Report: P.Tharyan; Photography: Motown India Bureau
When you see one of the
television programmes shot by the guys at National Geographic, you realise how
majestic and supreme some of the animals from the cat family are--they way they
sprint, the way they pounce on their prey and the way they carry themselves in
the thick of the jungle. Honestly speaking, there’s no artificial make up on
them and no retakes for the cameramen in the animal kingdom. It’s just brute
power and grace that define these animals. That’s what the Honda CBR 650F is
all about- Grace and Power. The Wild Doesn’t Always Scream, says Honda and these
words truly reflects the ethos of this 650cc motorcycle.
Let me explain that a little
more clearly. It’s not a bike for someone who is out there who is in the habit
of yelling out, “Look at me, Look at me....See how my bike looks, see how my
bike roars...” This bike is for mature
riders, those who are interested in enjoying a ride in its true essence. It’s a
bike for those who are matured in the insides of their cerebral structure and
are very graceful riders. In short, it’s a bike for the real rider. Now for
those who have not grown out of their half pants, they may might as well go and
climb a tree or fly a kite! And I am bloody well serious about what I am
The Honda CBR 650F does not
blow its own trumpet. The sound from the underbelly, almost tucked away exhaust
is kind of filtered and only begins to pick up scream intensity when you tug at
the throttle. As the engine revs up and
the rpm dashes to upwards of 8000 figure you can hear the sound from the exhaust
beginning to gently scream out as if to prove that it’s got the power to
outpace anything on the roads. It’s then you also realise the true potential of
the inline four cylinder engine and you begin to have respect for its ability
to mix petrol and air in the right proportion. You simply explode in ecstasy!
Liquid Cooled Inline
Four Cylinder DOHC, 648.72cc
62.9Nm @ 8000 rpm
Automatic Enrichment Circuit
Length x Width x Height
2107mm x 753mm x
41mm Telescopic Fork
Monoshock with 7-stage spring preload
2 x 320mm Disc (ABS)
1 x 240mm Disc (ABS)
5 Spoke Aluminium Cast 120/70-17 (Tubeless)
5 Spoke Aluminium Cast 180/55-17 (Tubeless)
Kerb Weight (Kgs)
Fuel Tank capacity
Price (ex-showroom Delhi)
Rs 7.30 lakh
The Honda CBR 650F is brought
into India in Semi Knocked Down kit. It’s almost like a CBU form. I am sure the
vehicle has been taxed heavily and that has resulted in an ex showroom price of
Rs 7.3 lakh. I feel that that this price is quite reasonable, especially when
one realises what the bike has to offer in terms of looks, ride quality, seat
comfort, engine refinement and pace. Yes
there is competition plenty from the likes of Kawasakis, Triumphs and Benellis,
but the CBR in-line four has its own distinct advantages.
The Honda CBR 650F motorcycle has
a sporty and subtly aggressive look about it. The almost ‘V’ shaped headlight embedded in a
raked fairing gives a very conservative look. The front shape begins to taper
as it reaches the windshield. This design is so effective when it comes to
riding at high speeds. The rider can crouch, almost hugging on the chiselled
fuel tank with ample thigh grip and support on either side of the tank. The LED
tail lamp along with the meaty looking swingarm and the massive Dunlop tubeless
rear tyre give the motorcycle a masculine look from the rear. Ergonomically
speaking, the Honda CBR 650F is the right mix of smart design and ample comfort
for the rider.
The motorcycle console has two
separate counters. One shows all about rpm and the speed in digital format,
while the other shows the time, fuel indicator, average and kilometres covered.
Here too the display is all digital. While riding, it’s but obvious that the speed
counter is the one which gets the occasional glimpse. The reading is all bold
and in fonts so large that even those clipping the bike at speeds above 150km can
see it crystal clear. The bike also comes with adjustable front brake lever.
The clutch lever, however, does not have such a feature. On either sides of the
handle are buttons that have their own distinct functions. On the right are the
engine kill switch and the start button, while on the left are the switches to
adjust the headlight beam, a hazard warning button, horn and the indicators.
There is also the Honda Ignition Security System which protects the bike from
theft. It is an electronic device that automatically disables the starting of
the engine in case if someone tries to start the bike with his own skeleton key.
Coming to the seating position
of the rider, it’s just perfect. The seats are padded and the clip-on handle gives
the rider the right level of grip for accelerated riding. There are no grab
handles for the rear seat here and the sole Indian contribution to the SKD
motorcycle is a saree guard that had to be fitted to pass the Indian
homologation norms (for
the picture shoot the dealer had removed it, obviously for aesthetic purposes). The guard does not look bad, though. But a piece of advice:
Don’t let your lady wear a saree and sit behind you. It’s better if she hugs
you tight, wearing a pair of Levis jeans. Babus
in the Indian government offices may never fathom what I want to say!
If you notice, the fairing
around the front area of the bike that covers the engine to some extent has
enough chinks in it so that the hot air from the engine can be dissipated
without frying the rider’s legs during long periods of riding.
Among the strong points of
this bike is the ride and handling. This is mainly because of the Steel Diamond
frame on which the bike has been built and the front 41mm Telescopic Fork and the rear monoshock with 7-stage spring
preload adjustment that form part of the suspension. The Dunlop tubeless tyres add
to the road presence of the motorcycle giving it confident legs to walk and run.
Speed comes naturally to the
inline four cylinder engine. The sporty 4-2-1 exhaust peeps out from the
underbelly of the motorcycle. Some may find this a tad less showy. In fact, the
mid range torque is rather exciting and zooming beyond 100kmph comes in a mere
few seconds. The disc brakes with ABS were also tested in the real world. The
results were astounding.
The Honda CBR 650F may not be an
overtly designed and dressed up motorcycle, but its subtle imagery is what
could appeal to an entire generation of level headed riders. As Honda has so
rightly said, the Wild Doesn’t Always Scream, but when the need so arises, it
does scream and tells the world it’s no pushover.
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