Editor ‘Arris has relinquished the CBF600 for final ‘commuter’ testing in Toronto, but before he goes, here’s an update on the CBF’s touring ability.
Well, the CBF600 is now officially in the hands of the CMG grand techie, Patrick Shelston, having thankfully survived its tenure with me intact.
Pat will put the bike through its paces as a commuter in Toronto (there’s no traffic in Sackville so I was unable to test this side of the bike) and will update us on that in a month or so before returning the bike to Honda.
I must say it was a sad day when I handed over the keys, as the CBF has proven itself time and again as a very competent all round bike.
If I wanted to get sporty (often) then just wick it up and away I’d go, or if I was in the mood to relax (rare) or go into Tour mode (more often) the bike would purr along all day holding more than enough of my crap in its panniers and top box.
My last ride (and tour) with her was to join the lads for the CMG Fall(ish) Tour that meant a two-day ride to the Catskills via my now well-worn path through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, followed by a three-day ride through Pennsylvania and up to Toronto.
The CBF can certainly pack on the miles, and a 10-hour day would leave me tired but not overly uncomfortable. The seat is a little on the hard side after that amount of time, but it never breaks you and thanks to a three-position adjustment I managed to put it high enough to stop my knees from being cramped up.
The adjustment process is a bit tricky as the bolts that hold the back of the seat in place weren’t long enough to reach when in the highest position and so I had to get longer ones. I figured I must have done something wrong but I tried just about every permutation and combination I could think of.
Being a lanky bastard I did find that the screen was just a tad on the short side. The airflow was nice and linear (no buffeting) but after a few hours at 130 or so I could feel the back of my neck getting sore.
I did do some research on screen options and found a very interesting bolt-on adjustable spoiler option called the Vario Touring Screen from the twistedthrottle.com website.
Alas, since it’s a Canada-only bike (and a new one at that) they didn’t have any in stock and by the time they could get one, I’d already have finished my tour.
Oh well, I guess I could try and keep it down to legal speeds …
Our tester came equipped with all the available touring options, which include heated grips ($259.68), 33-litre panniers ($1,249.98 – includes mounts) and a 35-litre top box ($623.78 – includes carrier, brackets and passenger pad).
Throw in the centrestand ($239.98), which is very handy for chain lubing, and knuckle deflectors ($99.99 – actually work well at keeping the elements off your digits) and for an additional $2,473.41, you have one sweet touring machine.
Of course, you could likely save some dough going aftermarket for some of these things but I’d highly recommend going for the Honda panniers (made by Givi anyway) as they not only have good capacity but they fit INTO the side of the bike and prevent it feeling more like an ocean liner than sport tourer. Even the mounting brackets are discreet and blend well when the bags are off.
The top box, although very useful, was a bit of a fiddly fucker to get closed, mainly thanks to combining the latch with a rotating thingy that would also release the bag, but also because the latch bit would hit against the main body and refuse to close without some jimmying.
It would also tempt the user into putting in larger items that perhaps were not best suited for carrying high up and away from the centre of the bike and this resulted in a quite pronounced bar wobble if you took your hands off the bars between 70 and 90 km/h, though even without luggage it could still be felt.
Oh, and before I forget, the heated grips are a life saver when it starts to chill off but they are awfully big. I’d find my fingers actually went numb after a while because of the size, but this is likely just another sad reminder to me that being in your forties is the start of body breakdown and so you may have no problem with getting yer mits around them.
Just don’t take your hands off to get some blood circulating if you’re anywhere between 70 and 90 km/h!
And finally, some fuel economy figures. The average I got was 18.29 km/l, or 5.47 l/100km (that’s 43.4 mp(US)g). The worst was 16.81 km/l that happened stuck on a highway at 130-140 while the best of 20.36 km/l was on mixed roads at a more sedate pace.
So it’s a sad goodbye to the CBF600 for me as I recommission the abused KLR650 back into service for a month or two of riding before the first snows fall. Bugger, is it the Fall Equinox already? Sigh.