Adventure bike owners love to add “farkles” from companies such as National Cycle to their bikes. A farkle, as many of you know, is an accessory, often a fancy one, that a motorcycle owner is likely to brag about. Some say the word is a mashup of “function” and “sparkle,” but we’ve also heard it’s an acronym for Fancy Accessory, Really Kool, Likely Expensive. (When I Googled “farkle,” the top result was from Dictionary.com: a combination of fart and chuckle, an involuntary fart caused by laughter. Gotta love the internet.)
Best known for its windscreens and windshields, National Cycle also makes accessories for select motorcycle models. As part of its Extreme Adventure Gear (XAG) line, it makes accessories for the ADV-styled Honda CB500X, and we installed some XAG accessories on our 2022 test bike.
One of the most popular upgrades for adventure bikes is supplemental protection against rocks, road debris, and tip-overs. We started off with National Cycle’s XAG Polycarbonate Headlight Guard (P/N N5400, $84.95), which is made of tough 3.0mm polycarbonate reinforced with the company’s proprietary Quantum hardcoat – said to provide 10 times the strength and 30 times the scratch resistance as acrylic, a claim National Cycle backs up with a three-year warranty against breakage.
The guard is thermoformed for an exact fit over the 2019-2022 CB500X headlight, and its crystal-clear optics do not distort or reduce illumination. Installation is simple: Just clean the headlight, remove the adhesive backing on the marine-grade Velcro tabs, and press the guard onto the headlight lens.
Next, to add crash protection as well as a place to mount auxiliary lighting, we installed the XAG Adventure Side Guards (P/N P4200, $429.95), which are also available for the Yamaha Ténéré 700. Made of black powdercoated steel, they complement the CB500X’s styling, especially the Pearl Organic Green/Black color scheme on our 2022 model. The guards are also treated inside and out with an electrophoretic coating to eliminate rust and corrosion.
The installation instructions provide a list of basic tools needed as well as a QR code that links to a helpful video. Installation is straightforward and took about 30 minutes, with the only challenge being a little extra effort needed to line the guards up with the engine mount holes.
The left and right guards attach to the engine in two places, and they bolt together in the middle just below the headlight. Once installed, they provide solid, sturdy protection. A flat metal tab with an open bolt hole that’s welded to the lower part of each guard provides a good attachment point for auxiliary lights.
As Reg Kittrelle says in his Triumph Tiger 900 GT Low review in the upcoming February issue, an ADV is a “motorcycle that can comfortably take me to distant places carrying lots of stuff.” The Honda CB500X is comfortable, but in stock form, it doesn’t provide many options for carrying gear, so we installed the XAG Luggage Rack (P/N P9304, $184.95). Like the side guards, the luggage rack is made of black powdercoated steel.
Also like the guards, installation of the rack requires only basic hand tools, takes about 30 minutes, and is clearly demonstrated in the instructions and video. On a stock CB500X, installation requires removal/reinstallation of the passenger grab handles since the mounting brackets share the same bolt holes. On our test bike, the grab handles had already been removed when Honda’s accessory saddlebag mounts were installed. And be advised: National Cycle’s luggage rack is not compatible with Honda’s accessory saddlebags.
The rack is a solid, stylish, practical add-on. It measures 8.625 inches front to back and has a tapered width that narrows from 6.75 inches at the front to 5 inches at the rear. The rack’s slotted surface and two holes on either side provide anchor points for straps or bungee cords. It sits a bit higher than the passenger portion of the seat, but together they provide a platform up to 23 inches in length for carrying a drybag, duffel, or tailbag.
Although we didn’t request one for our test bike, National Cycle also makes the XAG Lowering Kit and Kickstand (P/N P4900, $119.95) for the CB500X. It includes a shorter sidestand and two aluminum suspension link arms that lower the seat height by about 1.5 inches (from 32.8 to 31.3 inches). Only basic tools are required, installation takes 30-45 minutes, and you’ll need a wheel chock and a hydraulic jack or lift. As with the other accessories, in addition to the step-by-step instructions with photos, there’s a helpful video.
We put as many miles as possible on our test bikes, so we’re always interested in accessories that improve comfort. We’ve tested National Cycle’s VStream windscreens on many different motorcycles over the years, and we’ve consistently been impressed with their ability to improve wind protection while also reducing turbulence and buffeting. With their patented “V” shape, VStream windscreens are made of 3.0mm Quantum-hardcoated polycarbonate – the same durable material used for the headlight guard (and with the same warranty against breakage).
The VStream windscreen comes in three sizes for the CB500X, as seen below.
The Low windscreen is 16.75 inches tall, just slightly taller than stock, and it’s available in dark or light tint for $121.95. We opted for the Mid windscreen ($133.95), which is 19.25 inches tall (more than 2.5 inches taller than stock), much wider than stock near the top, and available only in light tint. The Tall windscreen ($139.95) is 21.75 inches tall (more than 5 inches taller than stock), even wider near the top, and available only in clear.
Compared to stock, the Mid-size VStream pushes air higher up and around the rider. Airflow hits at helmet height, but there’s no buffeting. There’s also excellent visibility over the top of the windscreen, providing an unobstructed view of the road ahead.
Unlike most farkles, National Cycle’s XAG accessories are practical and reasonably priced. If you’ve got a Honda CB500X, check ’em out by clicking on the linked product names above.