2019, 2021 & 2024 Honda CB650R review | Retro look with modern tech

Highlights

  • Naked version of the racier CBR650R
  • New E-Clutch technology is impressive
  • Improved TFT dash

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Annual servicing cost: £160
Power: 92 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.9 in / 810 mm)
Weight: Medium (448 lbs / 203 kg)

Prices

New £6,999
Used £4,800 - £6,700

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Additional words by Michael Neeves and Jon Urry

Meet the 2019 Honda CB650R. There was nothing that wrong with the outgoing Honda CB650F it replaced, but with less than inspired styling, it failed to stand out in a packed middleweight class.

Effectively a naked version of its racier, fully faired CBR650R sister the CB650R’s ‘Neo Café’ design touches give it an edgier look. It also has more power, less weight and racy touches like upside down forks and radial brakes. 92bhp isn’t to be sniffed at and it’s all there if you’re willing to rev it, but for normal riding its four-pot engine is smooth, friendly and flexible.

It doesn’t have the grunt or playfulness of the cheaper, class-leading Yamaha MT-07, but it has a more grown-up feel, handles sweetly, is comfortable, engaging, dependable and safe, thanks to standard-issue ABS and torque control. Its LCD dash is tricky to read in sunlight, but that’s the only real blot on its copybook. In fact, given this bike's affordable price, generous spec and easy performance it’s perfect for new riders and the experienced on a budget. It also finds its way into our Best First Big Bikes feature, too.


2021 Honda CB650R updated for Euro5

First published on 26 March, 2021 by Jon Urry

Riding the 2021 Honda CB650R on UK roads

From 2021, the CB650R has been updated to meet Euro5 and also gets Showa Big Piston Forks to improve the handling.

In isolation, it's a cool-looking modern retro bike that has a decent level of spec and a tempting price tag, especially when broken down to monthly amounts on a PCP plan. However when you put it up against cheaper rivals such as the Yamaha MT-07 and now especially the Triumph Trident 660 it does falter.

The inline four feels a bit lacklustre, the handling is secure but not as sporty as the Triumph’s and the dash remains a let-down, which starts to make you question its higher price tag of £7299.

The CB is still a great-looking and sweet-handling naked with an engaging inline four motor if you prefer this configuration over a twin or triple, however it is a bit of a struggle to recommend it when the Trident offers a fair chunk more performance, handling and spirit for your money.

 


2024 Honda CB650R E-Clutch Review

First published April, 2024 by Carl Stevens

 

Much like its faired sibling in the CBR650R, there isn’t a huge amount of change where the 2024 CB650R is concerned. For starters, it’s been given a facelift which covers a host of changes including the headlight, radiator shrouds and tail unit, and although it isn’t too dissimilar from the outgoing model, the CB looks incredibly smart and well-finished in the metal. Under that minimal bodywork, it comes equipped with an almost identical 649cc inline-four motor, the same steel diamond chassis and only a slightly tweaked set-up in terms of a softer spring rate and a little more compression to those non-adjustable Showa SFF-BP forks. The result is a machine that feels incredibly similar to the ‘23 CB650R in terms of its engine characteristics and its handling abilities, and indeed its riding position which is unchanged.

One welcome change for the ’24 model comes in the form of a new five-inch, full colour TFT dash, which is a big improvement on the outdated LCD dash. It also comes equipped with the ability to connect your phone, via Honda’s ‘RoadSync’ app. The switchgears have been updated too and are effective in their application, although the indicator light could be slightly better placed for smaller hands.

However, the real news comes in the form of Honda’s new E-Clutch which is an optional extra for the first time. The system, working in unison with the ECU completely eradicates the use of the clutch, allowing for a worry-free ride when coming to a halt, pulling away or changing gear. It is a slick system in its design, and it doesn’t take away any job of riding either thanks to the ability to use the clutch as you would on a conventional machine. However, the throttle is aggressive on the initial pick-up which makes slow speed manoeuvres in first gear a snappy affair. Aside from that, it’s a cracking system up and down the ‘box, especially as it adds just 2kg and £100 compared to the standard machine.

Kerb weight 203kg (E-Clutch 205.8kg)

 

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Its CB650F predecessor handled well enough, but the CB650R gets upside-down forks to replace the old conventional units. They retain the same level of easy plushness and while not adjustable, they’re set perfectly for sporty road riding.

The rear shock has 10 preload steps but there’s little need to deviate from the factory settings, even for quick road riding and chunky ABS-assisted four-piston radial Nissin calipers replace the F’s twin-piston set-up, giving the R a racier look and reassuring stopping power.

Riding the 2019 Honda CB650R

Even weighing in 6kg less than the F, it isn’t the most agile naked in the world for changing direction at speed or in traffic, but it rolls into bends with little effort, is sure-footed, stable and has a pleasing solidity to it. The riding position is spacious, comfortable and the Honda is physically bigger than an MT-07, so better suited to larger riders.

How does the Honda CB650R compare to the CBR650R? MCN finds out:


How does the 2021 Honda CB650R handle?

First published on 26 March, 2021 by Jon Urry

The 2021 CB is a sweet-handling machine that rolls into bends with little encouragement and lots of fun. Although the forks have been upgraded to Showa’s Separate Function Big Piston (SFF-BP) units, the difference in feel is fairly minimal on the road and the shock has actually lost 3 steps of preload adjustment, which again isn’t a big deal.

The 2021 Honda CB650R gets new Showa forks

As a fun road bike the CB hits the mark and delivers lots of confidence through an assured feel and plush ride quality. If you want a naked bike that will boost your cornering confidence levels, the CB will certainly achieve this goal.

The seat, however, is a little firm and the bars not as high as on some rivals, meaning it is a touch uncomfortable after a while in the saddle. The brakes, despite being radial, are noticeably lacking in initial bite as well as feel and could certainly do with a set of higher friction pads to inject a bit more stopping power.

The rear shock has lost three steps of preload adjustment


2024 Honda CB650R E-Clutch | How does it ride?

First published April, 2024 by Carl Stevens

There is very little change for the ’24 model, besides a slightly softer set-up on those non-adjustable Showa SFF-BP forks – albeit thanks to that addition of some compression damping, it isn’t aggressively felt at normal speeds, and still lends itself to being a reasonably, soft, spacious and stable machine.

Although it’s comfortable for the most part, it still suffers from an incredibly hard seat which doesn’t take long to become a pain in the backside, literally.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Honda have given the 649cc inline four a bit of extra poke, but you’d struggle to notice its two extra horses – up to 92bhp. It lacks the instant grunt that makes the more playful, class-leading 74bhp parallel-twin Yamaha MT-07 such a riot.

Instead, the inline four’s power is smooth, linear and still has a decent amount midrange for normal riding, but it demands to be revved for best results where it sounds great on the 'pipe'. Powering from a closed throttle it is a little abrupt, but once on the gas it’s very controlled.

Engine performance might be similar to before, but the CB650R’s reworked assist/slipper clutch has a beautifully light action, as does the revised gearbox, which changes ratio with the faintest of touches – even better if you go for Honda’s accessory quickshifter.

Honda CB650R engine

We averaged 49mpg when we took the CB650R around our MCN250 test route in May 2019, which gives a theoretical 166 miles from its 15.4 litre tank. During the same test a Yamaha MT-07 returned a more frugal 58.2mpg and a 179-mile range, despite having a smaller 14-litre tank.


2021 Honda CB650R engine explored

First published on 26 March, 2021 by Jon Urry

The 2021 Honda CB650R gets a Euro5-compliant engine

For 2021 Honda have made the CB650R Euro5-complaint through altered cam lobes, a crank pulsar, a new ECU, revised intake timing and a new exhaust system. Peak power remains the same at 92bhp however peak torque has been reduced very slightly to 46.5ftlb from 47.2ftlb and there is no change to the rpm that either figure is delivered at.

The beautifully light assist/slipper clutch’s action and slick gearbox are unaltered (a quickshifter is an accessory) and there is no discernible change in how the inline four delivers its power.

The Honda CB650R gets a quickshifter as an optional extra

Still smooth and with a decent midrange, the issue the CB now encounters is that the Triumph Trident’s triple is more engaging and gustier in its low and mid-rev range, making the CB feel a bit lacklustre. There is still a very pleasing top-end rush if you rev it but it does feel a bit breathless when it comes to roll-on overtakes compared to the Yamaha MT-07 and Trident and you need to work its gearbox harder as a result.


2024 Honda CB650R E-Clutch | Subtle engine tweaks paired with the new E-clutch technology.

First published April, 2024 by Carl Stevens

As with the previous iteration, thanks to some very subtle tweaks the ‘24 CB650R feels identical to before, with a slightly frustrating tendency to be revved and thrashed, on something that looks and feels like something that should be a little more grunty and laid back.

But, exactly like its faired sibling in the CBR650R, the big change comes in the form of Honda’s new E-Clutch, which is a truly impressive piece of technology that fits well on a ‘Neo Café Retro’ machine, especially when the £100 price tag is considered. Let’s start with the good stuff; overall, gear changes both up and down the ‘box are smooth and efficient which makes things a lot easier, much like utilising a solid up/down quickshifter unit. It’s also really impressive in its slickness of operation, as without even a hover on the clutch lever the engine is easily started in neutral, pushed into first and rolled away with ease.

The system is also quick enough to cope with 99% of riding conditions too, only really feeling a little bit docile in its application when shifting from sixth gear down to second gear, in the same manner that would be expected on a track – however, it still deals with the stress admirably. But one of the most impressive features is how Honda have dialled in the algorithms to pull from any gear too; although the revvy, four cylinder motor is happiest in the top of the rev range, the E-Clutch genuinely allows for a smooth pull away in 6th gear with no juddering whatsoever – although it’s no good for the health of the clutch, it truly is impressive how it adjusts to speeds, and is able to pull no matter where the engine’s RPM is sitting.

However, it doesn’t quite feel perfect. Like the CBR650R, the CB650R still utilises an old-school throttle cable, which means that it is a little bit too jerky at slow speeds, and in the initial throttle pick-up in first gear. This means that even with the E-Clutch engaged it’s more comfortable to keep the rear brake covered and the clutch lever feathered for slow speed manoeuvring and U-turns, while holding the CB in second gear was a far calmer approach to single digit riding. However, Honda are very aware and opted to forgo ride-by-wire in order to keep the expense down, so we do expect that to come in the near future.

Although there’s three different settings for the strength of force required through the gear lever there’s very little change between ‘Soft’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Hard’ too, which does make it fell a bit unnecessary to mess around with, and it’s also worth noting that for experienced riders, the E-Clutch system does take some getting used to as it’s unnatural not to use the clutch at slow speeds. However, it won’t take long to rely on the easy-going nature of the E-Clutch, and the impossibility of stalling. For those who also like using the clutch, the lever is very soft in its application but there is a lot of play in the lever (which is done purposefully), and it retards the system by five seconds at slow speeds, which makes the system confusing to reintroduce after a panic grab on the clutch lever too – at higher speeds it springs into action after two seconds, which makes it much more natural to rely on. It’s not a perfectly executed system, but it’s bloody good.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Our Honda CB650R owners' reviews are glowing, apart from the CB’s less than clear dash and some corrosion on exhaust and frame.

Built in Thailand, the finish is clean, uncluttered and looks like it should stand the test of time, making it an attractive second-hand buy. The engine is tried and tested from the uber-reliable CB650F, so won’t cause any long-term problems.


Watch a video review of the rival Kawasaki Z650 below:


2024 Honda CB650R E-Clutch | What does Honda say about its reliability?

First published April, 2024 by Carl Stevens

In terms of the E-Clutch, Honda tell us that there’s no need to doubt the longevity of the E-Clutch system, as there are no additional maintenance requirements for the E-Clutch system. However, only time will tell.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The middleweight class is fiercely competitive and in 2021 it has become even harder fought with the arrival of the Triumph Trident 660. Honda have tried to keep the CB’s costs down by building it in Thailand and not Japan but at £7299 it is still a pricey option and compared to the £7195 Trident, which is new for 2021, or the also updated (slightly) £6899 Yamaha MT-07 it seems expensive.

Kawasaki’s Z650 is £6849 (and has a TFT smartphone-connected dash) and the Suzuki GSX-S750 is £7999 (there are lots of discounts as it isn’t popular). With its inline four engine and neo retro styling the CB is in a bit of a class of one, however this doesn’t really justify its higher RRP.

That said, there are great deals to be had on second hand examples and for what is basically a simple 650cc four-cylinder naked, it isn’t going to cost the earth to run.


Watch MCN's video review of the rival Triumph Trident 660 below:


2020 Honda CB650R vs 2020 Yamaha MT-07 on the MCN250

The popularity of ‘first big bike’ middleweight roadster twins such as Yamaha’s class-leading MT-07 has inspired a flood of imitators. Rivals like Kawasaki’s Z650 and Suzuki’s SV650 deliver decent performance and handling that’s a step up to bigger machines for well under seven grand. But Honda does things differently.

With its A2-friendly CB500 twin brood on one side and full-on roadster fours such as the CB1000R and retro CB1100 on the other, ‘Big H’ plugs the middle ground with a newly-updated CB650R – a ‘proper’ four-cylinder bike that’s been significantly updated for 2019. But does it deliver like the MT-07? And what, if any, more does its extra two cylinders bring?

Honda CB 650 R vs Yamaha MT 07

The MCN verdict: I’ve always had a soft spot for the slick, smooth, good-looking CB650 being the sole affordable middleweight four-cylinder roadster in a sea of twins. And the new R, with more power and class and less weight is the best yet – even if I’m not entirely sold on its ‘Neo Café’ looks and annoying dash.

But the lithe and irresistible MT, with better suspension from last year, wins here. Uniquely easy for novices yet also entertaining for experienced types, its intuitive dynamism is addictive and if the spec and finish is a little basic that’s quickly forgiven by its bargain price. Besides, if you want to pay for a little more, there’s always the XSR, Tracer, GT and new XTribute, and even Ténéré versions as well...

Honda CB650R vs Yamaha MT-07 on MCN250


2024 Honda CB650R E-Clutch | How does it fair value wise against its new rivals?

First published April, 2024 by Carl Stevens

In 2024, the Honda CB650R is still a fairly pricey affair - especially when its sportier stablemate in the Hornet 750 undercuts it heavily by costing just £7,299, while Kawasaki’s Z650 is £7,139.

However, the CB650R E-Clutch is slightly cheaper than Triumph’s Trident 660 at £7,895, and Suzuki’s GSX-8S which will set you back £8,299.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

As well as upside down forks, radial calipers, adjustable torque control and lots of natty detail touches you get a multi-function LCD dash (which is actually too dim and to see properly in daylight), full LEDs, an underslung exhaust and indicators that flash when the ABS is activated. Honda also offers a full range of accessories, including heated grips, luggage and crash protection.

Honda CB650R dash is tough to see in daylight


Honda CB650R equipment updated for 2021

First published on 26 March, 2021 by Jon Urry

The CB650R comes with inverted Showa forks (non-adjustable) which for 2021 are now Separate Function Big Piston (SFF-BP) in their design, radial brakes with ABS, traction control (Honda’s Selectable Torque Control) and an updated for 2021 LCD dash.

The updated dash on the 2021 CB650R is poor

Overall the CB has a feeling of quality with LED lights and a good level of finish but the new LCD remains disappointing. Based on the Honda CB1000R it uses a larger font size and LED angle when compared to the old dash (which was even worse) but is still a bit cluttered and remains tricky to read in daylight while the fuel gauge is still horribly small.

Brake hard and the CB’s brake light and indicators will automatically flash as a warning thanks to Honda’s emergency brake warning system, which is standard fitment, and it now comes with a USB socket under the seat. The CB can be customised through an extensive list of Honda accessories that includes heated grips, luggage and crash protection.


2024 Honda CB650R E-Clutch | Updated Equipment for 2024

First published April, 2024 by Carl Stevens

The 2024 CB650R comes with ABS, Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) which is essentially traction control as before, but the full colour, 5” TFT dash is big upgrade from the previous LCD offering, especially with its Bluetooth connectivity.

The option to have the E-Clutch for such a low price (an extra £100) is impressive too, while there’s an extensive list of official accessories available, which includes heated grips, luggage and crash protection.

Specs

Engine size 649cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 16v, inline four
Frame type Steel diamond
Fuel capacity 15.4 litres
Seat height 810mm
Bike weight 203kg
Front suspension 41mm, Showa SFF-BP forks non-adjustable
Rear suspension Single rear shock, 10-stage adjustable preload
Front brake 2 x 310mm discs with four-piston radial calipers. ABS
Rear brake 240mm single disc with single-piston caliper.
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 47 mpg
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost £160
New price £6,999
Used price £4,800 - £6,700
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 92 bhp
Max torque 46.5 ft-lb
Top speed 135 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 166 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2019: Honda re-invent the naked CB650F as the CB650R.
  • 2021: The CB650R is made Euro5-compliant, the forks updated, dash altered and a USB socket added.
  • 2024: Updated styling, a new dash and interface alongside the option of Honda’s new E-Clutch system

Watch MCN's Honda CB650F first ride video below:

Other versions

2019: The Honda CBR650R is effectively the same bike but with a full fairing and sportier bars. It has received the same updates for 2021.

Owners' reviews for the HONDA CB650R (2019 - on)

10 owners have reviewed their HONDA CB650R (2019 - on) 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 CB650R (2019 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Engine: 4.9 out of 5 (4.9/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Equipment: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £160
4 out of 5
29 February 2024 by Chris

Version: Rak

Year: 2020

One of the few four-pot middleweight options still available

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Seat is not comfortable. Not really pillion friendly.

Engine 5 out of 5

Good all-round motor, fantastic fuelling - no jerkiness or unplanned loss of power. Sounds nice , even without aftermarket can. Wind it up and enjoy that non-twin howl.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Has survived a winter outside without problem

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Compact and very manageable to push around. Recommend gel-seat cycling shorts for a bit og extra padding.

5 out of 5 Best mid range choice
17 July 2023 by Jda jon

Version: Black limited edition

Year: 2023

Exceptionally smooth, i think one of the most visually pleasing mid range bikes, everything looks designed to fit.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Could do with another inch on handlebar height, slightly too much lean forward, seat comfort excellent, ride quality very good, very assuring feel.

Engine 5 out of 5

Personally love the power delivery of the inline 4, yiu need to open the taps to get the best out of it, but itd comfortable for plodding along with easy acceleration

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Nothing to report as yet

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Too new to tell yet

Equipment 4 out of 5

Dash needs updating to may be tft.but simple is best, doesnt need anything else. It has abs for safety.. Thats enough

Buying experience: Dealer... £8200

5 out of 5 Suites me sir
03 October 2022 by Parablob

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £200

Better than the sum of her parts. Quality

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Suspension although not adjustable works better than most bikes i have had Very plush and compli ant ride on most surfaces

Engine 5 out of 5

Ultra reliable smooth and powerful has needed and a lovely exhaust note

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

100,% reliable does not miss a beat. Perfect

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

All my own servicing easy to do with time and advanced planning

Equipment 4 out of 5

Heated grips lovely however the dash is poorly designed wrong angle and hard to see during daylight. Not enough brightness That all i feel are bad

4 out of 5 Cracking value, with limitations and some annoying warranty problems
19 May 2022 by Craig Parkinson

Year: 2022

Annual servicing cost: £129

For an inline 4 the bike has some serious vibes coming through the pegs at ~4.5k revs. Dunlop OEM Tyres were shocking in the rain & wet, had to replace to Bridgestones with only a few hundred miles on the clock. Absolutely no weather protection, making motorway runs harsh (but that's also a bonus on a twisty road). I had a warranty repair issue due to water ingress in the indicators & a blown relay at less than 1500 miles. There is also water ingress in the tail of the bike due to a gap between the seat & rear light unit as well.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Stunning road riding quality. Round town, twisty road it thrives. On a mountain pass it becomes alive because of the inline 4. It can also be a gentle beast if kept in the higher gears. It hates motorways, due to the lack of protection. Brakes are meh, lack feel & bite. But are fine for the road.

Engine 5 out of 5

I love the engine, it's ability to be smooth on a run as well be a hooligan if kept in lower gears.

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

Water ingress under rear seat & in tail unit (design flaw). Also warranty repair issue on indicators & blown relays due to water ingress. Bike is kept in a dry garage, this was purely from commuting in the rain.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

First service cost was £129.03

Equipment 5 out of 5

Lack of weight, & decent seat height

Buying experience: Bought from a dealer, I paid the list price.

5 out of 5 Mid sized mayhem.
09 July 2021 by Fastoldbloke.

Version: Neo Sport Cafe

Year: 2021

Great styling and Honda attention to detail. Just enough power to be fun and the chassis is good. Finish and attention to detail belies price. Needs revving and some won’t like slight buzz at high revs but it’s a tuneful motor with a decent exhaust note. Seat design could be better- Two piece not very well padded perch and the USB is under the riders seat and that needs unbolting to get at the socket. Overall so far very happy with it and love the looks. Yes I’d recommend it.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

At it’s best in city situations but also a great A road out of town bike. As usual with unfaired sport bike, Motorway riding could get tiring. It’s fine for a couple of hours. Haven’t had a pillion to comment.

Engine 5 out of 5

I’ve had several “ Torquey” triples. Wanted something different for a change. The motor spins up fast and it’s got enough bottom end to make you smile but not scary and as a restricted 47 A2 would be a great learner bike. Bit of buzzing at higher revs but I’ve had more buzzy 1000cc Fours.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

It’s new so no corrosion. Finish is Honda so good at any price point.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Guessing at annual service - Haven’t got to it yet.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Best feature is the howling motor. It’s great to see a mid capacity ( Not 900cc) Inline 4 still on sale. Slipper clutch and gearbox are slick. Gold finishes on engine and wheels a nice touch. Brakes are not brilliant but they do the job. Standard simple traction control catch net, No riding modes and a real KEY! It’s a turnkey motorcycle 👍 All LED’s are smart. Small amount of storage under seat and lashing points for rollbag straps on pillion footrests etc. Honda Flyscreen is neat and smart. Tailback not available for months—Not good. Big ugly top box rack would ( in my opinion) spoil this motorcycle.

Buying experience: Bought at list price - new from a large franchised dealer who gave me a very generous P Ex allowance.

4 out of 5 Not disappointed.
13 June 2021 by Kennypw

Version: CB650RAKED

Year: 2020

Annual servicing cost: £120

Good bike with frills. It looks very good and was getting complements as soon as it left the dealers. I got rid of the long number plate and indicator holder that sticks out from the back of the bike and replaced it for a small tail tidy and a wee bit smaller number plate. In my mind improved the look no end - not an expensive mod either.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

You need to get off and stretch after a couple of hours. Why is the seat so hard? And no good for sliding back to change position on long stints. Brakes all good.

Engine 5 out of 5

Bullet proof. You need to give it a real hand full to get the full rush. You can also dawdle if you really want. Pretty flexible really.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Overall very good strong reliable bike. Finish is very good although discolouration in the exhaust pipe is a wee bit annoying. Radiator needs an additional guard to protect against stone damage when using the back roads.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

If buying new book your first service (600 mile) when you do the deal. In my experience these guys are busy. A year on and still think it’s worth it. It’s been used at weekends through out the year and was great for playing during the restrictions.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Basic and that’s a quality in itself.

Buying experience: I did a lot of internet prep work and plumped for this as a weekend plaything. Something that can be ridden and parked up through the week.Bought new from a dealer during Covid and found a smooth experience and felt like I walked away with a deal. Although the price was the price I’d have to pay anywhere. They were busy and were shifting bikes at a hell of a rate.

5 out of 5 Joy of motorcycle ownership.
21 March 2021 by Paul Bonell.

Year: 2020

Seat height correct for me, plenty of grunt for me. Miles per gallon at 70 mph 50mpg. Changed the seats for comfort seat. Used it for touring France. Engine sounds busy at speed. Original exhaust is right tone for me, don’t like noises exhaust may get on my nerves on a long journey. Would recommend to a friend.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

In France I like to do 130 miles and have a break, still showing 3bars I fuel up. Backside doesn’t feel to bed and that’s before I fitted comfort seats. Don’t carry pillions, I’m 70 years old prefer to ride solo.

Engine 4 out of 5

Engine sounds busy, but power delivery is good, I think it’s pure as described in the booklet. Even though I love my 650r my favourite is my 2018 cbr 500r which is a great handling twin.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

4000 miles, I clean it regular. Good build quality.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I go to mileskingsport, they’re not cheap but I have reassurance. Have been to other garages with my other bikes and they have comeback with scratches or overtightened side panels. So I’m prepared to pay more for better service.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Good riding position on the 2020 model. L e d speedo is a bit disappointing tries to be a t f t speedo but I can see enough what I want to see. Tried anti glare sticker but it dulled the display I didn’t like it.. I like the look of the bike. Original tyres ok leaning on a sweeping bend on those tar crack repairs rear broke free even with traction on.

Buying experience: I bought from mileskingsport, I’ve always had a good experience from them. Friendly and advise you on your choice. I’ve had a few bikes from them. Generally know what your getting from a dealer.

4 out of 5
07 August 2020 by Lewis

Year: 2020

Annual servicing cost: £180

An amazing bike overall, however the throttle is on or off nothing else. The clutch is silky smooth making changes barely noticeable

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Brakes are very good, the rear can be a little soft at times and the front can be snatchy. Haven't taken a pillion on just yet however, the pillion seat is very comfortable

Engine 5 out of 5

Instant throttle with plenty to give. Having the A2 compliant version the throttle and torque pulls all the way into the low 90s and levels out mid 90s

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Can be a difficult bike to insure as it is a high powered middle size

Equipment 5 out of 5

Tyres have a decent amount of grip. I'd definitely recommend a screen does help with the higher speeds of the motorway, puig do several very high quality ones. The headlight is all led making visibility at night absolutely insane.

Buying experience: Bought the bike from a Honda dealership, original pricing of just under £7400 including the price of the Datatool Trakking device (£99 instilation and just under £11 a month but would definitely recommend for peace of mind) I ended up paying £6000 otr as part exchanged my 125, as well as a voucher for £500 for learning to ride with a Honda accredited school.

5 out of 5 Spirit of the Hornet lives on!
31 July 2020 by Kevin Buckland

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £160

Totally unique today, a 4 pot amongst a sea of twins. Huge fun to ride and top class build.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Great, apart from the seat! Ouch!

Engine 5 out of 5

Zooooooom! That's all you need to know!

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Perfect so far one year in.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Get the quick shifter I find the standard tyres to be excellent

Buying experience: Dealer. Paid £8800 but had loads of extras including quick shifter, Akropovic exhaust, tail tidy, tinted screen, crash bungs and Honda tank and tail bags.

4 out of 5 Great all rounder with unique engine for class. Overlooked bike.
08 May 2020 by EnglishBikerDan

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £180

After riding many bikes over my 16 year career I wanted a bike that does most things well. This bike is a great option for that. From commuting to weekend blasts this bike can and will do it, touring can be done but you'll want to look at aftermarket options for the seat as comfort is an issue on long journeys. Overall this is a lovely looking bike, with a smooth engine and enough power to get you in and out of trouble. Decent brakes and suspension for most road riding styles also make this a highlight in the middleweight sector where most other bikes are let down by lackluster offerings.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Brakes are great, a good progressive feel through the lever but you sometimes do have to feed a fair amount of pressure. Suspension is quite hard for some roads but get this thing out onto smooth tarmac and it's a joy to ride. Seat is horrid for anything over around an hour, my pillion said her seat was unbearable after 40mins. I went touring on my bike and I really struggled with the main seat. Aftermarket options are a must (Bagster, SW motech traveller etc).

Engine 5 out of 5

I love this engine. It reminds me of 1990's sportsbikes! It has a good amount of torque low down and is much more useable than you would imagine. However, get the engine singing and that's where fun happens. Just keep an eye on that speedo!

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

I had some corrision on a couple of hosepipe clamps when the bike was brand new, not what you want to see but these are just steel clamps so I guess it's not the end of the world. The rest of the bike has faired pretty well considering I've ridden it over 1 UK winter so far. Reliability is also what you would expect from Honda. I've left it 3 weeks before starting before and it had no issues turning over straight away. There's a couple of oddities with the HSTC system. Sometimes it's way too aggressive and other times I've managed to spin the rear up. However these are aids and shouldn't be relied upon.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I've just had my 8,000 mile service (although I've only done just over 6k miles, it's been a year so). It cost me just under £180 from a Honda dealer. Running costs for this bike seem pretty reasonable.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Traction control system is a bit hit and miss, sometimes it engages when it's dry and other times it hasn't engaged in the wet and the back wheel has spun up. Dash is terrible, needs to be at least 3 times brighter on sunny days. Standard Metzeler Roadtec tyres are good all round but lack feedback that you get from something like Michellin PR5's. Still, not bad for OEM tyre.

Buying experience: Bought from Farnham Honda, got a bit of discount making this bike cheaper than a new MT07. It is of course, a much better all round bike.

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