Most middle-weight motorcycles these days have been pushing the envelope, getting closer and closer to litre-class offerings. Now, I was really looking forward to riding the Honda CB650R, even more than the new Ducati Monster. I believe a 650cc motorcycle is in fact an authentic middle-weight and, therefore, extremely relevant for our market. The CB650R is a textbook example.
Pushing out 86bhp and 57.5Nm, the CB maintains a perfect equilibrium of performance and usability. It’s friendly enough for someone upgrading from a 300 – 400cc offering and, at the same time, potent enough for hooliganism. In fact, it exhibits two different behaviours on the track and the street – it almost feels like the CB650R has a split personality. If you choose to stay in the lower part of the rev range, it almost feels meek and humble like a monk. But when you rev it beyond the 8,000rpm mark and get closer to its peak power output, it turns into a different animal altogether. It is this nature of the bike that makes it friendly for amateur riders and equally engaging for seasoned bikers.
But it isn’t all smooth sailing for the mid-size CB. You do feel some vibrations through the tank and seat at around 6,000rpm – something that is not very Honda-like – and it can be quite the buzzkill.
Another aspect of the CB that really impresses is its handling. The suspension is firm enough to make sure that mid-corner bumps don’t quite unsettle it but, at the same time, is absorbent enough for our road conditions. The wide handlebar offers enough leverage for quick direction changes.
The CB650R is a very affable and forgiving motorcycle, and therein lies its beauty. Speaking of beauty, just look at it – it’s an absolute stunner! From its Neo-Sports Café stance and the retro-looking round headlight to its beautiful exhaust headers, every aspect of its design is a work of art. And its overall build quality further adds to its desirability quotient.
The only chink in the CB650R’s otherwise shining armour is its price. At ₹8.68 lakh (ex-showroom, Gurugram), it is ridiculously overpriced, especially in comparison to its rivals. And this makes the CB650R a really fancy toy for many – one that you want really bad but can’t have it, for deep down you know that it’s too expensive and out of your reach.
- 2021 Honda CB650R (Lap Time – 01:11.6)
|COMFORT & PRACTICALITY||10||7.5|
|RIDE & HANDLING||10||8.5|
|VALUE FOR MONEY||20||8.0|