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So, here in Italy we're having EICMA right now and a lot of nice new things are showing up.
Here's the first english site I found about this new bike from Honda, as far as I can see it's a good way for Honda to put themselves into the scrambler/heritage/howeveryouwannacallit market section, as I can see a lot of resemblances between our XSR 700 and this Honda CL500.
What do you guys think about it?
I find it pretty nice appealing, and -samely as I liked the Benelli Leoncino- I think that's a good emluation of our market-pulling bike :)


 

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Nice bike, still mostly street, but that's fine. A lot of new riders rode Honda CL72s and CL77s as well as CL350s, when I started riding off road. 90% rode them only on the road. Those who took to off roading and liked riding dirt soon went to off road and dual sports, like the Yamaha Enduro series. The CL series was always popular though, high pipes were considered pretty cool.
 

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Meh, it looks mostly like a parts bin bike. New frame, then just what ever they had laying around with very minimal new parts. I'd love to see Honda blow the mid size market out of the water with a new shaft drive bike. Far too many overweight ADV bikes out now that are just going bigger and bigger. The old DL/CX500 bikes were shaft drive and bulletproof.
 

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Hmmm. Welcome to the CL500, aka the Honda Hipster. Doesn't do it for me (never been a hipster, I guess!). I'd have rather seen it emerge from the CB500 platform than the cruiser base. It needs a bigger tank (and what's that strange air gap beneath the front of the tank?), smaller exhaust, twin discs and upside down forks at the front, like the latest CB500 range. Disappointing. But it should keep the hipsters happy, I suppose.
 

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It’s too underpowered and needs more horses.
Hmmm...depends what you want it for. I've got a CB500F (amongst others), only 47bhp, but it's more fun on back roads than any of my other bikes. On gravel/forest trails/back roads etc, the CL 500 will have more than enough power and will deliver bucket loads of fun. There are big scramblers out there, like the Triumph 1200 and the big Ducatis, for those who like their horses!
 

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Hmmm. Welcome to the CL500, aka the Honda Hipster. Doesn't do it for me (never been a hipster, I guess!). I'd have rather seen it emerge from the CB500 platform than the cruiser base. It needs a bigger tank (and what's that strange air gap beneath the front of the tank?), smaller exhaust, twin discs and upside down forks at the front, like the latest CB500 range. Disappointing. But it should keep the hipsters happy, I suppose.

Like the CL series did back in the 60s-70s, stick high pipes and different bars on a CB and you have a CL for all the guys wearing white Levis and penny loafers back then. That is the simple scrambler plan, has been for years. Honda just did it again, as did Triumph. Just depends on how the mish-mash looks in the long run. The Triumph gets an A+ and the Honda a C-, but grading is totally subjective.

I think the biggest scrambler problem these days is caused by the size a muffler/exhaust has to be to meet the various emissions and sound standards. Just can't make 'em small and good looking. Like the old BSA pipes, a whole lot of riders tossed their down pipes for these back in the late 60s:

Tire Wheel Fuel tank Automotive fuel system Automotive lighting



They really looked great on a Lightning.
 

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@Mence that's pretty much the history of scramblers. They take a bike they already built and maybe do a tank change, add high pipes, maybe higher bars and behold "the Scrambler". Even Triumph pretty much did that. Just look back in motorcycle history and you will see.

I could see an issue if this bike had been the new Trans Alp or Africa Twin, but it's not. It is a scrambler built on the same formula used in the 60s-70s. Having lived and starting riding during that era that is what I saw.

I guess some expect a totally new build and were disappointed, but that's how they were done origninally and again now. I will say it would be interesting if Kawasaki does a scrambler version of the 650RS using the old formula, some high pipes for sure.
 

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@Mence that's pretty much the history of scramblers. They take a bike they already built and maybe do a tank change, add high pipes, maybe higher bars and behold "the Scrambler". Even Triumph pretty much did that. Just look back in motorcycle history and you will see.

I could see an issue if this bike had been the new Trans Alp or Africa Twin, but it's not. It is a scrambler built on the same formula used in the 60s-70s. Having lived and starting riding during that era that is what I saw.

I guess some expect a totally new build and were disappointed, but that's how they were done origninally and again now. I will say it would be interesting if Kawasaki does a scrambler version of the 650RS using the old formula, some high pipes for sure.
Very true. I think my expectation was set a bit high by some of the mock ups paraded on line, just like the Hornet 750. I should know better, Mr Honda always plays it safe.
On the up side, money is still safe in the wallet!
 

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No, Mr (Soichiro) Honda did not play it safe.
  • First Japanese motorcycle manufacturer to import to the U.S. (Japan's trade commission figured he'd fail)
  • First Japanese manufacturer to have manufacturing facilities in the U.S.
  • The modern in-line four 1968 CB750
  • The CBX 1040 in line 6 1978 CBX
  • Six cylinder 250 Gran Prix racer RC166
  • Oval piston NR750 V-4
  • 1983 VF750F sport
  • ATC three wheelers
  • Honda CBR600F series
  • All the Honda automobiles
Those are not the only accomplishments by Mr. Honda. He seldom played it safe in the years he was "supreme advisor" after his retirement in 1973. It is only after his passing in 1991 that Honda's product started becoming excessively conservative. If you look at Honda's line up from 1968 through 1990 the product line up was seldom boring. They were often ahead of the curve, sometimes on the bleeding edge as opposed to the cutting edge. Bikes like the VT500 Ascot, the Pacific Coast, the Hawk GT 650, the Trans Alp, the CBR600F, VFR700/750, VTR1000, RC30, and RC51 series were real risks with some failures and some successes there.

The modern Honda corporation may be conservative, but Mr. Honda was not.
 
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