Not the most exciting bikes around, but the CBR650F looks good and performance too should be just about okay
The fully-faired Honda CBR650F and its naked brother, the CB650F (notice the missing 'R' in the latter's name...) are definitely not the most exciting motorcycles on the planet, but are certainly practical and moderately good looking, with a certain amount of all-around capability that many riders love and appreciate. For 2016, Honda have given minor updates and new paintjobs to both bikes, which should be sufficient to keep Big Red's cash registers ringing.
"The CBR650F is designed to conquer corners with ease and also be great around town. It offers a sporting edge but makes no compromise to rider lifestyle, and is a real pleasure to look at. More and more of our customers, novice or veteran, are drawn to such a distinct identity and riding feel and it gives me great pleasure to welcome them to Honda’s newest CBR," says Teishiro Goto, Honda's 'Large Project Leader' for the CBR650F.
Indeed, the CBR650F's tuned-for-torque, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve, 649cc four-cylinder engine has been optimised for low- to mid-range power delivery, with crisp, clean acceleration at low to medium speeds, while the bike's twin-spar chassis, which is made of steel, and aluminium swingarm, ensure near sportsbike-spec handling in the twisties. The CBR650F's 41mm telescopic fork, rear monoshock, newly designed six-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels (wearing 120/70 and 180/55 radial tyres), twin 320mm brake discs at front and dual-channel ABS as standard mean that all the right bits are present and accounted for. There's definitely no cutting-edge stuff here, but with 86bhp and 63Nm from that 4-pot engine, a good rider should still be able to have some fun on the CBR650F, which has a kerb weight of 211 kilos. With 21kpl in terms of fuel efficiency and a 350km range on one full tank of fuel, the practical bits are also taken care of.
New paint schemes for the 2016 Honda CBR650F include matt black and red, and matt black and white. A full range of accessories are available from Honda, including a taller windscreen, soft and hard luggage, heated grips, anti-theft alarm and paddock stand etc.
Coming to the CBR650F's naked brother, the 2016 CB650F, Honda say that it's a "middleweight naked bike with streetfighter style and attitude, and a four-cylinder engine tuned for high torque and all-round excitement, plus well balanced high quality chassis and optional ABS." We agree with everything except the "streetfighter attitude" bit, which is nonsense. Unlike the CBR650F, the CB650F makes do without a fairing (and loses 5kg in the process) and hence may not be as suitable for longer journeys and/or high-speed work. Of the two, we think we'd probably take the CBR650F...