Honda CBRR & CBR () Review
In , Honda launched the fully faired CBRF and streetbike CBF. Mid-priced, no-frills, high-revving inline four-cylinder middleweights, they were assembled in Thailand and slotted into a budget A2-licence compliant market stuffed with rivals, most of which were slightly hum-drum, but effective, parallel twins. It was a battle of the bargains.
But because the CBRF and CBF were built to a price, some riders – who remembered Honda’s cc glory days – complained the new bikes were no match for the discontinued CBR or Hornet Which, on specification, they weren’t.
But now, all that might be about to change. BikeSocial is in southern Spain at the launch of the uprated, tuned, sportified and refined CBRR and CBR.
Honda say the overarching aim of the CBR and CB’s revamp is to bring them into line with Honda’s existing model ranges, and to focus their appeal towards younger riders. So the CBR gets restyled for a strong family resemblance to the Fireblade, while the CBR gets a Neo Sports Café makeover to sit between the CBR and CBR.
The result is a pair of more aggressively styled machines, shedding the faintly dowdy, mundane image of their predecessor F models. Honda say 55% of CBRF buyers are under 40 years old, and nearly a third are between Meanwhile the CBR is also aimed at younger riders, but sales are more evenly distributed than the CBR, with 24% between 51 and 60 years old.
So are the new CBRR and CBR a step up in class and price too far to keep playing the mid-priced middleweight game? Or can they rekindle a few hoary old hearts with memories of zinging around on cc Honda sportsbikes in the mids?
Honda CBR prices, PCP deals, and availability
In dealers now
Colours: Graphite Black, Matt Crypton Silver Metallic, Matt Jeans Blue Metallic or Candy Chromosphere Red
Honda PCP deal
36 x £
Optional final payment
Sports pack: belly pan, seat cowl, tank pad, quickshifter – £
Comfort pack: heated grips plus fitting kit, tinted screen, 12v socket – £
Honda CBRR prices, PCP deals, and availability
In dealers from February
Colours: Matt Gunpowder Black Metallic or Grand Prix Red
36 x £
Optional final payment
Sports pack: seat cowl,tank pad, double bubble screen, quickshifter – £
Comfort pack: heated grips plus fitting kit, double bubble screen, 12v socket – £
Power and torque (claimed)
bhp @ 12,rpm
lb.ft @ rpm
Engine, gearbox and exhaust
Oh my life how many revs, exactly? The CBR, naked as the day it was born (about miles ago, according to its odometer), rips through its gearbox like gammon on a bacon slicer as the crazy-ass Spanish tarmac unfolds in a meat feast of mid-speed switch-back lefts and rights. The quick(ish)shifter (£ accessory) skips up and down from second to third and back again, occasionally straying into higher gears but mostly with the digital tacho needle flicking between and 11,rpm, and serving to demonstrate the motor’s astonishing flexibility and smoothness. Especially for a budget middleweight.
With a new redline of 12,rpm and a rev limiter up around the 13,rpm mark, but with crisp throttle response and decent drive from rpm, that’s a spread of nearly 10,rpm to play with. And both CBR and CBR feel fit and up for it at most points in between, potent and fully formed; these are proper, grown-up motorbikes.
Swapping the CB for a CBR, and chasing a silky smooth BSB and TT legend Steve Plater on a Fireblade, shows the new engine is up to the job on all but the fastest stretches. Top speed is up around the high mph, but acceleration through the gears and mid-speed throttle response is perfect. No snatch, no hesitation, just get it spinning and go.
In fact the CB and CBR’s mids horsepower is ideal for maintaining and enjoying a rapid real world pace – they’re neither intimidatingly fast and ultimately reined-in, like a litre sportsbike, nor furiously demented like a supersports And they’re most definitely not short of revs when you thrash them, like most A2-licence compliant twins. And with none of their cut-price, plastic, Christmas cracker feel either.
By adding a decent chunk of zip and throttle response to the CBR and CB’s engine, Honda have basically re-created pretty much the same motor, in terms of power and revs, that powered the CBRF-S and CB Hornet. Gnarly old timers will weep for joy.
The cc inline four motor is common to both CBR and CBR. It’s essentially the same unit as the previous model CBR and CBF, but tuned and refined in small, significant ways. Claimed power is up by bhp and rpm, from bhp @ 11,rpm to bhp @ 12,rpm. Peak torque remains the same ft.lb as before, but now up from rpm to rpm.
bhp is bhp away from the 94bhp limit for a bike to remain A2 licence compliant, meaning the CBR and CB can be restricted down to 47bhp, with an alternative pair of plastic intakes – bores choked by a plastic infill – and an ECU remap. This also means the s are unlikely to get much more powerful in the near future (unless Honda build a separate 94bhp model, as per A2-compliant versions of Kawasaki’s Z and KTM’s Duke, say), and explains why they don’t already make as much as the old CBRFs, RRs and CB Hornets of previous years.
The power increase from the previous F models has been achieved by letting the motor rev harder, with a tweak to cam timing (presumably more valve overlap), an ECU remap, revised piston crown shape for a slightly higher compression ratio, and reshaped and designed intake and exhaust plumbing.
In particular, the airboxes on both CBR and CB are now fed by higher capacity twin air ducts instead of the previous models’ single intake – cheekily, Honda say the CBR’s is more efficient than the CB’s, adding three times more pressure in the airbox at ‘high speed’ and boosting power by 5%.
Now, Honda’s claimed peak power figure is from a static dyno; 5% of bhp is bhp, so if Honda are saying the CBR actually develops bhp at top speed er anyone unsure how ‘legal’ a ram-air effect is in terms of A2 compliance is probably wiser not to ask. But we like the idea of Honda being a bit naughty.
Other engine changes include the addition of a slipper clutch with a lighter lever action than previously (Honda say it’s 12% lighter; it’s noticeable in town), and the underslung exhaust has been tilted upwards, angled towards the rider’s delicate ear drums. The effect, combined with the new twin air intakes, is a deeper, more beefy riding soundtrack at medium revs, and more of a shriek when you’re caning it. And boy, does the motor like to be caned, in either CBR or CB.
The CBR and CB’s new engine performance has a minor reciprocal effect on fuel consumption: Honda’s figures say both bikes use slightly more fuel. The new motor is claimed to drink at mpg compared to the previous engine’s mpg, which is barely noticeable.
But the new bikes’ tank size is: it’s nearly two litres smaller, at litres down from litres – I ask a Honda engineer why: he explains it’s because the new dash meant moving the ignition barrel from in front of the yoke, to behind it, eating into the tank area. That’s packaging for you.
A bit of BikeSocial maths shows that’s around 30 miles less tank range on the new bike, down from a theoretical miles to miles.
Back in Spain, the CB and CBR’s actual fuel consumption averages around 45mpg on both bikes, which gives a tank range of around miles to empty. That means finding a filling station every miles or so.
Suspension, chassis and weight
As with the motor, the CBR and CB also share a common chassis. The frame is broadly the same pressed steel twin spar as the previous CBR and CBF. Swingarm pivot plates are now also pressed sections instead of cast – this saves kg in weight. The engine’s rear mounting points have moved from attaching to each side plate, to now using a single, central cross-spar – it sounds like a minor detail, but when I ask Honda why the new engine feels so much smoother than the harsh buzz of the previous motor, they point to the new engine-frame bracket. Neat – that’s why they get paid the big bucks.
The subframe is also new – still welded to the main frame, but now angled slightly upwards and 60mm shorter for a more compact back end.
Suspension is new – forks are still 41mm Showas and still non-adjustable, but are now upside down have a new acronym: now SFF (Separate Function Fork) instead of the previous
SDBV (Showa Dual Bending Valve). SFF forks have the damping operation in one leg and the springing in the other, reducing weight, friction and, presumably, cost, and are claimed to improve ride quality. Which, as I recall, is what Showa claimed when they introduced the SDBV forks two years ago on the CB and CBRF two years ago.
At the back, the cantilever Showa shock gets the addition of a rubber bump stop, which Honda call a ‘pillow ball’ and is a fairly crude form of extra damping cushion when the shock goes to full compression. They use the same idea on the new Gold Wing, so at least the CB and CBR are in good company. As per the previous models, the shock has seven-way preload adjustment, but no damping adjustment.
Rake, trail and wheelbase are the same for both bikes and are all as per the previous models.
However, Honda say the CBR and CB are 6kg lighter than their F-ing predecessors: the naked CBR is kg wet (CBF is kg), and the CBRR is kg (CBRF is kg). The weight saving comes partly from the frame (kg lighter), partly from details like the shorter subframe and changes to wheels, suspension and component details – but also from the smaller tank (less fuel) and – surprisingly – less oil. The new engines have litres of oil; the old motors carry litres. Confused, I ask Honda’s technicians if the sump is smaller, but no – it turns out they simply put less in there, and the engine is still safe. I ask, half joking, if that means the dipstick is longer. Yes, it is. Well, it should make servicing the old bikes cheaper if you know they can run safely on ml less oil.
Overall, reducing the R’s fluid levels saves kg – and that really is next level weight saving.
So – so far, so similar between the CBR and CB chassis. On paper.
Brakes, wheels and tyres
Both bikes also share ABS brake systems – the move to upside down forks permits an obvious transition to radial calipers, and four-pot radial Nissins instead of the conventionally mounted previous four-pots. Non-wavy front disc sizes drop 10mm to mm. Cast aluminium wheels are new slim-spoke design, tyre sizes stay the same /70 and /55, with Thai-made Dunlop D Sportmaxes on the CBR and German-made Metzeler RoadTec 01s on the CB.
Ergonomics and comfort
The CBR and CB both get a sportier riding position, in keeping with their new, youthful purpose. The CBR’s clip-ons are now mounted below the top yoke, with the bars themselves roughly at the level of the yoke. They’re 30mm lower and 30mm further forward than the CBRF, which had a distinctly sports touring stance.
Meanwhile the flat bars on the CBR are less radically altered: they’re 13mm further forward and 8mm lower than previously.
Both bikes have new, lightweight footpegs, 3mm further back and 6mm higher than before, and the mm seat is the same on both (and the same as the F-models).
The result isn’t as dramatic as it sounds. The CBR in particular is still no head-down, arse-up race replica; the riding position is more forward-leaning than before, but it still falls a long way short of a pure sportsbike, such as the Fireblade – it’s a comfy, all-day stance, with not even a hint of wrist-ache over five hours. You could still easily contemplate three or four touring days in the saddle, and Honda clearly haven’t forgotten how to make the sporty all-round riding position that graced the mins CBRF.
The CBR’s ergonomics are less heavily modified over the previous CBF; its tapered flat bars are still give a nicely braced, forward-canted upper body, not over-exposed to wind blast and tolerable up to around the ton.
And call me a wimp, but the comfort of both the CBRR an CBR is immediately improved in the chill Spanish air with the presence of accessory heated grips (£ inc. fitting kit).
Here’s where the CBR and CB diverge. The CB’s flat bars give the bike a nimble, agile feel, with the extra leverage over the front end immediately noticeable. The CB flicks from side to side with greater ease, at any speed, than the CBR – which is hardly sluggish at changing direction; it’s just more deliberate. The CB lunges for the apex; the CBR carves into it.
Ride quality on both CBR and CB is exceptional – Honda have long managed to tease above-average suspension control from apparently budget, non-adjustable suspension, and the new s are perfect examples. The CBR, with its rider’s weight more heavily biased over the front end, uses up more of its travel under normal riding, and feels to me slightly less plush than the more upright CB. But neither gives any cause for concern, bundling along the Andalucían asphalt at a brisk pace and soaking up bumps as well as weight transfer on the brakes or on the gas.
The CBR feels more secure on its Metzeler tyres than the CBR’s Dunlops. The Ds have a solid, remote feel, and don’t generate a great deal of heat even after some hectic cornering. The CB’s supposedly touring Metzelers, on the other hand, have an immediately softer and gripper feel, and are warmer after cornering. The idea of putting either bike on something much stickier is an enticing prospect (a few years ago I hammered the original CBRF on an Avon Spirit ST tyre launch at Portimao, and it was a lot more fun than it should have been).
Hooray – instead of the old F-models’ tiny, cheap, monochrome display, the Rs get a larger colour dash with gear position indicator, fuel gauge, tacho and mpg readouts. At night it lights up like a city skyline, but in broad daylight, behind a tinted visor, it’s really, really dim. Brightness is adjustable – but even on max it’s out-glared by a cloudy sky.
But in another hooray, the Rs also get Honda’s rudimentary traction control. You could arge, probably correctly, a 94bhp doesn’t need it – but it’s nice to have in case. And it’s also nice to be able to switch it off while riding, using the headlamp flasher switch on the left handlebar, for those moments when you feel the need to wheelie. Naughty Mr Honda again. We like it.
Not quite so keen on the new emergency brake lights, that flash indicators and brake lights front and rear under hard braking (but before the ABS cuts in). It might be a life saver on the road, but if you’re on a track day and up a CBRR or CBR rider’s chuff and he bangs them on unexpectedly, it won’t half make you jump.
HONDA CBRR and CBR: VERDICT
For old giffers such as I, riding the CBRR has a strong whiff of déjà vu. I’m sure I’ve ridden a bike like this before. A middleweight inline four Honda sportsbike with a steel frame, making over 90bhp and weighing around kg? Sounds familiar. A practical-but-sporty riding position, and the feeling you could ride miles in one hit in comfort one day, then do a track day the next and be happy with both? Feels familiar. Balanced, neutral steering and a wide, flat spread of torque? Definitely been here before.
And I have, in , on a CBRF-S. There are lots of similarities – but lots of differences too. The reality is the new bike has more features, better suspension, less weight and sharper handling. It’s also getting on for half the price. In , a CBR cost £ – which is £12, in today’s money. The CBRF is £ A similar gap exists between a Hornet and the CBF.
Against its rivals, it’s harder to place the new CBR and CB. The F models clearly sat at the top end of a slew of Japanese A2-compatible middleweights, such as Kawasaki’s Ninja (£) and Z, or Yamaha’s MT (£). Its inline four motor was a point of difference; I preferred its high-revving character, and the fact when you wound it up it felt more like a smaller version of something bigger and faster, rather than a slightly wheezy, anaemic, throbbing twin.
But the new bikes are into a different realm of performance, and are starting to nudge towards proper full-bore machines such as KTM’s Duke, Kawasaki’s Z (both of which are available in 94bhp versions, to permit detuning to an A2-friendly 47bhp). A full bore Duke makes bhp and costs £, and is an explosive, hilarious and thoroughly full-on naked bike. The Z is an accomplished bike, costs £, and makes bhp. Triumph’s Street Triple R is just over nine grand, and the MT is £ That’s a lot of choice, and a lot of very good bikes.
But it shows how good Honda’s CBR and CBRR are to be mentioned in the same breath. The middleweight sports Honda is well and truly back.
Three things I love about the CBRR and CBR
• engine layout – one of the last of inline four middleweights, and it’s good to make them howl
• riding position – neither bikes’ comfort or control is compromised by being marginally more sporty
• handling – agility, ride quality and chassis balance; what quality budget suspension should feel like
Three things I don’t…
• dim dash – brighter, please – or invert it
• shrinking tank – miles isn’t the worst, but bigger is better
• duff Dunlops – the CBRR deserves better rubber
Honda CBRR and CBR (in brackets)
Bore x Stroke
16v dohc, l/c
bhp @ 12,rpm
lb.ft @ rpm
Average fuel consumption
Max range to empty (est)
ABS, Honda traction control (HSTC)
steel twin spar
41mm Showa SFF usd forks
Front suspension adjustment
Rear suspension adjustment
2 x mm discs, four-pot caliper, ABS
mm disc, one-pot caliper, ABS
unlimited miles/2 years
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Colour Options and Price in India
MAXABOUT RATING AND OVERVIEW
ENGINE AND GEARBOX
MILEAGE AND TOP SPEED
BRAKES AND TYRES
You might not be aware that Honda got its start in the US by selling motorcycles. It has continued to do so since the s, and while the car business may have somewhat overshadowed them, Honda is still cranking out thoughtfully engineered, approachable and affordable bikes to this day.
Affordable, approachable and thoughtfully engineered are great descriptors for Honda's "Neo Sports Cafe" CBR with which I've recently been spending time. The CBR wears its Honda sport-bike DNA proudly, with a high-revving engine and its high footpegs, but unlike a hardcore sport bike, it's comfortable and easy to use on a daily basis.
The heart of the CBR is its cc, liquid-cooled inline-four-cylinder engine. It's a classic Japanese sport-bike engine with a sky-high redline of 12, rpm. The engine is very smooth in how it makes power, and the throttle is well-tuned, but it's not what I'd call eager off the line -- the engine doesn't make peak torque until 8, rpm. To people used to big twins, that seems bonkers, but it's kind of par for the course with this type of engine.
The CB's engine makes its peak power just rpm below redline, and while the engine feels great up there, it feels a little weird wringing it out that hard for those of us with an overdeveloped sense of mechanical sympathy. Honda USA doesn't publish horsepower figures for its motorcycles, but the Euro version of the bike is rated for 93 horsepower, and I'd say that feels right on the US model.
One downside to this particular inline-four is that once you get it up over 6, rpm -- which is always -- it becomes very buzzy. The engine's vibrations get transmitted a little too clearly to my hands and feet. It's not dirt-bike bad, but it's enough that I felt it after getting off of the bike.
The engine is also home to what is arguably one of the prettiest exhaust manifolds to be fitted to a motorcycle. The four chrome pipes are tightly packed in a line and waterfall down gracefully to the collector and the low-mounted catalytic converter. This design is borrowed from the CBF of the early s, and it's incredible.
The CB comes packing a six-speed transmission that, in typical two- and four-wheel Honda fashion, is very slick and easy to use. It's paired with a hydraulically assisted cable clutch that offers smooth modulation coupled with a super-light pull at the lever.
With a list price of $9,, I would have liked to see a more advanced suspension setup on the CB, but what's given isn't bad -- it's just not adjustable beyond rear shock preload. As a larger rider, this means the bike feels overly soft. Despite not being adjustable, the fork comes from Showa and is a separate function fork, which is cool. This means that one fork leg handles compression, the other handles rebound, and never the twain shall meet.
Now we move to what I think is the weakest point of the CBR -- its brakes. I will preface by saying that the brakes on the bike aren't bad -- they've never failed to stop me in a reasonable distance -- but they aren't what I'd call confidence-inspiring, despite now having ABS as standard. The CB's front brake lever is soft. There is a long pull before the brakes start to bite, and when you get there, it feels a little squishy. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that changing out the brake lines for some braided stainless steel units, and maybe swapping pads for something with more initial bite would solve this. That said, the mm dual front rotors and Nissin calipers look like they'd stand up to a track day with little issue.
Ergonomically, the CBR is a winner. It's a compact bike with a reasonable inch seat height. It feels much lighter than its pound wet curb weight would suggest, which adds to my confidence when moving it around at low speeds. Despite having a transverse four-cylinder engine, the CB feels super narrow between my legs, which makes it easy to grip with my knees, reducing hand and wrist strain. I also found the CBR to be a lane-splitting champion. My shoulders are the widest point of the bike, which makes it a breeze to filter through cars at a stoplight or thread my way through slow traffic.
Other highlights include full-LED lighting and a gorgeous shade of red paint that Honda calls Chromosphere Red. That, paired with the bronze accents on the engine and the dull silver radiator shrouds make it a seriously eye-catching machine. The retro-futuristic LED gauge is cool but can be hard to read in direct sunlight. Finally, Honda needs to cut the crap with its horn button placement. Put it in the same place as everyone else: below the turn signal switch. I hate feeling like an idiot for beeping the horn in traffic while going for a turn signal, and finding a turn signal button when I need the horn is even worse.
Once out of traffic and onto the open tarmac, the little red Honda truly starts to come into its own. The bike feels nimble and light, willing to respond to my inputs without complaint. It's happy to lean over in a corner and requires little to no effort to maintain a line from entry to apex to exit. It's a comfortable bike, and spending a few hours in the saddle is no big deal, though the high pegs and compact nature of the bike did start to take a toll on my knees after a while. This likely wouldn't be a problem for a rider of more average height.
The CB is a totally reasonable machine, but there's something about it, probably the rev-happy nature of the engine, that makes me want to ride it aggressively. It's a bike that rewards you for beating on it a little, and I'd be lying if I didn't get strong Tom Cruise-in-Top Gun vibes while wringing out the motor.
The CBR would have been awash in competition a decade ago, but with the changing face of the motorcycle industry, it's the only bike in its class that still has a four-cylinder engine. Yamaha's naked middleweight MT is a twin; ditto for Suzuki's long-lived SV and Kawasaki's Ninja In their move to lower cylinder counts, these bikes gained torque but lost some of what made Japanese motorcycles so special.
The Honda CBR isn't cheap, and it isn't typical, but it does look and feel like a special machine. It takes the best of Honda's long history of sport-bike engineering and applies it to a motorcycle that rewards your skill but doesn't punish you for riding it in traffic. It's well-built and sensible without being boring. In the end, it's a Honda, and that's a good thing.
Hondas CBR is the replacement of the CBF and is a naked version of CBRR that replaced the CBRF. Both were introduced in and are on sale today and compete with many other very capable motorcycles.
Powered by the same revised cc inline four-cylinder engine as the sporty faired version and producing a claimed 94 horsepower at rpm.
Aimed at new and experienced riders who want an attractive looking motorcycle that is comfortable and practical while providing big bike straight line performance.
Honda had great success in the late 90s and all the way through the thousands with the Honda CBF Hornet. The hornet is a naked motorcycle powered by the bullet proof Honda CBRF engine.
In its slightly detuned format, the Honda Hornet made a claimed 96 horsepower at rpm. It was quick bike that thrived on revs and could reach plus mph on a good day and in the right hands.
The CBR we could argue is a modern version of the phenomenally successful Hornet that sold in the bucket load in all markets and even had a dedicated race series in the UK.
While both bikes look different, they are both attractive and funky looking and Id say that the new CBR is a worthy successor to the Hornet. It makes more-or-less the same power but benefits from more torque courtesy of the extra 50 cc and slightly lower state of tune.
CBR Dyno and engine performanceHonda CBR power and torque
The CBR has the same engine as the CBRR with both having the same claimed power. The CBR made a little bit less on the dyno vs the previously tested CBRRwith a healthy 80 horsepower at rpm and 42 ft/lb at rpm.
Our CBR on test also made a little bit less power and torque throughout the entire rpm range. Im pretty sure that Honda have not changed the engine in any way, so Id put the lower numbers down to the factors on the day or slight differences between bikes.
It is a little down on power compared to the Hornet which often makes around horsepower more at peak. It is not an amount that you youd notice much in isolation but perhaps could back-to-back. But this minor top-end deficit is made up between and rpm where the CBR is stronger.
The engine of CBRs is also stronger than one of its main rivals the MT but only in the top end as the MT out grunts the CBR in the bottom and mid ranges.
Either way the engine is particularly good and exceptionally smooth in the typical Honda fashion we have become used to and is exciting like many high rpm fours that love to be revved out to their limiters.
Like the CBRR there is a welcome kick as the turbine like thrust spools up at rpm as it drives you forward with good urgency through rpm.
It is no litrebike kick but is enough to get your blood flowing and to put a smile on your face. The smoothness of the engine as well as good flexibility means that you can even chug around in fifth or even sixth in town and it will not complain too much and will still pick up relatively well.
Being a racy four cylinder though naturally it likes to be around the rpm mark where it will respond well to throttle if you need to get a move on.
CBR top speed mph
CBR top speed
CBR mph in seconds
With the same engine and power and broadly the same weight the straight-line performance of the CBR is very similar to the more aerodynamic and fully faired CBRR version.
Just like the CBRR you should turn the TCS off as the CBR in warm and dry conditions will not spin the rear at least to a point that the rider notices or to the point where performance in hindered.
It just does not have the power to do so but it seems that with an aggressive dump/slip of the clutch has the TCS light on and the engine bogging down as if it has run out of fuel.
When the TCS is off, thanks to the Hondas nice and light clutch that has good feel, it is pretty easy to get the CBR off of the line consistently where we managed a mph time in only seconds which is only slower than the CBRR.
60 mph from zero is achieved in first gear like most cc plus motorcycles. For you Euro, Canadian and Aus folk the km/h time for the CBR is managed in seconds. Brilliant times for a naked entry level motorcycle.
Its from 60 mph where the CBRR will slowly edge away from the CB with mph for the CBR arriving in seconds and at the top of third gear.
For the best mph ET you should change into second gear at around rpm and into third at around rpm.
I have heard that Honda claim a km/h time of 14 seconds for the CBR but we managed seconds, which is still a great time though is beaten out by the CBRR which manages it in a very competitive seconds.
The CBR is impressive over the quarter mile managing seconds with a terminal speed of mph and just beats one of its main rivals the rowdy MT by a fraction of a second. Anything that gets in the 11s is a seriously quick machine!
From 80 mph above the fact that the CBR is naked does start to eat into its 80 horsepower and is why the CBRR has better ETs the faster we go. You can mitigate if you are small and really get as low as you can, but nothing beats a good fairing and screen.
While the CBRR does have faring and screen it does not offer the best protection as the screen is low but it is still more aerodynamically efficient than the CBR.
After many runs, we managed mph flat in top gear with the rpm just under rpm. I would say that the CBR has a little more to go so you results may vary but being naked you are very much at the mercy of the condition on the day.
mph /km/h is a realistic top speed for most as you will run out of road as you chase that last few mph.
Its nearly as fast as the CBRR but a better comparison would be against the MT
We already compared the CBRR with the MT as we did not have access to the CB at the time.
Of the very many entry level sport or naked bikes the CBR is up there with the fastest.
From the traffic lights you can smoke all but the fastest of cars while also keep up with your friends. Its only on highways or big, long straight roads that its 80 horsepower and the fact that it is naked means that bigger bikes and faster cars will be able to gap you.
But the CBR has the Ninja and MT just about beat for pure straight-line performance and will easily duff up the smaller capacity Ninja or CBR or CBRR.
Tags:Honda CBR Acceleration
Honda speed 2020 cb650r top
He continued, summing up my feelings perfectly: “Not to go back up again, or not to get back on the bike, would be completely understandable. But to give up either thing would surely be a loss. My parents, Lemmy, Bowie, Prince, Merle, Gene Wilder: I’m quickly losing the adults I grew up with. I’m not going to lose the joy and peace that motorcycling brings, too.”
Fear helps you survive, but it can cause you to overcompensate and no longer live. Life is full of dangers, terrors, and what-ifs. If you don’t face them head-on, you end up at the end of your life regretting not doing what you actually loved.
So, I’m not giving up riding. At least not yet. I don’t know what the future holds, but two-wheel machines are still in it for me. Maybe it’s on the back of Honda’s joyously rideable CBR, maybe something else. All I know is that if anyone hankering for a great riding bike, they should head to their local dealer and slap $9, down for a CBR. As a machine, as a piece of fine engineering, that's already a steal. But add in its ability to soothe the soul, and it gives you far more than you ever bargained for.
- Helmet: Shoei RF
- Gloves: Alpinestars Oscar Robinson
- Jacket: Alpinestars Oscar Charlie
- Jeans: Alpinestars Duple Denim with Kevlar
- Boots: Thursday Boot Company President
HONDA CBF ( - ) Review
MCN rating4 out of 5(4/5)
Owners' rating out of 5(/5)
SpecsOwners' reviewsBikes for saleFor sale
- A leap forward compared to previous CBF
- Inline-4 engine unusual against competition
- Nimble handling and decent brakes
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5(4/5)
Author: Jon Urry
Published: 09 June
Updated: 15 December
The Honda CBF is back in the naked middleweight game thanks to a proper injection of spirit, handling and attitude. And as the only inline four, it is now in a unique selling point against its twin cylinder rivals. Compared to the old model it has far more of the sporty Hornet ethos, which is a good thing!
This version replaced the Honda CBF, and was replaced in with the Honda CBR.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
4 out of 5(4/5)
The transformation from old to new is remarkable and there is certainly nothing lacklustre about the CBF anymore. The CB feels small, light and ready for action in a similar fashion to the old Hornet. The more aggressive riding position puts you right up and over the front, but not in an uncomfortable way and once moving this stance combines with the SDBV forks to deliver the kind of sporty ride that was so lacking in the old model.
EngineNext up: Reliability
4 out of 5(4/5)
If you want to ride the CB gently you can, it’s more than happy to cruise around at low revs, but go searching the top end of the rev range and the inline four explodes into life. Tap it down a few gears, get the digital rev counter up into the high notes and not only does it sound much sportier, it responds better too. It’s more like the old Hornet in attitude, but thankfully lacking that annoying vibration!
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
4 out of 5(4/5)
The CBF’s motor is based around the tried and trusted RR engine in a lower state of tune, so all should be well on that front. The build quality is pleasingly good for a bike built to a budget and the styling is fresh and modern. Add a pillion seat cover, which is an optional extra, and it looks even better.
We've only got the one Honda CBF owners' review on the site, and it's a full stars.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
3 out of 5(3/5)
While it is never going to bother the likes of the premium middleweights such as the Yamaha MT, Kawasaki Z, Triumph Street Triple or even Suzuki GSX-S, the CBF is going to give the budget middleweights such as the MT, SV and Z a damn good run for their money as it is priced in the same ballpark and its chassis is right up there with the very best.
3 out of 5(3/5)
You don’t get much in terms of equipment and only the shock is adjustable. However the CB’s biggest crime is the fact it lacks a digital gear indicator, which its inline four is crying out for as you do need to keep it on the boil if you want to go fast. ABS is standard and the dash has a fuel gauge.
HONDA CBF for sale with MCN
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|Engine type||Four-stroke, liquid-cooled DOHC inline four|
|Frame type||Tubular steel cradle|
|Front suspension||41mm conventional forks, -non-adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock, adjustable spring preload|
|Front brake||2xmm discs two-piston calipers, ABS|
|Rear brake||mm disc, one-piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||/70X17|
|Rear tyre size||/55x17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£|
|Used price||£4, - £5,|
|Insurance group|| -|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||2 year unlimited|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||90 bhp|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Owners' reviews for the HONDA CBF ( - )
6 owners have reviewed their HONDA CBF ( - ) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Review your HONDA CBF ( - )
Summary of owners' reviews
|Overall rating:||out of 5(/5)|
|Ride quality & brakes:||out of 5(/5)|
|Engine:||out of 5(/5)|
|Reliability & build quality:||out of 5(/5)|
|Value vs rivals:||out of 5(/5)|
|Equipment:||4 out of 5(4/5)|
|Annual servicing cost:||£|
22 October by Jose
Lack of gizmos
Not for long drives.
Reliability & build quality5 out of 5
Value vs rivals5 out of 5
04 April by Cameron
Annual servicing cost: £
Had mine from new, 4 years old and getting on for 17k miles. Used to use it as a daily commuter and weekend days out / trips for 2 and 1/2 years till I changed job, using it 7 days a week at times. It's great for towns, riding round in the country and cruising up the motorway. It's fun, engaging and a joy to ride and have fun on and can be fairly forgiving if you get a bit too ambitious for your skill.As with anything there are the odd niggles and compromises, like it can get tiring and feel heavy in towns if your in slow busy traffic and isn't so manoeuvrable in these situations due to the turning circle. But overall I don't mind the niggles cause it's great in so many ways
Firm but comfortable on most roads, but you can feel the bumps or ruts through the bike if the road is rough and full of potholes and can unsettle it if going a bit quick. On a smooth twisty roads it glides along and is so engaging and fun to ride. As long as you have good quality tyres you can feel what the wheels are doing and how it's griping the road. Having done a mix of town, rural and motorways and weekend trips I like having the pre-load on the rear a bit stiffer that you would normally need as it makes it feel more precise in corners and less like a bouncy castle on bumpy roads.Town riding is not a problem but can get a bit tiring and feel heavy in slow busy traffic, and as the turning circle isn't amazing can be a bit challenging to manoeuvre in tight spaces. Brakes are good and solid with good feel and takes quite a lot before the ABS kicks in (depending on road conditions), but overall the bike is easy to ride and very forgiving if you're accidentally a little bit heavy handed now and then.
The engine is brilliant, nice and smooth with it being a 4 cylinder, can purr along at slow speeds without any issue and is very good at letting you be lazy with the gears or it can give you an exciting thrill and be sporty when you keep the revs up higher and in a lower gear. Quite often I leave it in 6th when I ride around on country lanes without needing to change down much and will pick up from 30mph and climbing hills it just pulls, but if you want a quicker response just keep it in a lower gear and the revs up and it will instantly pull away.It can be a little snatchy and aggressive if you throttle on from 0 too quick, but it's a cable throttle and you gradually learn how to adapt to it and how to do it smoothly
The build quality of the chassis, engine and important parts it's really good, there is rust and corrosion in places but mostly cause I would leave it for weeks between washes even in the winter so it got covered in a lot of road salt. The plastic panels around the rear don't quite fit together as well as you might expect and don't fully line up with the mounting points properly in some places but it's a small issue.The OEM chain is a bit cheap and poor quality and rusts very quickly, mine stretched a lot and got seized links within the first miles, but was probably from lack of maintenance and cleaning on my part
I can push it up to around 80mpg on long runs and get close to miles out a tank (quoted is miles). Servicing is pretty decent cost, mine might be a bit higher than most but cause of heavy use it would usually need brake pads or a tyre around servicing time. Certain parts can be a little pricy for what they are, like the front brake pads as you need 4 or the air filter, but since it's out of warranty I replaced that with a washable K&N filter so saves a little.
The LED lights are great, nice and bright and give a nice white light at night with decent illumination of the road. It could be seen as being a bit underequipped compared to other brands in the same category at the time with the old LCD display and no gear indicator, but the engineering was spent where it really counted on the engine, chassis and suspension etc.I have added a top box, heated grips, power for charging my phone when using it as a satnav, and the optional Honda screen and still love it. I've also found an unused plug in the wiring loom under the seat that can give out 12V only when the ignition is on so I am looking to use that if I ever need to have more power for accessories. Personally I don't rate the Dunlop's that came with it or the options they offer that fit having tried 2 or 3 different sets. Currently on a set of Metzler's and they are excellent.
05 February by Del
Great easy bike to ride , smooth power delivery versatility around town handles beautifully and nimble abs is brilliant and builds confidence
Ride quality & brakes5 out of 5
Engine5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality5 out of 5
Value vs rivals5 out of 5
Equipment5 out of 5
26 September by RideSafePeepsTheresNowtToProve2any1
Version: CbF AK
Annual servicing cost: £
It was my first 'proper bike' and I did love it, but.. The initial on / off throttle response was jerky and combined with a balance that wasn't quite as sweet as some other bikes this didn't really encourage a relaxed confident ride. I must admit I didnt realise how much this effected me until I rode other bikes which didn't have these issues.
I found the ride quality to be really nice, brakes however were slightly lacking imho. The part inside of the disc (mount / abs reader) also suffered from corrosion)
Whilst the engine itself never missed a beat and power (initial roll on aside) was smooth and predictable. It wore a little thin on me that you kind of have to ring its neck to get to the power. I did still enjoy it loads tho and its not lacking power, I just prefer abit more without having to rev it so much.
Headstock bearings were replaced twice in two years, Some parts suffered some corrosion despite good maintenance cleaning and protection (bike was used all year round)
You see some really amazing deals on these bikes now and again but in hindsight I feel slightly duped as the 0% pcp deal was somewhat dulled by the additional charges etc placed on top of list price. I ended up paying around pcm over 3yrs
I didnt rate the original tyres, I also find protection lacking as standard. I added crash protection, mirrors which function beyond a view of my arm / shoulder, handguards, replaced the chain and sprockets as they didn't fare too well through winter. Usual stuff really, added a tail tidy and heated grips, had a top box on for winter which also helped with practicality, but didn't help with the slight feeling that the bikes balance wasn't awesome perhaps me in part, but current bike doesn't make me feel the same). Abs is also eager to intrude and paint durability didnt live upto my expectations for a Honda.
Buying experience: Dealer - wheels Honda who have now lost the Honda franchise. IMO I didnt rate them highly. Keen to get the sale but the process was far from smooth and organised and aftersales customer service was minimal. The workshop staff were helpful and polite. Sales staff were perhaps abit too busy to provide the level of service I would like.
16 June by PERRY
Annual servicing cost: £
Great All Round Bike
Ride quality & brakes5 out of 5
Great in line 4 engine commute/ cruise/tour .Happy to do /mls a day on this bike.Sounds great if you wind her up a bit
Honda quality.Never let me down.No corrosion.But always wiped down cleaned garaged under a blanket.
2yrs old Will be independent serviced now
Maybe a gear indicator but never missed one
Buying experience: Hunts Manchester.Had PX Honda was on Sale discount. Got the right price for mine.Deal done over phone my bike collected When new bike delivered.
19 May by TwoWheelsHeal
Does it all
Did a k trip around Spain and Portugal. Very comfortable. ABS works well. Discovered this when I really need it.
Can potter around town and doing the sensible thing, however give it a fist full and it responds with a bit agression and character
It's a Honda
60+ mpg Not expecting anything too costly service wise.
Could do with a gear indicator.
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Honda CBF front tracking shot
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Honda CBR Design
- Neo Sports Café design
- LCD Display
- LED lighting with DRL
- Neutral riding position
All-in-all, its a very clean and compact ride that sets itself apart with its retro-tastic bent.
No doubt about it, I dig machines with a café racer influence in the woodpile, and Hondas CBR Neo Sport Café is certainly no exception. In fact, this is my favorite naked the factory puts out, especially since it made the old CBF superfluous to the point that it fell off the family tree. If Im honest, its that retro-tastic vibe that does it for me, even if its more of a suggestion than an actual guideline.
The CBR leads the way with a pared-down front fender that makes an immediate connection to the custom culture reinforced by the ample blackout treatment throughout the design. A single, round LED headlight splits the night with an LED DRL ring for improved safety during daylight hours. The factory moved the swaged and tapered handlebar forward and down by 13 mm and 8 mm, respectively, to give the bike a slightly more aggressive, race-tastic attitude while leaving open the possibility of adopting a comfortable upright riding position if thats what the situation calls for.
Also new is an LCD instrument cluster that delivers all the critical metrics. A pair of compact cheek fairings add some flavor without adding a bunch of useless weight, and as simple as it may seem, are responsible for much of the overall panache. A new gallon fuel tank adds to the charm with a layered look that tapers off to form a bit of a knee pocket ahead of the seat/tank/frame juncture. The flyline tumbles down the tank to meet the saddle, but the rearward lines are less severe with a slight rise and soft shoulder to segregate pilot from pillion.
Subframe-mount, flip-up footpegs complete the passengers gear ahead of a large taillight at the terminus. An extended mudguard reaches back to support the blinkers, and the tag itself serves as the final spray-control component. All-in-all, a very clean and compact ride that sets itself apart with its retro-tastic bent.
Honda CBR Chassis
- Lightweight frame
- Vanilla Showa forks
- Solid tracking and improved flickability
Add up the tweaks and improvements in the chassis and the result is a ride thats even more flickable than before.
Honda updated the twin-spar frame on the CBR with a number of weight-saving measures that include refined seat rails, engine mounts, and pivot plates for the yoke-style, asymmetrical, die-cast aluminum swingarm to shave a whopping 13 pounds off the final tally compared to the outgoing “F” variant.
The steering head and tripletree arrangement set a surprisingly wide rake angle of 32 degrees from the vertical with the typical four inches of trail and a inch wheelbase to give the CBR solid tracking at speed with respectable cornering behavior. Another boon to handling is found in the rims, specifically in the hollow Y-spokes on the inch rims that shed just over two pounds in total, and that lowers the gyroscopic effect so the wheels have a lower resistance to changing the angle on the axis. In short, its even more flickable than before.
The factory beefed up its suspension game with a set of inverted, 41 mm Showa forks up front that are of the Separate Function sort, but still come sans adjustments so theres definitely some room for improvement there. Out back, a coil-over monoshock takes care of business with naught but the obligatory spring preload. Again, room for improvement.
A pair of radial-mount, four-piston anchors bite dual mm discs up front followed by a mm disc and single-pot caliper out back, and you had a choice between a non-switchable ABS variant, and a non-ABS base model for , but only the ABS version comes forward to ZR-rated hoops round out the rolling chassis with a /70 and /55 on the front and rear, respectively.
Honda CBR Drivetrain
- Liquid-cooled cc inline-four
- 94 hp and 47 lb-ft of torque
- Slipper clutch
- Selectable Torque Control System
The powerplant on the CBR brings more to the table of everything you like with a higher red line and a five-percent power boost.
The powerplant on the CBR brings more to the table of everything you like with a 12, rpm redline (up from 11k) and a five-percent power boost above the 10k mark for a grand total of 94 ponies at the top end. Torque measures in with 47 pound-feet that caps at 8, rpm to give an estimated top speed of mph.
Its a four-banger that runs 67 mm bores and a 46 mm stroke giving it a to-1 compression ratio, up from to Dual over-head cams time the poppet head with “Direct-Cam” actuation that reduces the overall mass of the valvetrain. The factory tweaked the pistons with an asymmetrical piston-skirt layout meant to minimize piston-to-cylinder contact, and the piston comes with a phonograph finish that carries an oil film to further reduce wear and mechanical losses.
Oh, and those cheek fairings that look so cool? Yeah, those are actually dual intake scoops to increase the volume of intake air while raising the airbox pressure to give the volumetric efficiency a little boost. It aint much, but every little bit counts. The factory increased exhaust diameter to reduce backpressure and open up the back end of the circuit so the engine can breathe more freely.
A compact “stacked” gearbox manages the ratios with a new slipper-type clutch that provides some anti-wheel-hop protection and delivers a lighter pull weight at the clutch lever. A final layer of safety net is found in the engine-control electronics, specifically the switchable Honda Selectable Torque Control feature that comes on the ABS-equipped model only.
Honda CBR Pricing
The CBR model rolls in Chromosphere Red for $9, with ABS standard equipped.
Honda CBR Competitors
In a naked-middleweight duke-out, Kawasaki lacks traction control, but scores a win at the checkout counter.
Whenever practicable, I like to pick a competitor from the same general area, and this time Kawasaki was my Huckleberry with its Z Its billed as a supernaked-middleweight model, so I consider it fair game.
Kawi makes no effort to hit any café-tastic high points — it has the W fitted in that slot — so the Z tends to look like the rest of Kawasakis naked lineup with its distinct genetic markers.
Angular and aggressive with a definite dark side, the Z allows for a similar pilot posture that lets you prop yourself up in a near-vertical position, or tuck in for a proper haulin-booty form. A deep swale between the tank and the tail pull the rider down into the bike for some solid man/woman/whatever-machine integration and a feeling of oneness. It rocks a Kawi-green Trellis frame that really pops against all the blackout with dual front anchors and the option of choosing between ABS and plain vanilla, just like Hondas entry.
The seat on the Z is a skosh lower at inches off the deck, so it has the potential to be more comfortable for shorter inseams and with a lighter curb weight of pounds (ABS) versus the Hondas pounds.
Torque measures in with pound-feet at a lower 6, rpm, which isnt surprising since its a twin-cylinder mill, and though Kawi declines to post its horsepower figures, its a given that the ponies fall off a tad just based on the configuration alone as the trade off.
Kawasaki scores at the checkout with a $6, base sticker and a $7, tag on the ABS model.
Read our full review of the Kawasaki Z
“The Kawi might be a sidegrade in power with a lighter bank note, but I am just shallow enough to pay the extra cash for the CBRs looks. Yeah, its like that. Oh and the traction control, thats something that the Z has no answer for and I decided a long time ago that my next bike is gonna have that safety net. Bottom line is; I think the Red Riders made all the right moves with this replacement for its “F” model, and you can go ahead and pencil me in as a fan.”
My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “This bike has the same engine as the CBRR, and pretty much the same chassis and brakes, but the result is so different. Between mapping and differences in air intake, the CBRR has a little more power, but the CBR is, in my opinion, a more versatile bike. The ride is more comfortable, and while it certainly remains a fun ride, I find the Neo Sport more utilitarian and its less expensive. If you have to have a sportbike, theres no contest, but if youre looking around for something in the middleweight range, the CBR is worth a look.”
Honda CBR Specifications
Read more Honda news.
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I. Read full bio