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CB650R New Member in the Bay Area 2021 CB650R

Randoman5

2021
CB650R ABS
Jan 8, 2022
Riding Since
2011
Hi everyone, I'm extremely excited to be here.

I picked up my 2021 CB650R yesterday in Los Angeles. As far as I can tell it was the only one for sale in the entire State of California. My first bike was a 1995 CBR600 F3 I bought used with LSL handlebar risers. It's never let me down and I love the bike but when I moved from Ohio to California I left it there in my parents garage. It'd been over two years since I'd ridden at all when I got an offer a couple months ago to ride a Harley Davidson Livewire. I was intrigued about electric motorcycles and the Livewire was amazing. I wanted it. I still want it, but that's another story. I couldn't afford it. I decided to buy something else.

I considered Ducati Monsters and Streetfighters, the SV650 a bike I've liked but never ridden for 20 years and a few others including a CB1000R. Ultimately even though I've been riding for quite a while now I haven't ridden in years and I felt a bit awkward at the start of my ride on the Livewire. I didn't want to jump straight to a 1000cc 140 horsepower bike with roll on wheelies and what not.

I've loved the way the new CB1000R looked since I first saw it and then I discovered the CB650R. On paper the bike is almost identical to my beloved F3. It makes torque a bit lower, doesn't rev quite as high and doesn't make quite as much top end power. I fell in love with the looks of the matte black 2021 bike and determined I had to have one. I never even test rode one before I was on my bike with 0.1 miles on the odometer, but I was right, the bike felt instantly at home and familiar.

That was a good thing as I'd failed to find a 2021 for sale in California and almost gave up and bought a used red one from a shop in LA. I spoke with the sales guy on the phone and informed him that I was really looking for a 21. Then he casually mentions they have a new sitting in his shop. I asked how I could get it to the Bay from LA (we're about 350 miles apart) He suggested I ride it home. I was a bit reticent about this. I haven't really done a road trip on a motorcycle anywhere near that long. I told him I'd think about it.

The more I thought about it the more I thought it sounded like an awesome adventure and a great experience. I bought it from LA Cycle Sports, located near LAX across the street from the famous Randy's donuts. Finally I called back the dealer and told them I wanted it the next day. We finished up the paperwork via email and I bought a plane ticket for Saturday to pick the bike up in the morning.

350 miles and some mild hypothermia later (being fairly new to CA I often forget how cold it gets once the sun goes down... and intended to be home before then in any event.) I didn't count on the stops I'd have to make for fuel and ergonomic reasons, as well as to warm up once the sun started setting. The trip was a tremendous experience. I got some first hand lessons on lane splitting from the LA bikers on the 405, and I've never gotten out of LA and on to the freeway so painlessly. Later I ran into a pair of MC looking guys on giant black faired Harleys cruising at a steady 100 mph. They flashed me the strange two finger motorcycle sign than I've been using since I started but still don't understand all 3 times they passed me. I figure I must have making pretty decent time if I passed them twice.

The bike was great on the trip, moving effortlessly through traffic, but I really underestimated how fatiguing being in an 80 or 85 mph wind for 350 miles would be. And I estimated it would be extremely fatiguing.

The bike feels and sounds so much like my CBR that I almost wonder if they have the same engine with a different stroke. The new bike definitely feels more torquey down low, no doubt thangs to fuel injection and 50 extra cc's. I had a bit of trouble getting used to the clutch. I've been driving stick shift cars and riding bikes for 22 years. I don't want to toot my own horn too much but I'm good at it. I'm a guy who can usually jump in any stick shift car or bike and get it moving without trouble on the first try. I can heel toe and rev match every downshift on the street.... I'm insane... but I digress. The clutch has very little feel and the engagement point seems far too late in the travel. I eventually got used to it, but definitely slipped it quite a bit more than I wanted a few times.

The suspension is the biggest difference from my old bike. In every situation my CB650R eats up bumps and is extremely confidence inspiring in corners. It's almost like potholes and manhole covers don't exist at all. I rise up on my pegs a bit and brace for an impact that never comes.

On my trip I never really gave the bike the beans on my road trip. The manual says to avoid heavy acceleration during the first 300 miles and this bike doesn't have to work very hard to slice and dice through traffic. By the time I'd finished 300 miles I was so cold and tired I didn't have the energy to see what it could do.

This morning it occurred to me that maybe I'd made a mistake buying the 650 instead of the 1000. The thing I love about my F3 is that it can be very docile (helpful as it was my first motorcycle) and if you choose to, it can scare the living shit out of me, accidentally merging onto the highway at 125 when I think I'm doing 80 or 90 and the like. So I took it out this morning on some empty backroads, let it warm up and started flogging it. I was wrong. It's fast enough. It feels like it's about to roll on wheelie at full throttle in lower gears, and it might if it weren't for my instinctual reaction of getting low and forward on the bike when I give it the juice. Perhaps I'll give it a try when I'm slightly more experienced on the bike and not so worried about scratching my beautiful new bike. I've never come close to laying a bike down, but perhaps because it's always on my mind.

I'm a tinkerer and I love modifying bikes and cars. I'm not sure what if anything I'd change on this bike. Perhaps some wind protection if I could find something that wasn't ugly. I was thinking I might do an exhaust, but the stock muffler sounds good to me and is at least as loud as my F3 with a micron can. It also looks awesome in my opinion and I haven't seen an aftermarket one I've liked better.

Bottom line. I absolutely love the bike. I love it. People stare at it wherever I go. My friends who are girls think it's pretty. It seems just about perfect so far.

I did take some pics on my trip.
 

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JH09

2019
CB650R ABS
Jul 29, 2020
Riding Since
2010
such a cool story! welcome to the club. the black looks really nice...
 

Tyjamo

2018
CB650F ABS
Apr 15, 2021
Riding Since
2001
Thanks for the write up, Brother! I previously had an '07 CBR600RR. I kinda miss it, but I'd rather have my CB 90% of the time. I was also wondering about the lineage of this motor. Maybe someone can enlighten us. Is it a direct successor to the Hornet 600 (599 in US), and if so, wasn't that already a modified version of the CBR motor, and if so, wasn't that the same motor that ran in Moto2 for all those years?
Congrats on your purchase. Isn't it something to have a brand new machine. Revel the moment, it'll never be quite like it is right now. So clean, so stock. But you'll make it custom to your liking, which is your right, and your duty.
The 1000's were on my mind too, but this I how I figured it. They're double the price, but nowhere near double the bike. And, 100 HP (after you install your Akrapovic) is plenty for most sane day riders. When I ring out the gears on my 650, I'm glad it's not a 1000. Yes more torque and power is cool and such, but frankly it is ridiculous. 650 is a beautiful package.
Enjoy!
-Ty
 

miweber929

2014
CBR650F
650 Alumnus
Staff
Feb 13, 2015
Woodbury, MN
Thanks for the write up, Brother! I previously had an '07 CBR600RR. I kinda miss it, but I'd rather have my CB 90% of the time. I was also wondering about the lineage of this motor. Maybe someone can enlighten us. Is it a direct successor to the Hornet 600 (599 in US), and if so, wasn't that already a modified version of the CBR motor, and if so, wasn't that the same motor that ran in Moto2 for all those years?
It’s been discussed several times before: there is an original press release stating the 650 was a clean sheet design from top to bottom but other information says it was loosely based off the pre RR 600 motor with numerous changes. The Moto2 motor is all RR based.

Having owned a ‘14 650F and an ‘11 RR at the same time, tracked an F3 in the past and extensively ridden an 03/04 RR (my buddy still owns one) and an ‘05 F4i (my dads owns one) I can say it’s closest in feel to the F4i but a good running F4i has more high reving power and feels faster on the top end. With upgraded suspension the 650 is more planted, and feels more solid and modern but very close to the F4i.

The RR is completely different, and a much more potent package.
 

xorbe

2021
CBR650R
Nov 2, 2021
California
Riding Since
2013
Whoops sorry, I was going to say something, then I realized OP has the CB and not the CBR. Well I was saying I bought one of the last CBR in the area from the Madera dealer a few weeks ago. I bounce between Santa Clara/Mountain View and the Modesto area.
 

Randoman5

2021
CB650R ABS
Jan 8, 2022
Riding Since
2011
Thank you everyone for your kind responses. I only took the 101 from Gilroy. Not sure if I passed your house.

I did a little research on the engine. It looks identical to the one in my CBR 600 F3 because it is. Every 600cc Honda four cylinder in every CBR from the CBR 600F to the 2006 CBR600RR was a variation of the same block and head. The frames used are also very similar. Remember the snorkles on the F4 and F4i? Those are the same intakes in the silver pods on my bike, meaning steel or aluminum the frames are quite similar as well.

In 2007 the all new CBR600RR got an all new smaller lighter 600cc engine which it retains to this day, while the legacy motor was used in the more casual 600 and 650cc sport bikes. I thought this was really interesting.
 

Randoman5

2021
CB650R ABS
Jan 8, 2022
Riding Since
2011
Oh yeah, get an adjustable lever for the clutch side, so that the engagement point isn't 20cm from the bar.
I've gotten used to it enough I can one hand around in my parking garage, up the ramps and everything so I probably won't mess with it, but why did they do this? It's so much worse than the bike they made 25 years ago.
 

C(B)hris

2019
CB650R ABS
Aug 17, 2020
Denmark
Riding Since
2020
I've gotten used to it enough I can one hand around in my parking garage, up the ramps and everything so I probably won't mess with it, but why did they do this? It's so much worse than the bike they made 25 years ago.
My main stealer helped me adjust the stock lever to a bite point a little closer to the handlebar, made a huge diff although it is still the same (long) initial reach. Quickly got used to it though.

Congrats, it is a lovely bike and engine, especially now where it seems inline fours is not that common anymore in the midfield bikes. And yes people seem to like the looks, I get many thumbs up and nice bike comments. (Shiny Black ‘19)
 

Decade

2021
CBR650R ABS
Oct 16, 2021
Riding Since
2015
I also initinially disliked how far out the clutch bite was, but I found I've adjusted to it now. Still, it's basically in a different postcode compared to my SV650.

I still dislike the indicator position. It's not really that it's swapped with the horn compared to other manufacturers - when I had my CB125F it wasn't a problem. It's that it seems both too close to the rider & too far right. I've occasionally snagged my thumb on the indicator when trying to activate it. It's especially odd for a Japanese manufacturer, given that the Japanese are generally smaller than we are. I wonder why they've set the bike up for giant-hands ?
Anyway, as time passes, it comes to matter less & less as I adapt. No doubt the quick-shifter has screwed me up for the next bike if that doesn't have one.
 
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