Honda CB650R and CBR650R motorcycle comparison test


Beneficial Redesign for the roadster and the streamlined roadster become sporty ?

Engine and cycle parts optimized for the two 2019 Honda vintages

Based on the same engine and chassis architecture, Honda has been offering a midsize roadster with the CB 650 F for several years and a streamlined version with the CBR650 F.

Wanted more sporty, the latter nevertheless became, over the years, a simple dressing of the naked version. Appeared in 1987, the CBR600F changed for a long time only to disappear in 2006. Back in 2011, built in Italy on a Hornet 600 base, it developed up to 102 hp at 13,500 rpm, 6.6 mkg at 10,250 rpm and had ‘an adjustable cycle part. In 2014, became CB650F, wiser and simpler than its predecessors, it then admits only 88 hp and a more conventional cycle part.

Honda CB650R colorsHonda CB650R colors

As for the CB, it draws its DNA from the rich history of the manufacturer Honda, in direct lineage with the CB750 Four of the 70s. We can no longer count the members of this venerable family of simple and efficient roadsters..

Honda CBR650R colorsHonda CBR650R colors

For 2019, the manufacturer of Hamamatsu is further optimizing these machines, both in aesthetics and in cycle and dynamic parts. What justifies the R of these more Radical versions? Or be satisfied with a Reshuffle ?

It is around Almeria in Spain that we discover the two new Honda for a comparison..

Honda CB650R in BlueHonda CB650R in Blue


The new Honda 650s are each inspired by their 1,000 cc version: CBR1000RR Fireblade and CB1000R. Declining the image of the high-end on the simpler versions is always a relevant choice. Honda goes further by sharing most of the components on them. Because, under their very different style, the Honda sisters admit in fact the same mechanics and chassis.

Honda CB650RHonda CB650R

Let’s start with the most anticipated. Suggested at length then finally presented at the Paris Motor Show, the CB650R, or Néo Sport Café for the more hyped, differs little from the initial concept. Seductive roadster, totally neo-retro, it mixes the codes to compose a machine with a strong and refined style. Dressed to the latest aesthetic standards, the CB catches the eye of its big eye. This element alone sums up the personality of the model, technological and classic. Its pure circle incorporates all LED lighting.

Honda CB650R LED headlightHonda CB650R LED headlight

Above all, it borders its outline with a ramp of diffuser elements making up a unique light signature. Bare, its sides receive only two small scoops dominating the radiator. They hide the two new intake ducts.

Honda CB650R LED tail lightHonda CB650R LED tail light
Honda CBR650R tail lightRear light Honda CBR650R

It’s a whole different program on the CBR650R, directly related to the sharp design of the brand’s hypersport. Thus, the style is refined, lightens the masses and noticeably energizes the machine, almost uniting the LED lights in an angular look. Highlighted with spoilers, it forms a tapered muzzle, dominated by a marked pointed bubble. Lower down, the sides also take on the appearance of the oldest Honda sports car..

Sporty Honda CBR650RSporty Honda CBR650R

Another devastating effect is the collectors aligned in a bundle. They are reminiscent of those of the CB 400 and CB 500 Four of the 1970s. Like organ pipes, they relay the engine’s breath to the new ultra-short exhaust, raised towards the sky. On the sports car, a notch in the fairing lets them guess. The connection diameter to the manifold increases by 3 units (38 mm).

Honda CBR650R headlightHonda CBR650R headlight

Behind an angular 15.4 liter tank (two lost….) The rear loop supports a redesigned, more compact rider saddle. It is completed with an attractive passenger seat, falling directly on the rear light. More angular, the side trim of the stern has marked flats, increasing the wasp-waist effect. Its end incorporates a reinforcement forming elegant, ingenious and discreet passenger grab handles.

The saddles rest on a tubular steel frame, shortened by 60 mm and welded on a diamond-type frame of the same metal. The latter is lightened (-1.9 kg) in particular in the lower part, at the level of the plate supporting the pivot of the oscillating arm. The structure is unchanged. Two elliptical spars support the Honda boiler. But the side protrusions in cast aluminum maintaining the engine are modified.

The engine still relies on the 649cc inline-four, dual ACT, 16-valve engine. The bore-stroke ratio of 67 mm x 46 mm is unchanged but other parameters energize the block. New camshaft profile, therefore modified valve timing, higher compression ratio (11.4 to 11.6) by changing the shape of the pistons and optimized intake and exhaust flow. Thus, the airbox returns to two separate tunnels on the CB650R and to narrow Ram-Air type pipes on the CBR. Three times more pressure would thus be generated at high speed. With these few changes, the unit now delivers 94 hp (70 kW) at 12,000 rpm and 6.4 da.Nm at 8,500 rpm. A 35 kW version for A2 license holders is also available. It is then sufficient to change the intake manifolds and modify the injection map..

649cc inline 4-cylinder 16-valve ACT engine649cc inline 4-cylinder 16-valve ACT twin engine
Honda CBR650R engineHonda CBR650R engine

More dynamic means more equipment. The slip-assist clutch is introduced to make shifting easier and prevent the rear wheel from locking up when stacking gears during downshifting. And, another important novelty, during go-arounds, the HSTC traction control ensures grip..

The cycle part of the CB and CBR 650 R is clearly evolving, especially on the front, also returning to more current sportiness. A 41mm Showa SFF non-adjustable inverted fork (with separate function) now steers the steering gear. The high-quality cast aluminum swing arm bends over the pot, mimicking a banana arm. Its movements are entrusted to a shock absorber now adjustable in preload on 10 values.

The geometry of the chassis does not change at all: 25 ° 5 ’column angle, 101mm trail and 1450mm wheelbase. Note a new forged aluminum lower triple clamp. But the piloting ergonomics are modified, you will see it in the saddle.

Lightened, the new aluminum rims with 5 split spokes make it possible to reduce the unsprung masses. Particularly elegant, they fit Dunlop Sportmax D214 envelopes on the CBR and Metzeler Roadtech 01 on the CB. In 120/70 on the front and always 180/55 on the opposite side, a bit wide for my taste. To see in dynamics.

To stop the 650 Rs, new radial four-piston calipers attack 310mm discs on the steering gear when the single-piston rear element squeezes a 240mm fret. Two-channel ABS watches over decelerations. And the 2019 machines carry an emergency braking signal that detects hard braking, then activating the hazard warning lights..

CB650R and CBR 65OR therefore lost a total of 6 kilos, posting 202 and 207 fully loaded units respectively. Enhancing and with an undeniable aesthetic sportiness, the novelties testify to a very good finish. Elegant, the Honda boiler limits the use of hoses and its peripherals are judiciously integrated. Surface of the metal elements, bronze-colored lower housings and cylinder head and integration of the elements comply with the house standard.

Honda CB650R on the roadHonda CB650R on the road

In the saddle

It is on the handlebars that the new Honda 650s progress in dynamic ergonomics. The seat still rises to 810 mm but the CB650R adopts a lower and distant right handlebar (-8 mm and +13 mm). The CBR650R sees its straps placed 30mm further and lower. And both machines benefit from lower (-3mm) and higher (6mm) footrests. A more aggressive position, in line with the sportier positioning of the machines.

On the roadster, the pilot switches to a wide handlebar with variable diameter. The pressure on the wrists is moderate, providing just what is needed for good support of the steering gear. Another atmosphere on the sports car, the half-handlebars, now mounted under the upper triple tree, offer a much more sporty position. Without extreme, but enough to plunge the bust towards the short bubble. Both machines allow correct leg curl, but appear wide between the knees.

They are equipped with latest generation digital LCD instrumentation. The display includes gear indicator light, water and fuel temperature gauge, clock, instantaneous consumption, an odometer and two partials. For each one is retained average speed, travel time and average consumption. A programmable shiftlight will tell you the right time to take a gear. Only the brake lever is adjustable in spacing, but the clutch lever seems to be well positioned..

Meter with gear engaged indicator, water and fuel temperature gauge, clock, instantaneous consumption, odometer and 2 partialMeter with gear engaged indicator, water and fuel temperature gauge, clock, instantaneous consumption, odometer and 2 partial
Honda CBR650R speedometerHonda CBR650R speedometer

In the city

Sportingly hissing, the sound of the Honda exhaust is fuller, more cavernous on gas strokes. The agility of the CB is obvious, optimizing its urban evolutions using its wide handlebars. Intuitive, she naturally gets carried away in traffic. Hardly less at ease, the CBR remains easy skillfully composing between sport and everyday life.

Honda in townHonda in town

Both machines have the same final reduction. Flexible, the four-cylinder authorizes without batting an eyelid the use of the last report at 50 km.h. In addition, the injection generates few jolts on the go-around.

This smoothness of operation is found in that of the gearbox or the clutch, favoring urban evolutions. The excellent weight distribution allows the benefit of very agile machines, with a small footprint. Only critical point, their too wide turning radius does not make them champions of the U-turn. Finally, devoid of vibration, the mirrors now return a clear image and above all a wide field..

CB and CBR650R already invite to dig into their alert mechanics, making the machine jump on intermediate gears. Police in town, Honda’s just asking to take off.

Honda CB650R easy in townHonda CB650R easy in town

Motorway and expressways

We take a lot of air on the handlebars of the CB650R. Logic. There are also quite a few on the handlebars of the CBR…. Logical too, but for a question of parentage. The lack of protection of the Fireblade hypersport is known. We find him at the controls of the 650. The two midsize spinning towards high speeds in a typical noise of a four-cylinder screamer. After 8,000 laps, the thrust becomes more marked; There is an additional mechanical life on this vintage at the top of the rev counter, especially over the last 2,000 revolutions. A nice little boost, accompanied by acceptable vibrations. Although without a balance shaft, the four-cylinder engine clearly limits this discomfort.

Honda CB650R on highwayHonda CB650R on highway

We then drive at a good pace on the sports car (230 km / h peak), whose heading is beyond reproach. Lying on the tank, tucked away behind the thin aerodynamic shield, my meter eighty-four appreciates the decent recoil space provided by the saddle. The latter is also comfortable and well designed, without pressure points. Moderately readable, the rev counter information is appreciated "by guesswork", penalized by too small graduations and a display lacking in contrast.

At the legal motorway, the boiler activates at 5.800 rpm, without noticeable vibrations. At this rate, the raises in sixth still lack consistency. 1,000 additional graduations provide much better velocity.

Honda CBR650R on highwayHonda CBR650R on highway

Same quality on the handlebars of the CB which will, of course, be less rigorous at high speed. Its ergonomics promote agility on the secondary network. To be convinced, follow the guide.


And not just any guide. Mr. Steve Plater leads the way. Do you want his CV? Sit down: 2009 British SuperSport champion, 8 wins in the Northwest 200, 3 in Macau, 2 in the TT including the lap record…. It takes a hell of a lot of pedigree to be an opener at Honda! In short, an opener able to take a pack of journalists far beyond their boots if the mood took him…. And what a pleasure to follow the developments of such a pilot! A little flying lesson, a big slap in humility.

Honda CB650R road testHonda CB650R road test

It only takes a few turns to experience all the liveliness of the CB650R. Light, its front axle works wonders in the tight ferrule. It certainly engages a little, giving good momentum when entering a turn. Without being "sticky", the rear axle deserves a smaller envelope to make the angle changes even faster. Not enough to drag, however, especially as the super grip of Metzeler Roadtech 01 encourages turning the handle, under surveillance of the traction control. In addition, the ground clearance, much greater, did not make us file the long teats of the footrests. There is room. Or was Steve dragging himself? Not sure. With its wide handlebars, the stylish roadster slips through the curves like pearls. And our Spanish necklace has a hell of a lot of it! In a rapid curve on the corner (more than 150 km / h) and very smooth roads, the CB keeps its course. It’s a little less straightforward on the bumpy. And, sensitive to the imperfect movements of its pilot, it will be able to move a little, always healthy. On the attack, be clean in piloting, it will give you back.

Honda CBR650R on the roadHonda CBR650R on the road

A subject that the CBR650R knows well. Although its geometry is identical, its Dunlop D214 sport tire fitment, the higher weight on the front and a very different ergonomics make up a whole different machine. More stable, the sports car does not forget to be manoeuvrable. But you have to take him more when the route tightens. Again, a narrower rear tire would add liveliness. And another goes up, more serenity. Not very fond of these envelopes, we always take them with some reservations. The mild weather limited the risks and the few evasions, quickly limited by the electronics, occurred on dirty roads taken at "Plater Replica" pace. In very fast curves, the CBR is almost infallible on good surface. When the asphalt creases, the fairly flexible damping shows its limits. But, like the roadster, the sports car remains healthy and the front axle provides precise guidance. There really is more sport at the helm of the CBR650R. The position induced by the new ergonomics now suits the dynamic pretensions of the model. Previously a streamlined roadster, the 2019 opus is athletic and gives better control when driving fast. Swaying is more natural and the half-handlebars make it easier to absorb the new braking force.

Honda CB650R from aboveHonda CB650R from above

Because the new radial calipers also provide powerful decelerations. Almost too much for a novice. The lever requires training so as not to be afraid. Mass transfers seem more sensitive on the roadster, only due to the fact of a more upright position.

Led with flexibility, the Honda cut the terminal with bonhomie, always ready to chisel the curve if one requests their engine. What we will do to pass sharply on the road. Entering one or even two gears is not an option, especially at 80 km / h and 4,300 rpm. More alive very high in the towers, the Japanese four-cylinder requires to be driven beyond 8,000 laps in sport driving. Third and fourth gear allow you to get the most out of this mechanism which likes to sing loudly. The torque curve at its maximum then serves that of the power, quickly letting the latter soar with energy. Taking the bit in their teeth, the 94 cannons then rushed vigorously. In ride mode, the boulder remains effective but less demonstrative.

Honda CBR650R on departmentalHonda CBR650R on departmental


The modified frame of the CB and CBR650R ensures an optimal stiffness / torsion balance. We would like the suspensions to be as efficient. Flexible, damping deserves a more braked hydraulic. And, at least on the CBR, fork preload and rebound adjustment would be desirable. Mass transfers would thus be further limited during heavy braking. The fork then plunges noticeably. However, the equipment then manages the limit switch very correctly.


New radial calipers deliver powerful decelerations. However, the attack is immediate and takes a little getting used to. The high-performance rear clamp compensates for this force from the front. The speed is thus easily modulated on the angle. ABS is only triggered when advised, allowing strong braking without intrusion. Finally, turning on the flashing lights on "emergency braking" is effective when driving in a bundle to avoid any surprises..

4-piston radial calipers on 310mm discs4 piston radial calipers on 310 mm discs

Comfort / Duo

More typical, on the two machines, the position does not impose an extreme. More sporty, it serves the new image of the CB and CBR650R. As well as ease on the handlebars. For your passenger, the seat comfort will be correct but the machine does not constitute, or no longer (CBR), a real traveler.

Honda CB650R saddleHonda CB650R saddle
Honda CBR650R saddleHonda CBR650R saddle


On our test, the computer displayed between 6.2 and 7 liters per 100, knowing that the pace of the tests results in significant consumption and that if we refer to the previous tests, there is no doubt that the consumption must be able to drop to 5.5 liters per hundred and therefore cause a change to the pump almost every 200 kilometers, even if Honda claims a consumption per 100 less than 5 liters.


Clearly redesigned, the Honda CB and CBR650R unveil a more marked personality and a renewed engine character at high speed. Efficient and healthy, their new aesthetic gives them an assured capital of sympathy. Apart from a more typified and adapted ergonomics, the whole does not transfigure these medium displacement. However, even if the position of the CBR650R is sportier than the roadster, this does not make it a real sports car like the old CBR 600 RR could be, which we could really take on the circuit. On the other hand, they provide a more pleasant service within a segment with blurred boundaries..

Indeed, this market has very different cubic capacities, powers and prices, from the 600 to the 900 cm3. Kawasaki Z650 at € 6,599 and Ninja 650 at € 7,499, Yamaha MT07 at € 7,099 and 09 at € 9,199, Suzuki GSX-S750 at € 8,899 SV650 for € 6,799, Triumph Street Triple at € 8,700 ….

Our Honda are therefore not alone. The CB650R is priced at € 7,999, the CBR650R € 8,899. At this price, more qualitative suspension elements become payable to make the difference on the asking price. Stylish, homogeneous and efficient, the Japanese firm’s machines combine manufacturing quality, high-performance electronics and ergonomics. But the battle will be tough for these new features from the winged manufacturer to take off.

Strong points

  • engine at low speed
  • agility
  • braking
  • comfort

Weak points

  • instrumentation
  • too flexible in duet

The technical sheet of the Honda CBR 650 R

Honda CB650R video test

Honda CBR650R video test

Test conditions

  • route: winding roads with variable surfaces, dry.
  • weather: sunny, 18 ° C
  • Motorcycle km: 220 km
  • problem encountered: ras

Color CB650R

  • Matt silver
  • Black
  • Red
  • Blue



Color CBR650R

  • Red Grand Prix
  • Matt gray and Metallic black

the + CB650R

  • Engine availability at low speed
  • High speed engine breath
  • Agility of the chassis
  • Powerful braking
  • Efficient ergonomics
  • Sound in the towers
  • Saddle comfort and suspensions
  • Precise selection
  • Quality of finishes
  • Overall dynamic efficiency
  • Original tire assembly

the – CB650R

  • Hardly legible instrumentation
  • Hydraulic too loose in duo
  • Non-adjustable suspensions

the + CBR650R

  • Engine availability at low speed
  • High speed engine breath
  • Stability and precision of the chassis
  • Powerful braking
  • Efficient ergonomics
  • Sound in the towers
  • Saddle comfort and suspensions
  • Precise selection
  • Quality of finishes
  • Overall dynamic efficiency

the – CBR650R

  • Hardly legible instrumentation
  • Hydraulic too loose in duo
  • Non-adjustable suspensions
  • Tire fitting by default

Test equipment

  • HJC R-Pha 70 Helmet
  • Vanucci Nubuck Jacket
  • Glove Vanucci Speed ​​Profi IV
  • Jean Vanucci Armalith 2.0
  • Vanucci RV4 Boots


  • ABS
  • HSTC
  • Assisted slip clutch


  • Heated grips
  • Shifter upshift

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18 thoughts on “Honda CB650R and CBR650R motorcycle comparison test

  1. Far too expensive !

    Saddle too high (as on many models …).

    As for remarks like "he slips easily into traffic": what about safety?

  2. Hello,

    I am on my 3rd pcx and I can say that I am really happy with this little scooter that I use mainly for walks on small roads, especially those winding as you wish, and there, what a whip !! angle plugs !! In short, bravo to Honda for this scoot.

    By the way, I take this opportunity to clarify that this 2014 version is well equipped with a warning.

    A + and have a good trip

  3. Would it be possible to correct the technical sheet of the Burgman because, when we click on it we are entitled to … that of the Moto Guzzi Bellagio!

  4. Hello,

    I have had a Burgman 200 for 4 years now, already bought second-hand it is from 2007. Today I have 75000 km on the clock. The strong points of this scooter are:

    – Very low consumption I run at 2.8L / 100

    – Quite nervous and point speed can go up to 145k / h meter

    – Relatively reliable

    – Starts well in all weather

    – Braking not too bad

    The negatives are:

    – Battery not reliable at all already changed 3 times

    – Revisions are very expensive on average 350 Euro

    – Real uncomfortable ass slap for the driver but especially for the passenger

    And here is otherwise overall I’m quite happy with this little scooter which does its job well.

  5. I have recently had a Ural Ranger …. experience: 500 kms !!!! It’s the foot!!! All comments are correct considering how little I have been able to test so far …. the riding looks like a snowmobile, but more muscular and more drunk with it going or not ??? But it’s really cool especially on small roads and on paths. In addition, no worries with the photographers in kepis … That said I am lucky to also have my Béhème Adventure, for the moment I do not see myself having only the Ural. I recommend everyone to try, we like it or not but it’s interesting … I love it

  6. Excellent article, which makes you want to switch to three wheels !

    A real invitation to travel. Thank you.

  7. very nice article … for those who make you want adventure. Because of the lair you let go of everything and you cut the road for several months.

    The bikers’ lair,

    the mustards at war

    and ma’am in trouble

    household breaker goes that said the Trumph harnessed seems very nice

  8. All 125 of the market, by categories, in several editorials, it’s an idea.

    Good luck for the organizer but nice idea.

    With something like "the 24 hours of the 125", the kind of thing MJ was doing a long time ago.gnarf

  9. QuoteKaralex
    Little tour with Ana Carrasco, that’s nice from Kawasaki;)

    Rather yes !

    A great girl, natural, nice, pro…

    I can’t wait for other girls to come to the catwalks!

  10. QuoteDblz
    I don’t understand how some roll. On a Ducati ST2 (944cc, 83hp, and high torque) I have absolutely never needed traction control. The only time I have skated, it was in the rain and with my original rear tire very hard (michelin Mac 90) worn to 99%….

    As far as I’m concerned, a traction control, an anti-dribble thing, etc. it’s pure gadget overpriced and uninteresting.

    The only useful but not essential thing in modern novelties is ABS.

    lots of love

    Well the same, 99000km with a TRX 850 of 99 all year round, and nothing of nothing, yet we were not really driving like today.

    And also at the beginning with the famous Macadam 90 (and 100).

    It means that we are probably old.

    To skate in the rain, I waited for the CB500X with its Asian horse.

  11. Nice little machine,

    Almost make you want to take a 125.

    I am laughing at the equipment

    CB125 = 13 hp – 41 mm inverted fork

    my 84 74 hp CBX650 = 39 mm fork

    It helps to measure the gap crossed.

    A +

  12. While waiting for the 300 which takes almost the same cycle part, I checked the saddle height. She is indeed

    very high compared to the 125CG ET CBF that I use in town .

    With my 1.69M I barely touch the ground with my tiptoes .

    A big disappointment and for me and a step back on the part of HONDA especially as the ergonomics are also behind …

  13. Hello,

    It is rather a step forward for Honda which offers three 125 machines for all tastes: small: the grom (MSX seems to me), utility (CBF) and now a machine with a nice look a little more punchy. it would have been a return of the varadero with that but hey: D

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