The transformation from old to new is remarkable and there is certainly nothing lacklustre about the CB650F 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.
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!
The CB650F’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.
While it is never going to bother the likes of the premium middleweights such as the MT-09, Z900, Street Triple or even GSX-S750, the CB650F is going to give the budget middleweights such as the MT-07, SV650 and Z650 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.
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.