Having assembled such a solid lineup of entry-level bikes in the 250cc and 500cc categories, American Honda is now bolstering its middleweight options with another bike borrowed from the European market, the all-new CBR650F. A complete redesign of the Hornet-based CBR600F available overseas since 2011, the CBR650F features an upsized, 649cc version of the liquid-cooled, CBR600RR-based inline-four that powered the old bike, in an all-new, twin-spar steel frame with sporty geometry and an upright riding position that makes it suitable for a wide range of riding. With a base price of just $8,499—or $8,999 with optional ABS—it’s priced to move, too.
The smooth, quick-revving four originally comes from the second-generation CBR600RR, one of our all-time favorite middleweights, with a small displacement bump to improve low-end and midrange power for better performance on the street. The steel frameset is strong and likely compliant for a smooth ride, while a traction-enhancing aluminum swingarm dictates a 57-inch wheelbase that splits the difference between stability and agility. Reasonably lightweight—just 461 pounds with a full tank of fuel, Honda claims—the CBR650F should handle well. Full-size, 120-front/180-rear tires mean you have your choice of sticky and/or long-lasting rubber. Triple disc brakes might suggest sportbike-grade stopping ability, but with just two pistons on each side up front, it probably won’t be overwhelming. The full fairing looks aggressive and up to date, in addition to providing a useful amount of wind protection.
Don’t let the aggressive looks and swoopy, 4-into-1 exhaust fool you, though. Above-the-triple clip-ons, a wide, one-piece saddle, and a 4.5-gallon fuel tank should make this appropriate for all-day rides—and Honda, as always, will deliver a full line of Genuine accessories, including luggage, windscreens, and other comfort and utility items, should you wish to fashion an effective, mid-sized sport-tourer. The dual-screen LCD dash is attractive and thorough, too, with a trip meter, fuel gauge, and more. Expect to see it in dealerships this summer, American Honda says.