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Honda CBF600 Naked Motorbike Review

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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

Sporting a new, detuned version of the current CBR600RR engine and a new cast aluminium chassis, bodywork and suspension (now adjustable for preload) the updated Honda CBF600 is practical, easy to ride, fairly swift, comfortable and thanks to ABS brakes as standard, safe too. The Honda CBF600 is aimed at new and ‘born again’ riders and it does everything it sets out to do, but it is on the bland side - more work-horse than plaything.

 

Watch the Honda CBF600S take on the Kawasaki ER-6F and the Suzuki GSX650F

 

Engine

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

Starting life powering the ‘07-model CBR600RR, the Honda CBF600’s motor has been retuned to give it more low-down stomp, thanks to a thicker head gasket, a lower compression ratio, longer duration cams and closer internal gear-ratios. The power delivery is very smooth and the fuelling from the new fuel-injection system is flawless, which will make it easy to handle for inexperienced riders. The engine is at its happiest is between 3000-6000rpm. Flat out the CBF600 will indicate 140mph on the clock, but it’s not a motorcycle that’ll bring a smile to your face.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

You could almost ride the Honda CBF600 with your eyes closed, it’s that simple. Thanks to plush suspension, which offers up a superb compromise between ride quality and handling, the Honda glides over bumps and keeps all but the nastiest pot-holes isolated from the rider. The riding position is very natural with an easy reach to the high bars, there’s lots of legroom and the seat is three-way height adjustable too. Ground clearance is more than enough for this type of machine and even when pushed hard the CBF600 won’t get itself into a wobbly mess. Honda has opted to fit the old-generation Michelin Pilot Road tyres, which don’t have the grip, especially in the wet, of the newer generation Pilot Road 2.

 

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

For your five and half grand, the Honda CBF600 gets ABS brakes as standard, a centre stand and decent underseat storage, but if you want things like a top box and panniers you’ll have to start ticking boxes in the optional extras lists.

Honda CBF600 (2008-2013)

Detail Value
New price £5,855
Dealer used prices
£3,360 (2008) - £4,860 (2011)
Private used prices
£2,740 (2008) - £4,290 (2010)
  View full used price info
Engine size 599 cc
Power 76 bhp
Top speed 140 mph
Insurance group 11 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 3.5
Engine rating is 3 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 3.5
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 3.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 5 rating is 4
Value rating is 3 rating is 3.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4

Honda is a by-word for bombproof build-quality and reliability and the CBF600 doesn’t disappoint in this department. Bikes like this with exposed engines are always going to vulnerable, but you can see the CBF600 riding through the salt-encrusted depths of winter and back again without tarnishing its excellent finish. Cycle parts are robust and the CBR600RR engine is so detuned it should easily outlast the rest of the bike.

Value

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5
For the type of rider Honda is targeting there are far cheaper bikes out there that do the same job and are more fun to ride, too, like the £4599 Suzuki SV650S and £4895 Kawasaki ER-6F. For just a few hundred quid more you could go for the simply excellent Triumph Street Triple, which will look after you when you’re learning to ride and thrill you months down the line when you’ve got the hang of it. The Honda is just too grey in every respect. Find a Honda CBF600 for sale.

 

Insurance

Insurance group: 11 of 17

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Model History

2007 – Model introduced.

Other Versions

2011: CBF600SA [£6,405]

Specifications

Top speed 140 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.8 secs
Max power 76 bhp
Max torque 44 ft-lb
Weight 222 kg
Seat height 770 mm
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 197 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 11 of 17
Engine size 599 cc
Engine specification 16-valve, in-line-four-cylinder
Frame Cast aluminium
Front suspension adjustment Pre-load only
Rear suspension adjustment Pre-load only
Front brakes 2 x 296mm discs
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17 in

See all Honda CBF600 motorcycles for sale

Honda
CBF600

19842 miles

£2,216

Honda
CBF600

4200 miles

£2,999

Honda
CBF600

28000 miles

£2,695

Honda
CBF600

7812 miles

£3,595

Honda
CBF600

19449 miles

£2,499

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 3.5(18 reviews)

  • Good all rounder

    konarob8

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Owned mine for nearly a year now. Bought at a year old with full Honda luggage for just over £4k with virtually no miles on it. over 10,000 miles later I offer my views. As a commuter (50 miles each way into London and back) it performed faultlessly for 6 months. Returns 55mpg average, slightly less if you are over enthusiastic with the throttle, a bit more if ridden gently. I've added a gel seat, tall screen and heated grips. These make all the difference for year round riding, I've managed a couple of 4-500 mile days with the additions so touring is a very plausible use too. For a bit of a blast it has plenty enough power for me, I'm running it on Michelin Road Pilot 3s now and the cornering is much improved as is the wet weather handling. The engine is the real star in many ways, it has torque everywhere in the rev range, you can do 60 in 1st or 30 in 6th (neither recommended, but both possible). It is smooth, easy to ride and above all fun without being silly.

    12 August 2014

  • Still a better all-rounder than the NCs

    ultrasardine

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    The CBF is not only an awesome commuter, but it's also a great traveller, very cheap to own, top quality material, has a great engine and is much more exiting than the new twin Hondas.

    24 September 2013

  • Honda CBF600SA

    Mayvern

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Lovely bike to own. Looks good and literally does everything, a fun commuter. Very smooth 4-cylinder engine provides ample power whilst giving about 65mpg and has never missed a beat. The bike pulls easily in 6th gear from 30mph thanks to the very good PGM-FI system, even uphill. Combined ABS system is phenomenal. Few problems; control pedals corroded after a couple of weeks, electrical problems at about 7 months and Honda offered very poor customer service in both cases. Genuine Honda top box well worth the money. All round competent machine for clocking lots of miles though perhaps lacking a little soul.

    06 June 2013

  • Real World Review

    Wezzylad

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I sometimes despair reading "expert" reviews of motorcycles which end up being in the same vain as Top Gear reviews of cars. If it isn't a Ferrari or Lamborghini then they are crap. In the real world, most savvy motor cycle riders want a reasonably priced, reliable, cost effective and fun machine. The CBF ticks all the boxes. Having just returned from a two up trip to Assen in Holland having done some 1,300 miles in total i am very happy i went on the Honda. It was comfortable. It was sure footed in some miserable, wet and windy weather. It cruised effortlessly at 70 - 80mph when the conditions allowed. It didn't let me down and was thrifty on fuel. Filtering through the usual gridlocks around Antwerp had me smiling at the depressed looking car drivers. Having returned home a quick check over saw limited wear on the tyres, no chain adjustment needed and no oil used. A quick wash had it looking like new again. A short solo blast out after it had dried had me grinning again having fun on the local back roads. This is a bike that has plenty of useable power for our overcrowded roads. If you need the urge for speed and an adrenaline rush then pay twice as much for a more powerful bike and book some track days.

    03 May 2013

  • courtesy bike

    Cyclonite

    Average rating rating is 3

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    Engine

    I had one of these for a few weeks and It has to be forces into turning which is really really horrible. The suspension was nice and the dash was good, The seat was horrible quality and look awful but was ok to sit on.

    26 April 2012

  • Honda CBF600SA

    Banzai600

    IE

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Ride and Handling
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    Value
    Engine

    Well, i have a 2010 model. Bought it with original luggage, side and top boxes, averto alarm, CABS as standard. Great engine for a 600 considering its a detuned cbr600rr motor. Some ppl reckon it needs a 6th gear but i think its fine. Torque is good throughout the gears and re range, no issues there. Adjustable seat and small standard screen are fine. For a spin out its good enough to keep up with sportsbikes on B road twisies and touching down your sliders with a set of BT021's ! Fuel economy is returning appx 210 miles on the 20 litre tank. This is both commuting and some two up riding. I have MAJOR two issues, the oxidisation on the bolts is rediculous after a year (no matter how much you keep it clean ) even some parts have paint worn off where your feet are ! The suspension on the front is fairly soft. But then its not a sportsbike so i suppose the suspenion is adequate ? Rear supsension can be adjusted for pre load which is handy. Lights etc are great, dash needs updating but fuel guage is perfect. Upgrades include aftermarket SW Motech engine bars and MRA Vario screen. I am a little disappointed with the finish to be honest. Really only big drawback. Oh, there is a issue of handlebar weave...cant figure that out AT ALL

    29 November 2011

  • Honda CBF600SA

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Well, i have a 2010 model. Bought it with original luggage, side and top boxes, averto alarm, CABS as standard. Great engine for a 600 considering its a detuned cbr600rr motor. Some ppl reckon it needs a 6th gear but i think its fine. Torque is good throughout the gears and re range, no issues there. Adjustable seat and small standard screen are fine. For a spin out its good enough to keep up with sportsbikes on B road twisies and touching down your sliders with a set of BT021's ! Fuel economy is returning appx 210 miles on the 20 litre tank. This is both commuting and some two up riding. I have MAJOR two issues, the oxidisation on the bolts is rediculous after a year (no matter how much you keep it clean ) even some parts have paint worn off where your feet are ! The suspension on the front is fairly soft. But then its not a sportsbike so i suppose the suspenion is adequate ? Rear supsension can be adjusted for pre load which is handy. Lights etc are great, dash needs updating but fuel guage is perfect. Upgrades include aftermarket SW Motech engine bars and MRA Vario screen. I am a little disappointed with the finish to be honest. Really only big drawback. Oh, there is a issue of handlebar weave...cant figure that out AT ALL.

    29 November 2011

  • hire bike

    djawillis

    Average rating rating is 3

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    Engine

    have got one of these as a hire bike atm while my street is repaired. got to say more impresed than i thought id be, carrys really good corner speed very stable. cons it takes a bit of force to turn in there isnst alot of torque anywhere in the range but the main problem which is driving me crazy is the foot peg height. ive had it four days and now both the balls on the bottom of the pegs are almost gone :(. otherwise good bike

    01 May 2011

  • under rated by miles

    gareth evans

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    just bought a new cbf 600 n after trying out all its rivals i.e. diversion, er-6n,gladius although not the triumph!. And by far it was the best quality and the 19 ltr tank and mpg was the best by a mile. Its comfortable fast enough for most riders I have put a small screen on mine ,dont like faired bikes might as well buy a car. Added heated grips as well. I commute 20 miles a day and I am a motorcycle courier for the NHS in the evening and its definitely the bike to choose for reliablity mile munching without buying an all out tourer machine. Would recommend this bike way above the others in its class regardless of what the experts say. Okay not to everyones taste in the fashion department but not everyone wants a manga looking bike. Its a unsung hero of a bike. Ride safe out there Gareth. (THE JAM BUSTER)

    17 December 2010

  • Hugely Underrated

    Hockeystorm65

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I have to say that my CBF600 SA8 has been an absolute star. However, I can understand what the press mean when they describe it as a bit bland......bland as in you don't have anything to worry about at all! It is really well built, it is absurdly easy to ride and tour on, it is economical for a 600 (I am averaging 45-55mpg depending upon the percentage of motorways I am covering). It has pleanty of power but puts it down linearly rather than in a lump anywhere in the rev range. V twin enthusiasts will say it is lacking torque in the bottom end and it sounds very revvy....yup! it's a 4 cyl inline, that is what you get with them. I don't know anyone else with one of these, but all of the bikes my friends own seem to need some living with in some areas despite their claims of 'brilliant cornering', massive accelleration' etc. Usually in the areas of reliability, economy, stopping and riding comfort, the CBF is great in all of these areas. If you are looking for a bike that will explore Britain's country lanes as well as tour then this is one for you to take a long hard look at. The gears do seem very close if you are on your own on a motorway, but not if you are fully loaded and two up in Wales. Also, 0-60 in 4 seconds (just timed it yesterday)is not slow in my opinion. However, if you want an out and out sports bike this is not what the CBF was designed for, but then I find even light touring on a sports bike uncomfortable. So have a long think about what you want it for and if a flexible tourer is what you want then have a look at the CBF600 SA8. Great bike! Get it if you are looking for a tourer, a commuter, an all rounder, a roamer or a working bike.

    13 September 2010

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Piglet2010

User's Badge

Piglet2010says

Needed, but not wanted

Many riders in the US would be well served with a bike such as the CBF600.  However, Honda US wisely does *not* import it, as it would sell poorly due to motorcycles here being viewed as weekend toys to show off on, not something to use to actually go places.

21 November 2011 10:34

jenmikdog

jenmikdogsays

Under Rated Bike

Having owned an 05 cbf600 and now own cbf600 sa8 I must say I do think MCN review of this bike is very wide of the mark. most of us want a bike that is capable of equiting itself well in more than one situation not just as a plaything. This new model has nothing in common with the old model,other than name.It is a super bike,very well made, will give most  owners great service and lots of pleasure down the line.I use my bike all the week,today is sunday, time for a rideout with th boys.

 

 

 

 

14 August 2011 10:01

Andy949494

User's Badge

Andy949494says

I love them...

To me the CBF600 shows how good biking is. Its engine is quiet enough to be legal, responsible and usable for long journeys but has a lovely burble at tickover and a muted howl when you rev it. It goes well up to 70mph (and more but performance starts to tail off...), handles well, stops well has a good range, is cheap to insure and is small enough to hustle through traffic or thrash on B roads yet MCN thinks that its not as good as other bikes and is bland!

To be fair some of this is personal preference and explains whyt it is so important that you test ride your bikes. I prefer physically small bikes and love 4 cylinder bikes more than twins so despite having had an ER6F for two years and having ridden several ER6N (and enjoyed them) and owning a Deau I prefer the CBF600N. If I had a commute under 20 miles or so when the lack of fairing and chain isn't so significant I would buy one in an instant (but only after I had test ridden a hornet).
 

04 February 2011 09:25

vanortset

vanortsetsays

honda 600cbfs4

at age 73years ive recently done a camping trip down to the pyrenees in france fully loaded.my honda cbf is a 2004 carb model.i have nothing but praise for this machine and would not change it for anything else.

04 September 2009 21:42

Travers

Traverssays

2008 CBF 600sa

I own the 2008 model, and its a blinder.   Got it as an ex demo from Chambers of Maidstone  with a 1000 or so miles on it.  Nice staff, good service. Not the cheapest , but I personally rate them as a dealer.

The bike goes fast, handles very well and is economical. At high speed it still feels planted, and I've not had any wobbles or light front end when travelling at high speed.  Mind you, wind noise is diabolical at anything over  70. 

I've not long returned from a 6 day tour of France, loaded like a camel, with a group of Harleys, a Busa and a Sprint, and my 'little' CBF went with the best of them. I used less fuel than them, had more fun on the roundabouts and twisties and on the toll roads she kept a constant 70 - 85 mph with littel or no vibration.   Roll on from 70 plus is good , and you will easily be in excess of a 100 before you realise.

All the group were impressed by the CBF, and they reckon she was the best suited for our trip. 1800 miles at around 300 miles a day, with regular breaks for tea and a wee.

I run it on Bridgestones, and have had no problems in the wet. ABS has only ever kicked in once, and I don't dawdle  around .... The Brakes are generally good, and the linked system does work well, the only slight downside is the back brake as it does not grip that hard, more of a 'slow down' rather than a grabber. Different pads would sort it, but then why wear the disc out quicker for the sake of extra stopping power ?.  Use both front and rear brakes, and the bike stops when you want it to ! .

Now, when I rode a courtsesy 2004 model, I can see why people don't rate the older model . You can't really compare them as the 08 is basically a new bike !. Better enfine, frame and handling.  

 

So I say the 08 CBF is a wiinner. Not pretty, but a grafter.

27 August 2009 20:45

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