Having owned a CBR600 for several years, I was very happy to have the opportunity to try Honda Canada’s new CBR650R for a few hours. After 100,000 kilometers on the F3, expectations are high, but I remain confident and enthusiastic.

CBR650R 2021
Already, the look of this one, like most sports bikes, makes you crave for speed and curves before you even sit on it… I’ve been given the matte black version, which is magnificent and completely in my tastes. It definitely has a sportier look and is closer to the CBR1000RR than its predecessor the CBR650F.

I look at it, then I sit and start it. I have a smile on my face and here we go!

In 2021, the Honda offers us a 95 HP engine and 47 lbs of torque with a sequential 6-speed constant mesh transmission, with standard ABS. A 649cc 4-cylinder in-line engine with consumption depending on your riding style, of course! Same with exhaust sound, the more your twist the throttle, to more the engine sings and come to life!

CBR650R 2021 engine
What I have always appreciated about the CBR is its precise and unsurprising nature. Which makes it a great platform to learn to master the art of riding.

From geometry to suspension, the CBR delivers a predictable experience that allows us to focus on the road and curves, not whether the front will lift, the rear will slouch or even start to wobble at high speed.

From the first kilometers, I find this feeling of deja vu, but improved. The throttle control is smooth, the shifting too, all beyond reproach.

Engine power is decent, enough to give you a thrill but controllable. The 600 class for sports bikes is my personal favorite. The weight, power and maneuverability combo is ideal and more than adequate for the majority of us.

CBR650R 2021 front brake
A nice combination despite the lack of driving modes. Personally, I would have liked to have the same technologies as the CB1000R or the Rebel 1100, at least available as an option. These are sometimes the details that make the difference when you must choose between different models or brands…

However, it is important to know your actual needs and uses. If you plan to ride with a passenger most of the time, it may be better to go for a 1000cc. Not only for engine power, but also for braking, suspension, and electronics.

The driving position is not too aggressive and allows you to enjoy more relaxed outings or around town riding without your wrists suffering too much. The seat is much thinner than on my F3, but overall comfortable and didn’t bother me during my outings.

CBR650R 2021 close-up

Passenger side, relatively comfortable consider motorcycle style, seat and position. You can afford to take short to medium long rides without making them suffer. My 2 passengers, an adult and a child, both enjoyed their respective rides!

The CBR650R will please you and its price remains accessible at around 11500$. With reliability like Honda’s, maintaining this one won’t put a strain on your budget either.

So don’t wait until they are all sold out!

I miss it already… I would have liked to have it for a few thousand more kilometers… haha



Jean-Sebastien Mackay

Jean-Sebastien Mackay

Riding motorcycles since the 90's - Husband - Father - Army Veteran - Founder of KNUCKLE






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