Honda is a by-word for bombproof build-quality and reliability and the CBF600 doesn’t disappoint in this department. Bikes like this with exposed engines are always going to vulnerable, but you can see the CBF600 riding through the salt-encrusted depths of winter and back again without tarnishing its excellent finish. Cycle parts are robust and the CBR600RR engine is so detuned it should easily outlast the rest of the bike.
You could almost ride the Honda CBF600 with your eyes closed, it’s that simple. Thanks to plush suspension, which offers up a superb compromise between ride quality and handling, the Honda glides over bumps and keeps all but the nastiest pot-holes isolated from the rider. The riding position is very natural with an easy reach to the high bars, there’s lots of legroom and the seat is three-way height adjustable too. Ground clearance is more than enough for this type of machine and even when pushed hard the CBF600 won’t get itself into a wobbly mess. Honda has opted to fit the old-generation Michelin Pilot Road tyres, which don’t have the grip, especially in the wet, of the newer generation Pilot Road 2.
For your five and half grand, the Honda CBF600 gets ABS brakes as standard, a centre stand and decent underseat storage, but if you want things like a top box and panniers you’ll have to start ticking boxes in the optional extras lists.
For the type of rider Honda is targeting there are far cheaper bikes out there that do the same job and are more fun to ride, too, like the £4599 Suzuki SV650S and £4895 Kawasaki ER-6F. For just a few hundred quid more you could go for the simply excellent Triumph Street Triple, which will look after you when you’re learning to ride and thrill you months down the line when you’ve got the hang of it. The Honda is just too grey in every respect.