My Honda CBR650F
Pearl Metalloid White

Test Ride

  Posted on 31st May 2016

Here is the link to the test-ride write up that I did back in October 2015: Honda CB650F and CBR650F test ride. After this we decided that the CBR650F would be our next bike and the choice of colour would be the tri-colour, having seen one at a dealer. The plan was to then get these in 2017.
Honda CBR650F Tri-colour

Order placed!

  Posted on 1st June 2016

On the 16th May we took a ride to one of our nearby Honda dealers, to take a look at the new CBR650F colours for 2016. They had the matt black/white in the showroom and a CB650F in matt black/red. The black/white bike looked much nicer in real life than in photographs, so this got us asking the dealer what they could do for two new bikes. During our conversation it transpired that the 2015 colours could be purchased much cheaper than the new colour schemes. The tri-colour was our preference but unfortunately there were no un registered tricolours in the UK. The next option was white, but again they were unable to source two new ones of these.

Having thought about it overnight we decided that we much preferred the 'old' colours over the new and went about finding another dealer with stock. With some luck we found one that had two white ones coming in to them in the next few weeks and they were currently on the water en-route from Honda. After some negotiating, some free accessories and using our Ninjas as the deposit we came to an agreement.

There is now the agonising wait to see when they will be available to collect.

Honda CBR650F pearl metalloid white Honda CBR650F matt black / white Honda CBR650F matt black / white


  Posted on 9th June 2016

The first bike arrived at the dealer over a week ago and the second one is due to arrive tomorrow. The planned pick-up date is 18th June.


  Posted on 20th June 2016

It's been a long month, waiting to for the bikes to arrive in Southampton. On Saturday we took a 260 mile round trip to take the Ninja 300's down to the Honda dealer and bring back our lovely new CBR650F's.

The bikes were lined up outside waiting for us, complete with red rim tape, heated grips and the larger Honda windscreen. I sneaked a quick sit on mine and it felt familiar and 'just right'. After the paperwork was done, I transferred the Kriega straps on to the Hondas and attached the tailpacks.
It was a very enjoyable ride home, if a little boring at 4000rpm, I can't wait until the run-in period is complete. Compared to the Ninjas the CBR's feel much more stable (bigger tyres) and obviously the 4 cylinder engine is much smoother and stronger, filtering in town was easier and there was no need to keep changing gear.

Honda CBR650F pearl metalloid white Honda CBR650F pearl metalloid white Honda CBR650F pearl metalloid white

HelmetLok and V-Trec adjustable levers

  Posted on 1st July 2016

HelmetLok on order, the plan is to use this to attach the helmet through the square hole in the top yoke. The standard helmet lock is rather useless, it involves some steel cable with a loop on each end, in a plastic sheath, where you have to try and get one end over a 'hook' under the seat. The hook is obscured by the tubular frame. We also found out that the hook is longer on our other CBR and therefore it's almost impossible to get the loop over it.

The other purchase is a set of adjustable levers from V-Trec. We've opted for matt black, long, with silver adjusters and these should blend in well with the bike. I can manage with the stock levers but the clutch is a bit of a stretch, the adjustable levers should make it much easier.

Honda CBR650F pearl metalloid white Honda CBR650F pearl metalloid white

First service and V-Trec adjustable levers fitted

  Posted on 19th July 2016

Both bikes had their first service last Monday, all was good although the chains on both bikes were slack and this was explained as the reason for them being reluctant to accelerate at times.

The new V-Trec levers were fitted and it was noted that the clutch cable was very tight on my bike, so I am glad I didn't attempt to fit them myself.

V-Trec Adjustable Levers V-Trec Adjustable Levers V-Trec Adjustable Levers V-Trec Adjustable Levers V-Trec Adjustable Levers V-Trec Adjustable Levers

800 miles

  Posted on 22nd August 2016

Well, we are 800 miles in to the bikes and still loving them. The phrase I keep using is "they just do everything well".

The CBR's are smoother since the first service and they possibly run at slightly lower revs than before. The V-Trec levers are proving to be an excellent purchase and we are happy with the look and feel of them.

Trip to Wales

  Posted on 15th June 2017

I've been very lax in keeping the blog updated, but there has been lots of riding since the last update and the bikes are still brilliant!

In September 2016 we visited Wales for our club's annual trip, in addition to a 4 hour trip each way we got to enjoy the twisty roads of mid-Wales and the views around the Elan valley. The bikes were superb around the narrow roads and even survived kamikazee sheep and their plentiful droppings!

Once home there was much cleaning to be done to return the bikes to their appropriate level of sparkliness.

Heated jackets & new textiles

  Posted on 15th June 2017

November 2016: Because we have been enjoying riding the bikes so much we thought it would be good to extend the times of the year that we ride them, so after some research we purchased heated jackets from Gerbing.

They are certainly very toasty and I'm yet to use it above setting 2 (4 are available). I wish they did them in women's sizes as even the smallest jacket is too long and generally a bit big.

The heated jacket wouldn't fit under my leathers so it seemed sensible to buy a set of textiles that would accommodate it and the back protector, as well as being a more practical outfit for autumn/winter. I visited my local J&S who were helpful in finding me some jackets and trousers that met my specifications (zip-together, shoulder and elbow armour, knee and hip armour).

After two hours trying various combinations on I settled on the IXS Taranis Jacket and the IXS Aurora trousers, the trousers didn't come with hip protection, but had pockets for them, so I bought some D30 armour which fitted fine.

Jacket Trousers
Abrasion resistant 600D Polyoxford constructionAbrasion resistant 600D Polyoxford construction
Fixed waterproof soltotex Z liningsoltoTEX® 3 layer Z liner membrane
Antibacterial mesh lining for enhanced comfortAntiseptic polyester mesh lining with water barrier
Removable padded thermal quilted linerRemovable CYNIX® thermo lining (button up in hem)
CE certified YF shoulder and elbow armourWaist regulation
Protect V2 CE level 1 back protectorAnti-slip edging in seat area
Adjustable elbows, upper arms and waist widthErgonomically pre-formed legs
Five external and four internal pocketsBack of knee with comfort zones made of CORDURA® stretch fabric
Four zipped vents for added air flow2 outside pockets
Night-time visible reflective details
Gerbing heated jacket IXS Trago Jacket IXS Aurora Trousers

My old Ninja 250

  Posted on 15th June 2017

Not CBR650F related, but in April we went to the opening of the new Webbs store in Peterborough. In the used bike section was a green Ninja 250. I checked the number plate and was shocked to find it was actually my my old bike. I was quite excited and animated which drew the attention of a salesman, who was disappointed to find that I didn't want to buy it.

It had been traded in by the lady that bought it from the Kawasaki dealer that I sold it to.

1st annual service

  Posted on 15th June 2017

They went in for their first annual service at approx 3200 miles each, nothing of note other than the left-heated grip would come loose in the sun or when the grip was on, which the dealer re-bonded for us.

We had loan bikes while the 650's were in, a CBR500 and a CB500. The smaller twin engine seemed awful and jerky after our smooth 4-cylinders, I don't know how we managed with our old 300 Ninjas!.

I thought it would be nice to go for a ride on the 500's, it was going well until we missed a turning and got a little lost. I said that we really need sat-navs...

Sat navs

  Posted on 15th June 2017

After getting lost last week we finally caved in and bought sat navs, we got a great deal on two of the new TomTom Rider 450's.

I was going to wire them directly to the battery, but another 650F owner had advised to use switched power. Some people use the accessory power at the front of the bike, but this had been taken up by our heated grips.

As an alternative there is a block under the seat which provides switched 12v power, with help from Brammers on the 650F owners forum I was able to find it and purchase the parts needed to create a plug that would match up to it. The Sumitomo connector already has a plug on it, which is a dummy and contains no pins or wires. I purchased new Sumitomo housings (I suppose I could have used the empty/dummy ones), pins and seals and made up my own plug. Live gotes to violet and negative to green.

The pictures below show: the position of the connector under the edge of the tank - the plug extracted and the dummy part removed - pins with sat nav wires soldered (before I'd finished crimping) - a test that the pins and wires worked before I put them in the housing - wires in housing - new plug and pins.

Tomtom 450 Sat nav, ram mount and Telferizer Tomtom 450 Sat nav, ram mount and Telferizer Tomtom 450 Sat nav, ram mount and Telferizer Tomtom 450 Sat nav, ram mount and Telferizer Sumitomo plug with pins and seals. Sumitomo plug with pins and seals.

The switched power worked, it was quite exciting to see the sat nav light up when the ignition was switched on!

Tomtom 450 Sat nav, ram mount and Telferizer

The sat navs come with RAM mount parts to fit them to the bike, I considered using the one of the provided clamps but neither seemed suitable so I purchased the stem-mount ball from Telferizer, this slots into the hole in the top of the yoke.

From what I have read you will either have the really easy or really hard task of removing the stem-nut cover. We have two bikes, one was easy and one wasn't! The easy one I did by pushing a squashed wire coat hanger up the stem from underneath to push the cover out enough to prise it with a screwdriver - lots of scary metal scatchy things near the paintwork - the cover is shaped like a Champagne cork, so it fits inside the hole as well as being on the top. The second bike was much more difficult and required several socket-set extensions pushing up and some taps with a rubber mallet.

The TomToms come with a short arm, which positions the sat nav right on top of the stem this is not great (pic above) because as we found out you have to look right down to see the sat-nav and therefore you're not looking at the road.

I borrowed a 3" extension from work and we decided it was too short, so we purchased the 5". This didn't work well either as there was too much movement due to the long arm - and it looked ridiculous (pic below). We settled on the 3".

Tomtom 450 Sat nav, ram mount and Telferizer

Back to the 3" extension as a compromise.

Tomtom 450 Sat nav, ram mount and Telferizer Tomtom 450 Sat nav, ram mount and Telferizer Tomtom 450 Sat nav, ram mount and Telferizer

Trip to Durham

  Posted on 30th August 2017

A couple of weeks ago it was our bike club's annual trip and this years destination was up near Durham. Unfortunately the quickest way to get there was straight up the A1, which was boring, especially the 50mph average speed check stretch, lots of filtering was required in some areas, which was actually nice as it broke up the monotony.

Despite having the taller Honda screen the wind blast gets tiring on journeys like this, so I am starting to consider changing to the MRA touring screen.

There are some lovely roads across the North Pennines, with beautiful views of purple heather-covered hills and lots of open roads and great bends! Since returning from the trip we've realised that we've done a lot more miles on the CBR650Fs than on any of our other bikes, which I think proves that they are the right bikes for us. Current mileage is around 4900.

Roads travelled/places visited included: A689, B6277, A68, roads with no name, Alston, Bamburgh Castle, Barnard Castle, Alnwick Castle, Corbridge

Kriega bags packed and ready to go Cake stop at Corbridge Castle view at Bamburgh Castle Cake stop at Barnard castle Me leaving the hotel Me leaving the hotel

6000 miles

  Posted on 9th May 2018

We've had some great weather this bank holiday weekend. Saturday was spent riding down to the Cotswolds with some friends, a gloriously sunny day but extremely hot in all the gear once off the bike. With no where to stash our kit we had to carry it around.

Sunday saw us touring around Lincolnshire collecting landmarks for the challenge set by the local region of our bike club. In total we covered 288 miles and passed the 6000 mile mark.

After struggling with our kit and finding the Kriega luggage to be a bit of a faff when you need regular access we finally bit the bullet and bought some Givi panniers for both bikes. We've tried to avoid hard luggage as it spoils the look of the bike, but now that we are doing more miles we need a more practical solution for carrying stuff with us, or for storing gear while we're away from the bike.

Givi panniers

  Posted on 14th May 2018

The rack for one of the bikes arrived on Thursday, the other should arrive today (Monday) ready for our trip away later in the week.

Actually, only part of the rack arrived on Thursday - PLX1137 - when I went to fit it I found a part was missing. We weren't advised by the shop that 1137KIT is also required if you're not having a top-box, thanks to some help from the CB/CBR650F Facebook group I got the part number and the retailer very helpfully couriered it out to us. The missing part arrived on Friday, so I fitted the racks that evening.

On Sunday we took a trip to the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln for the Dambusters ride-in. I didn't particularly notice the panniers, but we'll see how they feel when fully loaded.

We met another CBR650F owner, who was working as a marshal at IBCC, he had a tri-colour CBR and the MRA screen. After seeing the screen in person I think I prefer the Honda one.

Givi V35 panniers, PLX1137 and 1137KIT Givi V35 panniers, PLX1137 and 1137KIT Givi V35 panniers, PLX1137 and 1137KIT Givi V35 panniers, PLX1137 and 1137KIT

Givi V35 panniers, PLX1137 and 1137KIT Givi V35 panniers, PLX1137 and 1137KIT Givi V35 panniers, PLX1137 and 1137KIT

HoppRider Training - Cadwell Park

  Posted on 7th June 2018

In mid-May we took the bikes (and the panniers!) up to stay near Cadwell Park as we were taking part in the HoppRider Training.

As our first time on a track it was daunting and it seemed really fast, I think because it is so open you don't have the same reference points that you would on the road. The idea of the day was to improve your cornering skills, the morning sessions were structured and you were out in groups with an instructor.

The afternoon sessions were 'open' which allowed you to go it alone on the track and practice what you'd learnt earlier in the day. It was great fun and by the end I had definitely improved although I didn't quite make it to the edge of the tyre.

HoppRider Training Cadwell Park HoppRider Training Cadwell Park HoppRider Training Cadwell Park

2nd annual service

  Posted on 7th June 2018

An early start and down to Southampton for the bikes second annual service, current mileage is approximately 7300. We'd both been having issues finding neutral and my bike had even managed to pop out of gear one time, fortunately this was all resolved by taking out the slack that had developed on the clutch cable.

While we were there we took the opportunity to test ride the new CBR650F. On paper the difference is +4bhp and different gearing. You wouldn't expect these changes to be particularly noticeable, but they were. Through the mid range the bike has more available power and faster accelaration, I even felt that the bike cornered better, could this be due to the new Showa dual-bending fork valves? We were both impressed with the upgrades and spoke to the dealer about cost to change. He didn't have the right deal for us but said he would contact us when he did.

Puncture, new tyres, trip away and new brake pads

  Posted on 7th July 2018

The destination for this years club trip was Cheltenham, leaving on Friday and returning Monday. On Thursday afternoon I thought it might be an idea to check the bikes over. It was a good job I did as I found I had a puncture which is ironic as I've never had a puncture on a bike and I'd only recently purchased two repair kits.

My reason for buying two kits was that a new style kit called Dynaplug had been recommended, but unsure of how good this was I also bought a traditional kit which uses sticky strips and a vulcanising solution. I though it was worth trying the Dynaplug first as this was the least messy. First you extract the offending item from your tyre, this proved quite difficult as the nail didn't have a head on and once removed appear to be something similar to a horseshoe nail.

I struggled to insert the Dynaplug tool into the hole but in hindsight I'm not sure I was going in at the same angle as the nail I'd removed. I used the reamer from the traditional kit to break through the steel banding, then used the Dynaplug. Much easier this time and the brass tip and 'licorice' remained in the tyre. Air was still escaping so I inserted another plug. All good this time.

I read somewhere that the Dynaplug repair can be ridden on for the full life of the tyre and that it would be OK up to 90mph - I wasn't keen on this, especially as I knew we'd be doing several hundered miles over the four days. I rang around to try and find a place which stocked Michelin Pilot Road 4's - stock was not an issue, unlike fitting, which most places said they could do in three weeks!!

Fortunately Motorcycle World (Yamaha) had a set and were able to fit me in at 8:30 on the Friday morning. On the way over my partner said it looked like I had another nail, which I did and this would explain why I'd lost 2lbs of pressure overnight - I had thought it strange as no air was leaking from the Dynaplug repair.

The PR4's are very different to the stock Dunlops, with much better grip and a better feel when cornering. We returned to Motorcycle World on Monday to have a set of PR4's fitted to the other bike and EBC FA142HH pads on the front of both bikes.

The weather over the weekend was extremely hot and was around 30 degrees everyday, we didn't take any pictures while out and about as we were too busy riding and it was too hot to stand around taking pictures!

Nail number one First Dynaplug fitted Second Dynaplug fitted Inside of tyre showing one brass Dynaplug tip in-situ and the other loose First nail removed Nail number two Michelin Pilot Road 4 Michelin Pilot Road 4 Michelin Pilot Road 4


  Posted on 3rd February 2019

Starting mileage is 9188. We managed to pop out for about an hour on the 20th, it was 3 degrees but we wanted to get the first ride of the year out of the way.

On the 26th we had an enjoyable ride out with a couple of friends, which took up most of the day. Weather was very kind, dry and 10 degrees. Can't wait to get out again.

Sword Silver

  Posted on 3rd February 2019

The new CBR650R is out soon and I'm really interested in having a sit on it, but I'm sure the revised position will be too sporty. Which lead us to conversations about what bike we'd have next.

I may have mentioned how much I love my CBR650F... so we getting some new ones next month. Mixed feelings about being parted from the white bikes but looking forward to the newer one with the improved front suspension and power. The Sword Silver story starts here.

Sena 10S Bluetooth headsets

  Posted on 14th February 2019

We've been using the Sena SMH10S headsets for around four years, in the last year or so one of them wouldn't open comms to the other headset, which we got around by instigating it from the other headset - when we ride we leave the conversation active the entire time, so this something we only need to worry about before setting off for the day.

More recently the connection dropped entirely despite being in close range, my partner wasn't aware and carried on talking, my headset cut back in towards the end. I thought maybe it was just a blip, however on testing the headsets with both helmets to eliminate a clamp issue I found that the culprit was the same headset as earlier.

Newer Sena headsets make use of Bluetooth 4.1, which increases range and clarity. We bought the Sena 20S Evo. They looked OK and had the bonus of an in-built 3.5mm jack in the clamp for ear-buds, important as we still want to use our custom moulded monitors.

Unfortunately, it was really difficult to plug them in with a gloved hand as you have to hold the rubber flap open and try to locate the hole. We returned them. More research, the Sena 10C with built-in camera looked like a good contender, but there were a lot of negative reviews.

The next option was the Sena 10S which is the evolved version of the SMH10, similar looking, but with a flatter jog-dial. Again this had the 3.5mm jack in the clamp, again still awkward to use. As a work around I ordered a pair of 10R-A0101 - these are splitters designed for the 10R, but they fit the speaker connectors of the 10S and convert them to a headphone jack. A neat idea that worked, but wasn't practical as the splitter dangled loosely out of the helmet.

Looking at the clamp for the 10S and SMH10 and the pairs of headsets we realise that their shape is very similar. Maybe the Sena 10S would fit our existing SMH10 earbud clamps?? Sena said they don't but it was worth a try. As you can see below, the Sena 10S absolutely fits the SMH10S earbud clamp, you just need to make doubly sure that it clicks in firmly when you fit the headset on. All works OK indoors, so we are looking forward to seeing/hearing how they perform on the road.

Sena 10S at the botton and SMH10 above Sena 10S at the botton and SMH10 above Sena 10S at the botton and SMH10 above Sena SMH10S earbud clamp SMH10S on the Sena SMH10S earbud clamp Sena 10S on the Sena SMH10S earbud clamp

Sena 10S review

  Posted on 1st March 2019

Last weekend we covered 500 miles with the new Sena 10S's. Easy to use as they function in the same way as the SMH10's, but the sound quality is noticeably better, it's clearer and more like talking on the phone, which I believe is down to the 10S's using Bluetooth 4.1.

The newer protocol is also supposed to give an improved range, I say 'supposed' as we tried it out a few times and found that it was no better than the SMH10's, in fact I would say I prefer the old headsets for range as they give you some warning with a few crackles when you're nearing the limit, whereas the Sena 10S's typically just cut out and you're left wondering whether the other person can hear you or not. When you are back in range they connect up fine, again in the same way as the previous headset.

Fond farewell

  Posted on 8th March 2019

Last Saturday, 2nd March, saw us taking our CBR650FA-E's for their final ride as we were picking up our new CBR650FA-J's. Mixed emotions as we rode down to Surrey as we've had lots of adventures on these white bikes, on the way we reached a milestone of 10,000 miles.

I have some reservations about the new Sena 10s and on reading the manual (shocking) I wonder whether it's worth switching off HD mode to get a better range. I'll update on the new blog when I do this.

Goodbye lovely white bikes, you been amazing.

Goodbye Pearl Metalloid White CBR650FAE Goodbye Pearl Metalloid White CBR650FAE Goodbye Pearl Metalloid White CBR650FAE