A CB500 to take on the world

RRP CB500X Adventure fRally-Raid Products are set to release a comprehensive ‘Adventure’ conversion kit for the Honda CB500X and it will be on show at The Overland Event in June.
Developed and manufactured in the UK,  will be available worldwide from 15th May 2015. Recently shown at The Ace café in London in prototype form, this compact and capable twin-cylinder all-terrain bike will officially debut to the press and public at the Overland Expo in Arizona 15-17th May.
British engineering firm Rally-Raid Products are the world’s leading manufacturer of aftermarket rally parts & accessories for the KTM 690 Enduro motorcycle – typically transforming it from a basic road-legal dirt-bike into a much more appropriate machine for long-distance rally racing and off-road oriented adventure travel.
They have now turned their expertise towards developing a similar solution around a machine from the opposite end of the motorcycle spectrum, improving what is essentially a budget road-biased adventure tourer, and making it far more capable of genuine all-road and all-terrain travel.
“The Honda CB500X already satisfies many of the requirements considered essential by the adventure riding community” explains Rally-Raid Products’ proprietor John Mitchinson.
“As standard it has a range of over 250 miles, and great fuel economy too; together with good weather protection, comfortable ergonomics and a really smooth and willing EFi engine. “Certainly we consider it far more appropriate as an ‘every-day’ machine than a typical single-cylinder trail bike” he suggests. “Low maintenance and renowned Honda reliability are further benefits, and particularly impressive is the feeling of all-round competence at such an affordable price.”
In addition, the relatively compact dimensions, short wheelbase and appreciably lighter weight when compared to other [larger cc] twin-cylinder ‘Adventure’ bikes also makes the CB500X attractive to shorter or smaller riders, together with being A2 licence compliant across Europe.
“We have then addressed what we feel are those few short-comings with regard to a genuine ‘all-road’ and all-terrain specification” John Mitchinson explains. “Fundamentally we wanted to fit a stronger and more off-road-appropriate spoked wheel-set, which includes a larger 19” diameter front wheel – allowing a wider choice of all-terrain tyres to be fitted.”!
“At the same time the original Honda suspension is very basic – offering limited damping control and virtually no adjustment whatsoever” He reveals. “We have replaced the original front and rear units with high quality fully-adjustable components from our European engineering partners Tractive Suspension, that were designed exclusively to our specification.”CB500X Adventure Overland
The Rally-Raid CB500X Adventure suspension also offers a useful increase in travel and associated ground clearance. The front forks and rear shock both now offer 170mm travel, providing a more compliant ride coupled with far better wheel-control and stability over rough ground and while on the road.
“We used extensive computer modelling and testing both in-house and at Tractive in Holland to ensure that our upgraded suspension retained the original geometry, while offering vastly superior action and a wide range of adjustability – transforming the original bike” says John.
Complementing the core Adventure wheel and suspension upgrades, are a range of accessories and options to further tailor the bike to the individual owner’s requirements.
“A key consideration was to provide some proper protection to the otherwise exposed lower engine” John explains. “Our solution was to create a tubular steel ‘cradle’ that incorporates a substantial skid-plate, and which connects directly to the main-frame fore and aft to completely isolate the underside of the engine from typical impact danger. “Our design also provides comprehensive protection to the engine ancillaries such as oil filter, exhaust and the various sensors around the lower half of the bike, together with additional protection of the engine side-cases.”
Also available from launch will be a series of soft-luggage mounting options, heavy-duty platform style foot-pegs, and various upgrades for the handle bar controls – including adjustable levers, alternative bar-risers and the straightforward fitting of a steering damper. A full inventory of the various accessories, together with detailed descriptions and specifications, will be available on the dedicated website: www.CB500Xadventure.com to coincide with the official launch on the 15th May 2015.
While Rally-Raid Products have initially focused on the adventure-orientated X model, a fortunate off-shoot of Honda’s modular design of their three-bike CB500 range is that many of the upgraded Rally-Raid components are also appropriate for the road-going CB500F and CBR500R models too.
“Because the front and rear suspension components are dimensionally the same across the three bike range, we are also able to offer the same high-quality and fully-adjustable front and rear upgrades in a standard-travel length for the CB-F and CBR-R models, or for those CB-X owners who do not want to raise the seat-height at all” reveals John. “In addition, customers will be able to choose from a range of different spring rates at the point of purchase to suit their riding style and requirements” he concludes.