Ticks ev­ery box, ex­cept the one marked ‘fun’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Buy­ing & Sell­ing - By Jon Urry MCN GUEST TESTER

What we said then

“The Honda CBF600 is un­doubt­edly a supremely com­pe­tent mo­tor­cy­cle, but lordy, is it dull! Bulky and heavy, the CBF600 lacks any real ‘go’, de­spite be­ing well de­signed and built. It’s a good, safe, choice for a new biker but for those with more ex­pe­ri­ence, it’s un­likely to sa­ti­ate your need for a rush. Once you’ve mas­tered the ba­sics, the CBF600 is un­likely to in­spire you with pas­sion.” MCN launch re­port, 2004

But what is it like now?

It is far too easy to crit­i­cise a bike for not be­ing ex­cit­ing. But for some rid­ers, ex­cit­ing isn’t what they crave. Let’s be hon­est, a com­mute is rarely go­ing to be a thrilling ride, so why not have a bike that is de­signed to sim­ply churn out the miles with min­i­mal ef­fort, max­i­mum com­fort and not even a whis­per of un­re­li­a­bil­ity? Does that sound like a bor­ing or sen­si­ble choice? If you an­swer ‘sen­si­ble’ then you may want to check out the Honda CBF600.

De­spite hav­ing what is ef­fec­tively a re-tuned Hor­net 600 mo­tor, the CBF’S in­line four has lit­tle of the sportier naked’s zip. Open the throt­tle and ac­cel­er­a­tion is some­what muted as the CBF eases it­self up to speed. It feels as if a sock has been lodged in the Hor­net’s air­box, but in ac­tual fact it is a case of Honda en­sur­ing the rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence on the CBF is as re­served and hassle-free as pos­si­ble. Which can be ex­actly what you want in this style of mo­tor­cy­cle.

The CBF has none of the Hor­net’s ir­ri­tat­ing vi­bra­tions, the clutch is lovely and light and the gear­box slick. Sure, there are few thrills to be found, but by the same to­ken there are no nasty sur­prises either. And the same is true for the CBF’S han­dling, which is solid and se­cure rather than sporty and ag­ile, while the Honda’s brakes are ad­e­quate but lack­ing any ag­gres­sive bite.

Over­all, it’s all a bit soft around the edges and com­fort­ing, which isn’t a bad thing on a ma­chine des­tined to spend its days bat­tling traf­fic dur­ing the rush hour.

Any ob­vi­ous faults?

This 2005 ex­am­ple has over 26,000 miles on its clocks and a price of £2000, so is show­ing the ex­pected signs of wear and tear. The fact the black paint has been rubbed from the pil­lion rail hints at a life as a com­muter with lug­gage fit­ted (rather than a ter­ri­fied pil­lion cling­ing on) and the rel­a­tively high mileage backs up this the­ory. There are no rat­tles from the cam­chain ten­sioner and over­all the mo­tor is typ­i­cally CBF smooth.

The fin­ish is a bit tatty in ar­eas, but the big­gest nui­sance is the fact the af­ter­mar­ket screen isn’t an of­fi­cial Honda ex­tra and its poor fit has started to rub on the plas­tic on the back of the in­stru­ments, caus­ing dam­age. There are a few small scratches that hint at a low-speed spill, but in gen­eral this bike is in very rea­son­able shape con­sid­er­ing its age, mileage and price.

Or worth­while ex­tras?

The CBF600 was sold with ABS as an op­tion and it is pleas­ing to see this bike has it fit­ted. Amaz­ingly the ex­haust is the orig­i­nal unit, which sug­gests a care­ful owner, and the tyres are rel­a­tively new, which on a £2000 bike is a big pro­por­tion of the cost. The af­ter­mar­ket screen is ugly and badly fit­ting, but it does de­flect a bit of the wind­blast. Over­all, it’s a good, solid, bike for com­mut­ing or hack­ing through win­ter on.


The CBF600 is never go­ing to set your pulse rac­ing, but it was never de­signed to thrill. This is a solid work­horse with a good level of fin­ish, un­ques­tion­able re­li­a­bil­ity and high com­fort lev­els. Yes it’s dull, but some­times a good old pair of com­fort­able slip­pers is just what is re­quired in life.

Urry hunts for the CBF’S thrill fac­tor…

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