Honda CB650F: Agile and Smooth

Honda CB650_13 We have just completed our test ride of the Honda CBR50F, which is a sports type motorcycle with full fairing. Now we have its sibling, the CB650F, which is similar to the CBR650F in almost every specifications except it does not come with the full fairing covering as it is a 650cc naked sportsbike.

The exclusion of the full fairings mean the CB650F is some 3 kg lighter in overall weight than its sibling. Does the lighter weight gives it an added advantage in performance than the CBR650F?

Yes and No. Read on.

As a start, without the fairings, it does give the rider a feel that the CB650F is much more agile and nimbler than its sibling. And sharper in handling too as the lack of the fairing enclosure from a rider’s perspective gives him more confidence in handling the bike at the old twisty roads as well as navigating the heavy traffic during city congestion.

Compared to the CBR650F, the CB650F is able to switch from one lane to the next one with ease during a congestion as the lack of a full fairing allows it to navigate in-between cars. However, the CBR650F is able to cut thru a straight line congestion via lane filtering due to its narrower clip-on handlebars width as the CB650F utilized a wider, one-piece type that is similar to other naked sports and ADV bikes.

For our test, we decided to ride the CB650F to a slightly different route which the CBR650F had been subjected to. For the first one-third, we took the bike a location where there S-curves are much tighter, and the CB650F navigated them all with flying colours. On the second-third of the ride, we rode the bike to the same route where the CBR650F was tested on.

The roads were wet when the CBR650F was rode across those routes as it had been raining prior to our arrival. But with the CB650F, the rain was yet to hit although we could see dark clouds forming in the horizon. The rain eventually hit as we were 30% into the second-third of the routes and took approximately 40 minutes of our time for shelter till the rain stopped.

Once the rain clears, we resumed our ride and found the CB650F to be as adapt in navigating the wet tarmac as it was with the CBR650F, thanks to the default Dunlop D222 Sportmax tyres. However, as our ride got nearer to the end of the second-third of the route, we noticed another group of dark clouds were forming at the horizon where our final third of the ride was to take place.

So we adjourned to a new route where the rain clouds were not targeting and headed to the nearest city, which was approximately 80km away in a combination of S-curves with long straights and uphill/downhill slopes. Needless to say, the CB650F navigated what the new route has to offer with ease, fast and agile. And like the CBR650F, it completed the entire stretch, albeit with the new route in the final third, with just a single tank of fuel of over 340km in total distance clocked!

During our time of riding the CB650F, it did occur to us that we were able to cut thru some traffic congestion much easier than it had been with the CBR650F as the non-fairing configuration of the former enabled us to do so much quicker in the spur-of-the-moment reflexes.

So which is the ideal bike to choose between the two CB650 duo?

This is of course up to the customer. If you like a naked sports over a full fairing type, by all means, go for the CB650F version. However, if you prefer a more sporty type with full fairing and cutting thru traffic during heavy city congestion, then the CBR650F is the obvious choice.

Limitations? There are a few, among them is a slightly slower top speed – 230km vs. 245km, than what we could achieve with the CBR650F. But this is the norm as naked sports are well known to be slightly slower in that segment when compared to their full fairing siblings. Wind resistance is also something to consider when riding at higher speed or beyond 200kph as the CBR650F has a better aerodynamic thanks to its full fairing configuration.

But the lower selling price of the CB650F over the CBR650F may also be instrumental in the final decision of choosing which model over the two bikes.

Honda CB650F specifications:

Engine: Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-cylinder, Inline 2-cylinder
Capacity: 649cc
Compression Ratio: 11:4
Transmission: 6-speed
Bore & Stroke: 67 x 46.0mm
Fuel System: Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)
Maximum Horsepower: 85hp @11,000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 63 Nm @ 8,000 rpm
Fuel Capacity: 17.3-Litre
Seat Height: 810mm
Suspensions: Front – 41mm telescopic forks; Rear – shock absorber with spring preload adjustment
Brakes: Dual 320mm discs (front); Single 240mm disc (rear)
Dry Weight: 206 kg
Sales Price: RM40,999 w/ST, non-OTR, without ABS

Honda CB650F   Honda CB650F_2   Honda CB650F_3   Honda CB650F_4    Honda CB650F_5Honda CB650F_6   Honda CB650F_7   Honda CB650F_7   Honda CB650F_8   Honda CB650F_9Honda CB650F_10   Honda CB650F_11   Honda CB650F_12

Text and images: Philip Chong

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