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Dear Honda; Here's My Christmas List:

Dear Honda,

CBR500R Beauty ShotYou know, I've been pretty good this year. Haven't been pulled over by the police, and I even brought a pound puppy home for a couple of nights. So since Christmas isn't far away, I thought I'd write and tell you what I want under the tree.

Right as I was preparing to hand you some bank for my dream bike, your NC700X, you came out with something to make an even more perfect union between bike and rider. Oh I still like that bike, but now you are going to make the dang-diddley-darndest thing on two wheels with a motor that I could want... and you're saving me about $1,100 while you're at it.

The bike I want, that you're just now releasing photos of, is your new CBR500R. Unlike the 2012 NC700X, you're offering it in three colors... black, red, and red, white, and blue. I'm churning between the latter and the former, but most likely the patriotic/your team colors will win out. Plus, being mostly white, I hope it will be more visible to everybody else on the road.

CBR500 Black CBR500 Red CBR500 Red, White, and Blue

The most amazing thing is, that I described this bike to the "T"  to a Honda salesman about six months ago. The result is as though a fly was on the wall, relaying my wishes to your Department of Research and Development. As I wanted, the new bike does everything a good sportbike should, without looking and feeling too much like it just left a racing track.

Honda, you just want $5,999 for this? I've seen well-used sportbikes that cost more. And for that measly sum, you're including programmed EFI, your Pro-Link rear suspension, and a halogen headlight. You want $500 more for ABS? OK, I'll think about it.

CBR500 Engine 2You have a really cool bike with your CBR250R. But, well... it's just a 250. I'd never get on a freeway or main road with that little ride. But now you've sweetened the deal, as the "insiders" say. You've taken two of your 250cc engines, more or less mounted them side by side, and voilà, here's your new 500.

And you say it's more powerful than the NC700X? And it's about 50 pounds lighter? So that means... it's maybe a little quicker? Far out!

I like a 500 because it's a great handling size. Your next larger one, the CBR600RR, is truly a motorcycle masterpiece. But I don't want or need all that power, tech, and, well, it also costs about twice as much as the 500.

CBR500 Dash 2Gauges? Did somebody say gauges? Well, once again, you've done it right. Di-rectly in front of the rider is a car dash-like binnacle with all kinds of LCD digital displays. I'll be able to see how fast I'm going, how fast the engine is revving, and about how much gas is left.

Plus there seems to be idiot lights aplenty, and I'm sure the thing looks good at night. But I guess I'll have to wonder what color the backlighting is till I take my first ride after dark.

The seat height is correct, there's just enough "racer" tuck with the lowered handlebars, and the windshield is about the right size. This may not be a superbike, but at least I can pretend it is.

CBR500 AccessoriesAlso on that Christmas list, Honda if you would, I'd like a couple of things extra. You have a nice little rear seat cowl that makes the 500 look even more like its big brothers. And it turns the bike into a one-seater... which I think most every sportbike should be. The big cruisers handle passengers a lot better than these frisky things, I'm sure.

I'd also like to look at a couple of "carbon style" things you have for the bike. Like the lower headlight cover, the front fender, and maybe the rear hugger ...whatever that is.

So please tell Santa just to leave the bike by the house, and he'll find a check on the mantle (along with the usual milk and cookies) waiting for him. Oh wait... you say the bike won't be out till April?  OK, then just leave me a rain check. It'll probably be too cold to ride it till then anyway.

Happy Holidays,

 --That Car Guy (Chuck)


Image Credits: All of the CBR500R images are from Powersports.Honda.com. I messed with the first one a bit.

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Thanks to Honda and its' introduction of the 750 four many years ago, the bike world has never been the same. Remember Harley getting an import duty placed on imports of a certain displacement size? Honda has a good range of offerings to satisfy most all biker tastes. One of the most unique of all was the Valkyrie Rune, which still commands a good price, after several years. I have been looking semiseriously at two older 750's, one a Super Sport (with the 4 into 1) exhaust configuration. I just have to find a mechanic who could work on them.

Bill T: Yes, I remember the "Displacement Tax." It was on any bike over 700cc, so Honda took their 750 Interceptor and made it 699cc for 1985. I bought one off of the showroom floor just like this one: http://www.motosolvang.com/images_new/For_Sale/1985_Honda_Interceptor.jpg

It was an amazing bike. Had a fuel gauge, which was rare at the time (still is).

Oh, and the tax? It protected an industry that didn't exist. There were no American-built sportbikes then. Yes, it protected the big cruisers, but a 750 or 1000 Interceptor was not a cruiser.

Well, Santa just committed to bring me the first red, white, and blue Honda CBR500R in the Southeast USA, maybe the whole country. The dealer will expedite the order since the bike is pre-sold, so I should have it before the bike is released to the public.

Please stay tuned for Part Two of this post, probably sometime in early April.

--Chuck

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