2018 Honda CB650F Review | Upright Citizen
Honda has been making outstanding mid-sized inline-4 motorcycles for 40 years, including naked and full-faired bikes. The 2018 Honda CB650F is the motorcycle we’ve been waiting for—a comfortable naked upright to fight it out on urban streets and twisting canyons.
After putting some serious miles on the new CB650F, here are the 11 essential fast facts you want to know about this new sport bike.
1. The 2018 Honda CB650F is not a stripped down version of the previous Honda CBR650F. There have been upgrades to the platform, including a Showa Dual Bending Valve fork, tighter gear ratios between 2nd and 5th, improved air intake routing, updated muffler, lighter Nissin brake calipers, an LED headlight and taillight, updated below-seat plastic, and L-shaped valve stems on the wheels. This puts the 2018 Honda CB650F on par with the ’18 CBR650F.
2. It is not only the lack of fairing that turns the CBR650F into the CB650F. In addition to less plastic up front, the CB650F also gets different handlebars and mirrors. This pulls about 10 pounds off the CBR650F, most of it high and forward of the center of gravity.
3. The 2018 Honda CB650F has a modern upright feel. With taller and wider bars that are less swept back, the CB650F has almost supermoto-like ergonomics. It’s immediately comfortable to riders who have dirt experience, and street riders quickly realize the leverage and control benefits.
4. Feel free to strafe around town on the CB650F. It’s narrow and the upright seating gives you a good view of the road. Lane splitting is a breeze, and the mirrors are easy to manage in tight quarters. The motor is soft at lower rpm, so you can maneuver at slow speeds with confidence, as a slight throttle error won’t have an unexpected negative result.
5. Freeway speeds don’t challenge the 2018 Honda CB650F. Despite being naked, you don’t get blasted by wind. The handlebars are rubber-mounted, so the vibration level from the high-revving inline-4 is nicely masked. You might need a downshift to really blast past someone, so the flawless transmission is welcome, as well as the closer ratios in the middle of the gearset.
6. The suspension is urban-friendly. The non-adjustable Showa Dual Bending Valve design mimics a cartridge fork and it works. Along with the shock, which only has spring-preload adjustment, the CB650F has compliant suspension that takes away the hard hits you can get on neglected city streets, yet there’s not a hint of wallowing.