Honda, as it seems, is gearing up for another beginner-friendly big bike, but this time in the small adventure category. Big Red took a trip to the patent office to secure the “NX” and “NX 500” names which hints that the CB500X could get a more adventurous cousin in the coming years. Sources indicate that the model could come by the 2023 model year.
Honda came up with the NX model back in the 1980s. The brand was pioneering the NX650 at the top of the model lineup. The NX 650 was a bike that is similar in look to the Yamaha Tenere 700 that we have today, with a rally-inspired body that also gives us some Honda Africa Twin vibes. The NX line was discontinued in 2002, but not before spawning a bunch of smaller models that were lighter than the 650. Honda has been on a roll resurrecting older nameplates like the Hawk as of late, and the NX is another one for the books.
It’s very likely that the Honda CB500X’s platform will be used and tweaked a little for more off-road use given that’s what the NX nameplate stood for when it was available in the market. The 500 platform from Honda utilizes a 180-degree parallel twin that punches out close to 50 hp and is good for general purpose whether on-road or off-road. Right now, Honda doesn’t have a dedicated model in the 400 to 500cc category that caters to off-road riders. It’s not uncommon to see the CB500X being adopted into the category by way of fitting a larger front wheel and wrapping it in dual-sport tires.
We can speculate that the 471cc parallel-twin motor will be reused for the NX 500, and a bigger front wheel will be fitted. The NX could become a version of the CB500X that already comes with 19 and 17-inch wheels or 21 and 19-inch wheels, but that remains to be seen. While the NX 500 is nearly an absolute certainty, the Honda also patented “NX” which means that Big Red could open up the floodgates for smaller versions of the dual-sport, similar to what we’re seeing with the CB150X currently available in the Philippines.
Speculations on the specifics of the NX are just speculations at this point, and the strongest evidence there is of the NX name returning is the recent patent filings. Given that there is a bit of a gap in Honda’s big bike lineup, the NX 500 could make a lot of sense given that KTM has done splendidly with the 390 Adventure, and other beginner-friendly options like the Royal Enfield Himalayan have been slaying in the beginner adventure-bike category. The CB500X has been regarded as a beginner-friendly big bike as well, but for those that want to take it out on an adventure, it’s a bit lacking. Hopefully, the NX will do adventure riders justice if it will ever see the light of day outside of the patent office.