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HomeBike Reviews2024 Harley-Davidson X 500

2024 Harley-Davidson X 500

Our Harley-Davidson experience last year can be described in retrospect as a little bit like speed dating. Designed to give us a taste test of both of the brands new learner legal offerings, the X 350 and X 500 before we were offered the opportunity to road test both over a prolonged period.

At the launch we were a little besotted by the X 350 with its striking flat tracker looks and punchy little 353cc DOHC 4-valve liquid-cooled parallel twin engine that produces 27kW of power. However, in the background lurked its bigger sibling the X 500, a little more refined with a more subtle bobber style persona.

2024 Harley-Davidson X 500
2024 Harley-Davidson X 500

In fairness the setting for Harley Australia’s X experience favoured the character of the X 350 and hence why we had a little more enthusiasm for that model initially, but now we have lived with both bikes in real world conditions the question must be asked – has that initial opinion been flipped on its head.

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Like the X 350 the X 500 is manufactured in China and provides the American brand an entry point to entice novice riders to Harley-Davidson. It’s one they hope will allow customers to step up to larger bikes in the range, ensuring buyers stay brand loyal throughout their motorcycle journey.

2024 Harley-Davidson X 500
2024 Harley-Davidson X 500

The learner legal X 500 is in a unique space in the learner segment and will be going head to head with the likes of the Royal Enfield 650 twins, Kawasaki’s 650 Vulcan, Honda’s CMX 500 and the recently released Triumph learner bikes.

We were pleased to find a few lower spec issues on the X 350 had been eliminated on the higher spec X 500 including the speedo which was our biggest gripe with the previously tested X 350. The X 500 offers a lot more functionality covering off all the basics we wanted on the X 350, however there is still no TFT.

2024 Harley-Davidson X 500
2024 Harley-Davidson X 500

A consideration for the 2025 X models could be for the motor company to utilise the assembly used on the Breakout and Street Bob which would really elevate the X bikes to the next level – just a thought.

Apart from that the X 500 features LED lighting all around the bike with the same LED headlight leading the way out front. Controls are the identical to the X 350 being easy to use and engage although self cancelling blinkers would be a nice addition on both learner models.

2024 Harley-Davidson X 500
2024 Harley-Davidson X 500

On the road being a larger gent, we found the proportions of the bigger bike much more accomodating. The seating position is a little more relaxed, allowing the ergonomics to be much more suited to longer riding adventures whilst still allowing a great commuter option with good body position for lane filtering and compact characteristics to make navigating the urban jungle a breeze.

The suspension and handling on the X 500 works a treat and we enjoyed the predictability and handling dynamics when getting the bike out into our local twisty back roads. A nice touch is that both front and rear preload is adjustable on the X 500.

2024 Harley-Davidson X 500
2024 Harley-Davidson X 500

Up front suspension duties are carried out by 50mm upside down forks, whilst the rear setup features an oil and gas separation type shock absorber. Surprisingly the X 500 on the spec sheet features slightly less lean angle then the X 350 with 46.9 degrees to the right and 49.5 to the left, but honestly on the road the X 500 feels planted and is confidence inspiring to lean over all the way to the footpegs kiss the bitumen.

Braking componentry is shared across the X platform with both bikes utilising dual front disc brakes and a single rear disc brake, with ABS. This setup works well and offers the rider plenty of brake feel on the front and rear, something learner and beginner motorcyclists will appreciate.

2024 Harley-Davidson X 500
2024 Harley-Davidson X 500

The 500cc donk felt smooth with enough punch down low to be engaging for a learner rider or someone looking for a commuter or cafe/cruising bike. The 500cc DOHC 4-valve liquid-cooled parallel twin produces 35kW and 46nM of grunt and is mated to a six-speed transmission utilising a wet-plate clutch.

Through the mid range the 500cc power plant shines and is much more willing above  110 klm/h than its smaller sibling. In fact the engine seems a whole lot more effortless which is a big plus when it comes to riding longer distances.

2024 Harley-Davidson X 500
2024 Harley-Davidson X 500

The gearbox works well, just like on the X 350 there is a firm click up and down gears when selecting with us not being able to find any false neutrals or missing any gears during our testing period, which leads us to the Chinese build quality.

Build quality, fit and finish was very good on our test bike and combined with the easy handling characteristics of the X 500 will brandish the bike a lot of fans. The X 500 is a direct replacement for the Street 500 that was cut from the lineup a few years back and we can’t reinforce our opinion enough that this model is a huge improvement on the Street 500 in performance, style and build quality.

2024 Harley-Davidson X 500
2024 Harley-Davidson X 500

Harley-Davidson’s 2024 X 500 is available in 4 colour choices Dynamic Orange, Pearl White, Dramatic Black and Supersonic Silver as tested with all colour variants retailing for $11,495 ride away and is backed by Harley-Davidson’s 2 year unlimited kilometre warranty.

As the saying goes different strokes for different folks and this will certainly be the case for punters choosing between the dynamic learner duo from HD. At the initial X experience we had the X 350 ahead mainly due to its flat tracker looks and punchy character, however in real world conditions we admit our opinion has been flipped.

2024 Harley-Davidson X 500
2024 Harley-Davidson X 500

For us the X 500 is the slightly better bike in our opinion and it may be just a case of those slightly better ergonomics for larger humans such as yours truly. However, we would like to see the asking price shaved by about a grand to align the X 500 with its competitors a little more.

Whatever your opinion, one thing is for certain, the Street 500 was a local sales hit for Harley-Davidson and rest assured these two new learner legal bikes will enjoy the same sales success, which should make a lot of Harley-Davidson dealers very happy.

2024 Harley-Davidson X 500
2024 Harley-Davidson X 500

For more information on Harley-Davidson’s X 350, talk to your local dealership, or visit their Harley-Davidson website.

Our test bike was provided by Harley-Davidson Australia for review purposes.

2024 Harley-Davidson X 500
2024 Harley-Davidson X 500

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Ride Experience
8.25
Style and Comfort
8.5
Braking and Handling
7.9
Overall Bike Performance
8
Value For Money
7.5
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkinhttp://twowheeladdicts.com.au
Andrew Jenkin is the founding editor of Two Wheel Addicts, ride editor at Exhaust Notes Australia, a contributor to BikeReview and Drivetribe as well as being a panel judge of Harley Davidson's Breakout Boss competition. Andrew has a love for anything on two wheels whether that be sports, naked or adventure bikes, with a guilty pleasure for cruisers.

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Our Harley-Davidson experience last year can be described in retrospect as a little bit like speed dating. Designed to give us a taste test of both of the brands new learner legal offerings, the X 350 and X 500 before we were offered the...2024 Harley-Davidson X 500