Handling and brakes (drum rear and single disc front) are the right side of competent. For half-hour rides it’s as comfortable as almost any bike but on longer trips your backside will pay a price for the cheap and cheerful twin rear shocks, especially on the motorway. In town you may be reminded of a rocking horse when switching between braking and accelerating in stop-start traffic.
The CBF’s 124.7cc four-speed fuel injected single is squarely aimed at delivering fuel economy rather that thrills. With a top speed of around 65mph, it’s up to motorway use but you might not want to make a habit of it. Honda claim 11bhp, one more than its closest rival, Yamaha’s YBR125. In reality there’s nothing between the two in performance. In an MCN test neither could pass the other flat out.
At this price something has to give. So perhaps it’s not surprising, if disappointing, that the finish on the exhaust doesn’t seem fit to last. An MCN test bike was showing rust after a few weeks of winter use. We have also heard from readers unsatisfied with the longevity of that matt black finish. Plastics are flimsy, with easily broken grommets. If the CBF has inherited anything from the CG125, reliability shouldn’t be an issue.
In Top Trumps this is where the CBF would be unrivalled. Unless perhaps the other player had a YBR125 card. The CBF started the year at £1795 but has now gone up to £2020, just £49 less than the YBR.
The CBF comes with fairing while the YBR is naked; but the YBR has a rack, arguably more important on this kind of bike, and the CBF doesn’t. Fuel economy figures don’t help. Honda claims 134mpg for the CBF but it managed an actual 87.5mpg in MCN tests while the YBR returned 87.3. In the end superior styling makes the CBF seem like a better overall package per dollar while both bikes offer economy levels to put public transport to shame.
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The CBF is all about providing only what you need for the cheapest possible price. In equipment terms that means numbers around the edge of the speedometer dial indicating what gear you should be in instead of a rev counter. You do get a fuel gauge, though. If you start with a brimmed tank, you’ll have about a third left by the time it says half.