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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I took my 600 Hornet in for its 4000 mile service and took a loan bike. Normally I get given a CBF500 naked which is just so painfully slow and under powered. I passed my test on one of those bikes and I was already screaming for more power at the time. This time though I got one of the new CBF600 half faired bikes.

It looks like the old CBF600S (and quite like the CBF1000S at that too) but has been updated this year to use the same frame and engine as the 2007 600 Hornet. I knew it would be lethargic compared to the Hornet but figured I'd give it a chance and try it with an open mind.

First of all I had to navigate parts of Nottingham to go get petrol. I make it a habit to never use the stations next to dealers as their prices are always over inflated. So down to Sainsbury's I rode. All of two miles later and my left wrist was aching. This bike has covered just over 800 miles so far so it's been bedded in, but I found the clutch to be really heavy, the lever too far out and too close to horizontal. When you pop the filler open too there is a plate in the neck with three holes in it; one a little larger than the pump's nozzle and the other two oddly shaped. What's that all about?

After filling up I got onto the main roads out of the city. Under 4000rpm the bike just doesn't want to rev at all and acceleration is a chore. Above 4000 though it starts to pull, enough to have a little fun but still nowhere near enough. The 2007 Hornet has a detuned version of the CBR600RR engine, and this bike again has the same engine, just detuend even further.

I can't get used to the mirrors being so far ahead of me either on the half fairing; I much prefer the bar-mounted mirrors of the Hornet. In fact, the whole riders view is horrible. My Hornet has a digital speedo which is easy to read without any concentration at all; the numbers are just there in big characters. This bike has an analogue speedo though which requires more concentration to read. It seems too far away and so small. Then again, it was unlikely that I was ever going to go over the speed limit without really giving it some beans. The fuel gauge is also an analogue affair, and as I mentioned above it was already on low. I much prefer the digital readout on my Hornet, also found on the CB1000R. Flashing lights on the left remind you that this bike has Honda's Combined ABS and is injected and I thought you could tell while riding; the engine is smooth but whereas I use the (carb'd) Hornet's engine braking into low revs when I pull up, the CBF just kept pulling with low revs. It forces you to gear down and brake. OK, so that's a good habit to be in, but it's not one I'm in so it didn't suit me.

I've ridden the CBF500ABS previously and didn't really notice what the brakes were doing, but I noticed this time. I often pull up on my own bike with a handful of brake in the last few metres and it results in the front stopping bobbed down. Releasing the front brake has the rear then drop back to where it's supposed to be. A bad combination of front and rear, I know. The CBF600 doesn't allow this however. It pulls up quickly but also keeps itself perfectly horizontal, which was pleasant, but boring.

The riding position is as upright as you'd expect, but the long, flat seat means that you slide around and it's hard to keep your position on the seat. The gear shift also seems to be in the wrong place. Maybe it's just me being used to my own bike, but this one seems to require me to point my left foot out at the scenery to get my foot on the lever. If I keep my foot forward then I stand on the edge of the lever instead of the end.

The handling of the bike wasn't helped by the fact that it is running on Michelin Pilot Road S tyres. I had these on my original Hornet and felt that they were partially responsible for me loosing the front end. I don't feel anything through them and they just seem too happy to slide. Knowing that they were on this bike didn't instil me with confidence, but then neither did the fact that the bike is so top heavy. Whereas the Hornet feels well balanced and easy to pick up from almost any lean angle, the CBF seemed to want to fall over all the time. Travelling slowly through the city was horrible as it felt that I was using all my energy keeping the bike upright. Maybe that extra weight from the fairing makes more of a difference than I expected?

This bike comes with a centre stand and I haven't used one of these since I did my CBT so I took the opportunity to see if I could remember how to get the bike onto it. It took more effort than I remember the CG125 taking, but it went up easy enough and was nicely stable too. Hardly a selling point for a bike but it's a nice feature.

One thing I did notice though which surprised me was the blue anodised screws smiling at me from the top of the right-way-up forks. Yeah, the budget, commuter version of the Hornet has preload on the forks. The Hornet's never had that, so how come this does? OK, so it's far from fully adjustable, but kudos to Honda for putting any adjustability into the CBF6.

All in all I guess it's an OK bike, but certainly not one I'd care to keep for more than a day or two while my bike is in for a service. Oh, and if you've read this far then you really are bored and fighting for something to do on the net :twofin

Here's Honda's info on the 2008 CBF600S:

http://honda.co.uk/motorcycles/2008/CBF600S/index.html
 

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Haha I must be bored and looking for something to do on the net.

GREAT REVIEW though, I can just imagine myself having the same views of the bike...

Things like preload etc... I am quite cynical about... can't knock having it really but most of us don't have a clue how to setup suspension properly so I think it is just a gimmick to make it better than the other competing bikes...

It pulls up quickly but also keeps itself perfectly horizontal, which was pleasant, but boring.
:lol so you wont be wanting the ABS CB1000R then because that will do much the same thing.... as did my VFR ABS.

When you pop the filler open too there is a plate in the neck with three holes in it; one a little larger than the pump's nozzle and the other two oddly shaped
My FZ1 is almost the same, I had never seen that before either and assumed it was just a Yam thing... maybe not and all bikes are required to have it.... it does seem to help prevent splash/fill back if you get too excited with the pump - so I assume it has been done for safety reasons.

For me the CBF600 is firmly a commuter bike, I'd be bored by it's blandness within an hour.
 

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Good write-up Ant'... :clap

Pretty much what I'd read by 'professional' writers before I got the Hooner. :thumbup

Bland. :rolleyes
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. It didn't take long for me to get quite an opinion on the bike. I'm sure it's great if you're looking for a cheap, economical way to get to and from work, but it's not really any fun at all. I do agree with you though Dan on the use of preload, in fact any adjustment on the forks. I'm determined to find out what does what when I finally get some adjustable forks on a bike of my own so that I can make it handle how I want it to. I'd do the Hornet's forks were I not planning on getting rid soon.

As for the ABS/Non-ABS versions of the CB, I was talking to one of the guys at the local dealer and he says it's unlikely the non-ABS version will come into the UK, as apparently the non-ABS 07 Hornet didn't. I thought they had, but apparently not. If that's the case then I guess we'll have no choice. A revelation? Or just something to forget about? I hope there's a non-ABS version available personally
 

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Yup indeed.. the £500 or so premium for ABS could be better spent on so many other things.

Preload etc... does make a difference, I always felt that my 600 and 900 Hornets would bottom out under heavy breaking but no so with my VFR or FZ1. Personally I think a bike like the CBF, it is added to attract more buyers (make the bike look more impressive on paper) or..... and more likely this is the case to keep the price artificially high.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, a few more miles under my belt on the CBF and it feels a little more comfortable now, but still so so slow. I have no confidence in overtaking manoeuvres at all. I get the same sensation I did on my 125 Varadero, which coincidentally had a similar riding position and view to the CBF. I start the manoeuvre and should have plenty of time to do it, but half way though I start to think "this isn't gonna happen" and have to abort. That's just not right.

All that said and done, I did find myself doing 100+ this evening and I barely noticed. While the screen does dump most of the wind blast sock into your chest at 60-70mph it seems that at higher speeds it's directed over you much more effectively. Odd that the aerodynamics on such an under powered bike seem to be designed for riding at 100mph+ then.

Not much time left to ride the bike, and I'm looking forward to picking my Hornet back up tomorrow in time for the Notts meet. Heaven forbid something's gone wrong and I'll need to do the meet on this pile of poop!
 

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Is there a meet? Wished you'd mentioned it Ant!!











And where's the review of a Mini?
:p
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
:twofin

My Mini review? They sound like they're electric, have less room inside than the original Mini and they're girls cars. Nuff said :D
 
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