2021 Honda CB650R Review
By Kingshuk Dutta
1 mins read
Published on September 6, 2021
- The Honda CB650R Neo Sports Cafe Racer is priced at Rs. 8.67 lakh
- It gets a 648.72 cc inline-four engine; 86 bhp and 57.2 Nm of peak torque
- Offers excellent performance, looks good too, but priced too high
"You meet the nicest people on a Honda bike"! It is a lovely 1965 song from a band called 'The Hondells' and it served as Honda's tagline for the longest time. But all of that was in the past! The new-age premium Honda motorcycles are sharp, muscular and have solid road presence, which comes as a refreshing change! And the new age Honda that we are talking about today, is the new Honda CB650R!
Beatiful, neo sports cafe design, classically styled and unmistakable presence! The Honda CB650R gets a tick on all those boxes! I mean look at it! It is a tight, compact package. The colours look really good too but the standout piece of styling has to be the exposed and curved headers! It could very well be the motorcycle's Achilles heel too. There's nothing that protects those pipes from underneath. And while a ground clearance of 148 mm seems to be sufficient when you are riding on tarmac, you might want to be careful when you are riding over big bumps.
Nonetheless, our test motorcycle looks really good in the candy chromosphere red colour and the bronzed out engine along with the golden USD forks up front add to the classic neo retro design. The good news is that there is a nice balance of the old-school charm and the new age look, which makes it one of the best-looking motorcycles in its segment.
Engine Specifications & Performance
The Honda CB650R and its faired sibling, the CBR650R, get the same 649 cc in-line four cylinder engine which makes 86 bhp at 12,000 rpm along with a peak torque of 57.5 Nm at 8,500 rpm. It is a four-cylinder engine after all, which is why the performance peaks at higher revs.
Well, that inline-four cylinder engine has a roaring intake howl and a melodious exhaust note! I mean even if you are accelerating from 30 kmph to 50 kmph in the third gear, the sound that the motorcycle produces is sheer symphony. The engine has this dual personality! Like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Till 7,000 rpms, the engine feels vibey and slightly stressed and the moment you cross 8,000 rpm, the four-pot motor breaks into a song and rewards you with exhilarating performance and between 8,000 and 12,000 rpm is where the sweet spot lies!
This also means that the engine is not quite happy when pottering about in town at slow speeds. It is a rev-happy engine and needs constant throttle and gear inputs to keep you moving. And yes, the four-pot engine does heat up if you are caught in stop and go traffic. The six-speed gearbox is quite smooth though and operates flawlessly without missing a beat. There is a sense of tractability on the engine, but a slightly smoother throttle response at lower speeds would have made the riding experience much better.
Tech & Ergonomics
The ergonomics on the CB650R are quite balanced. The riding position has the right mix of sportiness and comfort. The footpegs are slightly rear-set and the wide handlebar offer enough leverage for you to hustle the bike around! Speaking of hustling, the motorcycle is agile and whether you throw it around corners or filter through traffic, it is always going to be on your side, giving you enough confidence, which includes the grip offered by the Dunlop tyres.
The Nissin brakes offer good stopping power and shed speed in a measure manner although a little more feel on the brake lever would have been better. The 41 mm Showa separate function, big piston forks up front and the monoshock at the rear offers a nice balance between offering a taut ride around corners and is plush enough to soak up regular bumps and undulations.
The CB650R gets a simple negative LCD digital instrument console, ABS, switchable traction control along with full LED lighting too. Now, there are no riding modes and the throttle is cable-operated, which means there is a slight lack of finesse when it comes to throttle response. Also, the instrument console is basic and visibility under bright sun may be an issue. Given the price, we expected a better unit.
Pricing & Rivals
And pricing is perhaps the biggest deal-breaker on the motorcycle. At Rs. 8.67 lakh, it is significantly more expensive than its rivals, the Triumph Trident 660 and the Kawasaki Z650, which are priced at Rs. 6.95 lakh and Rs. 6.24 lakh. All prices are ex-showroom. Given the pricing, one would expect better equipment and a longer list of features, which its rivals offer.
The Honda CB650R is a lovely motorcycle and it does most things right! It is a good choice for you have as your first big bike. The look and feel is premium and the performance is par for the course as well, especially the inline-four symphony! It has everything going for itself, barring the price! Too expensive when compared to the rivals and not enough features on offer either. It may not need riding modes or ride-by-wire, but the Indian customer is always looking for a great overall deal and the CB650R does not offer that! A lakh of rupees less, maybe a little more, and then it would have made for a wonderful package!
Last Updated on September 6, 2021
Great Deals on Used CarsView All Used Cars
- 9,800 km
- 32,400 km
- 48,262 km
- 73,810 km
- 36,800 km
- 65,400 km
- 85,500 km
- 72,000 km
- 48,000 km
- 31,000 km
Popular Honda Models
-4001 second ago
Japanese Luxury carmaker Lexus has launched the new generation of its flagship SUV, the LX in the Indian market. The car has arrived with a new design, many more features and just a Diesel engine option. But is it worth Rs. 3 crore? We take it out for a drive
4 days ago
Nissan sent us the Magnite CVT for long-term duties and here’s how it has performed so far
6 days ago
The most extreme C-Class on sale in India today looks sporty yet elegant
7 days ago
MY 2024 Range Rover Velar is the first midlife facelift for the compact luxury SUV that brings in new features with a more minimalist, yet comfier cabin.
10 days ago
Earlier in 2023, Bentley launched the Extended wheelbase version of its Bentayga SUV which costs Rs. 1 Crore more than the standard version. We drive it and get driven in it.
11 days ago
In development for the better part of a decade, the Mantis has evolved significantly from previous iterations, but still needs work.
15 days ago
The new Mercedes-AMG C 43 is bolder, more powerful and promises to offer better performance than its predecessor, despite having a smaller engine. So, can it live up to those claims? Let’s find out!
17 days ago
The recently launched updated 2024 Jeep Compass now comes with a 4x2 diesel automatic option. We spent a day with the SUV to see if how good it is.
17 days ago
A power upgrade and more features push the price up but make one of Mercedes' best-sellers more interesting
21 days ago
The all-new Royal Enfield Himalayan promises more than all-round versatility and could easily be one of the best adventure bikes to be introduced in recent times.
17 days ago
After recently sharing multiple teasers of a new motorcycle, Honda India has launched the new CB350, a more retro-style version of the modern classic bike.
28 days ago
The CB650 twins will be Honda’s first bikes to get the new E-Clutch technology that debuted earlier this year.
1 month ago
HMSI sold 4,92,884 units, indicating a 10 per cent growth compared to October 2022
1 month ago
The Transalp moniker made its comeback with the XL750 last year at the EICMA show and has now made it to Indian shores.
1 month ago
Prices of the new Honda XL750 Transalp are introductory with bookings open for the first 100 customers