Best 500cc Motorcycles

Apr 11, 2024


picture of a woman motorcycle rider looking face to face at her sport motorcycle best 500cc or less motorcycles

Exploring the world of motorcycles under 500cc unravels an impressive mix of agility, power, and innovation designed to cater to a wide range of riders. From sleek cruisers to nimble dual-sports, the top 10 motorcycles in this category offer something for everyone. Each model, whether it's the versatile Honda Rebel 500, the sporty Kawasaki Ninja 500, or the Royal Enfield Himalayan, is built with precision engineering and a keen attention to rider experience. These bikes promise to deliver not just a mode of transportation, but a gateway to adventure, combining modern technology with classic design to suit both new and experienced motorcyclists.

From cruisers, adventure touring, dual sport, scramblers, naked, and super naked motorcycles, we have a bike under 500cc for your riding style. 

Top 10 Motorcycles Under 500cc:

  1. Harley-Davidson X 440
  2. Honda Rebel 500
  3. Kawasaki Ninja 500
  4. Suzuki DR-Z400S
  5. Kawasaki Z500
  6. Royal Enfield Himalayan
  7. Kawasaki Eliminator
  8. Honda CRF450RL
  9. Honda SCL500
  10. KTM Duke 390

1. Harley-Davidson X 440 - 440cc

Bike Type: Cruiser 

stock picture of a 2023 Harley Davidson x440 best 500cc or under motorcycles

The Harley-Davidson X440 introduces a fresh perspective to the under 500cc category, seamlessly blending Harley's legendary power and presence with modern agility and comfort. This motorcycle is equipped with an innovative 440cc oil-cooled engine that delivers robust low and mid-range torque, complemented by a 6-speed transmission ideal for versatile riding scenarios, from city commuting to highway cruising. Its design emphasizes rider comfort with Harley's signature wide and flat handlebars and a saddle-style seat, ensuring a relaxed and stable ride. Additionally, the X440 doesn't skimp on style or passenger comfort, offering class-leading lighting, advanced technology, and premium finishes, alongside a pillion seat designed for maximum comfort, making it an appealing choice for both solo riders and those with companions, ushering in a new era for Harley-Davidson enthusiasts.

2. Honda Rebel 500 - 471cc

Bike Type: Cruiser

stock picture of a 2024 Honda Rebel 500 best 500cc or under motorcycles

The Rebel 500 stands out as a compelling choice in the under 500cc category, blending the classic charm of cruiser styling with the dynamic performance of a twin-cylinder engine. This combination ensures a ride that's both aesthetically pleasing and thrillingly efficient, making it suitable for a variety of riders. The inclusion of modern enhancements, such as full-LED lighting, a slipper/assist clutch, and an optional anti-lock braking system, elevates the riding experience by offering improved visibility, smoother gear transitions, and enhanced safety features. These state-of-the-art features, combined with the bike's distinctive and futuristic aesthetics, ensure that the Rebel 500 is not just a means of transportation, but a gateway to adventure on both highways and winding roads. 

3. Kawasaki Ninja 500 - 451cc

Bike Type: Sport Bike

stock picture of a 2024 Kawasaki Ninja 500 best 500cc or under motorcycles

Kawasaki's 2024 Ninja 500 emerges as an exceptional motorcycle in the under 500cc category, offering riders an upgraded experience without the heightened cost. Its introduction at the Ninja 400's price point, $5,299, provides an accessible path to enhanced performance, chiefly through its 451cc twin-cylinder engine which delivers a significant torque boost to 31.7 lb.-ft. This increase in power does not sacrifice the Ninja's renowned approachability and rider comfort, maintaining its status as an ideal option for those new to sportbikes or looking for a value-packed upgrade. Modern features such as LED lighting and a new LCD instrument cluster elevate the riding experience, while the premium SE model, with ABS, a TFT dash, and keyless ignition, caters to riders desiring advanced functionalities. The Ninja 500 stands out as a top choice for those seeking a potent, stylish, and affordable motorcycle that confidently bridges the gap between entry-level and more advanced sportbikes.

4. Suzuki DR-Z400S - 398cc

Bike Type: Dual Sport

stock picture of a 2024 Suzuki DR-Z400S best 500cc or under motorcycles

The 2024 Suzuki DR-Z400S epitomizes the essence of the DualSport movement, providing a versatile, fun, and dependable motorcycle that caters to both off-road enthusiasts and asphalt adventurers alike. Building on the legacy of the DR350S, Suzuki enhances the DR-Z400S with a robust 398cc, liquid-cooled engine that delivers impressive torque for exhilarating rides across varied terrains. Its fully adjustable suspension ensures crisp handling and a smooth ride, whether navigating tight trails or open roads. This street-legal bike boasts an electric start and a user-friendly, multi-function LCD instrument panel for convenience and ease of use. With fully black, aluminum EXCEL rims and bright stainless-steel spokes ready for rim locks and serious DualSport rubber, the DR-Z400S is as ready for rugged off-road expeditions as it is for city cruising.

5. Kawasaki Z500 - 451cc

Bike Type: Super Naked

stock picture of a 2024 Kawasaki Z500 ABS best 500cc or under motorcycles

The all-new Z500 ABS supernaked captures attention with its aggressive styling and powerful performance, designed for riders who dare to stand out but stay under 500cc. Featuring a robust new 451cc twin-cylinder engine, this bike is a thrilling addition to the streetfighter scene, combining formidable power with the distinct aesthetics of Kawasaki's Z series. Its suite of modern features, including LED lighting, a high-contrast full-LCD meter with smartphone connectivity, and a newly shaped seat, enhances both its functionality and rider comfort. The Z500 ABS is built on a lightweight trellis frame, offering remarkable stability and maneuverability, complemented by the Uni-Trak® rear suspension and the option of ABS for added safety. The Special Edition (SE) model takes the experience further with exclusive color schemes, a full-color TFT display, and additional premium features like LED turn signals and a USB-C outlet, setting a new standard for rider experience. 

6. Royal Enfield Himalayan - 452cc

Bike Type: Adventure Touring

stock picture of a 2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan best 500cc or under motorcycles

The Royal Enfield Himalayan is a standout in the sub-500cc category, skillfully crafted for the adventurer seeking a blend of reliability, performance, and versatility. Its robust 452cc engine is designed for a wide range of riding conditions, providing a smooth, accessible power output that makes it ideal for both new riders and experienced adventurers. The Himalayan's long-travel suspension, half-duplex split cradle frame, and switchable ABS offer unparalleled control and comfort on diverse terrains, from city streets to off-road trails. With its thoughtful, tour-minded design, including an improved seat for long-distance comfort, ample luggage mounting options, and a clear LCD dashboard for essential information, the Himalayan is not just a motorcycle; it's a reliable companion for those who dream of conquering the unknown.

7. Kawasaki Eliminator - 451cc

Bike Type: Cruiser

stock picture of a 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator best 500cc or under motorcycles

The all-new Eliminator® motorcycle from Kawasaki redefines urban riding with its sleek, low-profile design, making it one of the most approachable and easy-to-ride bikes in the under-500cc category. Its design seamlessly merges timeless aesthetics with advanced technology, featuring a Ninja®-based 451cc parallel-twin engine that delivers robust low-end torque for effortless city navigation and strong, linear power for highway cruising. The Eliminator® stands out with its horizontal design ethos, characterized by elegant proportions from the vertically thin fuel tank stretching to the tail, ensuring a balance of active performance and visual composure.

8. Honda CRF450RL - 450cc

Bike Type: Dual Sport

stock picture of a 2024 Honda CRF450RL best 500cc or under motorcycles

The 2024 Honda CRF450RL emerges as a standout in the dual-sport motorcycle category, showcasing the pinnacle of Honda's engineering prowess. This bike transcends the typical boundaries set by traditional motocrossers with a license plate by offering a fusion of off-road prowess and on-road legality that's rare in the industry. Built upon the exceptional CRF450X foundation, it features a six-speed transmission and advanced chassis geometry, meticulously engineered to prioritize lightness and agility. This focus results in a machine that's as adept at navigating rugged off-road trails as it is cruising on smooth pavement, offering riders unparalleled versatility. 

9. Honda SCL500 - 471cc

Bike Type: Scrambler

stock picture of a 2024 Honda SCL500 best 500cc or under motorcycles

Drawing inspiration from the iconic scramblers of the early 1970s, the SCL500 brings a fresh take to a classic motorcycle design with a contemporary twist. It harnesses the well-regarded and reliable engine from the Rebel 500, making it a perfect fit for modern riders and today's diverse riding conditions. Key features of the SCL500 include a high-set muffler for that distinctive scrambler look, a 19-inch front wheel for improved handling, a passenger-friendly seat for comfortable two-up riding, and a sporty slipper/assist clutch for smoother gear shifts. Equipped with standard anti-lock brakes (ABS) to boost safety and riding confidence, and available in a striking Matte Black Metallic color for 2024, the SCL500 stands out as an ideal blend of retro charm and present-day engineering, ensuring a unique and enjoyable riding experience.

10. KTM Duke 390 - 399cc

Bike Type: Naked

stock picture of a 2024 KTM Duke 390 best 500cc or under motorcycles

The 2024 KTM 390 Duke is a standout motorcycle under 500cc, marrying KTM's "Ready to Race" ethos with features that welcome new riders. It's refreshed with a stronger 399cc engine for better low and mid-range power, making it fun and responsive both in the city and on open roads. The bike's light frame and advanced suspension offer sharp handling and comfort. It's packed with rider aids like traction control and ABS for safety and confidence, plus a modern touch with a smart dash display. With its sporty look and high-quality build, the 390 Duke is perfect for those seeking a thrilling yet manageable ride.

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Avoid buyers remorse and make sure you're truly happy with your motorcycle purchase by taking it for a real-world test ride through Riders Share. Dealership test rides often don't give you enough time to fully understand a bike's performance. Starting from just $25/day, Riders Share allows you to rent and ride your desired motorcycle for a day or more, giving you a genuine feel for how it handles in everyday conditions. With a vast selection of bikes available at numerous locations across the USA, finding the perfect match for your riding needs has never been easier.

Get Ready to Ride

The best motorcycles under 500cc represent great choices for those seeking a blend of agility, power, and style in a more manageable package. Highlights from this category, such as the Kawasaki Ninja 500, Honda Rebel 500, and KTM Duke 390, demonstrate the variety and quality available to riders today. With features tailored for comfort, safety, and performance, each bike promises a unique riding experience, proving that you don't need the biggest engine to have the biggest adventures. Whether you're commuting, touring, or hitting the off-road, there's a bike under 500cc ready to meet the challenge.