MR.NICE-GUY

It has a fair­ing, an in line-four mo­tor, and looks su­per cool. Is that all we need?

Evo India - - HONDA CBR 650 F -

IT’S HARD SAT­IS­FY­ING US In­di­ans. We want the ab­so­lute best for the ab­so­lute cheap­est. We want our suits to say Ar­mani but 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 in-line four which goes twice as fast as our le­gal ex­press­way speed lim­its, and yet is as com­fort­able as a H-D CVO. It’s ridicu­lous, these de­mands we make. But au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­tur­ers have no other op­tion but to strive and meet them. And some­where, some­how, af­ter a lot of com­pro­mise, we reach mid­dle ground.

That’s what the Honda CBR 650 F is. The mid­dle ground. The 650 F is the mo­tor­cy­cle equiv­a­lent of “Mr Nice-Guy”. It’s man­age­able, begin­ner friendly, does what it’s told, and doesn’t scare you while do­ing it. There’s of course a full fair­ing. While Honda meant the fair­ing for aero­dy­nam­ics, we just need it to look cool. So far, the 650 F 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 6000rpm. The ex­haust is now louder com­pared to the pre­vi­ous gen’s, 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 in-line four mo­tor emits a fast spin­ning howl. The bike’s mo­tor pro­vides a but­ter smooth ex­pe­ri­ence up till 5500rpm, af­ter which a siz­zle starts to creep in and stays right till the 11,800rpm rev limit. Peak power (85.4bhp) is pro­duced at 11,000. The power though is

put down in a very calm man­ner. In fact it’s so good­na­tured, I can only imag­ine that the F in CBR 650 F de­not­ing Friendly. But, mind you, friendly does not mean slow. The sec­ond to fifth ra­tios are now shorter as com­pared to the pre­de­ces­sor. And that cer­tainly helps quicken things up.

As a sports tourer, you’d want it to be com­fort­able. And that, the 650 F is. The rider tri­an­gle isn’t too sporty. How­ever, Honda has low­ered the clip-ons, 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 too. In fact, you won’t no­tice the alarm­ingly fast speeds you’re car­ry­ing while tucked in.

The front end feel is fan­tas­tic thanks to what is the big­gest up­date on this mo­tor­cy­cle; Showa’s dual bend­ing valve forks. 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 within the city and doesn’t strain you out. Brak­ing is ex­cep­tional, thanks to the new larger and more pow­er­ful Nissin brake cal­lipers.

The one let­down in this mo­tor­cy­cle are the tyres. The Dun­lops just don’t do jus­tice to the mo­tor­cy­cle. While go­ing around a few bends, we faced hairy sit­u­a­tions where the tyres al­most gave way. Make sure you slap on some stick­ier rub­bers if you do go for it.

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 re­mains 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 is off, and the in­ten­sity issn’t that great ei­ther.

So what you get for that `7.37 lakh price mark is a hand­some, well-pro­por­tioned, in-line four banger, blended with clas­sic Honda qual­ity, and un­en­cum­bered with elec­tron­ics and gad­getry. It also has enough per­for­mance to en­ter­tain, with­out blow­ing your socks off. As I said be­fore, Honda has man­aged to hit the per­fect mid­dle ground. ⌧

THE HONDA CBR 650 F IS THE MO­TOR­CY­CLE EQUIV­A­LENT OF “MR. NICE-GUY”

Be­low:

Fac­ing page: Chas­sis is con­fi­dence in­spir­ing. Wish the tyres were too. Right: Want to stop on a dime? Nissin will help you out. One of the friendli­est in-line fours money can buy

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