Used Bike

Buyer Guide: Honda CBF1000

Aside from a few charging system problems, Honda’s rider-friendly yet rapid CBF1000 has carved a place in a great many riders’ affections. Here’s the how and why from those riders

Click to read: Honda CBF1000 owners reviewsHonda CBF1000 specs and to see the Honda CBF1000 image gallery.

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.

What to pay

Always a bargain for such a capable litre bike on the new market. The CBF was £5999 when launched in 2006 and  only rose in late 2009  when all bike prices leapt up due to the weak pound.

It’s good value as a used buy too. The cheapest examples are early, high mileage bikes in private sales and these can be had for a little under £3000. £3500 gets a pretty decent early bike in a private sale or a higher mile example from a dealer. With £4000 you can get a tidy 07 from a dealer or an 08 privately. With £5000 the world’s your CBF oyster and with a little haggling will net a one year old minter from a dealer. At the time of writing several main dealers were advertising pre-registered 1 mile bikes for £6500 which should go for not much more than six grand.

The Touring model (introduced 2008, discontinued in 2009) had lower fairing panels and is worth about £50 more second hand. The GT version (also introduced 2008) has these panels plus hard luggage and fetches £250-£300 more as a used machine.

ABS added about £400 when new, depending what exact year and these bikes are worth about £200 more than the base model on the used market.

Parts

Honda parts aren’t famous for being cheap but they’re not outrageous for the CBF. The model hasn’t changed at all while it’s been in production other than colours 2006 (orange, green, black, blue, silver), 2007 (red, black, blue, silver), 2008 (red, black, white, silver)

Genuine Honda parts prices:

  • Bar end weight £14.16
  • Mirror (l/h) £20.51
  • Rear brake pads £20.35
  • Clocks (complete) £635.75
  • Headlight (complete) £185.40
  • Clutch lever £27.87
  • Indicator (l/h front) £24.29 
  • Front brake discs (pair) £126.44

Known Issues

  • Battery

Quite small and some owners reported what they regarded as premature failure of original items. If the engine’s slow to turn over, budget £30 for a cheap replacement or £60 for a quality one.

  • Bars

Some bikes came with the handlebars twisted slightly to one side from new. It’s not a big job to fix but can be time consuming to get spot-on.

  • Headlight

Weak, especially dip beam. HID kits make a big difference and you can get one for as little as £55 (www.HIDs4U.co.uk 0844 8842600).

  • Fairing

Check for panels which rattle or buzz when the bike’s being ridden. They’re not a huge problem but can be time consuming to remedy.

  • Steering

The handlebars on a few bikes seem to shake gently if you take your hands off them. A top box often makes it worse.

  • Engine Mounts

Can be damaged if crash bungs are fitted and over tightened so check carefully before you buy.

  • Charging system

The only major known reliability weakness. The alternator can fail. Only two (out of 55) owners in our survey suffered so it’s pretty rare. Early (2006) bikes are said to be the most prone.

  • Tyres

Bridgestone BT-57s were fitted to many bikes from new. They’re a very old design and disliked by many owners. Michelin Pilot Road 2 are regarded as the best choice.

The nuts & bolts

Servicing 
Over half of all owners surveyed don’t do any work on their bikes themselves – probably because many of these machines are still covered by the factory warranty. Only a tiny proportion do all the work on their CBFs. Odd, considering how easy they are to put spanners to.

A very minor service is due every 4000 miles but it’s little more than a check over. Intermediate services are due every 8000 miles but again this isn’t a massive job; oil and filter replacement, spark plug check and a very thorough going over. The big service is due at 16,000 miles and this includes valve clearance checks so will be a bit nearer the pricey side of life.

In our survey, average price paid for a minor service was £123 and the intermediate one £221. Not that many owners had the 16,000 mile biggy done but it looks like it’d cost about £400 at a main dealer. Most of these bikes are taken to Honda authorised agents probably because they’re so new and owners are concerned that going elsewhere could invalidate their warranties (not necessarily the case).

What goes wrong?
Very little. 75% of owners had no problems, 20% had suffered one minor problem and five percent had a few problems. None had loads. That’s an excellent performance.

Of those who did report issues the most common was battery bother. Five (out of 54) owners said their battery stopped working too soon or was faulty in some other way. Three owners had problems with the charging system. Two were faults with the alternator – a known fault said to affect early bikes the most and one was due to a bad wiring connection. There’s a lot of information on the subject at the excellent website www.CBF1000.com.

Two owners had to have steering head bearings replaced but they can be considered consumables. Another two had brake light switches fail.

All the other faults were only reported once in our survey and were pretty minor except for one owner who’s bike needed the clutch replacing.

We asked owners what they’d check if they were buying a used CBF1000. Top answer was tyres. Nine owners wouldn’t want a bike on the original, dated Bridgestone BT57s. Four owners each mentioned alternator and battery condition. A £5 pocket multimeter gives you a good idea if these are ok (at least 12.5 volts from the battery when the bike’s not been run for 12 hours and 13.5v or more with the engine running). Four also said they’d check handlebar alignment and three riders said fairing rattle / buzz was a problem although easily cured by checking panel fit.

Finish
Pretty good. Almost half owners surveyed had no complaints at all. Seven mentioned the paint wasn’t as durable as they’d hoped and four reckoned each of the following weren’t up to scratch: mirrors (finish peels off), fasteners, heel plates and the struts holding the fairing in place. Overall that’s a good result but these bikes are pretty new so we wouldn’t expect too many complaints. Several people said they thought the CBFs finish better than many rivals.

Consumables and costs
Tyres last well. Average life is 8330 miles from a front and 7600 from the rear and 12,000 / 10,000 is possible if you ride gently. The most popular tyres by a colossal margin are Michelin Pilot Road 2. They’re a cutting-edge premium sports touring tyre and of the 61% of owners surveyed who use them, they’re almost all delighted with their performance. 18% have Bridgestone BT-57s. They’re a very old sports touring tyre and while some say they’re OK, most reckon they’re not as good as other choices and many only use them as their bikes came with them fitted from new. Dunlop’s Road Smart is the third most popular with 15% opting for them. Like the Michelins they’re a superb all round tyre.

Most (87%) of owners are still using original brake pads. The majority of people think they’re merely OK, but some rate them highly and there are no real grumbles. Nine percent have swopped to EBC HH and the majority think they’re better, boosting stopping power, especially of the fairly weedy rear brake. Original Honda pads do seem kindest to the brake discs though.

Average fuel consumption is a pretty respectable 47.7mpg. Plenty of riders manage to get more than 50mpg on steady runs and very few get it below 40mpg. That’s impressive for a large capacity bike but we suspect that’s because they’re not ridden too hard most of the time.

Luggage and exhausts
Hard luggage is popular. Out of 54 owners, 44 had hard luggage fitted. The majority of these (70%) had Honda’s own top boxes and panniers. Most people are happy with them but quite a few mentioned the string which stops them opening too far is flimsy and can break. Other complaints were that the brackets rust, they’re not cheap and one reader says their topbox doesn’t lock properly all the time. The remaining 30% had Givi hard luggage. There were no major complaints and one person who’d used both systems preferred the Givi. It’s worth noting there’s more than one size / type of both the Honda and Givi luggage. Larger, more heavily loaded boxes are more likely to affect stability than smaller, lighter ones.

It’s a sign that CBF owners tend to be sensible sorts: just one had fitted an aftermarket exhaust and it was made by very well regarded Austrian firm, Remus.

Modifications
These tend to be practical add-ons. Most popular are heated grips with Oxford rated better than the more expensive Honda ones. Powerbronze rear huggers seem to be the best as Honda’s is too short and Skidmarx’s fits too tightly. Front mudguard extenders are the next most popular with screens (MRA Vario Touring’s the best) and crash bungs (R&G) following. Several owners upgraded suspension. Wilbers rear shock, fork springs and oil are said to be good, ditto Hagon. Hyper Pro fork springs, oil and rear shock spring are a cheaper option. Two riders made gearing taller by swopping the 16 tooth front sprocket for a 17. HID headlight conversions, chain-oilers (Scottoiler) and uprated horns (Stebel Magnum) are all good choices too.

Your Reviews

Like the owners who contributed to this guide, we're still looking for your reviews and offer a platform for yor to log your thoughts and opinions of the Honda CBF1000.

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