How to prepare a Honda CB500X for a European motorcycle adventure
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When I decided that my next adventure would be a European road trip, I realized that I had to buy another motorcycle. My beloved Royal Enfield Dhanno is still in Peru. She waits there for me to return to continue Season 2, the Patagonia to Alaska adventure.
The motorcycle I wanted to choose for this adventure had to be very affordable. I don’t have a huge budget for this season, so it had to be a cheap one. The Honda CB500X is a budget bike, and the one that I bought was already five years old which reduced the price even more.
During my European tour, I will ride a lot more on the tarmac than I have done in Asia or South-America. That is also why I did not choose for another Royal Enfield Himalayan, which is a real adventure bike. With some modifications, the Honda CB500X is also suitable for riding on gravel and sand. Of course, I made those adjustments in order to ride a dirt track when I see one.
Another benefit of the Honda CB500X is that it has a low seat. I am quite short, so in order to reach the ground, I need a low seat bike.
After I picked up the bike, I made several modifications to turn her into a real Itchy Boots motorcycle ready for season 3! I named her Ronin, and when you read this post we have taken off on our first trip together.
With a small budget in mind, I tried not to go overboard with accessories and modifications That was not easy, as I love customizing my own motorcycles! Below you can read how I prepared Ronin for our European motorcycle adventure.
When I used the soft luggage system for the first time, I quickly realized that I would never go back to hard panniers. The soft luggage system is much lighter and easier to take off in case I have to leave my bike somewhere on the street.
For Dhanno I used the Mosko Moto Reckless 80 and for Ronin, I wanted the same setup.
The soft luggage system may have remained the same, but I did change the top bag on the back. Instead of the Stinger 22, I now opted for the Scout 30L because I’m camping this season. For that, I need a little bit more packing space. I also attached two extra Molle 2L pouches and one Molle 4L pouch to my Reckless 80.
For this motorcycle trip, I changed my tank bag to the Hood Tank bag also from Mosko Moto. My previous one, the Mosko Moto Nomad Tankbag had a camel bag integrated. I don’t need that when riding through Europe. On top of my new tank bag, I have attached the Navigator Cell Phone pocket so I can keep my phone dry while navigating in the rain.
Comfort and safety
Osco Chain oiler
At the start of Itchy Boots Season 2, I installed an OSCO chain oiler on my Royal Enfield Himalayan. This semi-automatic chain oiler doubled the lifetime of my chain and I wanted to install it on my Honda CB500X too. A full container lasts about 10,000 kilometers, so no more big cans of chain grease in my luggage.
When you take your motorcycle off-road, installing an engine guard should be your number one priority. This time I bought the GIVI TN1121 Engine guard. It was the cheapest option of good quality that I could find for my Honda CB500X. This guard is installed on the motorcycle’s frame, so I had it installed by a qualified mechanic.
SW Motech Handguards
Another essential addition to your motorcycle when you go off-road are handguards. They will protect your hands from flying rocks, but more importantly, they protect your levers in case you have to drop your bike. I bought the SW-Motech Hand protectors KOBRA which are pretty standard handguards that fit on most motorbikes, including the Honda CB500X.
For navigating I am using the Maps.me app on my phone, so it’s important I can look on my phone easily. That is why I installed on my handlebar the RAM handlebar mount with a double socket swivel & ratchet arm and on top of that, I placed a RAM Universal Phone holder. I prefer this type of mount over the X-type phone holders. Do make sure though that your phone is suitable for this holder as some larger phones do not fit.
Double Take Adventure Mirrors
These Double Take Adventure Mirrors are not really essential, but I just love their design! I had them on both my Royal Enfield Himalayans and just wanted them again for my Honda. They are sturdier and a lot less likely to break off when you drop your motorcycle, but my motivation to buy these mirrors again is mainly because I find them looking cool and adventurous.
GIVI sidestand enlarger
Getting a side stand enlarger is extremely important if you want to be able to park your fully-loaded motorcycle in sand or dirt. Not having one is something you will regret very quickly when you are struggling to find a stone or piece of wood to make sure your motorcycle will not topple over! I found one from GIVI that was very easy to mount on my Honda CB500X.
It is always practical to charge your phone and other small devices when riding. For that purpose, I have attached a small USB connection to my handlebar. The previous owner of my motorcycle had already created a 12V charging location, so all I had to do was connect those wires to my small USB connector.
My motorcycle was fitted with street tires, so I bought a new set of dual-sport tires that will also get me through dirt tracks. Although I will be riding mostly on asphalt, I will also do some off-roading. That is why I bought a set of Dunlop Trailmax Mixtour tires. I have never ridden with them before and I am very curious to see how they perform.
Tire repair kit
Another first is that I will be using tubeless tires. So I am bringing the Grand Canyon tubeless tyre repair kit with me in case I hit a nail. This repair kit comes with three CO2 cartridges to inflate the tire. But to reduce or increase my tire pressure while going off-road versus on-road, I will also bring my 12V mini-air compressor with me. It worked perfectly in Argentina where I had several flat tires.
To be completely on the safe side, I also have a spare tube with me. Just in case I damage one of the rims, I can pop in a tube and still continue riding. I bought the Motion Pro BeadPro tools so I can lift the tire to pop in the tube. Fingers crossed it won’t be necessary, but I prefer to be safe and not sorry. You never know.
My Honda CB500X is ready for a European motorcycle adventure!
And that’s it! With these modifications and accessories, my Honda Ronin is ready for a tour around Europe! If you are curious about what motorcycle clothes I am wearing on this trip and how my camping gear looks like, you can read my blogpost Gear and equipment for season 3.
When Noralies need a stand enlargement, they get stand enlargement.
When the average wealthy bloke needs a larger stand, he gets a 1200GS. 😁
..I'll se myself out.. 😊
I see that you have now spark wheels, last photo from your Honda, where did you buy them in the Netherlands
thanks john mckay
I see you brought an extinguisher below your luggage, could you tell me about it's tethering?
Hello, I was wondering if with the handguards you could still use the steering lock on your Honda cb500x, I myself have a Honda cb500x 2014 and would like to get handguards but this is one of my main concerns.
Hi Mr.Apple :-), when the handguards were installed the mechanic had to do something to make it all work indeed. I am not sure anymore what he had done exactly. My advice would be to go to a repair shop and discuss this with your local mechanic! :-)
What a wonderful season three was (except all the wind and rain). Your so good at picking out the right accessories for the trip Noraly.