All Comparisons – CB650F, Bandit 650 or XJ6: in line, the small 4-cylinders! – Small roadsters online and on the road

CB650F, Bandit 650 or XJ6: in line, the small 4-cylinders !

All Comparisons - CB650F, Bandit 650 or XJ6: in line, the small 4-cylinders! - Small roadsters online and on the road

The arrival of the Honda CB650F reminds us that ten years ago, the 600 cc inline 4-cylinder was the benchmark architecture among mid-displacement roadsters. For the occasion, Site released the Suzuki Bandit 650 and Yamaha XJ6. Comparo !

Small roadsters in line and on the road

Stalled at the regulatory 50 km / h in built-up areas, our three roadsters take advantage of leaving the town to open the throttle wide and in line, on third gear. The tachometers then all show roughly the same value: around 3500 rpm…

Taking advantage of its almost featherweight weight and all-new, all-beautiful 650 engine, the CB650F takes off like a bullet, silently. The 4-cylinder of this "Cebe" seems indeed fuller than that of the 2013 Hornet … and let’s not talk about the 1998 model !

The Honda engine is both lively and linear: with it, there is no kick in the ass. Its manufacturer puts forward – and rightly so – its torque and its midrange (63 Nm at 8000 rpm), but the 4-cylinder defends itself sharply well beyond…

The CB pulls in fact continuously up to the red zone which begins just before 11,500 rpm. Very efficient in intermediate gears, the little winged roadster impresses in second and third gears. What a pity that accelerations are accompanied by vibrations in the feet, buttocks and hands !

The CB650F therefore remains in the lead, followed by … the Bandit 650 which defends its skin dearly. Finally, the superior inertia of its mill (water, like the other two!), Sensitive in low revs, does not penalize it that much, nor its weight..

The Suzuki takes advantage of its generous displacement and its less supercharged engine ratings (see the technical sheets on the following pages) to hang on the wheel of the 2014 novelty and distance the Yamaha, much more hollow in the low and mid revs…

By insisting a little, however, the balance of power is reversed between the Suz ‘and the Yam’! If the only true 600 cc of the band lacks response below 4000 rpm and cannot compete with the 650 cc on the following 4000 revs, it shows devilishly efficient beyond.

The power deficit of almost 10 horsepower on paper is totally absorbed by the weight difference (30 kg), so that the small XJ6 manages to stand up to the big Bandit. And the satisfaction of the Yamaha rider is complemented by the noise emanating from his machine launched at full speed. !

The rattle of the air box, very present during the rise in speed, is then covered by the hiss of the tiny low exhaust! The angry nature of the engine is sublimated. Beside, the Suzuki seems silent … which corresponds very well to the profile of potential buyers: reasonable and calm. However, the performance of the brakes is to match…

The Bandit 650 may benefit from the services of 4-piston front calipers, it does not brake twice as well as its Honda and Yamaha counterparts with two-piston elements. On the contrary, the Suzuki roadster turns out to be less efficient: the lever attack is timid and the power lower than that of the two rivals, even when insisted.

Young people allowed who will have practiced for weeks – even months! – on latest generation roadsters will instantly notice the difference. Old bikers, on the other hand, who have only driven motorcycles "thousand years"(copyright Hector, 7 years old), will find nothing to complain about. Unless of course, if they taste like us in XJ6 or CB650F !

Bandit 650: old scoundrel

The front brakes of the Yamaha and the Honda are much more biting than that of the Suzuki and then make it possible to stop their mounts more effectively. Less important than on the Suzuki, the plunging of the fork is more sensitive and disturbing on the Yam ‘than on the Honda.

To attack in the winding, we therefore prefer the CB650F, faster and easier to place on the angle, with or without brake. Responding scrupulously to the demands of the rider, the front brake of the Honda interferes very little on the behavior of the motorcycle and allows you to concentrate on the road.

The Bandit 650, on the other hand, requires both more investment in the upper part of the body and more fingering in the right hand when gripping and then releasing the front brake. It is not always easy to follow the Honda! Small advantage of the Suz ‘nevertheless: its rear brake is the most biting and the most adjustable, and allows the bike to sit better..

Lighter and very precise as long as the coating remains clean, the front axle of the CB is more sensitive to bumps than those of the GSF and the XJ: the limit between agility and nervousness can be crossed on the Honda. Practically as physical as the Suz ‘in the changes of angle, the Yam’ nevertheless wins the votes of "sportsmen" thanks to its front wheel constantly glued to the road, whatever its condition..

Continuing our happy arsouille, we also observe that the rear shock absorber of the CB650F is less serene than its counterparts when transferring all the cavalry to the ground when exiting a curve. More brutal, the arrival of the horses (87 max) generates small rebounds which surprise the first times, and take a certain time to be absorbed. The XJ6, again, does better on this point.

The suspenders of the Bandit 650 are even more flexible than those of the Yamaha. Their sinking more marked under braking and acceleration therefore require a more "old-fashioned" conduct. You (re) learn to wind the turns and anticipate the reactions of your bike according to your own actions.

XJ6: the benchmark, always

But to realize these limits, you have to whip the motorcycles. In this little game, the perfectly tuned suspensions of the Yam ‘make you want to drive ever faster. The footrest lugs generously filed by previous journalists – and by ourselves, let’s face it – are there to testify…

It is more difficult to overcome the – better – ground clearance of the Suz ‘. As for that of the Honda, to challenge it on the open road borders on unconsciousness! It is hardly that on the circuit that the "païlotes" will scrape the footrests … of the CBR650F version? But this is another story !

Whether it is for romantic walks or arsouilles between friends, we will finally remember that the Yamaha offers the best compromise between comfort / sport compared to a more agile Honda, certainly, but also more "nervous", and a less good braking Suzuki. and more "sleeping bag".

To be able to overtake more easily on the highway without falling out of gear, Iwata engineers run their little 600 to 7,000 rpm in 6th gear at 120 km / h. More robust, the 650 can turn 1000 laps less quickly at the same speeds.

The XJ6 grinds faster then, but the crackling – frequent on 4-legged at high speeds – is limited to only the footrests and is quite bearable. The CB650F disappoints once again because of the omnipresent vibrations: unpleasant tingling takes hold of the feet from 90 km / h, then spreads to the legs and hands even before reaching 130 km / h (around 6,500 rpm) . The pilot may move forward, back, regroup or relax, it is impossible to get rid of this inconvenience.

Like the CB650F, the Bandit 650 takes 20 km / h at 1000 rpm on the last gear. It is the most pleasant on fast track, devoid of vibrations, perfectly stable and comfortable. On its handlebars, Site can take stock (see the usual strengths and weaknesses in the right margin, under the conditions and course).

Fewer and fewer, buyers of the little Bandit are not stolen. The cheapest of the 4-cylinder is also the most comfortable and the best equipped (trunk, center stand, gear indicator engaged). But you have to deal with "his" weights: the one that is measured in kg … and the one that is counted in years. And without ABS !

On the price side, the CB650F is much more expensive than the Suzuki and – more problematic – than other medium-displacement roadsters as recent! However, it is less expensive than the reference of small 4-legged, the XJ6, and consumes on average less fuel (5.2 l / 100km for the CB, 5.4 for the XJ and 5.5 for the GSF on our essay). Two key data for some buyers !

Difficult to follow in town and on beautiful small roads because it is very easy and agile, the Honda also has the most efficient engine. But this unfortunately produces too many vibrations. On an imperfect coating, the slightly dry suspensions in turn limit comfort, as does the too hard saddle..

Less stylish than the new Honda 2014, the Yamaha ultimately offers a wider range of use than the Honda and offers the best comfort / sport compromise in its category. More physical to carry, it is also healthier and more stable.

Admittedly, its "small" 600 cc is the hollowest of the bunch, but it rivals its 650 cc comrades in terms of flexibility and beats them flatly in terms of sound … Finally, the rage it shows high in the towers imposes! This is the character that 4-cylinder fans are looking for, no ?

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