Honda has completely taken the roadster segment by storm with its Neo Sport Cafes. Let us not try to understand this name; it is easier to look at the credit cards to understand. The ? Yes, the! The CB 650 R concludes a whole family of machines cultivating an unusual blend of neo-classic modernity with a fashion trend sauce..
It’s true what … It’s hard to bite other people’s rims when you were a CB 650 F and wanted to correct Street Triple 800, MT-09 or Z 900. Homogeneous and easy but not bad enough , she could not directly face the clan. By becoming R, the CB 650 comes to smell other desires. A culture of expression quite far from pure fighting. The mimicry with the CB 1000 R is certain, the separation with the former F very frank. Design question, the feel of another motorcycle is undeniable. Round optics with technoïsignature LED is a strong element of its personality. Without doubt the most important.
On the other hand, on the technical side, Honda is not starting from a blank sheet at all but has focused its efforts on an overall improvement of the CB 650 F.
The 649cc 4-cylinder continues its career. He wants to flatter his owner with bronze-colored crankcases and cylinder head cover. Cool marketing ……. but the common person will want a little more than that. Ah? But the unit has already gone from 87 to 91 hp since its introduction in 2014. Better ?
And how. Opposite, the watts are on edge. Then the combustion chambers were revised, so the volumetric ratio was increased, also the valves and their lifts were revised, as much the air box is better supplied, besides the spark plugs in iridium, finally the power increases t ‘it up to 95 horsepower pulled out at 12,000 rpm. That is 1000 much higher than before. But the engine manufacturers claim to have erased the hole around the 5500 trs. No change on the torque side, except that you have to look for it a little higher too.
This engine is beginning to assert itself, although it does not seek the level of sportiness of the competition. We even added two leisure buddies, just to show off good manners. First an assisted slip clutch, for smoother handling with the lever and benevolence when disengaging the rear wheel on strong downshifts. Then, a traction control, the HSTC, to prevent gags on playful pavement. For the bold, it has the courtesy of being disconnectable. Bonus for young people allowed, the machine recovers the possibility of going to A2; what the F had put aside its last years.
At first glance, the appearance of the chassis could leave one thoughtful to bitterness. It seems so close to the previous one – sometimes it’s okay to change nothing when a base is healthy. Except that with this change in organic strategy, we would have winged something more … noticeable.
Let’s take a better look. Certainly, no hypersport frame, trellis, carbon or the aeronautical bazaar, but a revisited construction of the Diamant frame. Stiffer in some places and more flexible in others to improve sensations, not to mention a weight gain of 1.9 kilo.
We removed almost 2 liters of capacity in the tank, grappled a little on the footrests, which allows the CB 650 R to lose 6 kilos from the CB 650 F. However, with 202 kgs ready to roll, it is not one of the lightest in its sector.
This R at the end of the name is not just for style. It also denotes a more combative orientation. The front end is an excellent execution. Waste bin for the standard fork; make way for a separate function SFF reverse Showa. The mid-size roadster takes the opportunity to strengthen its braking with radial brake calipers and twice as many pistons per caliper. Obviously, the CB wants to impose more rigor in the entry of trajectories.
With 310 mm in diameter, the brake tracks have lost a bit of surface. Nothing to report on the rear axle, with an identical swingarm and 240mm brake disc.
The pilot will also be involved, or rather in harmonization. The CB 650 R decided to make it more active, more involved in driving. It rocks it a little more to the front with a lower (8 mm) and more forward (13 mm) handlebars while the footrests move back (6 mm) and up (3 mm). With this pivoted triangle, the machine does not order you but invites you to take the road in hand.
The speedometer gets a new look, adopting a full digital line modeled on that of the 1000. Speed and indication of the gear engaged have the best places. It is much less kitsch than yesterday, and of family because shared with the CB 500. There is moreover that they do not bear the standard Neo-thing-espresso.
Revisiting the previous F, the CB 650 R adopts the philosophy and style of the CB 1000 R, CB 125 R and CB 300 R, leaving the moths of the segment to explain themselves in order to better present its strengths, its difference, and finally have a say.
M.B – Photos & builder video
What you must remember
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CB 650 F 2018
Model marketed in
medium: 4.90 l
200 km / h
The technical aspect
2019 Honda CB 650 R
- Tank: 15.4 liters
- Width: 780 mm
- Height: 1,075 mm
- Wheelbase: 1,450 mm
- Weight in running order: 202 kg
- Train before
- secondary by chain
- Rear axle
(67 x 46 mm)
at 12,000 rpm
at 8,500 rpm