CMX500A 600 mile review
First, a little about me. Apart from the odd short ride on a dirt bike, and a year of riding a Ruckus, I have no prior experience on a motorbike. I'm 44, 200 lbs, 71" tall, and have bad knees. I'll tell you why that part matters a little further down. I'm just a guy who was due to pick up a new hobby and stumbled across the news that the honda rebel was getting redesigned. I liked the new looks and read everything I could find online about the new CMX bikes. Since I love my biscuits and bacon, I was pretty set on the 500, and decided on the abs version because other riders told me abs could save my life. I found a dealer who had the bike I wanted and picked it up on the 6th of May.
Now, I won't try and rehash everything the motobloggers have already said about the bike, but I'll try to share a few of my thoughts on the bike in case anyone out there is looking for a rookies opinion on it. In less than 20 days of ownership I've arrived at my 600 mile initial oil change interval, so my engine is broken in and I suppose I am too. So here goes.
Appearance: well duh. I bought it so you're safe to assume I love the looks. I don't think it's the best looking entry level bike on the market, but I rank it right at the top. All but one or two of the "sponsored" custom builds out there I think are superb and Honda was very clever to show off what can be done with a few bolt ons.
Ergonomics: this one was important to me, and I almost didn't buy the bike for fear of having my knees bent excessively. I wanted foot forward controls, because my arthritic knees don't have full range of motion and I'm most comfortable with them at 45ish vs 90ish degrees. But for my money I figured I couldn't do much better and went with it anyway. After all, there would probably be a way I could get some highway pegs on it and be able to stretch my legs. I've got an engine crash bar on the way for just that reason.
As it turns out, my knee concerns have been a non issue. I'm comfortable on the bike position-wise. I can rise up out of the seat if I need too, and stand up on the pegs if need be, bad knees and all. My only discomfort is in the seat itself. I get the numbass after 30 minutes or so, and that has kept me from riding longer distances on the bike.
Power/performance: as a rookie, I'm very pleased with what the bike offers here. On my first couple of rides I was nervous that the bike would get away from me but the gearing prevented that. Now, a couple of weeks later, I'm practicing my launches to try and see how quickly i can get to 70mph. I've had the speed up to 90ish and had plenty of cowbell left. The brakes do just fine, I haven't been close to engaging ABS on it yet. Being a light bike, and living in a windy state have made for some nerve racking moments. Im getting used to being blown sideways by the wind unexpectedly. I don't know if this is the bikes fault or just a fact of life as a rider. Either way the wind is becoming less of a concern as I realize it's not going to blow me into the ditch. I think this is a bike I can be happy with for longer than a couple of seasons.
Fit/finish: I wish the US models all came with an ABS option. I would have done the gray model in a second. Black sucks to keep clean, and there's a lot of bugs around here...they get everywhere. The clear coat on the black is easily scratched, even using a good automotive grade microfiber towel will still leave swirls. I'm not in love wth the plastic pieces and the rear tail light. Also the muffler sucks to look at too. I'm sure other entry level bikes from other manufacturers have better fit and finish as I've read all the debates between chrome and the Yet Another Blacked Out Bike look. But again, this is an affordable bike that offers a lot to the new rider. It's a tool, and overall I'd say everything is as it should be. I know it'll still look good in years to come if I decide to sell it.
I believe my riding skills have developed very quickly on this bike. I expected to feel intimidated for a few months, but each time I ride I gain new confidence. I know being overconfident with limited skills is a recipe for disaster, but this bike is a willing partner when it comes to developing skill. I don't feel like it's waiting to give me a nasty surprise. I still have not done a day long ride, and that's what I've fantasized most about. Until either my butt gets broken in or the seat gets broken in, we're stuck at thirty to forty five minute rides. I have absolutely no regrets about choosing this bike and would recommend it to most beginners. I don't feel qualified to make a recommendation to a veteran rider who is looking to downsize, but I could see why this would be a good bike for that too.
I hope this bike floods the market and we see them everywhere. I want good aftermarket support and that would bring it. Honda has given us some decent options to start with but here are a few things on my want list...
a good looking wind screen that functions
Rear seat with a backrest
Highway pegs...I will be ok without them but I do want to stretch my legs on a long ride.
LED lighting all the way around
A bigger tank/more range. Best I'm getting right now is 150 miles per tank
Thanks for reading, and I hope this was helpful for you if you are a newbie like me looking to get into riding. This thing is a blast!
Hey Buddy. Welcome aboard!!! I'm completely and utterly new at this too. I settled for the Rebel 300 non-abs. I am a little little, and shorter than you, but the 300 worked out great for me. Nerve racking at first, but after a few hours, you'll be cruising along with a smile on your face, and all the worries you might have had are gone.
Trick with the wind, DON'T FIGHT IT!!! You will get swept a bit with the cross winds, but the real trick is just go with it, make very small corrections. If you fight it too much, you will become fatigued and then things can happen.
I just hit my 600mi mark as well. Had the bike for about a week now. Riding every day for about an hour or more at a time. I've done highway and heavy traffic, as I said, nerve racking at first, especially in traffic, everyone one around ya, don't want to hold up traffic, or make a mistake, or embarrass yourself. Don't even think about the traffic, just concentrate on stopping, taking off, and mindful of your surroundings. Tune everything out except don't if you know what I mean.
After the 3rd day driving, I can brake, clutch, downshift/upshift without much thought into it. Learn the noise of the bike and things will just start coming natural to you.
Congratz on the 500 and enjoy the ride.