Good news, if you’ve been waiting for confirmation of the Honda CL500 scrambler. According to EPA documents, this motorcycle is headed towards the US market. Given the way the regulators work in North America, and the OEMs themselves, we fully expect that means we shall also see it in Canada!
CL500: Modern technology, an old idea
For years, we’ve seen patent drawings online showing what’s basically a Honda Rebel with a straight seat. We assumed this meant Honda was working on a scrambler, but Big Red never confirmed it. Those rumors and theories picked up steam last summer, culminating at EICMA. There, Honda released the CL500 scrambler. It’s styled somewhat like the scramblers of the 1960s and 1970s, although it’s certainly aimed at riding on highways with only occasional jaunts down unpaved roads.
It’s based on the same 471cc liquid-cooled parallel twin engine that Honda has been using in the CBR500, CB500X and CB500F for a decade. More recently, Honda put that engine into the Rebel 500, retuned for low-end torque.
Like that cruiser, the CL500 is retuned for lower-rpm grunt. Motorcycle.com says the EPA documents indicate max output of 45.9 hp at 8,200 rpm and 32 lb-ft of torque at 6,250 rpm.
That should be more than enough power for the relaxed sort of riding these machines are intended for. While naysayers may decry the 500 Honda twin and say it lacks soul, it certainly is reliable and fuel-efficient, and can propel riders to lose-your-licence speeds as long as you don’t mind wringing the throttle out.
See more photos and details on this machine in our EICMA coverage.
When can we expect it?
Honda Canada hasn’t told us the machine is coming, and likely won’t confirm its arrival until later this year, if we’d have our guess. For some reason, the company’s North American management seems to be very cautious about introducing bikes to our market, and and we also seem to be low on the priority list for new bike deliveries from Asia.
But, if this wasn’t confirmed by late summer, and available sometime this fall, we’d be very surprised. Our best guess at MSRP? Right around $9,000 CAD sounds right.