Well, here you go. the 2014 CBR650F is an all-new design, optimized for all levels of ability while still being inviting for new riders. It’s is a SMOOTH OPERATOR sportbike with precise handling.
Honda started with a clean sheet, designing the chassis and DOHC, liquid-cooled motor just for this model.
Here are the highlights:
It may be all new, but Honda has gone back in time. The twin-spar steel frame, supersport-sized tires, nonadjustable 41mm fork and two-piston front calipers. The motor looks like the first-gen 600RR’s, but the stroke is a little longer to give it 649cc, and compression is down as well. We won’t tear down and measure the cylinder heads to confirm my suspicions that the ports and valves are sized for optimal low and midrange power. But power is a good 20 percent less than the 600RR’s—although fuel consumption is much better
It’s all wrapped up in sleek, modern bodywork and gets a bevy of features you’d expect from more expensive motorcycles.The aluminum swingarm and GP-style four-into-one exhaust look great, as do the abbreviated tail section and 14-spoke wheels. The bulbous tank looks a little odd, but then you realize it holds 17 litres and doesn’t affect comfort. The bars are in a sporty position, but are still pretty comfortable riding position, and the instrumentation offers enough info to get your geek on although the horn and signal button are in swapped position. All in, the bike weighs 209 kg dry.
The 650F is a refined and modern-feeling ride. The engine is smooth, and the PGM-FI fuel-injection means you can ride off as soon as you start it up. Power is also F2-ish: around 80 hp at the back wheel, but it’s available at lower rpm, making the motor more flexible and noob-friendly, but plenty fast enough to get you into trouble or keep up with even slightly insane friends on more focused sportbikes.
For sporting use, the 650 should keep 90 percent of riders happy with its ability. It’s heavy, but 209kg, isn’t really much these days, and it feels light enough. It’s easy to steer and but I don’t like the standard mirrors but has no-wrong personality, and handling is precise and easy to ride even with pillion. The forks are set up decently and control the front wheel while providing a comfortable ride, and the shock—which has no linkage but at least is adjustable for preload—keeps things in line back there, too. The brakes are a little better than you’d expect, but won’t fool you into thinking there are more than two pistons per caliper—but they do the job well.
On the freeway, the little CBR shines. I actually rode it up the ELITE highway to Sepang to my MotoGP winter Test assignment back-to-back for 3 days, I kept thinking that the RM41,999 motorcycle was almost as good for touring as more expensive motorcycle. I saw 5.6 litre per 100km, which put 321km between fill ups, and the seat and wind protection were pretty good (I am a shorty, though, so taller riders may feel differently). I think it would be hard to beat as a commuter, given its range, economy, low price, narrow profile and easy handling.
For the price, you really can’t beat it, whatever your experience level. It may be all new, but it doesn’t feel any different at all, and that’s okay—sometimes you do it right the first time, and there’s no reason to re-invent the wheel. HondaCBR