The rumors have been circulating for years, but we’re seeing more and more tidbits of information these days. It looks like it’s finally going to happen: Honda is going to build a scrambler, and probably a dual sport (or an adventure bike) around its 500cc parallel twin engine.
The latest tips come from European and American regulatory filings, locking down the CL500 and NX500 model names. Motorcycle.com and Cycle World seem to be the discoverers of these recent leaks, but we’ve seen hints about a scrambler built around the same basic design as the Rebel 500 cruiser, but with some changes to the frame, as far back as fall of 2019, before COVID hit the world.
That bike, presumably, would be the CL500, as Honda used the CL badge for scramblers since the 1960s. It fell out of style when the XL branding came along in the 1970s, but what’s old is new these days, and with the revival of scrambler styling, we can also expect the revival of classic Honda naming conventions.
As for the the NX500, things are a bit more murky. Is it an adventure bike, similar to the NC700X? Uh, maybe, but Honda already has the CB500X adventure bike, built around the same 471cc parallel twin as the CBR500, CB500 and Rebel 500. Is it a dual sport? Lots of people think so.
Maybe the CB500X will just get a simple re-name to the NX500. That seems likely, but—we won’t know until Honda makes an official announcement. We expect that announcement before the end of the year, probably by this fall’s Intermot show. If not then, at EICMA!