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2022 Honda CB650R

The CB650R slides in between the CB300R and CB1000R Black Edition in Honda’s Neo-Sports Café lineup.

The CB650R slides in between the CB300R and CB1000R Black Edition in Honda’s Neo-Sports Café lineup. (Honda/)

Ups

  • Lively and engaging inline-four, a configuration unique in this class
  • Crisp throttle response
  • Surprisingly accessible seat height
  • Excellent braking
  • High level of quality

Downs

  • Higher price than many of its competitors; also gets a $100 price hike from last year
  • Sporty front suspension tracks well in turns, but its firmness can result in jarring feedback on bumps

Verdict

Riders interested in a top-quality middleweight naked powered by an entertaining and high-revving inline-four will find the Honda CB650R is the only bike in the 650cc range that hits all those marks. All the other bikes in the category are of the two- and three-cylinder variety. However, the CB650R’s MSRP tops the list compared to the competition.

Overview

Inline four-cylinder engines have been a staple of Honda’s lineup since the 750 Four debuted in 1969. Fast-forward 50 years to 2019, when Honda’s CBR650F and CB650F middleweights were heavily revised and given the R suffix to better match the bike’s sporty performance. The outgoing streetfighter-styled CB650F was replaced with a freshly designed naked middleweight that now represents what Honda calls its Neo-Sports Café segment. This new styling, reminiscent of the late ‘90s/early ‘00s Hornet/Honda 599, is seen in today’s CB650R, modernized with blacked-out paint and burnished bronze detailing.

Today, the CB continues to bring the classic high-revving spirit of its flamboyant predecessors with its liquid-cooled 649cc mill. The CB650R claims a unique spot in today’s current middleweight class as being one of the only 650cc bikes equipped with an inline-four engine, unless your definition of “middleweight” includes the GSX-S750 or Z900.

The midsize CB makes for an appropriate step up from beginner bikes or a reintroduction to riding. Its engine, comfortable ergos, solid braking performance, and top quality receive top grades that, for those interested, may outweigh the somewhat unbalanced suspension and high price.

Modern LED lighting throughout gives the CB its pristine look.

Modern LED lighting throughout gives the CB its pristine look. (Jeff Allen/)

Updates for 2022

Nothing has changed for 2022. Honda made changes to the CB’s suspension, engine, ergo, and styling just last year.

Pricing and Variants

The latest CB comes in Matte Black Metallic for an MSRP of $9,299, which is $100 more than last year’s model.

Competition

The CB’s main competition comes from the Aprilia Tuono 660, Kawasaki Z650, Suzuki SV650, Triumph Trident 660, and Yamaha MT-07. Larger-displacement offerings like the Suzuki GSX-S750 might also be considered when shopping this class.

The SV650 ABS ($7,749), MT-07 ($7,899), Z650 ABS ($8,049), and Trident ($8,395) undercut the $9,299 CB by $900 or more and are arguably just as much fun and lively. The larger-displacement GSX-S is even less expensive at $8,549. The only competitor that the CB beats in price is the Aprilia Tuono 660, which has an $10,499 MSRP.

The 649cc engine loves to rev and rev high.

The 649cc engine loves to rev and rev high. (Jeff Allen/)

Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The twin-spar frame houses the same powerplant seen in the CBR650R, a liquid-cooled DOHC 649cc inline-four. The CB’s engine is tuned for high rpm, as is evident in its peak power figures and real-world character. As seen in our dyno test, its peak 81.9 hp is achieved at 10,870 rpm and its 42.97 lb.-ft. of torque at 7,960 rpm. At 7,000 rpm there is some vibration present; push it past 8,000 and the vibration diminishes. In any case, the ride is an exciting one. In our review, we noted that “aggressive riders will be entertained by the opportunity to push it to high rpm and draw out more of its raucous energy, but the linear way the power is delivered means the bike is also accessible to riders climbing the displacement ranks.”

A twist of the throttle rewards riders with crisp throttle response and addictive intake and exhaust sounds. Twin air ducts on either side of the fuel tank direct air into the airbox to produce a great growl; a large 1.5-inch bore tailpipe trumpets sound out of the exhaust.

Handling

Last year Honda swapped out the Showa Separate Function fork for the Showa Separate Function Fork Big Piston version. This fork carries over into the 2022 model year and gives the middleweight CB a sporty and firm ride quality. This stiffness helps the bike track into turns, but harsh bumps have their say.

On the other end, the Showa shock does a better job absorbing roughed-up roads, though rebound and compression adjustability would help balance out the ride. The bike’s 445 pounds is carried well though, which is nice when hitting snaking turns.

Brakes

Stopping is handled by Nissin calipers at both ends. The dual radial-mounted four-piston units at the front work particularly well with the two floating 310mm discs; braking responsive and perform with an easy one-finger pull at the lever. The rear’s single-piston caliper grabs hold of a 240mm disc. Coming to a stop is uncomplicated, as it should be.

A single finger on the brake lever is practically all you need to bring the CB to a halt.

A single finger on the brake lever is practically all you need to bring the CB to a halt. (Jeff Allen/)

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

During our time on the bike, we averaged 47 mpg.

Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility

The CB’s handlebar was canted forward as part of the MY21 changes and the reach there is comfortable, whereas the pulled-back peg position makes the full rider triangle somewhat sporty. Honda managed to keep the bike fairly narrow, which is impressive considering there is an inline-four engine there.

The 32-inch seat height is reasonably approachable, especially considering that the beginner-friendly CB300R is only fractions lower.

Electronics

While the CB does not have ride modes, it does have rider aids such as Honda Selectable Torque Control (or traction control) and two-channel ABS. HSTC can be turned off.

The white-on-black LCD display is somewhat modern, although it’s quickly starting to fall behind full-color TFT units. Font sizes were increased last year and the display angle was slightly altered to help with visibility in full sun.

Honda keeps all of the CB’s lighting up to modern standards; LEDs are found in the headlight, taillight, and turn signals.

The air ducts on either side of the tank feed into the airbox, giving the CB its entertaining intake growl.

The air ducts on either side of the tank feed into the airbox, giving the CB its entertaining intake growl. (Jeff Allen/)

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Honda’s transferable warranty includes one-year, unlimited-mileage coverage. The HondaCare Protection Plan is available for extending that coverage.

Quality

Like the CB1000R, the middleweight CB has fine fit and finish. Minimalist details match the bike’s clean look, making for a simple yet effective design.

2022 Honda CB650R Claimed Specifications

MSRP: $9,299
Engine: 649cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-four; 4 valves/cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 67.0 x 46.0mm
Transmission/Final Drive: 6-speed/chain
Cycle World Measured Horsepower: 80.55 hp @ 11,000 rpm
Cycle World Measured Torque: 42.14 lb.-ft. @ 8,160 rpm
Fuel Delivery: PGM-FI w/ 32mm throttle bodies
Clutch: Wet, multiplate
Engine Management/Ignition: Full transistorized
Frame: Twin-spar, steel-diamond frame
Front Suspension: 41mm inverted Showa SFF fork; 4.7 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Showa shock, preload adjustable; 5.0 in. travel
Front Brake: Dual radial-mounted 4-piston Nissin hydraulic calipers, floating 310mm discs w/ ABS
Rear Brake: 1-piston caliper, 240mm disc w/ ABS
Wheels, Front/Rear: Cast aluminum, 17 in. / 17 in.
Tires, Front/Rear: 120/70-17 / 180/55-17
Rake/Trail: 25.5°/4.0 in.
Wheelbase: 57.0 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.8 in.
Seat Height: 31.9 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gal. (0.8 gal. reserve)
Cycle World Measured Wet Weight: 445 lb.
Contact: powersports.honda.com

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