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.
Reader query: tyre pressures on Honda CBF600
Q: I have been using my Honda CBF600 for six months. I had got it into my head that the front tyre pressure was 42psi, which has always seemed fine. The other day I went to check the pressures and the front tyre’s valve came off in my hand!
I wheeled it down to the local bike garage for a replacement and the technician informed me that the front should be 36psi (I double-checked this and they’re bloody right.)
However the bike now feels completely different. It turns in much quicker and goingover white lines or parallel ridges in the road seems exaggerated. What on earth is going on?
Ryan Finn, Northampton
A: One of two things is happening. Either the bike is now handling the way it should have in the first place, with faster steering, and you just have to get used to it. Or, the pressure has been so high for so long that it has introduced some unusual wear characteristics and the tyre is now super sensitive to surface changes.
Either way, when you get your tyres changed in the future always stipulate new valves. Tyresthat are over five years old are often deemed to be past their sell-by date. That valve could be as old as the bike, and on a 2000-year machine the rubber could be perishing at a rate of knots.
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.
Reader query: What coolant for Honda CBF600?
Q: I’ve a 2008 Honda CBF600 and I need to refill it with coolant. The manual says it should be 50/50 antifreeze and distilled water, but I can’t get antifreeze at this time of year. What type of coolant already mixed can I use?
Jd67, MCN forums
A: Just pop to any motor factors and ask for some that's suitable for an aluminium alloy engine. Stick to a 50/50 mix with distilled water (tap water will leave deposits and is slightly corrosive) and you'll have no problems. If you're changing it yourself don't forget to flush the old stuff out of the engine before filling up again.
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.
Honda CBF600 owners' reviews on MCN
We've currently got 28 Honda CBF600 owners' reviews on the site, with an average score of 4.1 stars overall. There's a huge wealth of information there for potential buyers so we'd recommend checking them out before taking the plunge.
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.
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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.