Honda CBF600 REVISITED
Ticks every box, except the one marked ‘fun’
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…