Somehow it’s already the middle of the week and here we are at the close of our Wednesday. If you’re hanging around the Jalopnik water cooler today, I hope you’re prepared to hear me talk about motorcycles. It’s time to discuss Honda’s mid-range “neo-sports café” CB650R. This is the naked version of the CBR650R both of which were introduced in late 2018 as 2019 models. And there is currently one sitting in my driveway.
(Full Disclosure: Honda delivered this CB650R and a brand new Grom to me in Reno, Nev. on Monday for an extended test session. The CB has been around for almost two years now, but it sits in a sweet spot for many enthusiasts looking for sub-liter bike performance and a sub-$10k price tag.)
While I’ve been commuting in town on the Grom since Monday, I finally got a chance to take the CB out for a 100 mile loop of my favorite roads in the area. If you’re familiar with the Reno-Tahoe area, I went up Mt. Rose highway, skirted the lake, cut down I-50 through Carson City, then went up to Virginia City and down Geiger Grade. It’s a pretty awesome loop for testing cars and motorcycles alike, and my first impression is that this Honda 650 is a spicy boy.
For the 2020 model year, all CB650Rs come with ABS standard, which seems like a no-brainer. The 650cc engine provides 94 horsepower and 47 lb-ft of torque with a totally awesome 12,000 rpm redline. Combine that with a 456 pound dry curb weight and you’ve got a pretty good set of statistics.
It’s been a while since I’ve ventured out anywhere, let alone on two wheels, and it felt very good to knock off the rust and get back to dragging pegs. The roads, particularly around Lake Tahoe, were much busier than I expected for a mid-week mid-morning adventure.
If you’re in the market for a mid-range naked sport bike, what do you want to know about Honda’s entry in that highly competitive set? What fringe case would you like me to test for? Hypermiling to see what max range I can get out of it? Riding it on a wall of death? Taking it on a several-thousand mile road trip in the middle of a pandemic? Tell me what you want to know.