A four-cylinder middleweight provides accessible and enjoyable engine performance tied to minimal mass and, for many riders, is a great place from which to begin - or resume - a motorcycling career. Affordable to both purchase and run, they’re small on costs but big on excitement – a great combination. Honda has always had a strong tradition of creating such motorcycles – genuine middleweights that pack real pound-for-pound punch.
Designed by a young team of engineers, the faired CBR650F continues this tradition. On its introduction in 2014 alongside the naked CB650F*, it combined day-to-day practicality and ease of use with a strong dose of CBR-specification sporting intent and style. For 2017, the new CBR650F turns up the volume on every level: it’s still an easy machine to live with, but looks sharper, handles better, makes more power and delivers an amplified soundtrack that complements the sharper visual edge.
Mr Sadataka Okabe, Large Project Leader (LPL) 17YM CBR650F:
“The CBR650F has found its place with owners who want sports style and performance without the compromise and expense. Our aim with the new machine was to add extra rider excitement and enjoyment while sacrificing none of the usability. The engine still makes great torque from low rpm, but now hits harder, with more power up top. The latest SDBV fork enhances the chassis and the styling is much more aggressive – more CBR and also something quite unique, with the engine really on show.”
The CBR650F’s steel diamond frame uses twin 64mm x 30mm elliptical spars with a rigidity balance specifically tuned (stiffer around the headstock and more ‘flexible’ in the spar sections) to deliver balanced handling characteristics with high levels of rider feedback. Rake is set at 25.5° with trail of 101mm and wheelbase of 1,450mm. Kerb weight is 213kg.
A brand new 41mm Showa Dual Bending Valve (SDBV) front fork improves ride comfort and handling, delivering proportional rebound damping with firmer compression damping as the 120mm stroke is used up. Octagonal fork caps are finished in attractive Alumite. Adjustable for 7-stage spring preload, the single-tube monoshock operates directly on the curved gravity die-cast aluminium swingarm.
Cast aluminium six-spoke wheels wear 120/70-17 and 180/55-17 front and rear radial tyres and feature L shaped air valves for easier maintenance. Revised two-piston Nissin front calipers work 320mm wavy discs, with a single-piston rear/240mm disc. Two-channel ABS is fitted as standard.
The new front fairing not only adds Super Sport style, but also channels airflow from the high pressure area at the front to the interior airbox intake duct. It also shows off the engine to the maximum – it was designed to be on display after all – and highlights the aggressive Mass Forward stance of the machine.
Minimal sidepanels sharpen up the rear and the clear-lensed LED taillight complements the crisp LED headlight. The seat’s narrow middle profile helps ground reach and it sits on rubber mounts that are carefully shaped (with specific hardness) to minimise vibration. Seat height is 810mm.
The dash comprises twin large digital screens. On the left are the rev-counter and speedometer; on the right are a fuel gauge, clock, odometer and the warning lights. Both sides are lit by a white back light. The key is a compact ‘wave’ design.
Underscored with a blacked-out frame, swingarm and wheels ¬(plus bronzed engine covers) the CBR650F will be available in the following colour options:
Pearl Metalloid White
Matt Gunpowder Black Metallic
Sword Silver Metallic
For 2017, the CBR650F’s engine has an extra 3kW up top, with a 67kW @ 11,000rpm peak power output. The increase ¬– which is noticeable from 5,000rpm ¬– is due to new intake and exhaust flow management: shorter air intake funnels feed four 32mm throttle bores from a down-flow airbox (which itself draws through larger intake ducts) and in turn the right side-swept 4-1 exhaust now employs a dual-pass internal structure (rather than triple-pass) in the muffler, reducing back pressure. It also features a larger final exit aperture.
With shorter gear ratios from second through to fifth, the new CBR650F gets away from the line faster than the previous model and from a 60km/h second gear roll-on will pull out 3 bike lengths over 400m.
Slightly increased peak torque of 64Nm arrives at 8,000rpm, and the engine’s tractability allows it to pull smoothly from idle at 1,500 in sixth gear. Adding an extra layer of aural satisfaction, a throaty induction growl at low-to-mid rpm swaps over to an addictive high-rpm howl reminding the CBR650F rider of Honda’s four-cylinder racing pedigree.
The 649cc engine uses a compact internal architecture, stacked six-speed gearbox and starter/clutch layout with the cylinders canted forward 30°. The DOHC 16-valve cylinder head employs direct cam actuation; bore and stroke is set at 67mm x 46mm with compression ratio of 11.4:1.
Asymmetric piston skirts minimise bore contact and reduce friction. Ferrous spines on the outer surface of the cylinder sleeves reduce oil consumption (and friction) with improved heat transfer and a silent SV cam chain reduces frictional losses by using a Vanadium coating on its pins. Internal water channeling from cylinder head to cylinders does away with most of the exterior hoses.
Fuel consumption of 21km/l (WMTC mode) gives a range of over 350km from the 17.3L fuel tank. The CBR650F engine is EURO 4 compliant.
Electronic Combined ABS
In June 2008, Honda announced the world's first "electronic Combined ABS" for production motorcycles, available on both the CBR600RR and CBR1000RR Fireblade in 2009. It remains unique, and has been used and further developed through two high profile racing series: the IDM German national championship (won in 2010 by Karl Muggeridge on an electronic Combined ABS equipped CBR1000RR), and the World Endurance Championship (in which electronic Combined ABS was used for the last two races of 2011, and throughout the 2012 season).
The system works as follows: input from the brake lever is recognised by a series of pressure sensors which are connected to an ECU. The ECU assesses front and rear wheel speed and, using this information, translates the lever pressure to power units which operate the front and rear brakes. Hydraulic pressure is then applied by these power units to the brake calipers, delivering the optimal braking force for every situation without locking.
All the expected ABS and CBS functions are provided – the prevention of wheel lock and the distribution of braking force between front and rear brakes – but the ultrafine precise control of the "brake-by-wire" system means that vehicle vibration and pitching are minimized, so that the bike remains in a normal, neutral position under braking. Brake "pulse" is also eliminated, and, overall, sport riding performance is uninterrupted cornering feel remains the same and controllability is enhanced.