2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
There are motorcyclists who are satisfied with significantly less than 100 hp and who are not only looking for technical highlights. Honda designed the CB 650 F for this clientele.
Experienced motorcyclists who have been on the road for years with highly equipped and extremely powerful motorcycles will be bored with the new Honda CB 650F. The Honda men in Japan as well as in Europe know that. But mass manufacturers like Honda also need vehicles for other target groups in their range. For example, those who have completed their A2 driving license, which is limited to 48 hp, and are allowed to drive a motorcycle with unlimited power for the first time.
For these people and also for those who deliberately do not want 100 or 160 hp under their bum, Honda has developed the completely new, undisguised CB 650F with a four-cylinder in-line engine. Particularly easy drivability was at the top of the technicians' specifications. The first contact in the mountainous region of Benidorm showed that this goal has been achieved.
Inline four-cylinder with 87 hp
No, wrinkling one's nose is not the thing, even if the technical elements of the CB 650F are of a simpler kind. The 41 mm telescopic fork is not adjustable, the new in-line quad has “only” 64 kW / 87 PS. “Only” because you have been able to tickle 120 hp from this displacement for decades. There is also no traction control and no integral braking system; Instead of the latter, a solid three-disc brake system with - at least - radial brake caliper linkage is installed, which is protected by an inexpensive and relatively lightweight two-channel ABS. The brake is absolutely equal to the performance and can be easily adjusted, and the ABS also does its job unobtrusively when necessary.
Although the previous model, the CB 600 Hornet, was equipped with all kinds of technical subtleties and was therefore taken more seriously by technology fans, its attractiveness had suffered. The CB 650F should therefore be repositioned as the successor model: Not spectacular technical details should convince, but an adequate overall package for a wide variety of users. “The spread of demands is particularly large with a naked bike that is designed as a real all-rounder in street fighter style,” says project manager Yoshiyuki Kurayoshi. For him that meant: easy handling and easy drivability are particularly important, high performance and technical gimmicks are not required.
Steel frame instead of aluminum chassis
Kurayoshi opted for a steel frame instead of a prestigious aluminum chassis; it is of course cleverly constructed - namely from oval tubes - so that the CB 650F has a very slim appearance. He chose a conventional fork because it enables a more favorable center of gravity; its heavy elements are positioned lower than in an upside-down fork. While the concept of the CB 650F was about low manufacturing costs and the use of inexpensive parts, it wasn't about building a cheap motorcycle. Because Honda has high standards for its products.
With its German retail price of 7,955 euros, this good-looking Honda is not a cheap motorcycle either. Other Japanese manufacturers can do it cheaper - how, of course, remains their secret. Apart from a few details such as the bulky-looking indicators, the lack of adjustment options for the clutch lever or the lack of handlebar operation of the small on-board computer, the CB 650 makes a very high-quality impression: Very clean welds, ergonomically shaped handlebar controls and flawlessly laid Electric cables underline the fact that Honda values its reputation when it comes to build quality.
Good draft guaranteed
Has the CB 650 F, which one could disrespectfully assign the function of a “bread and butter motorcycle”, has now become an honest woman because of its design and its manageable engine power? Certainly not. Because their engine power is easy to access on country roads - motorways are generally not the preferred area for naked bikes: the very high-torque and wonderfully elastic four-cylinder in-line engine shines with good torque and vibration-free running up to around 8,000 revolutions. Further up, the fine vibrations that are usual for this type of engine are noticeable; but they do not disturb.
The engine output is easy to dose and easy to access; only when quickly changing from thrust to load does the engine accelerate a little hard. The six-speed gearbox works smoothly and precisely, as does the clutch.
For the reasons mentioned here, even really committed, sporty driving on very winding country and mountain roads with the CB 650F worked extremely well. It became clear that in this vehicle category a proper basic set-up of the chassis in conjunction with an engine that is powerful even at medium speeds can lead to great driving pleasure. (SP-X)