The 150 and 250 CBRs have given Honda a good indicator at India's growing need for sports bikes and so the CBR 650F arrived with huge expectations. But the launch of the bike in August turned out to be a disappointment with the ex-showroom price of ₹ 7.3 lakh despite the bike being a CKD. So does it pack enough performance and looks to justify this heavy price tag? That's what we intend to find out.
The CBR 650F gets your attention instantly with it's striking looks of a sports tourer. The dominant sporty design gets a dash of aggression thrown in with the V shaped headlamps, semi-large visor and a big muscular tank. The design is accentuated with the racing graphics across the fairing and the massive rear tyre that will stare at you.
The bike's looks might look a bit dated to many but to me, there's nothing wrong with being classic as long as you are not boring and CBR 650F manages to do that. The twin-pod instrument cluster is all-digital, simple to use and makes for easy reading on the move. The switches and controls have great feel with impressive plastic quality.
Get the Honda CBR 650F on the road and that's when it hits you that this motorcycle is one of the smoothest performers in this segment. The in line four cylinder engine on the bike impresses with its refinement. But the exhaust is a bit quiet for the performance it offers but that doesn't mean it's boring. It's a bike that superbly agile and quick with linear and quick acceleration. There's lots of refined power on offer from the 649cc liquid cooled engine with 85.3bhp and peak torque of 63Nm mated to a 6-speed gearbox performing well to keep things smooth even at low speeds. The refinement is so good that at speeds of 130-140Km/h the bike does feel strained one bit and in fact is ready to be pushed further.
And so you do just that on straight lines and still the CBR 650F feels superbly planted and having ABS as standard does add to the confidence. The bike handles well around corners too without feeling too heavy at 215 kilos. The suspension has been tuned well for a good mix of sporty and comfort feel and so it won't mind the odd patch of potholes. The riding position is also quite easy even for shorter riders with the low seat, foot pegs and the handlebar giving you the ideal posture for a sport tourer, although the pillion sits taller but isn't uncomfortable.
Watch - Honda CBR650F: Smooth Performer
The Honda CBR 650F is a motorcycle that doesn't over-raw you with performance or quick throttle response, instead it is a calm and capable sport tourer that any rider will enjoy. But for a company that has cracked the scooter and commuter bike segment in India, Honda's pricing of the CBR 650F comes as a shocker and really doesn't justify it.