It’s hard satisfying us Indians. We want the absolute best for the absolute cheapest. We want our suits to say Armani with the price tag of a Lux Cozi. We want the luxury of a Bentley in a car that costs ten per cent as much. We want a single cylinder with the sound of an inline-4 which goes twice as fast as our legal expressway speed limits, and yet is as comfortable as a Goldwing. Its hilarious, these demands of ours. But automotive manufacturers have no other option but to strive and meet them. And somewhere, somehow, after a lot of compromises, we reach a middle ground. That’s what the Honda CBR 650f is. The middle ground.
“The Honda CBR 650f is the motorcycle equivalent to “Sharma ka ladka”.”
It’s very decent, beginner friendly, does what it’s told, and doesn’t scare you while doing it. There’s of course a creamy inline-4 motor and a full set of fairing. While Honda meant the fairing for aerodynamics, we just need it to look cool. Till now, the 650f scores full marks. Does that mean that this is the perfect Indian sport bike? Let’s dig a little deeper to find out.
The powerplant is a 649cc DOHC inline-4 type which loves to rev. And when you do, there’s no perceptible step in power, save for a slight surge after 6,000rpm. The exhaust is now louder, when compared to the previous gen thanks to a new free-breathing end can. You fire up the motor and there’s a mellow growl. As you scurry along the rev range, the inline-4 motor emancipates a fast spinning howl. The bike’s motor provides a butter smooth experience up till 5,500rpm, after which a sizzle start to creep in and stays right till the 11,800rpm rev limit. Peak power (85.4 bhp) is produced at the 11,000rpm mark. The power, though, is put down in a very calm manner. In fact it’s so good-natured, I can only imagine that the f in Honda 650f stands for friendly. But, mind you, friendly does not mean slow. The second to fifth gears have their ratios shortened from the previous gen too. And that certainly helps quicken things up.
As a sport tourer, you’d want it to be comfortable. And that, the Honda CBR650f is. The rider triangle isn’t too sporty. However, Honda has lowered the clip-ons, from the previous gen, to make for a more aggressive stance. Seats are not too soft, so your butt won’t sink in after a long time in the saddle. The aerodynamics are sorted. So sorted in fact, you won’t notice what alarmingly fast speeds you’re carrying while you’re comfortably tucked in behind the windshield.
“Ride quality is supple for a sport bike on Indian roads, and stability is steadfast out on the highways.”
The front end feel is fantastic, thanks to what is the biggest update of this motorcycle, Showa’s dual bending valve (SDBV) fork. Ride quality is supple for a sport bike on Indian roads, and stability is steadfast out on the highways. However, tipping the motorcycle requires the rider to put in some effort. This is by no means a light motorcycle. At 216kg, it’s quite heavy in fact. But the motorcycle masks its weight quite well with the city and doesn’t strain you out. Braking is exceptional too, thanks to the new larger and more powerful Nissin brake calipers.
The one letdown in this motorcycle were the tyres. The Dunlops just don’t do justice to the motorcycle and on quite a few occasions left the rear fishtailing under acceleration. During a few corners, we faced some scary situations where the tyres almost gave way. So if you plan to buy this motorcycle, make sure you slap on some stickier rubbers.
The overall fit and finish is top-notch, just how you’d expect a Honda to be. Switchgear too doesn’t feel flimsy at all and yells quality all over, but the placement of the horn and indicator switches still remain swapped and that will take some getting used to. The headlamp is now a full-LED unit, and not a great one at that. The throw of the highbeam was off, and the intensity wasn’t that great either. So if you plan to tour with the Honda CBR 650f, a pair of auxiliary lights would do you good.
“CBR 650f is the bike to go for if you’re looking for a well-mannered good-looking sport bike.”
At Rs. 730,000 (ex-showroom Delhi), the Honda CBR 650f is quite a buy. That is if you’re looking for a well-mannered good-looking sport bike. There are a lot of other options available for you at that price point, but with Honda’s reliability and cheap service, it’s no wonder the Ceeber finds its fair share of buyers.