HONDA FMX650 (2005-2012) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"Perky enough if you're a new biker, but unless mere adequacy is your buying criteria there are better motorcycles"

Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Riding

"Perky enough if you're a new biker, but unless mere adequacy is your buying criteria there are better motorcycles"

  • At a glance
  • 644cc  -  37 bhp
  • 42 mpg  -  115 miles range
  • High seat height (875mm)

Overall Rating 2 out of 5

When faced with the prospect of an exciting new genre – supermoto – Honda eschewed the concepts of excitement and boldness and instead produced the Honda FMX650 - a squidgy suet of a motorcycle. It is perky enough if you’re a new biker, possibly, but unless mere adequacy is your buying criteria there are better motorcycles than the Honda FMX650.

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The Honda FMX650 feels light, flickable and the beefy 45mm upside-down forks handle town action with contempt. But start pressing on and the lack of adjustability means the Honda FMX650 soon begins to feel a little uneasy. One thing the Honda FMX650 doesn’t want for is brakes – it may only have a single disc and a sliding pin, twin-piston front brake but it’s a combination that’s well able to haul the motorcycle up quickly.

Engine 2 out of 5

The Honda FMX650 has the same air-cooled SOHC old badger that powered the long-departed Honda Dominator. It’ll eventually chuff out about 30bhp, but keep it in town or it quickly feels wheezy. Hang on until 80mph and the Honda FMX650 becomes tiresomely vibey. The gearbox is precise and easy, the clutch light.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

The Honda FMX650 is well made of proven components borrowed from other, older Honda motorcycles. It’s sturdy and low-speed drops do nothing than scratch the Honda FMX650's cheaply replaceable plastics.

Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5

Likely supermoto-style competitors are Suzuki’s DR-Z400S (lighter and easier to tune), KTM’s Duke (better, more tunable and much more fun) and Husqvarna’s SM610 – more powerful and more fragile.  But the wise thing to do is buy Suzuki’s SV650 – you’ll save money and have a better all round motorcycle to boot. Find a Honda FMX650 for sale.

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

Equipment 2 out of 5

The Honda FMX650's analogue clocks are bum basic, look rubbish and the headlight’s poor. Fortunately there’s a basketful of Honda tweaking parts from bodywork to exhausts from to customise your Honda FMX650.

Owners' Reviews

3 owners have reviewed their HONDA FMX650 (2005-2012) 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 4.3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 3.3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 2.7 out of 5
5 out of 5

3 years on

11 September 2010 by sbikerbud

after owning the bike for 5 years now i still love it. I've used it for hooning around, commuting around town and a few two up 200+ mile motorway trips with luggage. It's still slow as you like, but still brings a smile to my face. It's the... Read more longest i have ever owned a single bike, i wish honda had made one sooner :-)

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

Not a proper competition tool, but immense fun to ride.

07 August 2007 by urbanfox

I’ve recently bought an FMX650 as a second bike and I also feel that this MCN review is unduly harsh on the bike. If you’re in the market for a supermoto-style bike then don’t dismiss the FMX without at least taking a good look at one first. It... Read more may fall short when judged against the standards of purer, more competition-focussed supermotos from the other manufacturers, but if you're not going racing then there’s something to be said for Honda reliability and build quality when the alternative offerings have a reputation for being fragile and high maintenance. And that reassuring build quality is something that’s actually quite tangible from the first moment you sit on an FMX. My experience from the saddle suggests that for back-road and city riding the FMX delivers all the real-world benefits of the supermoto format: grunty bursts of acceleration, agile handling from a stance that affords optimal control, strong effective brakes, and enough height to give you a commanding view. On the down side, that saddle is very firm and unforgiving over any distance, but really, so what? If you want all-round versatility then it’s best to steer clear of supermotos. However, for short, intense shots of riding satisfaction - without the licence-shredding speeds - they're hard to beat. And you can really hustle this thing around. If you hook up the engine's power right then the FMX delivers strong, immediate drive, that can slingshot it off the line and straight up to 60. Beyond this it continues to pull with less urgency to 90-plus - if you can take the wind-blast! But show it some curves and it promotes confidence in spades and rewards a vigorous riding style, encouraging you to explore a fairground-ride combination of brisk thrapping acceleration, deep braking and hilariously extreme lean angles, all with an inspiring composure. I also ride a sports bike, but I’ve found that I’m way, way quicker on the FMX in any kind of tight, twisty, comparatively low-speed situation. Horses for courses! While it’s certainly no race-derived switchblade, the FMX’s engine is far better in reality than it looks from the specification. The bhp figure is irrelevant; what matters is the satisfying amount of torque being churned out. Trying to rev it hard achieves nothing; instead, clutch slipping and short-shifting to stay within the fat wedge of mid-range torque makes for perfectly rapid progress. There's an endearing quality to the power pulses thudding out from the big capacity single, and Honda have even managed to make it sound quite fruity, despite the restrictive, emissions-compliant exhaust system (Arrow make a full system replacement, though it's expensive). Of course an early priority of ownership is to remove the ridiculous ‘Funmoto’ stickers from the side panels – mercifully easy, peeling off to leave no trace. Those aside, it’s a good looking bike, with a purposeful presence and nice detailing, not least the imposing gold forks and black, spoked rims. Another attractive feature is the price - it seems to be widely discounted to well below the stated list price.

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 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great but slow performer

18 June 2007 by Anonymous

A much under-rated bike this one. I agree to some extent with MCNs verdict but only if you're rating it against other supermotos and use their price of £4699 as up-to-date. However I got my FMX brand new from a franchised dealer for £3500 and I... Read more believe the RRP is now £4000 otr. I recently moved to the sticks and found that my ZR-7 was totally unsuitable to the road conditions I now faced - bumpy country B-roads virtually all the way to work and not a decently surfaced road within miles. So I fixed up a few testrides - the FMX, DRZ400SM and XT660X. All great bikes in their own way, the XT having the beafiest engine, the DRZ being the lightest and the FMX being the easiest to ride slowly. I'd be happy to own any of them, but the price, dealer and handling of the FMX suited me the best. The FMX is certainly not the fastest of the bunch, so if you're interested in going over 70, then this isn't the bike for you. But low speed handling couldn't be better - I've owned bigger and faster bikes (VFR800, Bandit, Transalp, Hornet 600) but none come close to this bike on b-roads. Very forgiving suspension and powerful brakes make country roads fun again! Overall the FMX is nicely put together, although the controls and clocks look basic. This bike makes mincemeat of traffic jams, but it might not be a great winter commuter - it's engine is very exposed to grime and if it's wet, dirt gets sprayed all over the engine and exhaust which runs under the rear mudguard. The exhaust note is fairly tame and I'm sure there's more power to be had from this engine, which is a low state of tune. The exhaust looks good though, being stainless and alloy, so it would be a shame to junk it. Another nice touch is the front suspension, USD forks. The engine starts first time, should prove reliable due to it's low state of tune and it's been around for eons. Being a dry sump engine, you have to check the oil level AFTER you've run the engine, which if odd (check it straight away after killing the engine or the oil will disappear back into the frame/engine). The wide Renthal bars make handling very easy compared to more traditional road bike - in fact the bike reminds me of a MTX200R trailbike I used to own (and the FMX isn't much faster). Plastics are fairly soft too, as with all dirt bikes and isn't painted, it marks quite easily compared to the painted bodywork found on most bikes. However being solid plastic there's no undercoat to expose. The tank is matt black paint but this protected by plastic side panels and seat - no chance of the rider scratching it. I personally think the bike look great, better than either the DRZ and XTX. The gearbox is very positive, neutral being very easy to find. The engines got loads of low down pull but run out of puff fairly quickly, gear selection is important, as with all singles. It'll zip up to 60 very quickly, if a doddle to ride slowly and would make an ideal bike for someone whos just passed their test (as long as they didn't ride with friends on faster bikes who would leave the FMX for dead). Provided you understand this bikes limitations, you can't fail to like this bike. It's the best bike I've owned in a long time and for once I'm not now thinking "what's my next bike going to be?". The last bike that was this much fun was a Hornet, which was great little bike, but would suit the local roads near me. And what price £3500, what can you get for that these days?? Overall very happy with it!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
Read all 3 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2005
Year discontinued 2012
Original price £3,999
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 37 bhp
Max torque 36 ft-lb
Top speed 96 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 14.6 secs
Average fuel consumption 42 mpg
Tank range 115 miles
Specification
Engine size 644cc
Engine type 4v single, 5 gears
Frame type Steel cradle
Fuel capacity 11 litres
Seat height 875mm
Bike weight 163kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Single 296mm disc
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 150/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2005: Honda FMX650 introduced.

 

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Engine
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Top view
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Engine
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Top view
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda FMX650 motorcycle review - Side view