2018 Honda CBR650F First Ride Review

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By John Burns

2018 Honda CBR650F

Editor Score: 86.0%

Engine 17.5/20
Suspension/Handling 13.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.5/10
Brakes 9.0/10
Instruments/Controls 4.5/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.0/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 8.0/10
Value 7.0/10
Overall Score 86/100

Once upon a time there was the Honda CBR600F, or Hurricane as it was called in the U.S. The magazines tripped all over themselves and I thought maybe I would spend my GI Bill tuition for one, but they were all sold out and I got a left-over 500 Interceptor instead – my first new motorcycle! Just as well, there was less plastic to scrape up.

Later, I did get to ride the CBR600F2 when it superseded the original circa 1991, and it was probably one of the best motorcycles of all time. The very last issue of Cycle magazine, as a matter of fact, had the theme World’s Greatest! sportbike on the cover, and the F2 won out over a Kawasaki ZX-11, Ducati 900SS, Honda VFR750F, Yamaha FZR1000 and a Suzuki GSX-R750.

“The best sportbike”, we said, “is the one that offers the most and demands the least. The one that allows you to go fastest easiest, no matter your skill level. The one that’s never a hardship to ride, no matter what kind of riding you’re doing or how hard you’re doing it.” The F2 was $5298 in 1991, and Honda sold 1.2 bazillion of them.

The frame is steel, the swingarm’s aluminum and gives the rear 180/55ZR-17 tire 5.0 inches of travel. Wave-type 320mm discs, without carriers, mean stopping is not an issue.

Anyway, the new CBR650F has been around for a couple years now, but this is the first time yours truly has ridden one, and I was flashing back to that old F2 nearly the whole time I was on it. Strange how things progress over …read more

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