HONDA CBF600 (2004-2007) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"A supremely competent motorcycle but lordy, is it dull!"

Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Riding

"A supremely competent motorcycle but lordy, is it dull!"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Honda CBF600 is undoubtedly a supremely competent motorcycle but lordy, is it dull! Bulky and heavy for a 600cc motorcycle, the Honda CBF600 lacks any real “go”, despite being well designed and built. It’s a good, safe choice for a new biker but, for those with more experience, it’s unlikely to satiate your need for a rush. Once you’ve mastered the basics, the Honda CBF600 is unlikely to inspire you with passion. It really is a bit soulless.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The motorcycle is comfortable enough with it’s upright, “in the bike” seating position. At lower speeds you can really feel the weight of the Honda CBF600 whilst on the move. The handling is stable but unexciting, but that’s good news for novice bikers. The suspension is a bit wallowy, though. The fairing on the Honda CBF600S works well, making motorway riding quite tolerable, and the gearbox is sound.

Engine 3 out of 5

The Honda CBF600's engine is taken out of the Honda CB600F Hornet, so you’d expect more from this “retuned” (read detuned) engine. Whilst the power band is broad and it can shift well enough, there’s a distinct absence of any real go. Overtakes are hard work, leaping off from the lights doesn’t really happen and even at higher speeds, the Honda CBF600 is wheezing around over 7500rpm.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The Honda CBF600's finish is still very good, despite reports the paint isn’t up to the quality of previous Honda motorcycles. Everything has its place and works well: you feel you’re riding a well-built motorcycle and you are. Top notch reliability for the ex-CBR/ex-Hornet engine, too.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

The Honda CBF600, especially with ABS (about £300 extra) is pretty pricey compared to its counterparts. You can pick up a Suzuki GSF600 Bandit, a Suzuki SV650 or a new Kawasaki ER-6 for less, whilst a Honda CB600F Hornet costs roughly the same: all of which offer the benefits of “first big bike” practicality but with the (staying) power to keep you interested after you’ve left the first, nervous flushes of biking behind you. Find a Honda CBF600 for sale.

Insurance group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The Honda CBF600's adjustable seat and bars come in handy, the dash is littered with useful functions, the mirrors work well: it’s all there. A lack of decent bungee points lets it down as a touring motorcycle, but there’s ample room for two if you’re taking a pillion. There are plenty of extras on offer for the Honda CBF600, including heated grips, luggage and a fly screen. A centre stand is standard.

Owners' Reviews

25 owners have reviewed their HONDA CBF600 (2004-2007) 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 CBF600 (2004-2007)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.4 out of 5
Engine 4.4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.4 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
5 out of 5

I'm happy!!

24 July 2016 by Loopy

Totally agree... Perfect first bike! Would recommend for newbie. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
I learnt to ride this year (I'm 56) and this was recommended to me by the dealer- probably knew he'd have a job selling it to a more experienced rider - but my gain! ABS has been useful.. Rounding bend on local A road to find bin lorry in the way. Did my first Poole Quay run last week and was able to keep up with assortment of larger bikes, including a Ducati. The only thing holding me back was my inexperience, but I'm working on it!
Engine
5 out of 5
Not knowledgeable enough to comment in detail about performance. All I can say is that I find it more than responsive enough for me. Have noticed that there is vibration once up to 70 which makes my hands a bit numb after 40 minutes or so, but smooth at 60, which is the limit in my area anyway.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Owned 3months so far, absolutely no problems. Came with after market screen and full set of givi boxes (v. useful as I use it for commuting), which do catch the wind a bit, but it is a reassuringly stable bike.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Not yet serviced. I seem to be getting about 12-14m/l. Always put 97 petrol in -my last old suzuki hated anything else -so very pleased with that.
Equipment
4 out of 5
I've got the manual choke, which is a pain. I wish I had a gear indicator!! Seat height good for me (5'7") and there is enough room under pillion for disc lock and tools. The boxes and fairing do cause a bit of buffeting in wind, but it is so well balanced that I have not felt uneasy, even with my lack of experience.
Buying experience

Bought from dealer. £2795, 22K miles. I had a usb socket fitted behind screen and heated grips which added another £100.

4 out of 5

A2 first bike, never let me down but not much else

19 April 2016 by Jaimie

I hate to re-tread what has already been said, but the MCN review hits it pretty well. This is my first big bike since I've got my A2 license (its restricted I swear) but even with my lack of experience on bigger bikes I found it very easy to attune... Read more to. I did manage to drop it on my second ride as the weight is held high, which I wasn't used to, but 3000 miles later in all weather I've never had a wobble on it.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
I'm 6'1 and the riding position is comfortable as anything. I live in Yorkshire and have taken trips down the M1 to see relatives in Reading and had a perfectly comfortable time on the bike. The seating position is high and gives clear visibility (So high however I've had to get a GIVI touring screen for it) and no weight is carried on your wrists at all while riding, so it was just a matter of walking off leg and arse cramps every 2 hours or so.
Engine
3 out of 5
This is really where the bike falls down. Reliable as it is, the engine really lacks any proper go. Even though I'm coming off a 125 and this is my first big bike, it still feels sluggish. It can be made to go fast, but you really have to wring its neck and ride everywhere in 6000rpm if you want to race between red lights.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Engine is a solid lump thats never let me down. Only giving it 4 stars as I had to change one of the headlight bulbs a while ago, and once I'd unscrewed the four fairing bolts to get at the headlamp all 4 of the bolts rounded. Not to pleased, had to tap and die the nuts as they were welded to the frame.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Only had for 4 months, in that time its needed no major work at all. Gets over 200 miles to a tank as well.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Clear, if basic. I'm happy they've got an ABS indicator, but I'd prefer a fuel gauge. The fuel warning lamp is good and clear, but often erratic with its readings. I'm not sure how its set up, but I have found if the lights on if you head up a steep uphill it will turn off again.
Buying experience

25k miles with 2 lady owners. The guy was advertising at £2190 with 3 months MOT, I talked him down to £2100 with an MOT (its my first big bike my patter isn't great. I still think I got a pretty good deal, the shop was largely full of adventure bikes, the CBF looked a little lost next to BMW GS' and V stroms. I guess they just wanted rid of the sensible bike.

5 out of 5

02 April 2016 by Fly

I dont like choke, no fuel indicator. Bike is simple and very good for people who dont wont have any problems normaly if bike is buy from sombody who take good care of bike. Sory for my bad english Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Good bike but not special

26 March 2016 by Steven

Great first bike but after 1 year I'm really fed up with it. It's a great touring/commuter bike but if your looking for fun in the twisty corners then this bike isn't for you, it's to bulky and heavy and really needs to loose 50kgs. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
Again it's way to heavy & the suspension seems to find bumps were there isn't any, brakes are great. Taking a pillion was no big deal didn't upset the handling 1 bit
Engine
5 out of 5
Fantastic engine that doesn't stop pulling, the bike will sit at 70 80 90mph all day long and never grumble. Best part of the bike by far
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Can't complain it's a solid bike that never missed a beat, starts first time every time.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
No fuel gauge no gear gauge it's the bare minimum im afraid
4 out of 5

Cracking first bike!

25 August 2015 by Dave D

Great bike. I have owned for 11 months and ridden approx. 8000 miles, including commuting, a long Scotland trip and weekend rides. As a first bike it has been great. Only real downside is for comfort on long day rides. I find after a day on it, I... Read more really need a break!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Rear a lot less sharp than those found on the bike I learnt on (SV650)
Engine
4 out of 5
Probably not as exciting as others, but smooth and flexible. Great for a newbie.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Changed a few bits but only for regular maintenance. Speedo stopped working after just after purchase but only through build up of 'gunk' by the front sprocket!
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
Not many toys! Needs electric choke which was fitted on 2008 model.
5 out of 5

Totally happy

13 July 2015 by Ian Collings

No real faults for me, does exactly what I want it to and more Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Agree with the needing force to turn, but I put this down to my tyres being a bit flattened off. Brakes, excellent, can't fault them, especially the combined braking
Engine
5 out of 5
Plenty of power for me, after coming from a YBR 125 after not owning a big bike for 16 years, which was a Honda CX 500
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
It's a Honda, enough said!
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Not really sure of servicing costs yet as it was serviced before I bought it, by the dealer
Equipment
5 out of 5
Centre/main stand, fuel gauge, what more can you ask for? Mine has the Honda panniers fitted by the previous owner, which are very useful, although I've since found, very expensive
Buying experience

Brilliant service from Devon Wheels 2work/Devon Moto, £3295 advertised and had a great deal on private (non finance company) weekly payments

5 out of 5

Great bike

11 June 2015 by jj

Hard to find fault with the bike. Have owned mine for 1year/9000 miles and it has not missed a beat. It will eat motorway miles, A roads, B roads, city and town work. A really good motorcycle that will do all you need and still put a smile on your... Read more face at the weekend.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Regular distance work with my wife on the rear, no issues other than rear seat is quite a bit higher than the front
Engine
5 out of 5
Smooth, sounds great, will whisper around town or blast down the motorway. Ample power for 2 up plus luggage. 6 speed box is quite close geared meaning you might want to change down for any risky overtakes but all the power you will need in this lump
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
No problems as yet.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
New tyres - Pirelli Angel, fantastic tyres for the bike
Equipment
4 out of 5
Could use slightly larger screen but apart from this it's great
4 out of 5

sheep in woofs clothing

18 February 2013 by chiefweasel

You're right (MCN), the CBF600SA is boring. But, it's only boring once you've done your first year or two on it after earning your licence. During your first 12 months or so on real roads riding on your own in four seasons of weather it can still... Read more scare the cr*p out of you. A familiar story for me, I passed my DAS after never riding a bike before and bought the CBF600SA-4 as my first bike. I learned on a naked 500 and was told by my instructor it was a safe bet but I'd get bored with it quickly. I was 38 at the time. I owned it for almost three years riding 60 miles a day commuting from one side of the M25 to the other through the middle of London; during that journey I had some miles of country road twistys, some miles of quiet straights, and lots of miles of A-road and centre-of-London filtering and stop/start. The CBF wasn't great for any of them, but it was good for all of them and was 100% reliable whatever the weather. Even so, each day I would get a little more bored with it - not because it's a bad bike, just because I was growing out of it. I think that it's easy to forget to review certain bikes with the right head on, particularly a bike that's going to be ridden mostly by beginners; if a newb was reviewing, f'ristance, a Ducati Diavel they wouldn't write a review that was relevant to anyone who is actually going to ride one. Remember, most new riders are (if they are honest) more interested in not getting both knees down at the same time than they are in getting one down. So here's my review based on doing about 20,000 miles on one: REVIEW - It's 90minute comfortable, will go if you wellie it (it will do 130mph), it always starts, it eventually stops, is alright on petrol (45mpg for me) and can do UP TO 200 miles on a full tank, the lights work at night (even though it always looks like one of the bulbs has blown), the screen keeps most of the rain off you. The exhaust is pants at warning pedestrians you're coming, and the half fairing is half good at keeping the weather off. There's a small amount of storage under the pillion seat; it will take a full size pillion. The seat is quite low so if you're 5'10" like me you can firmly plant both of your feet on the ground at traffic lights. it's reliable. They're not expensive to buy and hold value quite well if you look after it; they're cheap to ensure, partly because no one wants to steal one. Servicing can be expensive so shop around. They're better than a scooter in terms of 'street cred' and learning how to ride, and they're big enough so that car drivers won't assume you're going to get out of their way automatically. In car terms and build quality they're like an entry level c-class merc. AFTER MARKET GOODIES There are quite a lot of bolt-on goodies for them - I put a scorpion can on mine and full TCP fairing, belly pan, hugger, scottoiler, clear indicators, seat cowl (this made the boredom recede - which might mean it wasn't boredom, maybe I was getting embarrassed by it the more I got to know about the bigger bikes that would commute with me). IN SUMMARY Finally, and I think this is a really good thing about them, they give you a taste of many sorts of biking so after you've learned on a CBF600 you have a taster of what a specialist bike could do if you were to buy a discipline dedicated bike (e.g. a proper sports bike, or a proper tourer). I'm looking at what bike to get next and am using the CBF600 as the benchmark, it hasn't steered me down any particular path. The CBF600 is an excellent first bike and if you keep it forever it will be fine as long as you're happy riding the diet coke version of the bike you really want, or if you don't know what to buy.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
2 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Just sold: So non-biased review!

14 February 2013 by T12345

Owned a CBF600s for a year as my first 'big' bike after passing my test. I put nearly 6000 miles on it, riding nearly every day in a mixture of town, countryside and longer distance riding. I have now sold it and therefore feel ready to add my... Read more thoughts. I have ridden and owned a large number of other bikes in addition to this one. Overall, I think the above review and rating is fair, MCN make a number of excellent points, however there are a couple which I shall correct. Ride and handling isn't bad by any means, but not worthy of four stars. The weight is carried fairly high, and low speed manoeuvrability is average. When cornering, the bike holds it's line reasonably well, but the slightly 'top-heavy' nature makes it feel like a challenge to lean far, and promotes a slightly twitchy feel in particularly tight turns. It occasionally feels a touch unstable. Cross-winds are also a factor, the bike not liking sudden gusts. Motorway and dual carriageway performance isn't bad, although at higher speeds the budget suspension can make the bike seem a bit untidy. The gearbox is excellent; smooth, controlled and super-slick, each gear punctuated by a beautifully reassuring click that leaves no doubt as to the quality of Honda's gearbox engineering. Most manufacturers would do well to follow Honda's example. Even on an entry-level bike such as this it is outstanding. Gear ratios on the other hand require a bit of practise, holding in higher revs severely impacted on MPG. Short-shifting, 200+ miles to a tank is doable. Equipment is good, although the bike could do with a fuel gauge. The digital clock is however, very welcome. The three-position seat is excellent, although does require 10 to 20 minutes of work to adjust. Mirrors are great, highly adjustable, and with a wide field of vision (more than the rider's elbows!) but do suffer terribly from vibration at higher speeds. Centre stand and Honda top box come with very high recommendations. The manual choke however, is a serious downside. it really does need fuel injection. Quality and reliability is outstanding, the bike 'weathering' winter riding with barely a shrug. Obviously maintenance and cleaning are key, but this bike didn't let me down once in a year. To have a bike start every time is a quality often overlooked by testers, but in the real world it is key. This bike does not disappoint on that score. Honda's reputation for reliability and quality is fair, the paintwork and plastics are light years ahead of the (Japanese) competition. On quality and reliability it has been faultless. Value is good, especially compared to the competition. They hold value reasonably well, but a word of warning, many dealers overprice them. The engine is good, if a little characterless. Power delivery is very smooth and perfectly adequate. Low-end grunt is reasonably poor, although the mid-to-top is excellent. For novice riders the power delivery is cosseting and encouraging, without any awkward spikes or troughs to surprise. As with most I4s, the emphasis is on revs, rather than torque and occasionally the torque curve is disappointing. MPG isn't quite the 47 quoted, but it is pretty good. Overall, it is an excellent bike. It does everything well, if without excitement. Commuting, Sunday blasts, (light) touring and pillion (pillion ability is fantastic) are all taken in its stride. Perhaps most importantly of all, you feel utterly and completely safe on this bike. However, MCN is (to a certain extent) right when they say it lacks passion. There is no soul, no character and no life to this bike. It just does what it does extremely competently, with not a hint of complaint or dissolution, cheerfully chugging through the miles. It's even (despite what is said above) reasonably good looking. Certainly in comparison to the competition. You therefore must decide are efficiency, reliability and competency enough draw you in?

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

GREAT BIKE !!!

04 January 2013 by natvesty

I bought an 06 plate cbf600sa from someone selling at the front of his house while passing in the car not long after losing my wife and this bike has been better than any therapy or councelling. I have done nearly 6000 miles in 8 months without any... Read more problem whatsoever... It is the first modern bike i,ve had after having a big break and it is FAB with all the mod cons (injection and ABS)etc and has been a complete pleasure to ride...ok yes its not a fireblade but its a great all rounder and is bulletproof and cheap insurance (£158 fully comp with no No Claims at 44 years old ). This bike has been my saviour and will take anything you throw at it as its a HONDA !!!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
Read all 25 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2004
Year discontinued 2007
Original price £5,199
Used price £1,700 to £3,200
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £60
Annual service cost £90
Performance
Max power 76 bhp
Max torque 43 ft-lb
Top speed 134 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.8 secs
Average fuel consumption 47 mpg
Tank range 195 miles
Specification
Engine size 599cc
Engine type 16v inline four, 6 gears
Frame type Steel tube
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Seat height 785mm
Bike weight 197kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Twin 296mm discs
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2004: Honda CBF600N (naked) launched, alongside a slightly pricier half-faired, Honda CBF600S, which came with a small fairing. Both have ABS options.
2006: colour changes only for the naked Honda CBF600. The faired Honda CBF600S gets indicator tweaks and updated mirrors, too.
2007: Model discontinued, replaced with new CBF600 for 2008.

Other versions

Honda CBF600S: half-faired version of the standard CBF600N.
Honda CBF600SA: half-faired version of the standard CBF600N but with added ABS (otherwise known as the Honda CBF600S ABS).

Photo Gallery

  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Engine
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Engine
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBF600 motorcycle review - Side view
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