Honda’s CL lineup was its original dual sport series wayyyyyy back in the 1960s, and now it’s back for 2023—sort of. Take a Rebel 500 and modify the rear frame section, make some other tweaks, and you’ve got the new Honda CL500. It isn’t really intended for hard off-road action, but it does add a retro scrambler option to Big Red’s lineup.
Obviously, this machine is based on what’s very well-known technology at this point—a simple steel tube trellis frame (we’ve seen patent drawings of this particular chassis for months now), and the same 471 cc twin that Honda uses in several other models. It makes 45 hp and 32 lb-ft of torque in this machine, with “unique ECU settings for CL duty.” The six-speed standard gearbox (no DCT at this end of the Honda lineup!) has a slip/assist clutch. This bike will be particularly popular in Europe, as it’s A2-compliant; in other words, you can ride it as you work your way towards a full, unrestricted moto licence.
Because this bike is aimed at low-stress fun, it has a low seat height, even though it’s ostensibly aimed at off-road action. Truth be told, if you’re going off-road on this bike, you’re probably not going too far or too fast, with cast 19-inch front rim and 17-inch rear.
Instead, you’re buying this machine for its looks, most likely, with a retro-looking fuel tank with integrated knee pads, rubber fork gaiters and an upswept muffler with drilled heat shield. Honda offers its Euro customers Candy Energy Orange, Mat Laurel Green Metallic, Candy Caribbean Blue Sea and Mat Gunpowder Black Metallic paint options for 2023; there’s no word on Canadian options yet, or pricing or availability, but no doubt that information will come soon.