Honda’s new CL500 strikes a rich retro vein, with inspiration from the original CLs of the 60s and 70s. Using the A2-licence compatible twin-cylinder engine of Honda’s CB500 series, it applies a new tubular diamond-structure steel frame, long-travel suspension and 19/17-inch front/rear wheel combination to good effect. It’s born ready for the rigours of urban travel as much as it is light off-road. The head-turning style is rich with details such as rounded fuel tank, knee pads, rubber fork gaiters and upswept dual-exit exhaust muffler with drilled heat shield. All lighting is LED, the dash a negative LCD display and four contemporary paint options make the CL500 stand out even further from the crowd.
Honda has a long history of getting smaller capacity bikes just right for riders around the world. A combination of easy usability, useful engine performance, affordability and distinct individuality equal motorcycles that, over time, come to mean so much to their owners. The CLs from the ‘60s and ‘70s were such bikes, proving that a lightweight bike with off-road dynamics was great fun around town. Latterly, the high-barred, high-piped style has become an iconic signature for many 21st century riders.
Click forward 5 decades and in 2018 the A2 licence compatible CMX500 Rebel arrived in the Honda range. Its old-school meets new-school take on custom cool was an instant hit – and extremely customisable. And as a package – engine, chassis and styling – it’s proved irresistible to a legion of young riders and has quietly got on with the business of being the top-selling custom bike in Europe for the last two years. Five years later it’s time for something new and for 23YM Honda has, once again, a bike proudly wearing the CL badge - for riders who like to be that bit different. The CL500 draws heavily on the formula of the original CLs. It’s got the right look, the right engine and the durability to go with the urban rough and tumble. And, as for customisation, an owner’s imagination is all that’s required. With this bike there is no limit.