Coming soon (we think): New Honda 500cc dual-sport scrambler

Rumors have been circulating for years, but we’re seeing more and more 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 adventure bike) around its 500cc parallel-twin.

The latest guidance comes from EU and US regulatory filings, locking in the CL500 and NC500 model names. Motorcycle.com and Cycle World appear to be the finder of these recent leaks, but we’ve seen hints of a Scrambler built around the same basic design as the Rebel 500 cruiser, but with a few frame changes, as early as the fall of 2019, before COVID hit the world.

This bike, presumably, would be the CL500, as Honda had been using the CL badge for scramblers since the 1960s. It fell into disuse 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 NC500, things are a bit murkier. 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 dual-sport? A lot of people think so, but Honda’s old NC isn’t dual-sport, and frankly, Honda has their CRF250L series and seems content to stick with it.

Maybe the CB500X will just get a new name to NC500X. It seems likely, but we won’t know until Honda makes an official announcement. We expect this announcement before the end of the year, probably by the Intermot show this fall. Otherwise, to EICMA!

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