Ride Review: Honda CB650F ABS

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For 2014, Honda broadens its range of affordable, smart looking, middleweights further with the new Honda CB650F ABS, and together with the Honda NC750 series, the brand now has covered virtually all types of riders in the street-naked segment.

The brand new (not-terribly-exciting) four-cylinder engine forms the trusty basis of a whole new series of motorcycles, as previously demonstrated with the NC models. Thankfully though, the 649cc motor picks-up extremely smooth from very low revs, and fills a round and creamy torque curve.

Apart from some vibrations in the bars and footpegs, there is nothing much going on below seven-grand; but once you pass this threshold, there is quite some lovely acceleration on tap. Still, we found the on-off reaction of the fuel injection to be harsh though: it was quite hard to get on the throttle smoothly on corner exit.

Finish and Accessories:


The 2014 Honda CB650F is made in Thailand, but the quality is right up there with the proper Japanese built machines. This bike looks handsome from a distance as well as up close. The finish is fine and there is no trace of cheap parts, which have appeared on some Hondas, as of late.

You can’t go wrong choosing the ‘Tricolore’ over the boring grey, egg yellow, or old-hat red model: this red, white, and blue edition looks the best by far, and thatoss probably why Honda charges an extra €200 for it.

The four nicely curved and coloured exhaust downpipes give the bike a vintage feel, it is unfortunate though that they end up in a less-than-classic collector under the engine block.

The CB650F feels small underneath you despite the 31.8 inch seat height. The nicely finished dashboard is very easy to read, but we couldn’t find any engine temperature, nor gear indicator on there, pitty.

This is oddly enough not a Honda where ergonomics immediately feel natural: I felt I was sitting too much ‘in’ the bike, and as a result found my knees to be cramped up. The pillion has no way of holding onto the gas tank nor the seat edge so they will have to hug the rider closely.



Riding this bike feels dead easy and predictable, a great choice for novice and intermediate riders. The Honda CB650F loves to drop into the corners, and the chassis stays stable under most conditions. Steering, braking, switching gears…it all happens effortlessly.

More experienced riders will soon find that the rear suspension – especially combined with the Dunlop D222 rear tire – sets the limit for available warp speed in the twisties. It is still satisfying to carve a couple of corners though: the CB is flickable in the slow stuff and stable at higher speeds.

The clutch feels slightly clumsy with a very late biting point, but it doesn’t hamper changing gears at all. The brakes are typical Honda, in the sense that you don’t notice them: they work.



Unassuming and easygoing — these words probably describe not only the handling, but probably the whole 2014 Honda CB650F as well. We have to look at this as a compliment though, especially as this is a good-looking motorcycle that is priced very reasonably: €6,999.

The all-new Honda CB650F is more than up to the task of accommodating beginners and riders with a couple of years in the saddle.

There are some vibrations and an under par throttle on/off reaction, but on the flipside there is the mature and handsome design, which is well finished. There’s predictable power and uncomplicated handling, and that’s basically all you need for a good ride out.

Photos: Honda

A special “dankuwel” to our friends at for sharing this article with us, and big thank you as well to Jan DeMan, who translated Iwan’s work from Dutch into English for our readers.