Well Miss Jones, who’d have thought when you let down your hair you’d be such a saucy little minx? Honda’s CBF1000 is sold and regarded as a functional rather than a fun bike but ride the thing and chances are you’ll be amazed. It’s a riot. It handles superbly, not in a ‘push the front, drift the back’ type way but in real world situations with regular riders on board it’s an extremely nifty mover. It rolls smoothly and stably into corners with enough feedback to let you know what’s going on but never enough to unnerve you like some flighty race reps.
There’s more good news. The engine’s an ex Fireblade unit lifted from the previous generation CBR1000RR. It’s detuned but it feels exceptionally strong and torquey at low and medium revs, which makes rapid progress easy. If you’re looking to wring every ounce of performance from it, you’ll find ground clearance limited and the suspension’s got a whiff of budget about it but that’s not what the bike’s all about. Anywhere from 0-85% rider effort it’s a cinch to make the CBF hustle. Want to whup matey on the sports bike away from the lights? You just did. Of course it ticks all the practical boxes too: comfy and reliable with reasonable running costs. Check out the rear tyre – a comparatively skinny 160 section. That sums up the CBF completely. A wider tyre would look better but wouldn’t improve handling. In fact it’d make it heavier, slower turning and it’d cost more to replace. Like the CBF1000 itself, its rear rubber is unpretentious, well thought out and effective.
Functional bikes tend to be bland middleweights or weedy small capacity machines so it’s refreshing to see a big capacity all rounder like the CBF. There’s little to compete with it except Suzuki’s long running and heavily updated Bandit which appeared in 1996. The Honda was designed from an almost blank piece of paper and it’s a top job.
Fifty-four CBF1000 owners filled in our online survey telling us everything about their machines. They’ve done half a million miles among them on these bikes so they absolutely know the score.
Continue the Honda CBF1000 lowdown