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Old 7th June 2016, 14:37   #1
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Default Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

I say another Honda because this is the 5th Honda coming into our family after the City, Amaze, Cbr 250R and Activa.

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_8529.jpg

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_8534.jpg


Back in the late 90’s learnt riding a bike on my uncle’s KB125, Got a Suzuki fiero in 2003 as a gift when in college and it was a dream come true. From 2003 to 2007 fiero was absolutely pampered and it rewarded me with flawless performance. Still remember how it used to out-class Pulsars on the twisties. During this time i was studying in Mangalore and fiero was taken on frequent rides up and down the west coast.

2007: had a crash on the fiero and realized i needed something safer, at least with disc brakes and better tyres. Started saving up and bought my own first bike in 2008 – a brand new Bajaj Pulsar 200 Dts-i.

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-picture-121.jpg

This bike grabbed a lot of attention where ever i took it. It had the muscular street fighter looks and broad tyres, although i enjoyed the straight line performance and electric start on the pulsar i missed the nimble handling of the fiero, the way fiero took the corners was artistic, something the pulsar could not match.

Come 2013 the p200 had done close to 35k kms, and this bike proved to be very unreliable. Had multiple issues like oil leakage, front fork issues, frequent cone set replacements, electrical issues etc, i was considering replacing this with a better one. Then there was news of duke390 being launched around the same time but then heard it was being developed in collaboration with Bajaj and dropped the idea.

So picked up Honda CBR250R ABS in red and silver color combination (This was the only color option available that time). And immediately i was back to enjoying riding again just like the fiero days. But at the same time my work schedules also started to become tight and i was left with hardly any free time to ride, this led to the 250 clocking just 6500 kms in almost 2 years.

This all changed in late 2015 when i started riding with the awesome bunch from TeamBhp, Now, weekend rides were something i looked forward to every week. This led to the baby ceeber doubling its odo reading within 6 months.

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_7287.jpg

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_7617.jpg

The upgrade bug:

The itch to upgrade to a more powerful machine started sometime around November 2015 when i started to ride more often again. Started having conversations with my buddies and almost everybody had the opinion that by now Duke390 had become a better bike all round with initial niggles sorted.
So i decided if i upgrade i need a bike with somewhere around 50 bhp with good handling, Should be reliable and easy to maintain. The biggest factor i considered was ABS. So options like the N650 and Benelli 600i were dropped.

CBR 500R:
This was in news right from 2013, but Honda never launched it here. It would have been the perfect bike for me and also considering our road conditions this bike had just the right amount of power. Bhpian ‘hothatchaway’ was at the delhi auto expo 2016 and gave the news confirming 500R was not coming to India any time soon.

Duke 390 test ride:
Took the 390 an a test ride from KTM mekhri circle, managed to stall it 6 times before i could get moving, the acceleration was brutal, suspension was the stiffest i have ever experienced (Bone jarring on broken roads), low RPM snatch throttle still persisted on the 2015 slipper clutch model. It felt exactly opposite to baby ceeber. Decided this wasn’t my kind of bike.

CBR650F - i call it 'Bonda' :
On a visit to Silicon Honda one day to get some work done on the 250, saw the CBR650F on display for the first time.
My first impression was ‘wow’, this looks bigger and better than in pictures, and sales manager Mr. Sanjay was very friendly and we had a chat about the bike and i left the showroom after taking some pictures on my phone. Started to read reviews of the CBR 650F on international forums and watching videos on Youtube and most of them were positive and praised the versatile nature of the bike. This made me curious to have a test ride. Called up Silicon Honda and a test ride was arranged.

Test Ride:
Sat on the bike and immediately felt comfortable on the saddle, there was a slightly more forward lean than on the 250. My only previous experience of riding a 4 cylinder motorcycle was when i rode my friends ZX10R a couple of years ago, so when i started to ride the 650 i was pleasantly surprised by the amount of low end torque. It pulled cleanly right from 2k RPM and never felt snatchy or rough and i could appreciate the fuelling on this bike. That’s it, i made up my mind, this is the bike i want, it felt like the 250 was the baby and this was the teen ceeber.

Other options considered:
1. Kawasaki Z800: not a fan of naked bikes, this one is very heavy and the service and parts cost were on the higher side. Plus i did not want a bike with over 100 bhp.
2. Triumph street triple: Fantastic bike, the only reason i did not pick this was due to the infamous stalling issue.
3. Benelli TNT 899: Wonderful machine, the most aurally pleasing exhaust note in stock form. After sale service quality and reliability was unknown, decided not to risk it.

Delivery Day 30:04:2016:

After 3 days of uncertainty about the delivery date thanks to no communication from the truck carrying the bike from Gurgaon to Bangalore, got a call from Silicon Honda on 29th saying bike has arrived and will be ready for delivery tomorrow.
Reached the dealership around 4pm and i was joined by my friends - BHPians ‘Sojogator’, ‘Added_flavor’, ‘Porschefire’, and ‘MavericK46’. A thorough PDI of the bike was done by us all and none of us could find any fault with the bike. As the bike was readied we took the opportunity to test ride the Navi and everyone who rode that machine had only one thing to say “Dude, it’s so much fun (wide grin)”.
There was a small ceremony arranged at the showroom to hand over the keys which included cake cutting and some words by the owner of the showroom (i frankly don’t remember what we spoke, was so excited!)

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_8457.jpg

On-Road price: Rs. 8,54,275.

Freebies: Outdoor cover and no other discounts.

Extended warranty: Honda India has an extended warranty thing which extends the standard warranty to 5 years. I have requested for one but yet to receive details.

Early Observations:

Newly developed 649cc Liquid-Cooled Inline Four-Cylinder. Bore And Stroke 67mm x 46mm. This engine was developed by Honda specifically for the 650F.
The first thing i noticed right off the bat was the ample torque low down in the rev range, it can pull effortlessly right from 2k revs. Mid range is again the same story, filled with lots of torque and you start to hear the exhaust past 5k RPM, Top end is a mad rush of power, especially over 8k revs the front end starts lifting and there is a mad rush till hitting the redline, at which point the exhaust is just screaming crazy. Very easy to manage in the city traffic but the clutch is a bit on the heavier side. Engine braking is very good too, aggressive downshifts will lock up the tyre if not careful. There was some low rev vibes and buzziness before the first service and post first service these seem to have magically reduced by up to 90%.

The Nissin Dual 320mm two piston brakes up front are simply the best i have come across on any motorcycle. It inspires confidence, has phenomenal bite, progressive feel and good feedback. The rear brake is a bit spongy but does the job. ABS comes standard and is always on. Will be upgrading to EBC pads for the next change and the braking should become even better.

It is a Sports-tourer and not a supersport machine by any means thus the understated styling goes well. The standout design features are the Swingarm and the Exposed headers. But not a fan of the banana seat design but it is very comfortable on long rides.

Build Quality:
Its typical Honda, nothing feels low quality. Paint quality is good, no exposed wiring or any quality issues. There are some minor rattles from the front fairing near headlight at very low RPMs but on the move it does not rattle or vibrate. Will get it looked up on my next visit to the service centre.

Seating has a hint of forward lean but not supersport level, overall just a tad bit more lean forward than the CBR250R. This allows the rider to grip the tank better using the thighs and i have had no issues on longer rides. Weight at 209 kgs is heavy and you will feel it while parking but once on the move feels well balanced. Mass-centralization has been perfected here.

Is completely predictable and hold its line through a corner effortlessly. Suspension is set up on the stiffer side and broken roads will be painful. CBR250 in comparison has far better ride quality.

Front is 41mm Fork with 4.3 inches travel and is a Non-Adjustable unit.
Rear Suspension is single shock with spring-preload 7 stage adjustability. 5.0 inches travel. Stock setting is 2. Although the front is non-adjustable it is pretty stiff and optimized for street use. Track days will need a replacement front shock to sharpen the handling.

Fuel efficiency: City riding has averaged around 15 to 16 kmpl and on highway with sedate riding i have averaged around 28 kmpl, spirited riding with more revs the figure drops down to 20 Kmpl. This bike comes equipped with EVAP - Evaporative Emission Control System which keeps petrol from evaporating to the atmosphere.

The Good:
  • Great low and mid range torque
  • Ergonomics comfortable for long rides
  • Well padded and spacious seat, very comfortable for touring even two-up.
  • ABS Standard, does not kick-in abruptly or early.
  • Brakes have good bite and feedback
  • Service and spare parts cost low.

The Bad:
  • Low ground clearance of 130mm. Does scrape huge speed breakers.
  • Stock windscreen is not effective, lot of wind blast directed at chest level.
  • Wet grip of stock Dunlop Sportmax tyres not confidence inspiring. Fine on dry tarmac though.
  • The LCD display looks out of sync with the overall design of the bike. Or do i feel this because i always liked large analog tachometers?
  • The engine block protrudes a bit more on the right hand side and does come in contact with my riding boots. It might be because of my longer legs?

Horn & Indicator switches position are swapped. got used to it within one week but i found out it's harder to un-learn than learn.

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_20160501_115832.jpg

Exposed clutch cable

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_20160530_162735.jpg

First service:
First service was done 15 days after the purchase with 950kms on the odo.
The service centre has a separate section for Servicing CBR650F and it is air-conditioned and well maintained. Facilities like Wi-fi, refreshments, automobile magazines were provided.

Things done:
  • Washing – With low pressure water spray and air dried. Precaution was taken to cover the display area.
  • Engine oil and Oil filter replaced: The drained oil looked in pretty good shape. Honda throttle 10w30 fully synthetic oil was used. (This is the same oil which does duty on the CBR250R).
  • Chain cleaned, lubed and slack adjusted – Motul C1 and C2 was used. I felt the Motul lube is thicker than the 3M i use and indeed it was, almost no spray on the rear wheel but sticks to the chain perfectly.
  • Bike was given a Wax polish
  • All the nuts was tightened to specified torque.

Overall this has been the best service experience i have ever had, and the guys at Silicon Honda, Bangalore deserve a huge round of applause for this. First service bill was Rs3025 which i feel is very reasonable considering the attention the bike got.
Post the first service i felt the engine had become smoother and the slight buzz at 5-6k rpm had subsided by almost 90%.

Current odometer reading: 2090 Kms.

Accessories planned:
  • Radiator guard
  • Frame sliders
  • Touring windscreen
Currently having a tough time procuring the accessories as bits specific for CBR650F are still rare.

Finally: “is it worth 8.5 Lakhs?”
To me ‘YES’. You can tell Honda have put in a lot of R&D into this machine and you realise this the moment you start to ride the bike, Everything feels well finished, be it the engine, brakes, suspension etc i don’t think this needs any upgrade or sorting out, it is just perfect as it is (Reminds me of a certain Bruno mars song) and i don’t mind paying the premium for peace of mind.

Some more pictures:
Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_85192.jpg

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_4662.jpg

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_4646.jpg

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_4619.jpg

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_20160513_070419.jpg

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_46199.jpg

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_8520.jpg

Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F-img_20160505_070723.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 9th June 2016 at 06:44. Reason: Spacing
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Old 9th June 2016, 06:47   #2
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Default re: Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Superbikes & Imports Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 9th June 2016, 07:47   #3
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Default re: Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

Congratulations! That is a fantastic machine, and I think, one of the best big bikes one could have in India.

Of course, there are faster, more powerful, more stylish machines available, but having sampled all kinds of roads and riding conditions in India over the past two decades or so, this is the bike I would want to purchase, whenever I return home.

I am a die-hard Yamaha fan, and have only owned one Honda till now (a Karizma from the first lot). But there is something enduring, relaxing and long-lasting about Honda bikes which I have not found with any other bikes. They just feel that little bit more well-engineered and well put-together, and will probably last a life-time if taken care of well.

Last edited by Viju : 9th June 2016 at 07:49.
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Old 9th June 2016, 08:14   #4
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Default re: Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

Doc, heartiest congratulations again. The bike looked awesome in the flesh and has great presence in the pictures as well. I very well know how much you are enjoying the 'Bonda'!!!

Apart from 3 Activas (which were brilliant workhorses), the only 'Honda' I've owned was a HH Karizma and I absolutely hated it. The lazy power delivery was the reason and maybe was too refined with no drama whatsoever. I in fact, loved my Pulsar 180 DTS-i more even though it vibrated like hell beyond 80kmph! I've ridden the CBR250 and I must say it's one of their best products. Extremely refined but has enough drama and poke to keep you entertained. I was very close to buying it.
But that CBR650, my god, what brilliant torque delivery!!! I test rode it and fell in love instantly. Most of the I4s are intimidating but this one was so accommodating. It is so easy that you feel comfortable right from the word go. Also the fact that I ride a N250 which has no torque whatsoever made me love the CBR650 even more. The quality is brilliant and I am pretty sure that it will keep you entertained for a long long time.

I know I ditched you last weekend but I shall ride with Bonda very soon!

Last edited by Porschefire : 9th June 2016 at 08:44.
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Old 9th June 2016, 11:13   #5
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Default Re: Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

Congratulations on your new ride. Just yesterday, I rode my friend's 650 and I must say, it's so refined. The power delivery is very linear in the lower RPMs which makes it very liveable for daily use. The low end torque is pretty good too. Even though I am 6ft without a very good back, I was at once at ease with the bike. Since it was a short ride on the very first day, I won't comment on the top end and highway performance.

Can you share some details of the tail bag that you are using and how does it hold up at highway speeds?
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Old 9th June 2016, 15:38   #6
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Default Re: Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

Wonderful write up. Congrats on your new machine!! This must be a very different and exciting Honda i must say.

Lets meet up on a ride someday. Hope to see you soon. Ride safe.
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Old 9th June 2016, 16:02   #7
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Default Re: Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

Congrats! Nice write up.

How identical have we thought! After a week of owning the baby CBR250R, i was thinking "what next, may be after a couple of years?". I knew KTM wouldnt cut it as I have ridden the RC390 and it felt nothing like the ceeber. I stumbled upon 500R, again which will not be available here. 650F was the only sensible and real upgrade to a honda fan from the baby ceeber. But the N650 ,Z800 & Benelli 600i make the 650F look grossly overpriced, but hey
, a Honda is a Honda
500R isnt much faster than the 250R though. Great that you bought the wonderful bike. Happy riding!

Last edited by PrasannaDhana : 9th June 2016 at 16:07.
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Old 9th June 2016, 19:33   #8
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Default Re: Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

Congratulations on the bike Doc!

Such a beautiful machine. Handling is spot on, and as the revs climb past 6k, it's a screamer (literally) and I definitely felt that inside my helmet.

The fueling is incredibly precise and I never felt any knocking of any kind. It really sucks that the wet grip on the Dunlops aren't great, especially considering the last ride through the downpours. I guess you have the CBR650F equivalent of the ContiGos from the baby ceeber.

Here's to loads of happy and content miles *cheers*
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Old 9th June 2016, 21:35   #9
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Default Re: Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

Congrats on your new ride Mashblue !! It is good to see that you have the proper riding gear on. Ride safe mate
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Old 9th June 2016, 23:29   #10
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Default Re: Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

Hearty Congratulations on the 650F brother!!

Good to have one more ownership thready on the forum. Helps keep a tab on each other's progress, feed backs etc.

If you need any help for any accessory review, feel free to PM me.

Wish you many happy miles with the beauty!!


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Old 10th June 2016, 03:13   #11
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Default Re: Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

Hey Mashblue! Congrats on the purchase! A fine choice- upgrading from the 250 to the 650f. I had an extended test ride of the 650f quite sometime back and loved it! That was on a holiday and I did get the chance to cane it on an empty highway. Here are my observations if it's alright with you:


1) Refined, smooth engine. Smooth and almost electric engine like smoothness at low speeds. Way more tractable in the city than my 250R. Loads of torque. Fantastic midrange. At home crawling in traffic, munching miles or screaming away- amazing flexibility. Deeply impressive.

2) Silent and non obtrusive engine and exhaust note at low speeds. Becomes prominent at midrange- around 5-5.5K rpm, really sings north of 7K, beautiful at the redline. I did not notice or feel any vibes- might be because of my lack of exposure to more inline fours. Compared to a single, this was bliss.

3) Very comfortable riding position. I was immediately at home in the saddle even though it's a single seat and not the split one like in the R's and RR's. Might be the rare 600 that actually is relevant for a pillion.

4) Ride quality stiffer than the 250. Front not as spongy and didn't dive under hard braking. It's not as plush as the 250, instead, it's more neutral.

5) One of the best and the most rider friendly brakes I've ever had the pleasure of using.

6) Service costs are on the low side compared to the other makes. The first 3 are free and the usual bills come around to 5-6K. The engine oil isn't that expensive (Throttle- 10W30- same as in the 250R). Don't know what the spares cost.

7) Liked the HISS engine immobilizer, the evaporation preventing fuel cap and the other useful touches.

8) Appears to be fuel efficient. Anything above 20 kmpl in sane riding is impressive!

9) I was expecting it to be heavy, but it was quite nimble and manageable. Weight was not an issue at all- even in traffic.


1) It costs a bomb on the road. The higher local taxes further add insult to the injury.

2) Honda A.S.S. service in Cochin can be a hit or a miss. Even for the 250R, spare availability can be an issue (especially shims, oil filter and some consumables).

This Honda is definitely for the mature, discerning rider who likes a well rounded reliable, fast, relatively understated and premium machine. This is for the ascetics that like to ride a lot instead of posing and blowing serious cash at the service centers. This is for those who look beyond the spec sheet stats. Though it's not as powerful as the Z800, I don't think that the CBR650F is no slouch despite the lower hp- the midrange packs quite a wallop. I feel that it's stupid fast and is kind of overkill in Kerala. It's kind of accessible and friendly, though- helped undoubtedly by the smooth and flexible engine. As long as it's respected, it's not intimating at all and won't bite back.

Though the initial outlay is high, the net result is a win, I think. Peaceful ownership and uninterrupted bliss of riding is priceless. The competition costs less and in some cases are way more powerful, but don't come across as a reliable, hassle free allround package like this Honda.

It's the perfect upgrade from a 250R. All the good things are maxed out and the negatives ironed out. No real drawbacks for me. I can really dream of myself owning one someday. Thanks for the review-I'm glad to see people like you and Rachit living it! Wish you guys all the best and lots of lovely miles!

Last edited by evilmessiah : 10th June 2016 at 03:22.
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Old 10th June 2016, 09:20   #12
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Default Re: Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

Best wishes to you Doc. Each individual has his own set of priorities. For me, the balance between practicality and fun is very important. CBR650F has that quality. The practicality part of this bike :-
1. Runs well even with 91 RON fuel
2. Large fuel tank with good fuel efficiency
3. Ownership cost
4. Comfortable in long distance touring.
5. Finally, the reliability

For better wind protection, is there a way to increase the height of the wind shield ?
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Old 10th June 2016, 18:18   #13
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Smile Re: Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

Congrats on your new ride Mashblue! CBR650F is a well balanced machine.
I think I saw you in Polar bear next to Swathi Delicacy in Hassan road on 5th June with the 650 and 250 together
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Old 11th June 2016, 13:46   #14
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Default Re: Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

Congratulations Doc and wish you many happy miles on your beloved Bonda! Having ridden with you on many occasions I know the anticipation with which you waited her arrival. Its a fitting replacement to your 250.

And awesome pics as always.
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Old 11th June 2016, 18:25   #15
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Default Re: Another Honda! This time, itís a Honda CBR650F

Another Honda? There's a term for people like you: Hondamentalists.

Just kidding, many congratulations on a fine looking machine!
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