2023 Honda SCL500 Guide • Total Motorcycle
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2023 Honda SCL500 Guide • Total Motorcycle

Sep 14, 2023

Harkening back to the early ’60s, when simple, stripped-down motorcycles like Honda's CL72 came on the scene, the all-new SCL500 features all the key "scrambler" styling elements—upright riding position, block tires, ample suspension travel and a retro aesthetic—in an approachable package and at an attractive price. Leveraging the 500cc parallel-twin engine that has proven so successful in models like the Rebel 500, the retro-inspired SCL500 is light and nimble, making it a casual, fun entry for a broad swath of customers, from new riders to more seasoned enthusiasts. Because personalization is vital to many fans of this genre a wide range of Honda Accessories is offered for the SCL500, including an off-road inspired "Rally" styling pack and a "Tour" pack that offers additional storage capacity for long rides and multi-day trips.


In the 1960s and early 1970s, the legendary Honda CL350 and CL72 scramblers were some of the most popular bikes in the world. They were light, fun, and sized right and offered a user-friendly power delivery. And now we’re introducing a new street scrambler-style machine that's just as much fun: the new 2023 Honda SCL500. With an engine based on our super-popular Rebel 500, it's a machine built for the way we ride today. Check out the high, scrambler-style muffler, the fatter 19-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear, the upright riding position and the comfortable seat that's passenger ready. A slipper/assist clutch keeps things sporty, standard anti-lock brakes (ABS) help keep things safer, and a blacked-out engine and frame keep it looking cool. Plus, with more than twenty accessories—including a saddlebag, headlight visor, hand guard deflectors, 12-volt accessory socket and much, much more—it's easy to personalize the SCL500 exactly the way you want it. Throw in some pretty awesome fuel efficiency, and we bet the new SCL500 is going to be as popular as our original scramblers!

Base Features

American Honda Introduces New SCL500 and Updated Shadow Phantom

American Honda today announced that the new SCL500 "scrambler"-style motorcycle is coming to the U.S. market. The SCL500 is a nod to Honda's rich history, dating all the way back to the 1960s when the CL72 and CL77 were offered. Based on the Rebel 500 platform, the SCL500 combines modern ride quality and comfort with authentic retro styling, and delivers the result at an attractive price.

"More than any manufacturer, Honda has consistently demonstrated an ability to deliver fun, retro motorcycles that scratch a nostalgic itch while offering the performance and reliability for which Honda is so well known," said Brandon Wilson, American Honda Manager of Sports & Experiential. "That's the case with the all-new SCL500, and we’re confident it will be a hit with American customers. We’re also pleased to confirm the return of existing cruiser, scooter and miniMOTO models, several of which tout important improvements. Together, this collection of machines serves as a reminder of Honda's versatility in the powersports market."

Offering plenty of power and torque in the midrange, the SCL500 features a 471cc, liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine. Light, narrow, and powerful, it just strikes the perfect balance of what a mid-sized motorcycle engine should be.

ABS comes standard on the SCL500, helping you make smoother, more controlled stops under less-than-ideal riding conditions.

We gave the SCL500 a unique upswept scrambler exhaust with a twin-outlet muffler that produces a wonderful sound. It's a little thing, but it’ll make you smile every time you ride.

The bike's PGM-FI continuously monitors several variables to ensure the correct fuel mixture is delivered for the existing riding and atmospheric conditions for crisp throttle response throughout a wide variety of riding conditions.

The slipper/assist clutch lets us lighten up the clutch-lever effort by 30 percent compared to previous systems, but automatically locks up tight when you release it.

The SCL500 gets the scrambler look just right: high-mount muffler, 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels with wide rims, and a blacked-out engine and frame.

An easy-to-read LCD screen features a digital speedometer, tachometer and more, including a clock, odometer, trip meter, real-time and average fuel consumption meters and illuminated engine diagnostic indicators.

With a clean, rough-and-ready look, the SCL500's LED headlight and multi-facet reflector project plenty of light on the road for visibility.

Strong and stylish, the SCL500's lightweight multi-spoke cast-aluminum wheels are easy to keep clean, look great, enhance handling and are another SCL500 feature that just makes sense.

The SCL500 seat gives you an open, unrestricted riding position that's perfect for both touring and commuting, and that still offers room for a passenger. The seat's narrow width makes it easier to put your feet down flat at stoplights or in parking lots.

The SCL500 features a large single front disc brake so you get strong, predictable stopping power. The front-brake lever is also adjustable for a perfect fit.

A sophisticated chassis with Honda Pro-Link® rear suspension features a shock with nine-stage adjustable spring preload to increase riding comfort and handling. The shock absorber features large-diameter internals for even better damping characteristics and a smoother ride.

Our engineers profiled the shift dogs in the transmission to help you get smoother shifts every time. You’ll never see these parts, but you’ll feel their effects.

A motorcycle's frame is the basis for its handling. The SCL500's diamond-shaped steel-tube mainframe connects to the engine with four mounts, offering a rock-solid foundation for superior ride and handling. It also contributes to the SCL500's generous ground clearance.

Styling & Equipment

‘Simple, Raw and Tough’ were the three words that set the tone and direction for the CL500's styling team. The street scrambler style looks right wherever it rolls with the added benefit of ergonomics that make for a bike that's very easy to ride in a variety of situations.

The combination of the clean, round fuel tank shape and upswept muffler – with stainless steel heat shield – strike the nostalgia chords hard. And all the lovingly-crafted details – the tank pads and rubber fork gaiters, the wadded, smooth outer seat skin with embossed Honda logo, high-level handlebars – combine to create a look that oozes charm. The paint options, all set against blacked out engine and chassis, make each colour ‘pop’ vibrantly.

Seat height of 790mm – alongside a slim mid-section – offers easy ground reach and ample legroom. It's also designed with sides that cover the frame rails for standing up and low rear section for easy pillion access. It also detaches easily with the ignition key and, tucked away, a helmet holder.

The high handlebars not only look good, they’re angled precisely to provide leverage both when standing up or sitting down, with off-road style grips and internal weights to reduce fatigue. The tanks pads provide another contact point for the legs when standing; steel footpegs are wide with rubber inserts for comfort.

The low-set 175mm diameter headlight has classic form but houses four LED bulbs with thick inner lenses for a distinctive frontal signature. Small, 55mm circular LED indicators feature classic looks and sit either side of a thin, ovalized LED taillight.

A neat, 100mm diameter circular display houses the negative LCD dash. Simple and uncluttered information delivery includes gear position indicator, fuel consumption and individual indicator arrows.

Hard, sudden braking operates the standard equipment Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) which flashes the rear indicators to alert road users behind, before auto-cancelling.

With fuel economy of 27.7km/L a 12L capacity delivers potential range of over 300km.


The tubular diamond-structure steel frame provides the handling ability, ride comfort and foundation of style for the CL500. It's beautifully simple, with strong tubes and loop-shaped rear subframe. Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) was employed to get the rigidity and weight balance optimised perfectly.

A scrambler-style bike has to cope with it all – from rough city streets to uneven dirt roads and the goal for the chassis was to create light, responsive handling with suspension that can absorb the hits.

Ground clearance is 155mm; rake is set at 27° with trail of 108mm and 1,485mm wheelbase. Kerb weight is 192kg.

Up front, 41mm telescopic forks feature 150mm travel and wear classic black fork gaiters. While adding period style they also protect the legs and seals from dust and damage. The top and bottom yokes are CL-specific and enhance steering accuracy and feel. At the rear, an elegantly simple swingarm uses 45mm round tubing to muscular effect. Long-stroke twin rear shocks offer 145mm travel and 5-step spring preload adjustment (3 up from standard, 1 down). Damping at both ends is set to deliver a supple, comfortable ride no matter the road surface.

A two-piston front caliper works a 310mm floating disc through sintered pads. The hydraulic pressure between the front and rear single-piston caliper/240mm disc is balanced to provide hlgh levels of braking control on a wide range of surfaces. The ABS too is optimised for use on dirt tracks as well as asphalt.

The wheels are a 19-inch front/17-inch rear combination for confident grip and light handling across varying terrain. Tyres are deep-groove Dunlop Mixtours, sized 110/80 R19 front and 150/70 R17 rear.


The CL500's 471cc 8-valve, liquid-cooled parallel twin-cylinder engine is smooth, easy to use and thoroughly engaging. The hugely popular and durable unit has made its reputation in Honda's CB(R)500 series and the CMX500 Rebel. For the CL500, it features revised PGM-FI fuel injection mapping, and a new intake and exhaust setup that deliver the engaging torque of 43.4Nm @ 6,250rpm and peak power of 34.3kW @ 8,500rpm. For crisper acceleration through each gear the rear sprocket uses 41 teeth, versus the 40 used by the Rebel.

It's a power unit that strikes a great balance between physical size and flexible output, with a willing delivery of both mid-range torque and top end power that has made it one of Honda's most-loved engines. Bore and stroke is set at 67mm x 66.8mm with compression ratio of 10.7:1. Internally the cylinder head uses roller rocker arms; shim-type valve adjustment allows them to be light, for lower valve-spring load and reduced friction.

A silent (SV Chain) cam chain has the surface of its pins treated with Vanadium, reducing friction with increased protection against dust. Friction is further reduced by the addition of striations on the piston skirt (a finish that increases surface area, introducing gaps in which oil can flow for better lubrication).

The crankshaft pins are phased at 180° and a primary couple-balancer sits behind the cylinders, close to the bike's centre of gravity. The balancer gears use scissor gears, reducing noise. The crank counterweight is specifically shaped for couple-balance and its light weight allows the engine to spin freely, with reduced inertia. Inlet valve diameter is 26.0mm with exhaust valve diameter of 21.5mm.

The crankcases use centrifugally cast thin-walled sleeves. Their internal design reduces the ‘pumping’ losses that can occur with a 180° phased firing order. A deep oil sump holds 3.2L.

Slick to use up or down, the six-speed gearbox is designed to offer effortless changes, especially around town. An assist/slipper clutch helps with rear wheel control, lightens the lever operation load and reduces rider fatigue.

In iconic CL style the exhaust twin-pipe muffler is upswept and fed by 2-1 downpipes. The note is tuned for heavier low-frequency sound compared to the Rebel, with a similar pulsing feel.


A full range of Genuine Honda accessories are available for the CL500, ready for personalisation to an owner's preference.

The rear subframe is designed for easy fitment of cosmetic parts and the soft rear panniers; a rear rack also mounts the 38L top box. There's also the option of a 30mm higher seat – finished in brown with black double stitching – for taller riders.

Cosmetic additions to add classic off-road style include lightweight polypropylene side number boards, fly screen, knuckle guards and high front mudguard. Practical items include heated grips, ACC charging socket and rear shock covers.

For convenience, three specially designed packs are ready to go:


Knuckle guards, high front mudguard, rear shock cover, and rally footpegs.


Soft saddlebag, heated grips, ACC socket, adjustable brake lever and tank pad.


Head light cowl, cowl stripe, wheel stripes, rear side cover, rear side cover stripe and high seat.

*Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to rideMeets current EPA standardsModels sold in California meet current CARB standards and may differ slightly due to emissions equipment

Engine & Drivetrain

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled parallel twin


471 cc

Bore & Stroke

67 mm x 66.8 mm

Compression Ratio


Valve Train

DOHC, four valves per cylinder

Fuel Delivery

PGM-FI electronic fuel injection with 34 mm throttle bodies



Final Drive

#520 chain (15T/41T)

Chassis & Suspension

Front Suspension

Telescopic; 150 mm (5.9 in.) travel

Rear Suspension

Dual shocks: 145 mm (5.7 in.) travel


Front: 110/80-19Rear: 150/70-17


Front: Twin four-piston calipers with 296 mm discsRear: 240 mm disc



Seat Height

790 mm (31.1 in.)


1,485 mm (58.5 in.)

Curb Weight

192 kg (423 lb.)

Fuel Capacity

12 litres


Mat Laurel Green Metallic


12 months, unlimited mileage, freely transferable warranty; extended coverage available with Honda Plus


Manufacturer Specifications and appearance are subject to change without prior notice on Total Motorcycle (TMW).

Introducing the 2023 Honda SCL500… 2023 Honda SCL500 Totalmotorcycle.com Key Features 2023 Honda SCL500 Totalmotorcycle.com Features and Benefits Styling & Equipment Styling simple and raw, just like the original CL 790mm seat height gives easy ground reach and legroom Negative display LCD dash and underseat helmet holder Full LED lighting and Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) technology for the rear indicators Chassis Tubular diamond-structure steel frame 41mm telescopic forks and twin, spring preload adjustable rear shocks Two-piston front brake caliper working a 310mm floating disc ABS balanced for light off-road 19-inch front/17-inch rear combination Engine 471cc liquid-cooled parallel twin-cylinder engine, A2 licence compatible Unique PGM-FI settings and shorter final drive gearing Assist/slipper clutch for rear wheel control Iconic ‘upswept’ twin-exit exhaust muffler Accessories ADVENTURE PACK TRAVEL PACK STYLE PACK ENGINE SUSPENSION BRAKES TIRES MEASUREMENTS OTHER 2023 Honda SCL500 – Totalmotorcycle.com Canada Specifications/Technical Details Liquid-cooled parallel twin 471 cc 67 mm x 66.8 mm 10.7:1 DOHC, four valves per cylinder PGM-FI electronic fuel injection with 34 mm throttle bodies Six-speed #520 chain (15T/41T) Telescopic; 150 mm (5.9 in.) travel Dual shocks: 145 mm (5.7 in.) travel Front: 110/80-19Rear: 150/70-17 Front: Twin four-piston calipers with 296 mm discsRear: 240 mm disc Standard 790 mm (31.1 in.) 1,485 mm (58.5 in.) 192 kg (423 lb.) 12 litres Mat Laurel Green Metallic 12 months, unlimited mileage, freely transferable warranty; extended coverage available with Honda Plus 2023 Honda SCL500 – Totalmotorcycle.com European Specifications/Technical Details