HONDA CBF600 (2008-2013) Review

Published: 06 February 2008

"Practical, easy to ride, fairly swift, comfortable and thanks to ABS brakes as standard, safe, too"

Honda cbf600 review action

"Practical, easy to ride, fairly swift, comfortable and thanks to ABS brakes as standard, safe, too"

  • At a glance
  • 599cc  -  76 bhp
  • 45 mpg  -  197 miles range
  • Low seat height (770mm)

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

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

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 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.

 

Engine 3 out of 5

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.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

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 & Running Costs 3 out of 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 group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 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.

Owners' Reviews

18 owners have reviewed their HONDA CBF600 (2008-2013) 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 3.9 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.7 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.7 out of 5
Equipment 3.9 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good all rounder

12 August 2014 by konarob8

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... Read more 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.

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 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Still a better all-rounder than the NCs

24 September 2013 by ultrasardine

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. Read more

Overall Rating 5 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 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Honda CBF600SA

06 June 2013 by Mayvern

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... Read more 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.

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

Real World Review

03 May 2013 by Wezzylad

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... Read more 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.

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
3 out of 5

courtesy bike

26 April 2012 by Cyclonite

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. Read more

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

Honda CBF600SA

29 November 2011 by Banzai600

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... Read more 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

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

Honda CBF600SA

29 November 2011 by Anonymous

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... Read more 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.

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

hire bike

01 May 2011 by djawillis

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... Read more 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

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

under rated by miles

17 December 2010 by mercymercyred

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... Read more 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)

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

Hugely Underrated

13 September 2010 by Hockeystorm65

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... Read more 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.

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 5 out of 5
Read all 18 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2008
Year discontinued 2013
Original price £5,855
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 44 ft-lb
Top speed 140 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.8 secs
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 197 miles
Specification
Engine size 599cc
Engine type 16-valve, in-line-four-cylinder
Frame type Cast aluminium
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 770mm
Bike weight 222kg
Front suspension Pre-load only
Rear suspension Pre-load only
Front brake 2 x 296mm discs
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17 in

History & Versions

Model history

2007 – Model introduced.

Other versions

2011: CBF600SA [£6,405]

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