The Honda CR500 was a purpose-built racing dirt bike manufactured from 1985 through 2001. It was powered by a 491cc, 2-stroke single rated anywhere from 56-68 HP depending on the model year. This amazing power source made the CR500 one of the most powerful dirt bikes of its time and ensured a top speed of 90-100 mph.
If you want to find out more about this iconic bike, this post is for you.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know into this Honda CR500 review!
Honda CR500 Review
Honda released the legendary CR500 for the 1984 model year, as the successor of the outdated CR480. This machine earned the nickname the “Ping King” due to its early air-cooled engine configuration.
It was designed as an open-class racing dirt bike and featured a revvy 2-stroke engine and many advanced features.
The heart of this bike was a 491cc, 2-stoke, single-cylinder engine nestled in a steel tubular frame. In the first years of production, the performance of this power mill was a whopping 64-68 HP, which shrank to 56 HP for the 2001 season.
Engine features included a kickstart, CDI ignition, and a large 38mm flat side carburetor while the power train utilized a multi-plate wet clutch and a 5-speed manual transmission.
The very first model featured a simple air-cooling system, which was replaced by more advanced liquid-cooling in the 1985 model. Since the engine lacked any oil system it required a 32:1 premix.
This power mill, paired with a weight of 222 pounds, ensured a great power-to-weight ratio.
The CR500 was intended for more advanced riders and racers, and with good reason. It was much faster, more powerful, and also heavier than the average dirt bike.
Thanks to its powerful engine, the CR500 offered a top speed of 90-100 mph depending on its year and gearing.
Therefore, riding this beast required strong skills and a lot of practice. Believe it or not, the CR500 could do power wheelies in 4th and 5th gear with an experienced hand!
Standard features included cartridge-type suspensions, a 2.38-gallon fuel tank, Dunlop tires, and an oiled foam air filter.
Regarding the brake system, the ‘84-’85 models featured a disc brake on the front and a drum brake on the rear, while ’87 and later models came with dual disk brakes.
Major competitors in the class included the Kawasaki KX500, Suzuki RM500, and Yamaha YZ490.
To the greatest regret of many Honda fans, the Japanese manufacturer discontinued the CR500 after the 2001 model year.
Many decades have passed since then, but the CR500 is still the most powerful Honda dirt bike and one of the fastest big-bore motocross racers ever built.
This is why this model is still in demand on the used market.
1992 Honda CR500 Specs Chart
As a reference, we’ve compiled the 1992 Honda CR500 specifications into these charts:
1992 Honda CR500 Dimensions
|overall length||2,183 mm (85.9 in)|
|overall width||825 mm (32.5 in)|
|overall height||1,240 mm (48.8 in)|
|wheel base||1,489 mm (58.6 in)|
|seat height||964 mm (38.0 in)|
|footpeg height||438 mm (17.2 in)|
|ground clearance||343 mm (13.5 in)|
|dry weight||101 kg (222.7 lb)|
1992 Honda CR500 Frame
|Front suspension||telescopic fork|
|Front-wheel travel||309 mm (12.2 in)|
|Rear wheel travel||320 mm (12.6 in)|
|Rear damper||Decarbon type with nitrogen filled reservoir|
|Front tire size||80/100 – 21 51M|
|Rear tire size||110/100 – 18 64M|
|Tire brand (Dunlop) – Front||K490G|
|Tire brand (Dunlop) – Rear||K695|
|Front brake||Hydraulic single disc|
|Front brake swept area||306 cm2 (47.4 in2)|
|Rear brake||Hydraulic single disc|
|Rear brake swept area||303 cm2 (47.0 in2)|
|Trail length||119 mm (4.7 in)|
|Fuel tank capacity||9.0 liters (2.38 US gal, 1.98 Imp gal)|
1992 Honda CR500 Engine Specs
|Bore and stroke||89 x 79 mm (3.5 x 3.1 in)|
|Displacement||491.4 cm (29.9 cu-in)|
|Compression ratio||6.8: 1|
|Lubrication system||Fuel/oil premixed|
|Cooling system||Liquid cooled|
|Air filtration||Oiled polyurethane foam|
|Crankshaft type||Assembly type|
|Engine dry weight||27.1 kg (59.8 lb)|
|Cylinder arrangement||Single cylinder, inclined 7° from vertical|
|Carburetor type||Piston valve|
|Carburetor venturi diameter||38 mm (1.5 in)|
1992 Honda CR500 Drive Train
|Clutch type||Wet, multi-plate|
|Transmission||5-speed, constant mesh|
|Primary reduction||2.520 : 1|
|Gear ratios: I||1.750|
|Gear ratios: II||1.388|
|Gear ratios: III||1.150|
|Gear ratios: IV||1.000|
|Gear ratios: V||0.870|
|Final reduction||3.500 : 1|
|Gearshift pattern||Left foot operated return system, 1-N-2-3-4-5|
1992 Honda CR500 Electrical Features
1992 Honda CR500 Lubrication System
|Recommended engine oil||Pro Honda HP2 2-Stroke Oil or equivalent|
|Mixing ratio (Fuel: Oil)||32:1|
|Transmission oil capacity at oil change||680 cc (23 US oz)|
|Transmission oil capacity at disassembly||750 cc (25 US oz)|
|Recommended transmission oil||Use Pro Honda HP Trans Oil, Pro Honda GN4 4-Stroke Oil or an equivalent. API Service classification: SF or SG.|
1992 Honda CR500 Fuel System
|Carburetor identification number||PJ27J|
|Main jet (standard)||#170|
|Slow jet (standard)||#55|
|Jet needle clip position (standard)||4th groove|
|Air screw initial opening||1-1/2 turns out|
|Float level||16.0 (0.63)|
|Throttle grip free play||3-5 (1/8-1/4)|
1992 Honda CR500 Cooling System
|Recommended coolant||Use only a high quality ethylene glycol based anti-freeze containing corrosion protection inhibitors specifically recommended for use in aluminum engines. A 50/50 mixture of anti-freeze and distilled water is recommended for most operating conditions. (See anti-freeze container label for other mixture ratios.)|
|Coolant capacity at draining||1.08 liters (1.14 US qt)|
|Coolant capacity at disassembly||1.22 liters (1.29 US qt)|
|Radiator cap relief pressure||110-140 kPa (1.1-1.4 kg/cm, 15.6-19.9 psi)|
1992 Honda CR500 Clutch System
|Clutch lever free play||10-20 (3/8-3/4)|
|Clutch spring free length||44.20 (1.740)|
|Clutch disc thickness||2.92-3.08 (0.115-0.121)|
|Clutch outer guide O.D.||27.987-28.000 (1.1019-1.1024)|
|Clutch outer I.D.||32.009-32.034 (1.2602-1.2612)|
Disclaimer: These charts are for informational purposes only! For more information, please check the official factory manuals!
Takeaways – FAQs About the Honda CR500
As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about the Honda CR500! (Specifications are for the ‘92 model.)
What was a Honda CR500?
The Honda CR500 was a big-bore racing motocross bike powered by a 491cc, 2-stroke engine.
Is Honda still making the CR500?
No, the CR500 is currently not part of Honda’s motorcycle fleet.
When did the Honda CR500 come out?
Honda introduced the popular CR500 in 1984.
What years did Yamaha make the CR500?
Honda manufactured the legendary CR500 from 1984 through 2001.
What was the best year of the CR 500?
Many riders agree that the best CR500s were manufactured in 1985. This was the first year that Honda released this model with a water-cooled engine, and its performance had not yet begun to decline.
Therefore, ’85 was the fastest stock CR500 over the model’s long life.
Why did Honda stop making the CR500?
The main reason behind the ceasing of the CR500 was the discontinuation of the AMA 500 motocross race. Since there was no dedicated competition for this class, it didn’t make sense for the manufacturer to spend resources on this model.
What does CR stand for on a Honda bike?
The abbreviation of “CR” on Hondas stands for “Competition Racer.”
How much does a Honda CR500 weigh?
The dry weight of the Honda CR500 was 222.7 pounds (101 kg).
What was the seat height of the Honda CR500?
The seat height of the Honda CR500 was 38 inches (964 mm).
How much weight could a Honda CR500 carry?
The weight capacity of the CR500 was “1 rider.”
What engine was in the Honda CR500?
The Honda CR500 was powered by a 2-stroke, 492cc, single-cylinder engine.
Was the CR500 a 2-stroke bike?
Yes, the CR500 featured a 2-stroke engine.
How much HP did a Honda CR500 have?
The Honda CR500 offered 56-68 HP depending on its model year. (The engine power of this bike declined over the years.)
How much HP can you get out of a CR500?
As reported by the MotorcrossActionMag, you can even get out 100 HP from a CR500 engine by installing some performance modifications.
What was the top speed of a Honda CR500?
The top speed of the Honda CR500 ranged 90-100 mph depending on its gearing, year, and the weight of the rider.
Was the Honda CR500 fuel injected?
No, the Honda CR500 was manufactured with a carbureted engine.
Was the Honda CR500 liquid-cooled?
While the first CR500 was manufactured with an air-cooled engine, it was upgraded with a liquid-cooling system for the second model year. Consequently, the 1984 CR500 was air-cooled, while the 1985-2001 models had a liquid-cooled engine.
How much fuel could the CR500 hold?
The fuel capacity of the Honda CR500 was 2.38 gallons (9 liters).
What kind of gas did a Honda CR500 take?
Since the CR500 lacked any oil system, it was run on premix instead of pure gas.
What kind of oil did the Honda CR500 take?
According to the official service manual, the recommended engine oil for the CR500 was the Pro Honda HP2 2-stroke oil (or equivalent). Premix ratio: 1:32.
Did the Honda a CR500 have an electric start?
Being a true racing bike, the CR500 was exclusively manufactured with a kickstart.
Was the Honda CR500 reliable?
Yes, the Honda CR500 built its reputation on reliability and durability.
Was the Honda CR500 street legal?
In stock condition, the CR500 wasn’t street legal since it lacked lights and other required components. However, it could be turned into a street-legal machine with the appropriate dual sport kit.
Were Honda CR500s any good?
Yes, it’s safe to say that the CR500 is one of the most popular and widely known dirt bikes ever built!
Why is the Honda CR500 so popular?
The CR500 owes its popularity to its outstanding engine power and performance. These machines are now experiencing a renaissance and are becoming more and more popular among buyers.
Many riders consider these old machines like old muscle cars or motorcycles. They provide an unbeatable raw power and a unique riding experience that newer models cannot duplicate!
Is the Honda CR500 a good beginner bike?
No, the CR500 is definitely not recommended for beginners! It’s an aggressive racing dirt bike engineered for racers and advanced riders.
How much is a Honda CR500 worth?
The prices of Honda CR500s vary between $1,000 and $8,000 in the US.
When shopping around, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. For $1,000-$3,000, you will mainly find neglected machines that need a lot of work. If you are looking for a decent bike in good shape, be prepared to pay anywhere from $5,000-$8,000!
(Yes it’s insane for a vintage dirt bike, but these are market prices.)