On the surface, the 2017 Honda CBR650F and its naked sibling the CB650F don’t look much different than their 2016 versions apart from their new graphic schemes. The overall visual design, including their oh-s0-sexy cascading header pipes are back, and the underslung silencer has only a slightly different shape. Underneath the familiar skin, however, are a few updates that further refine Honda’s two 650 models.
Honda shortened the air intake funnels for the 649cc inline-Four while adding a dual-pass internal structure (rather than triple-pass) in the exhaust to improve the overall intake and exhaust flow management. The result is a 4 hp increase in peak power output to 89.8 hp at 11000 rpm while maximum torque increased by three-quarters of a pound-foot to 47.2 lb-ft. at 8000 rpm.
Shorter ratios from second to fifth gear improve acceleration with Honda claiming the 2017 models can beat the previous model in a 60 kph (about 37 mph) second gear roll-on by three bike lengths over 400m (437 yards).
Honda also added a new 41mm Showa Dual Bending Valve fork. In our middleweight comparison against the Kawasaki Ninja 650 and Yamaha FZ6R, we found the Honda offered the firmest suspension settings but gave the lowest score in the suspension category. Honda says the new fork improves ride comfort and handling while offering more travel (up to 4.7 inches from 4.3 inches). The rear suspension remains the same monoshock with seven-stage preload adjustment.
In our shootout, we noted the CBR650F had the best brakes. That didn’t stop Honda from further revising the Nissin front brake calipers, though no specific details were offered.
The 2016 models already had LED taillights but the 2017s receive LED headlights as well.
The CBR650F’s fairing looks very similar to the outgoing version but for some open gaps in the side panels under the seat. The CB650F on the other hand has a much smaller radiator shroud, further emphasizing the angular shape of the fuel tank while showing more of the engine.
At the moment, Honda has not announced U.S. availability for either model. The CBR650F has been offered in the U.S. since 2014 but the CB650F was not.