HONDA CBR650R (2019 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The CBR650R looks every bit a mini-Fireblade and makes for a very enjoyable relaxed day-to-day sportsbike. But is there a market for it in? Surprisingly, Honda sold 602 CBR650F models in the UK last year (ironically more than the 'Blade), so on this evidence there most certainly is.
Some potential owners may be more tempted to buy a used supersport bike instead of spending nearly £8000 on a new CBR650R, but a PCP plan that currently works out at £99 a month may sway this decision…
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
Furthermore, we’ve also ridden the Honda CBR650R on Bridgestone S22 tyres.
Tyres we ran on our 2019 Honda CBR650R longterm test bike
The OE Dunlop D214 Sportmax rubber that came on our longterm test bike held its own in the warm and dry but things got a little vague in the cold and wet. They lasted around 5000 miles before squaring off and needing to be replaced.
By the time the Dunlops needed swapping, the temperature had risen and trackdays were looming and so we fitted Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa 2s. With a triple compound rear (preserving the softest, grippiest rubber for the edge) and dual compound front these were the ideal choice. On the road, the Pirellis felt plush and smoothed out small bumps really well.
Next we opted for Bridgestone S22 sports touring tyres, which sat pretty well in the middle between the long-lasting but vague Dunlops and the soft Pirellis. The tyres flatter profile made you work harder to tip into a corner but they were very stable once you did.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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.
How did our longterm test bike cope with a winter?
The MCN Fleet 2019 Honda CBR650R never put a mechanical foot wrong. It burned no oil at all between changes in 20,000 miles of riding and felt the same on the way to a service as it did on the way back.
Like many modern bikes, it didn't stand up to a British winter without bearing scars and some of the metalwork, especially the pegs and pillion pegs had furred up by the time it went back. The paint and tank decals scuffed up under a magnetic tank bag, too.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
What did we add to our longterm test bike?
The 2019 MCN Fleet Honda CBR650R came with the optional quickshifter fitted from the factory, but was otherwise standard.
When you're riding hard, the quickshifter is a dream to use but it's a bit ropey at low speeds around town especially if your chain is due an adjustment.
We fitted engine covers from GB Racing and crash protection, tail tidy and radiator guard from Evotech.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 16v, inline four|
|Frame type||Steel diamond|
|Fuel capacity||15.4 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm, Showa 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||120/70x17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55x17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||47 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£200|
|Used price||£6,500 - £7,800|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||94 bhp|
|Max torque||47.2 ft-lb|
|Top speed||135 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||195 miles|
Model history & versions
MCN Long term test reports
MCN Fleet: time to wash and go
It’s time to wave goodbye to the Honda CBR650R and I’ll be really sad to see it go. Related: full expert Honda CBR650R review on MCN One of my concerns at the start of this long-term test was that the CBR would be too soulless for me – and it’s not the sort of bike that makes your tingly bits ting…
Owners' reviews for the HONDA CBR650R (2019 - on)
3 owners have reviewed their HONDA CBR650R (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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
Version: No ABS
Annual servicing cost: £200
It is a great touring bike. Beautiful. That quad exhaust is a work of art.
Super comfortable, quiet when you like it to be. The brakes are super forgiving and effective. Acceleration is there when you want it. It really can be a, expensive, starter bike. The throttle is manual not fly by wire.
So far no issues. A speedo with an actual gas gauge. You'll need that later one. The tank is small and it gets thirsty.
That's just the 600 mile service. Gas is based on use. Value: You can get the 600RR for the same price with incentives. I didn't want a supersport. I already had access to an r6 and it was FUN but not decent to cruise.
My fault should have found an ABS.
Great middleweight motorcycle, handled all situations so far with utmost control. Loved every aspect of the bike.
The braking system is the best part of the motorcycle. Barely triggering the brakes and the bike stops very fast without making the tyres squeal. Wonderful in the rain and ice, even with the stock Dunlop tyres.
Smoothness is the keyword. The in-line four allows a very good power distribution, and peak power is high in the powerband allowing for a relaxed ride very easily if you want. Power always keeps coming the more you accelerate almost before the redline.
Minimal vibration at idle, no gaps or components shaking while riding and a very well-designed frame that shows its potential when riding hard.
The LED headlights and tail lights are beautiful and at night I have a great visibility of the road and the other cars. As for extras, I loved the luggage pack, as the tank bag has the chance to put your phone there and allows touching without taking it off, and the rear bag is pretty big, compared to the pack cost.