We just returned from the press launch in Southern California of the 2014 Honda CBR650F. This is a brief report, which will be followed by a more extensive Part 2.
Honda has been piling on the value-priced models of late. The 2014 CBR650F, which starts at $8,499, is the latest and highest performing model in that family. It features a new, purpose-built 649cc inline four-cylinder engine that produces a remarkably broad spread of power.
The CBR650F, in typical Honda fashion, is beautifully finished in deep, solid colors, including Red, Candy Blue and Matte Black Metallic. It has a very thorough and legible instrument cluster, with two large LED panels.
Honda designed the CBR650F to move the rider’s seating position forward, closer to the bars, for ergonomic reasons and to help with centering the mass. The resulting rider triangle is largely upright, but the rider slightly leans into the wind.
We rode at a quick pace through the canyons in and around Malibu, California, and after adding a click of preload to the rear shock (the suspension is otherwise not adjustable), the CBR650F changed direction easily and confidently.
In addition to an impressive chassis and handling, the new engine pulls well from as low as 4,000 rpm … remarkable for a mid-displacement inline-four. The bike can be revved out, all the way to 11,000 rpm, providing a huge spread of power that will entertain novices and experienced riders, alike.
This is a lot of motorcycle for $8,499 ($8,999 for the ABS version, which only comes in Black). Considering that current 600cc supersports start north of $11,000, and offer most of their thrust above 8,000 rpm, the CBR650F — with its more practical seating position and power delivery — will be an excellent alternative for many riders. Stay tuned for Part 2 for a more in-depth analysis of our first ride, and additional technical details.