Honda CB650R

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I had the privilege of having a Honda CB650R on loan from Honda Motorcycles for 2 weeks and what a privilege that was.

I’ll get techy early on with you. The CB has a 649cc inline four cylinder, 16 v DOHC, euro 5 engine producing 70kW with 64Nm of torque. As you would expect from Honda, the engine is smooth and has lots of low to mid range torque and plenty of power.

The bike also has traction control and this can be turned on or off as desired without having to use modes.

Four-to-one exhaust

With 92bhp, this bike is A2 licence compliant and can be fitted with an accessory A2 licence conversion kit, which is then easily de-restrictable giving back its full power, making this a brilliant first big bike.

Honda CB550F1 Pic courtesy of Craig Longcroft

I really like the design of the four-to-one exhaust system, it’s different and stylish and is reminiscent of the early CB550F1 and while thought has gone into the design of the end can, I personally would have to change this.

I am really impressed with the look, styling and build quality of the CB, just sitting on the bike when it arrived, it felt solid and well put together. I was eager to get out for a ride.

I rode off down the road and immediately I felt at home on the bike and knew I was going to like it. Straightaway I found the CB easy to ride and thought the riding position was very comfortable.

One thing that immediately struck me with the bike is that the indicator and horn switches are the opposite way round to what I am used to and, yes you can guess, I was bibbing the horn instead of indicating. If you were one of the people that I inadvertently beeped at over these past two weeks, I do apologise. This is nothing major at all and by the end of the two weeks that I had the bike, my beeping had reduced considerably 🙂

I had initially intended for my first ride on the CB to be a short one just to get a feel for the bike but I ended up getting back three hours later. The bike clearly loves to be ridden and it urges you to keep on riding and I was happy to do just that.

If like me, you are used to riding bigger engine bikes, you will be surprised at just how quick the CB is and with a weight of just 203kg it is light and nimble in the corners too. Drop it a gear when you want to overtake and it just gets on with it without fuss and leaves you wanting more.

I really like the design of the headlight which has LEDs and offer a bright light which is especially good when riding at night and the bezel around the headlight is really stylish and, I think, makes the bike look rather cool.

The CB’s come in four different colours – sword silver metallic, matter gunpowder black metallic, candy chromosphere red and, the colour I had, matte jeans blue metallic. The paint has a matt/satin finish that gives the bike a distinctive look and combined with the colour scheme of the engine casings it makes the bike stand out from the crowd.

The LCD display on the CB is really clear and easy to read and has all the relevant information that you need to see at a glance right there in front of you – speedo and tacho, clock, odometer, trip meter, real-time and average fuel consumption meter and illuminated engine diagnostic indicator.

The “Y” shaped spokes wheels come with Dunlop Sport Maxx D214 tyres as standard. I was impressed with how these tyres performed, I felt confident on the bike in the wet and on damp roads.

The Showa upside down forks add extra styling to the CB with Showa front and rear suspension. When parked up it is a pretty bike to look at and certainly drew attention wherever I went.

I rode this bike to and from work (well the way home was considerably longer than the way to) and went for quite a few long rides, I can honestly say the more I rode the bike, the more I wanted to ride it and the more the bike wanted to be ridden. I really felt at home on this bike.

The CB feels like a sturdy solid bike when you are riding it and I really loved the twisties riding this bike, I felt comfortable and the bike gave me the confidence that I crave from a bike.

I would have to change the rear end on the CB if it were mine, a tail tidy would be its first purchase, preferably before it left the showroom but other than that, there really is nothing else that needs changing.

With a starting price of £7,399 I think CB650R is a lot of bike for your money. There are numerous accessories available to tailor the bike to your own specific needs and that it is A2 licence compliant makes this a brilliant first big bike too.

The CB650R is easy to ride, comfortable, easily fills you with confidence in the handling and agility and extremely fun in the twisties. I was sad when this bike went back.

Thank you to Honda Motorcycles for the loan of the bike, it was a privilege to ride 🙂


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Here’s a video of me riding the Honda CB650R and doing a walk around so you can see it in more detail.


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