The CBR uses the same updated chassis and suspension as the CB650R, which means inverted forks and radial brakes alongside a revised steel diamond frame.
The CBR's sporty riding position increases the percentage of the rider’s weight over the front wheel, making the forks compress more at low speed. This gives the impression they are softer, but its settings are identical to the CB and once on the move they feel just as composed and are set perfectly for sporty road riding.
Combined with the surprisingly agile chassis, the CBR is a very sweet handling machine that will even be replacing the CBR600RR at the Ron Haslam Race School for 2019.
Honda claim to have given the 649cc inline four a bit of extra poke when compared to the outgoing CBR650F, but you would struggle to notice its 5% increase in peak power or the 5% boost in top end the CBR’s twin ram air scoops give it over the naked CB650R on the road.
What is far more apparent is the reworked assist/slipper clutch’s beautifully light action and the revised gearbox, which changes ratio with the faintest of touches (a super-slick quickshifter is a £295 accessory).
When applying the power from a closed throttle the inline four is a little abrupt to respond, but once on the gas it’s very controlled and makes for a very easy-going road bike with a spirited bit of top end performance once you feed it some revs.
The inline four motor is tried and tested and there are no CBR650F-related horror stories so all should be well. Build quality appears fairly high (it is built in Thailand and not Japan) so you can confidently expect it to run and run.
The CBR650R stands alone as the only fully-faired sporty middleweight inline four, so it is hard to value.
Its closest rival is the lower-spec Kawasaki Ninja 650, which at £6599 is over a grand cheaper than the £7729 CBR, but it has a parallel twin motor. Arguably the Tracer 700, which is £7299, could also provide some competition, however it is aimed at a slightly different target audience.
Check out the rival Kawasaki below:
The CBR650R comes with inverted forks (non-adjustable), radial brakes with ABS, traction control (Honda’s Selectable Torque Control) and an LCD dash.
Overall the CBR has a feeling of quality and looks fantastic in its mini-Fireblade fairing, so much so it is easy to mistake it for the litre bike. Brake hard and the CBR’s brake light and indicators will automatically flash as a warning thanks to Honda’s emergency brake warning system, which is standard fitment.
The CBR comes with an extensive list of Honda accessories that includes heated grips, luggage and crash protection.