All Duels – Duel CBR650F vs CBR600RR: enemy sisters? – Road test of the CBR650F and CBR600RR

Duel CBR650F vs CBR600RR: enemy sisters ?

All Duels - Duel CBR650F vs CBR600RR: enemy sisters? - Road test of the CBR650F and CBR600RR

Updated in 2013, the CBR600RR saw a CBR650F land this year in its box. Should Honda’s – real – Supersport fear competition from this new sports bike? To find out, Site confronted them on the road and circuit.

Road test of the CBR650F and CBR600RR

The clutch levers are devoid of adjustments on both machines but are a good distance away and are pleasant to handle. The two 4-cylinders compete in flexibility and descend without flinching under 30 km / h in sixth. A treat to get out of Parisian traffic jams.

We just regret that the RR tends to cut the throttle a little too brutally. Honda will have to (re!) Rework its PGM-DSFI double injection. Conversely, nothing to complain about the simple PGM-FI system of the CBR650F. The concern for progressiveness encountered on the CB650F has disappeared as if by magic (read our).

Lovers of beautiful melodies, on the other hand, will rejoice in the hoarse sound of the "double R". For a bit, it feels like the presence of a 1000! Admittedly, the pilot is too far from the pot and does not benefit from all his notes, but the rattle emanating from the airbox is much more exciting than the rustle of the "simple F".

Discreet from a sound point of view, the CBR650F is much less so in terms of vibrations. The weights attached to the end of the handlebars and under the footrests of the CBR650F are not there by chance … Unfortunately, we notice from the first kilometers that their effects are limited: like its real twin CB650F, the CBR650F vibrates too much !

It’s a shame because when stationary, Site noted an improvement: the annoying phenomenon of audible resonance on the roadster between idle and around 2500 rpm is indeed camouflaged by the fairing of the CBR650F.

But even peacefully stalled in 6th gear, the "six-and-a-half" begins to vibrate unpleasantly in the handlebars from 50 km / h, while the engine does not even run at 2500 rpm. You don’t feel anything like it on the "six hundred"…

1000 laps higher, the CBR650F trots at 70 km / h – the maximum speed authorized on the Paris ring road – and the crackling becomes difficult to bear! In the space of a quarter of a turn of the ring road, large supplies – red, those that sting! – attack the pilot’s hands…

Fortunately, the 650 makes up for it – partially – thanks to its muscular pickups in the mid-range, much more than the 600. Although their pistons share the same bore (67 mm), those of the "big" CBR are on 3, 5 mm more, and it shows !

Site would even say more: it shows, since on the intermediate gears, the heavier CBR650F invariably relegates the CBR600RR to its mirrors … The owners of the latter, who prided themselves on having a relatively "coupler" Supersport, may be surprised … not to say disappointed or upset.

In built-up areas, where you don’t have fun making your engine howl all the time on the street, the difference is obvious. Under 6000 rpm, the CBR600RR is sorely lacking in niaque – compared to that damn CBR650F, not against an R6! – and get dropped off.

Likewise, the front brakes of the "F", which are not excessively biting and easily controlled, prove to be very well suited to road use. The endowment of ABS as standard on the 650 will still reassure the "commuters" during their daily bike-work-sleep.

We note in passing that Honda abandoned the C-ABS which fitted the CBR600F. The rear brake pedal of the 650 does not activate any of the pistons in the front calipers: braking only with the foot is therefore no longer as effective as on the faired Hornet.

On the CBR650F, the ABS takes care of the grain without ever hindering driving. The excellent grip of the S20 is undoubtedly not foreign to this total absence of locking of the wheels during our arsouille on road. But Site warns its readers that the 650 receives original Dunlop D222 or Metzeller Roadtec Z8 Interact, a little more "road".

Likewise, MNC did not undergo any untimely intervention of the ABS on the CBR600RR wearing Dunlop D214 … for the good and simple reason that our test model lacked the famous electronic ABS specific to Honda sports cars, which costs the trifle of 1000 € (thousand euros!) and weighs 10 kg (ten kilograms!)…

More responsive, the front brakes of the RR are also more powerful than those of the F. As soon as you grab the brake lever (adjustable, as on the F) you can already feel the four pistons from each caliper bite their 310 m disc (320 mm on the F).

A hairy 650, a velvet 600

Side suspensions, we notice that the small fork of the CBR650F does not erase as well as the big Showa of the RR the sudden shocks that reserve some very poorly coated departmental in the Paris region … and that MNC naturally takes pleasure in borrow !

The rear shock absorber of the F – only adjustable in preload – also struggles more to keep the link with the ground. But beware, on a clean surface, the "enemy six" easily manages to follow the "six hundred" and offers comparable comfort..

By leaving the suspension settings of the original RR, the Supersport offers in this configuration an excellent compromise: both remarkably comfortable on small bumpy roads and rigorous on the motorway..

In the city center, however, speed bumps are approached with less apprehension on the handlebars of the CBR650F. The more upright position of the pilot on the "false" sports car actually adapts better to this type of obstacle than that of the "real" sports car..

Still in urban areas and in summer, the pilot of the RR and his possible "co-pilot" may curse the so pretty pot housed under the saddle … The buttocks and under the thighs are cooler on the F. Likewise, whatever the pants, the pilot never slips on the road, which is not the case on the sports car.

Site declares the draw (zero to zero) regarding the softness of the stool, insufficient. It is nevertheless easier to pass the sponge on the "slate" of the Supersport than on that of the road sportswoman, supposed to ride over longer distances..

On the highway precisely, the crackling of the CBR650F still does not weaken, on the contrary … They migrate to the tank and settle in the saddle, stack at 130 km / h (6000 rpm in 6th). The disappointment lives up to expectations again … and it is big within the MNC editorial staff who love to ride again and again !

The pure pistarde also distils vibrations in the buttocks and in the hands from 120 km / h (6500 rpm in 6th gear), but their intensity and frequency are more bearable. Paradoxically, we therefore prefer to make the connection routes on the track !

The bubble of the F – unfortunately not adjustable in height – hardly protects the abdominals and the forearms of the pilot when this one is held upright. You have to bend your back and bend your arms to protect your shoulders and the bottom of the helmet from the wind. As you might expect, the RR does even less well on this point.

The tiny bubble of the Supersport only protects from the wind if you agree to put your helmet on the tank. Buttocks at the – end – back of the saddle, elbows resting on the knees: the dab position is admittedly ridiculous when seen from the outside when driving at 110 km / h on a 4-track … but ridicule does not kill not ! In this position, the pilot gets tired less and the engine too.

On all of our driving (circuit included), Site calculated that the larger and recent CBR650F had a slight advantage over its competitor of the day, the 650 having consumed an average of 5.3 l / 100km against 5.7 l / 100km for the 600.

The maximum autonomy is however similar since the tank of the RR is a little larger than that of the F: respectively 17.3 and 18.1 liters. According to the learned MNC calculations, the complete autonomy of the two machines can thus reach 350 km, without forcing.

On the practical side, finally, the CBR650F reserves a small place under its saddle for a disc lock or a Honda specific U. Then you need a helping hand to close the double saddle: make sure you move it as far as possible towards the tank before pressing on its rear part to lock the latch..

Under the passenger seat of the CBR600RR, on the other hand, only the papers and the motorcycle’s fine tool kit pass. So not practical and not very safe to go for a quick trip to the supermarket, even if the 600 – like the 650 – has a coded key. And during a "little race" on the circuit this time, which CBR wins ?

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