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!"

  • At a glance
  • 599cc  -  76 bhp
  • 47 mpg  -  195 miles range
  • Low seat height (785mm)

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.

Value & Running Costs 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

18 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.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.3 out of 5
Equipment 3.9 out of 5
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.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
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?

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
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 !!!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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
5 out of 5

MCN Sort it out!!!

28 August 2012 by Hatcher1

This MCN review stinks!!! I would ignore it people. This machine had been my life for the past 6 years! I ride everyday as a despatch rider and my CBF has done 120,000 miles and still going strong. The MCN review states 47mpg and puts the 2003 fazer... Read more at 55mpg!!!! That's a load of rubbish!!! The CBF is much better on fuel than a fazer is. I suggest re writing this review MCN. You are puting a downer on a great motorcycle. Shame on you.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great Bike

27 August 2012 by rushyd

Despite reading the MCN review, I recently bought a CBF600SA6 and I think it is a great bike. It handles well, is very responsive and is one of the few bikes I've ridden that you feel part of, almost like putting on a glove. I've never had any... Read more issues with the powerband, pulling away, cruising, mid range acceleration or anything else to do with the bike when it's moving. The only problems I have experienced was in putting it on the main stand when I first got it, but now have that sorted. I don't think the MCN review is a very accurate one at all, this is a great bike.

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

Excellent Machine

08 July 2012 by Martin000

LOL @ MCN. Who wrote this review? Couriers use these bikes for there livelyhood so try telling one of them they are boring,lardy,heavy and bulky. These bikes are 76bhp. Not a 50cc Honda C90. So I can't understand why overtakes would be hardwork? I... Read more find them a breeze. The bike is very well made very torquey and makes nice liner power. Its a bullet proof machine and IMO an excellent buy. I don't find it boring and I ride an R1 also. This bike is what I use for work and have had loads of fun on it! There are also plenty of tie down point despite what this revoew says. BAD BAD REVIEW MCN....COME ON SORT IT OUT!!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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

Awesome

16 May 2011 by Pazmeister

I have owned this bike for a few weeks now, im getting approx 170 miles from a tank but that was before a service of K/N air and oil filter, iridium spark plugs and oil change so i expect a few more miles. I have just been on an advanced riding... Read more weekend in Redmire, Yorkshire and all i can say is Boring? i think not MCN are so off the mark this is truly an amazing bike. I own the 2004 and HISS is not included but FUN is!! Ridden properly this opens up around 6rpm and it moves! i kept up with a Triumph rocket and left another for dust in the corners. The handling is amazing twice i took a corner a little hot and it forgave me...only just. You can lean the bike more than you think you can given the upright position. The half faired version of mine offers excellent weather protection. Yes id like more grunt from a 1000 version but my 600 has 0-60 in 4 seconds faster than almost all cars

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

Super CBF!

01 December 2010 by ejt77

The MCN review frustrates me. Sure this isn't a Sports bike, but that doesn't mean it's bad. I started riding this year - aged 33. I wanted something really reliable, predictable and smart. I bought the Honda because of what I read - a good... Read more sensible bike. That does not mean boring though. I LOVE this bike - in-line 4 engine with a Scorpion can sounds awesome. So much better than a V twin Kawasaki ER6. I regularly ride a friends ER6. Nowt wrong with it but feels like a much smaller, much less refined, less well built bike. I wouldn't want one. The CBF is the Merc E Class whilst the Kawasaki is the Astra GSi! You get the idea. I'm 6ft 2 and the CBF fits me well. Do yourself a favour and try one - you might just be surprised. The only comment I would make is that the 600S looks so much better than the naked version. Review based on a 2005 CBF600SA

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

A great starting place

13 July 2009 by PaleGreySky

What can I add that the review hasn't already said? It's a great bike to begin on, I personally don't notice the weight at slow speed but that might just be me, I learned on a CBF500 and bought this after passing so i'm not used to anything else... Read more (lighter). I bought it because I liked the riding postion after trying a shop full of various makes, Maybe i'm biased because of what I learned on, but I feel it's important to feel comfortable when you are starting out on your own. I can't deny it is a little gutless in 2nd gear, but once you get up to 3rd, you can get a decent poke out of it when needed, you won't be able to keep up with the big boys, but if thet's your thing, you wouldn't be buying one of these. As for it's ridability, I live in the central belt of Scotland and have no bother jumping on this for hours at a time, heading north and riding through all of the challenges the north of Scotland's roads have to offer. Short hops or long hauls are comfortable and it corners as well as you would expect it to, just turn/lean in and round you go. The great thing about this is it's forgiving, miss a gear, no problem.. just keep chugging away until you build up your road legs. Need to take a pillion? easy, plenty room on the back and the grab rails do the job. Want to store a decent heavy chain and padlock with you at all times? fine, it'll fit under the lockable pillion seat with room to spare. Want to tie down something huge using the bungee? err, maybe give that a miss. As for the fuel economy, I think they are being a bit cautious with 49/50 Mpg. I'm sure I am getting another 5/10 Mpg out of it because the numbers just don't add up when i'm at the pumps, which is a good thing. Basic maintainence is a doddle as well, Haynes do a manual for this which pretty much tells you everything you must do, how to do it and when you should do it to keep it running smoothly. I have no doubt i'll trade this up next year for something a little more sporty but for my first year of riding, I am finding this to be a fantastic bike that takes me where I want to go, maybe without frills, but certainly without grumbles.

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

My First Big bike

24 March 2009 by nylonhandle

Until a year ago I was very content being a fair weather Scooter rider till some chav in Larkhall swiped it and burned it out, then I decided it was about time I put my license to good use so took a refresher and pciked on of these up 3 mths old.... Read more Yes it is a bit heavy and not as powerful as most but with some coaxing I've been having lots of fun in and around Bath. If I had the choice I would have bought the faired machine as the difference a screen makes is impressive, starts every time even if I haven't rode for a few weeks, will probably trade up to a 1300 muscle next but there is still plenty of fun to be had on it.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
Read all 18 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2004
Year discontinued 2007
Original price £5,199
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £58
Annual service cost -
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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