Honda CBF 600S test
Honda executed the disappearance of the Hornet from its catalogue last year, the new CBF 600 arrives on the scene to advantageously enter the average displacement segment with a bike that has more of a road cruiser than an all out sport bike.
As Honda know how to do very well, this CBF 600 is in fact a copy of an existing bike, the Hornet, which has been reviewed, corrected and equipped to satisfy a different target, the largest and most varied public possible.
The look is neutral and classic borrowing a few ideas seen previously on other Honda cruiser models : an Italian style dashboard and fork head with integrated warning lights, a rear body structure and VFR 800 influenced passenger handle grips and save for a few exceptions, the same technical profile of the Hornet.
The inclusion of ABS, no longer a catalogue option with the introduction of the 600, represents the biggest positive of the CBF. The non-adjustable 41mm fork is from the Hornet whereas the rear axle has been given a stronger swing arm and uses single-shock anchorage rear shock absorber, adjustable in pre-loading of the spring.
The dashboard is very readable and very well thought out with a tachometer, clock and a digital speedometer with two trip gauges as well. The ABS control replaces the petrol gauge and is positioned on the left hand side. The fork head comes with two complete multi-reflectors, in short for this type of bike you could not ask for very much more.
Motorization: ALWAYS AT THE READY
You will recognize straight away the 4-cylinder from the 600 Hornet, easily identifiable by its feeding hose found on the right side. It is sober and thus is suppler thanks to its redesigned admission duct and a specific setting of the camshafts. The engine is fed by a classic carburetion whereas the type 4 in 2 in 1 catalysed exhaust has been given a round silencer and meets Euro 2 antipollution standards. The starter is situated left of the carburettor betraying the classic conception of the motor and its very reasonable performance.
The comportment of the redistributed four cylinders is as politically correct as its performance. It immediately puts the accent on its smooth and easy usage, the roundness of its acceleration and the linearity of its climb through the rev range. Its accelerations really kicks in from; 5500 rpms in fact the engine found in the new CBF 600 is the same found on the Hornet : plenty of extension and a burst energy towards the end of the power curve. A very good value, this motor, which remains very easy to exploit all of its virtues.
On the road: EASY
The chassis falls in line with the same philosophy : nothing phenomenal; but certainly very friendly user ability that allows for satisfying all types of riders and nearly every conceivable use. This versatility is seen most in its manageability, assuring a decent road handling and comfort. The flexible riding position is well suited to all rider sizes and its protection lives up to its billing. The CBF doesnt require tons of effort or years of experience to become comfortable aboard, even though it does lack a bit of precision when it comes to more aggressive riding. Easy to find the proper line, easy to balance and sufficiently stable in the longer bends for assuring even the lease experienced riders plenty of thrills.
Though the new Honda does though suffer on the more bumpy roads. It does suffers though from a rear suspension a tad to stiff and is limited in the number of adjustments that can be made to improve the ride. The seat is equally to stiff for longer rides.
On the other hand, the addition of ABS to the front and rear has no criticism at all. It is very efficient, reassuring and sufficiently progressive without being too brutal.
Easy to use, able to take on daily city situations, the CBF 600 is amongst the elite when it comes to well engineered bikes for universal uses. Financially accessible and also available without the head fork or the ABS, the CBF 600 S can be purchased from 7 400 Euros. Another strong point with the CBF is its fuel consumption averaging 6.5 litres of petrol for every 100km, which translates to an autonomy of 300km. Even though this bike offers no new technology innovations nor a distinct character, it relies on being reliable, diverse and easy to use and can most certainly seduce the more experienced riders while at the same time turning rookie riders into seasoned bikers