aluminum top clamp with a Scotts steering damper and optional high-rise bars. The rear suspension was swapped in favor of an adjustable, long-travel adventure shock and a new billet aluminum linkage that fortifies the back, but doesn’t mess with the stock geometry.

All in, it raises the bike by about 2 inches at both ends, adding up to just under 7 inches of travel.

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A range of accessories are also available, including a longer side stand, a new front fender, soft luggage, tail-pack, and pillion racks, as well as wider, heavy-duty foot rests and an engine guard with an integrated skid plate.

Illustration for article titled These Mods Turn The Honda CB500X Into The Adventure Bike We Want
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While all of this has been developed specifically for the 500X, because the bike series is modular, a lot of the bits will bolt up to the other models in the 500 range. Just the suspension upgrades will set you back around $1,200, with the full kit for the 500X coming in at just over $3,000. Pre-orders are going through Rally Raid’s U.S. distributors at Giant Loop Moto, and all the parts are direct bolt-ons for DIYers.


Contact the author at damon@jalopnik.com.
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DISCUSSION

430 lbs wet, while light for an adventure bike, is still a hefty bike for off road. For perspective, the 690 Enduro is 315 lbs dry so probably 330ish wet. My XR650R is 280 dry, and it is a desert bike. It is a handful out in the woods. My XR200 is 225ish lbs and it is a night and day difference in the dirt. My Hypermotard weighs the same as the CB, and from experience it is not that great a dirt bike. I’d be leery of riding even this modified version of the CB500x on anything other than hard packed, easy trails. Adventure bikes imo are more of a fashion trend than a realistic on/off road capable bike, though they sure do look cool. I can’t think of a single person I know who actually off roads their adventure bike. Yeah there are nutters who do, but there are also guys who off road on sportbikes. Is weight the only important factor in picking a dirt bike? No, but it is a pretty big one. Also factor in the now 34” seat height and street oriented geometry, etc and the CB500X with the Raid kit is probably still a “soft roader” at best. And there is nothing wrong with that, it’s probably a great bike (Honda <3 ) but my back is twinging just looking at the last picture in the article and imagining trying to pick the bike up in that kind of terrain.