Honda CB650F test – 2,000 kilometers across the Dolomites

Together we conquered the Dolomites. Sella lap, Stelvio pass, and many other beautiful passes drove our group, on which the Honda CB 650F had to prove with many others. Overall, the test distance was 2,000 kilometers.

The lovingly revised Honda CB650F convinces with a classic, unobtrusive look

Honda CB650F in Belluno

Visually, the bike looks very consistent. While other manufacturers want to satisfy with motorcycles whose appearance looks increasingly futuristic, remains Honda rather modest: The look is constant, the headlight is not pulled too far down. All in all, the Honda CB650F is a bit more rounded than, say, a Kawasaki Z1000 or a KTM 1290 Duke. I like the slightly more classic Honda design very much. LED headlights and LED tail light complete the chic design. What does not like, but is now found in many new motorcycles: The monstrous, unmistakable license plate holder. In addition to the CB650F Honda has also the fully-faired CBR650F in petto. But in this test, we focus entirely on the naked bike.

The comfortable seating position and a cockpit that reveals its weaknesses in direct sunlight

The seating position are delightful. The knee angle is not too sharp, so even slightly larger riders have no problems on this bike.

Cockpit Honda CBF 650F © Honda Motorrad Germany

The LCD screen looks very tidy, unlike other Honda models, there are no settable setups. The display can not be configured, and even with the information Honda is limited to the essentials: You can choose between Trip odometer (Trip A and B), average consumption, current consumption, and the total mileage.

I missed a range indicator, so the digital fuel gauge remained as a guide to the remaining range.

The problem is the sunlight from behind. Then you can hardly recognize anything. And that there is a red speed range, was only found at second glance.

There is some storage space under the seat. Where “something” is almost exaggerated: much more than a wallet can not be bestowed. However, there is also the option in the range of accessories to buy a top case for 140 euros or a passenger seat pocket for just over 50 euros.

In tight corners, the Honda CB650F fully demonstrates its strengths, handling and brake are ingenious, fuel consumption is good – point deductions are due to heavy vibration and inaccurate circuit

The familiarization with the Honda CB650F is short. The upright, comfortable sitting position contributes to this a not insignificant part. The handling is ingenious, especially in tight corners, such as on the Passo Dello Stelvio. But even in fast change curves makes the bike fun. Restricted to 48 hp, this bike is sure to be a great beginner with fun potential even for beginners.

In the curves, the RC97 is quite calm, and even slight corrections of the line are no problem. The tilt angle is okay, but a touchdown of the catch acknowledged the rear tire directly with a small slide. However, the mounted Dunlop Sportmax is not necessarily the upper class in the tire segment.

Suspension and brake are no nakedness – the Honda creates confidence

Front of the 2017 Honda CBF 650F with LED headlights

The chassis is solidly tuned. Bumps, even in bends, are no problem for the Showa suspension. If you are looking for adjustment at the fork, you will not find it. That’s too bad! By the way: Honda has dispensed with the CB650F on an upside-down fork, which is not a criticism for me. The existing fork does an excellent job. Also, the strut is not overwhelmed with a lot of luggage, or with pillion operation. Also, the spring preload of the strut is seven times adjustable.

The front Nissin brake with 320 mm double disc impresses with a very smooth deceleration. The braking performance is perfect, and there is nothing to complain about. As annoying I felt, however, the loud noises, which gave it especially when braking in a slight slope downhill. However, I could not say that the sound affected the performance of the brake. I also doubt that this problem occurs on all models. The ABS also did its job without difficulty.

The rear does not convince the brake as much as the front. It is not very sensitive to dose and needs compared to other models a lot of power. However, since the front wheel handles the majority of the braking force, this shortcoming is rather negligible.

Four cylinders – 650 ccs and 91 hp are enough for the fleet hunt

That a liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder engine with 91 hp nowadays causes no emotional outbursts in the motorcycle community, should be well known. However, one must say that the four-cylinder is rather one of the rougher candidates in this segment – tame is undoubtedly different. Also, there is already in the lower speed range, so from about 4,000 revolutions noticeable propulsion. Overall, Honda has an ingenious speed range. On the highway, I sometimes had the feeling that the red area

Engine Honda CB650F © Honda Motorcycle Germany

never starts. Sure, a 650 is not 1000, but still: From the number of shifts, I occasionally had the feeling of sitting on a “big one.”

Nevertheless, I do not want to deny that Honda is kept happy. Under 4,000 turns, the air gets pretty thin. For the motorcycle, despite the rough character, it shows smooth running at very low speeds. Even the tightest sweeps can quickly be passed through with 2,000 turns. Well, the subsequent acceleration then starves her a little and takes her time to get well again – but the performance is always convincing. In particular, because the vote of the engine brake, as well as the translation, is very well done. Chapeau!

Incidentally, you can drive with the Hornet-successor in the sixth gear through the village without any problems. The residents are happy!

Power to weight ratio like a McLaren 650S Spider

With 91 hp and weight in the fully fueled state of 208 kilograms, we end up with a power-to-weight rate that roughly matches that of a McLaren 650S Spider. This also means that the bike is by no means underpowered. By the way, in our group two “big” Yamaha Fazers were driving, as well as a Honda VFR and a BMW 1200 GS. In order not to lose the connection on the straights, but then more than 7,000 revolutions are required. By the way, the red area starts on the speedometer at 11,500 revolutions per minute. The maximum torque is 8,000 revolutions and is 64 Newton meters. Negative fall on the powerful vibrations, which brought me from 5,000 revolutions repeatedly sore hands and feet.

On the other hand, the fuel consumption of the Honda CB650F was convincing: In economical driving, the four cylinders burned 4.8 to 5.5 liters per 100 kilometers. If things got a bit faster, the consumption climbed to just over 6 liters. So everything in the frame and with the 17.3-liter tank ranges was up to 300 kilometers possible.

Nobody is perfect: Honda has yet to improve the clutch and transmission

Hagelin presents the circuit of the Honda. The bike needs clear orders if you poke larifarimäßig in the communication, which will land under warranty occasionally between the courses. So the anterior tibia muscle was well trained after the tour, but cramping did not happen. But seriously: When gear or circuit Honda – at least in this model – improve, there is nothing to gloss over. Even the start is not very easy with the clutch, which comes very late, in the beginning.

The conclusion to the Honda CB650F – Especially the 50/50 financing is interesting

We think Honda can be proud of the revised CB650F. Almost inconspicuous is the look, the suspension works well despite the lack of adjustment options and the motorization ensures no boredom. There is still a need for improvement in the transmission, as well as in the readability of the cockpit in sunlight. The handling is impeccable, there is also nothing to complain about in the brake system, and despite EURO 4, Honda has managed to tease out a little extra power from the CB650F.

The price of 8,390 euros is -, especially when compared to similar models from other manufacturers – not particularly favorable. However, it seems appropriate about the offered package. Combined with the 50/50 financing, the CB650F can be an attractive motorcycle for young drivers. Here are 50% of the price paid, then the bike can be driven without installments and interest for 24 months. After the two years, the bike can be quickly returned. Alternatively, there is the option to buy the bike immediately or to finance the open 50%.

The fully clad CB R 650F also costs 8,990 euros.

If you can accept the mentioned shortcomings of the CB650F, you will enjoy this bike. I had him on tour across the Dolomites and would like to thank Honda Motorrad Germany, who provided the test bike.

At a glance: What did not like about the Honda CB 650F?


+ Consistent overall appearance

+ Solidly tuned suspension

+ Ingenious handling

+ Engine brake very well optimized, reliable speed range

+ Front brake very well

+ Good consumption values

+ Great driving pleasure


– Cockpit badly readable in sunlight

– Fork not adjustable

– Strong vibrations at medium and high speeds

– Inaccurate transmission

Specifications Honda CB 650F:

Engine: 4-stroke DOHC inline four-cylinder, liquid-cooled

Displacement: 649 cc

Max. Power: 91 hp (67 kW) at 11,000 pm

Max. Torque: 64 Newton meters at 8,000 pm

Tank capacity: 17.3 liters

Consumption: 21 km per liter (WMTC measurement)

Transmission: 6 gears

Weight (full tank): 208 kg

Dimensions: 2,110 mm x 775 mm x 1,120 mm

Wheelbase: 1,450 mm Seat

height: 810 mm

Tire sizes: 120 / 70ZR17 front and 180 / 55ZR17 rear

brakes: 2 channel, 320 mm double disc front, 240 mm single disc brake rear

chassis front: 41 mm SDBV telescopic fork, 120 mm travel

Rear suspension: Mono strut, seven-way spring preload, 128 mm travel

LED: headlamp and taillight

LCD: cockpit display

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