More peak power from revised intake funnels and a new free-breathing exhaust gives the CB650F a satisfying rush up to its 11,000rpm redline, while shorter gear ratios ensure harder acceleration through the mid-range. And with the power upgrade, a new raucous growl emanates from down low, growing swiftly to a fast-spinning howl as the revs rise.
Its handling has been further sharpened with a Showa Dual Bending Valve front fork and revised Nissin front brake calipers. The CB650F's lithe lines - with smaller side cowls and nose cowl - accentuate the engine's muscularity and the machine's forceful forward stance. The headlight and taillight are now LED while rubber-mounted handlebars add long distance comfort
For 2017 the CB650F's engine has an extra 3kW up top, with a 67kW @ 11,000rpm peak power output. The increase - which kicks in from 5,000rpm - is due to new intake and exhaust flow management: shorter air intake funnels feed four 32mm throttle bores from a down-flow airbox (which itself draws through larger intake ducts) and in turn the right side-swept 4-1 exhaust now employs a dual-pass internal structure (rather than triple-pass) in the muffler, reducing back pressure. It also features a larger final outlet.
With shorter gear ratios from second through to fifth, the new CB650F gets away faster than the previous design and from a 60km/h second gear roll-on will put out 3 bike lengths over 400m.
Slightly increased peak torque of 64Nm arrives at 8,000rpm, while the engine's tractability allows it to pull smoothly from idle at 1,500rpm in sixth gear. Adding an extra layer of aural satisfaction, a throaty induction growl at low-to-mid rpm swaps over to an addictive high-rpm howl reminding the CBR650F rider of Honda's four-cylinder racing pedigree.
The 649cc engine uses a compact internal architecture, stacked six-speed gearbox and starter/clutch layout with the cylinders canted forward 30°. The DOHC 16-valve cylinder head employs direct cam actuation; bore and stroke is set at 67mm x 46mm with compression ratio of 11.4:1.
Asymmetric piston skirts minimise bore contact and reduce friction. Ferrous spines on the outer surface of the cylinder sleeves reduce oil consumption (and friction) with improved heat transfer and a silent SV cam chain reduces frictional losses by using a Vanadium coating on its pins. Internal water channeling from cylinder head to cylinders does away with a great deal of the exterior hoses.
The CB650F's steel diamond frame uses twin 64mm x 30mm elliptical spars with a rigidity balance specifically tuned (stiffer around the headstock and more ‘flexible' in the spar sections) to deliver balanced handling characteristics with high levels of rider feedback. Rake is set at 25.5° with trail of 101mm and wheelbase of 1,450mm. Kerb weight is 208kg.
A brand new 41mm Showa Dual Bending Valve (SDBV) front fork improves ride comfort and handling, delivering proportional rebound damping with firmer compression damping as the 120mm stroke is used up. Octagonal fork caps are finished in attractive Alumite. Adjustable for 7-stage spring preload the single-tube monoshock operates directly on the curvaceous gravity die-cast aluminium swingarm.
Cast aluminium six-spoke wheels wear 120/70-17 and 180/55-17 front and rear radial tyres and feature L shaped air valves for easier maintenance. Revised two-piston Nissin front calipers work 320mm wavy discs, with a single-piston rear 240mm disc. Two-channel ABS is fitted as standard.
Tight as a clenched fist, the CB650's styling is pared back hard. New, smaller side cowls highlight the angular fuel tank and show off the engine while the stubby seat unit and cut-back front mudguard adds to the Mass Forward stance. Both the clear-lensed taillight and headlight are LED and the headlight cowl has been drawn in tighter, with sharper angles and a harder edge.
The riding position has been moved slightly forward, placing the rider closer to the front wheel; flatter tubular handlebars use optimised internal weights and now clamp into rubber-mounted risers to aid rider comfort. The seat's narrow middle profile helps ground reach and it sits on rubber mounts that are carefully shaped (with specific hardness) to minimise any vibration. Seat height is 810mm.
The dash comprises twin large digital screens. On the left are the rev-counter and speedometer; on the right are a fuel gauge, clock, odometer and the warning lights. Both sides are lit by a white back light. The key is a compact ‘wave' design.