Honda announced its new CL500 scrambler at 2022’s EICMA show in Milan, and now it’s planning to build a scaled-down version for the Asian market.
In some Asian countries, most customers are restricted to quarter-litre engines. In those markets, Honda will sell the bike as the CL250. In other, less-restrictive markets, Honda will install the full-sized 286cc single-cylinder that’s used in the CRF300L/Rebel 300/etc., and sell the bike as the CL300.
The name is meant to recall the scramblers that Honda sold back in the 1960s, but this is a very new-looking bike, with only faint styling concessions to the days of old. There’s a 19-17 wheelset with cast rims (not terribly offroad-friendly, and certainly not a retro look). The frame itself is likely the same steel tube arrangement that’s used for the CL500, with the smaller engine inserted. That’s what Honda does for the Rebel 500/300, and it makes no sense to change it up here.
The twin rear shocks are preload-adjustable, and the telescopic fork has no adjustability. As you can see, the seat height is lowered, and the exhaust is reworked.
It looks a bit like the throwback machines that Yamaha’s been selling for a while with the XSR series, but it certainly doesn’t have the same retro flair as Triumph’s Modern Classics line. However, pricing will be far, far lower than the Hinkley’s scramblers and bobbers,
Note that so far, Honda has not confirmed this bike for western markets. It does seem likely it will come to Canada eventually, but we would not expect to see it in our dealerships before 2024.