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Honda CBR650F vs Kawasaki Z800 : Comparison Test

25 November 2015, 11:40 AM Pratheek Kunder

Quick Review

Rank 1: Kawasaki Z800

Good looking bike, lot of power and priced well.

For: Performance, Price Tag, Features

Against: Weight, Service Reach 

Rank 2: Honda CBR650F

An everyday superbike, it’s quite friendly, but, just too expensive.

For: Ride quality, Engine Refinement, Dynamics

Against: Price, Basic Instrumentation

Introduction

There was a time when we used to beg Indian two-wheeler manufacturers to bring in their middle-weight motorcycles to India. While some of them didn’t pay heed, few others got down to serious business. Honda and Kawasaki were the good ones.

Kawasaki has been selling their most affordable inline four bike, the Z800, since last year. Honda, on the other hand, joined the bandwagon recently with the CBR650F. We compare the two to find out which one of them is a real buy.

Design & Style

As far as the looks go, the pictures don’t do justice to the CBR650F. It looks far better in the metal. When it comes to the overall design language, Honda has played it safe. The design language is quite sober, yet striking and all credit goes to the HRC paint scheme.  It has been designed to appeal to a wider range of consumers. Unlike its bigger sibling, the CBR1000R, here the fascia has been toned down. It gets a big headlamp unit, which is flanked by two LED pilot lamps that look pretty good at night. On the side, Honda has stuck to a very sober flowing design language. However, the tail section is an eyesore, as it is very basic.

Kawasaki has played it big with the Z800. Starting from the front, the headlamp cluster gives off quite an intimidating vibe, just like its big brother Z1000. The big fuel tank, side fairing, belly scoop and even the tail section shows signs of aggression. Couple these aspects with the full-black exhaust and black paint scheme and this could be the best bet for a spy adventure.  Head off to the rear and you will notice the neatly designed LED tail lamp. The LEDs are arranged in ‘Z’ shape, giving it another plus on the style quotient.

CBR650F: 7/10

Z800: 8/10

Ergonomics & Quality

The riding position of the CBR650F is not very upright, thanks to the low-set clip-on handlebars and rear-set foot pegs. With a seat height of 810mm, it is also practical for shorter riders.   The Z800, on the other hand, is ergonomically perfect for city riding and long distances. Its upright handlebar along with a comfortable seat makes the Z800 a good naked bike.

The CBR650F and the Z800 score high on quality and this comes as no surprise. Both the Japanese manufacturers are known to make some good quality products.

CBR650F: 8/10

Z800: 7/10

Features & Technology

While both the bikes use 41mm front forks, the Z800 gets an adjustable upside-down unit. The CBR650F, on the other hand, uses non-adjustable telescopic forks. At the rear, both the bikes are equipped with link monoshock.

discontinued
Honda CBR650F

Honda CBR650F

  • Displacement648.72 cc
  • Mileage - Owner Reported20 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)84.2 bhp
  • Kerb Weight216 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 7,09,543

The overall layout of the instrument cluster on the Z800 looks more appealing than the CBR650F. The CBR650F, in fact, misses out on the temperature gauge and distance to empty and adding to the confusion is the odd placement of  the horn and turn indicator switch. If one were to nit-pick then the CBR650F scores over the Z800 with the use of a premium cast alloy swingarm, instead of the traditional box swingarm.

CBR650F: 7/10

Z800: 8/10 

Engine & Gearbox

The CBR650F gets a 649cc liquid cooled four-cylinder engine. This engine produces 85bhp at 11,000rpm and a peak torque of 63Nm at 8000rpm. It is mated to a six-speed gearbox. And if you are looking for precise gearshifts, then you won’t be content with the CBR650F. It doesn’t feel smooth and to top it up, there is the heavy clutch. 

The Kawasaki Z800, on the other hand is a power hungry fast bike. This power comes from an 806cc inline-four cylinder engine that generates 111bhp and 83Nm. Its heart is mated to a six-speed gearbox and isn’t as precise as expected but performs decently. The gear ratios on the CBR650F have been tuned for touring. However, in case of the Z800, the ratios suit a wide variety of riding modes.

CBR650F: 6/10

Z800: 8/10

Performance

Twist the throttle of the CBR650F and you will notice how quick the machine is. However, the power is controlled and doesn’t feel very intimidating, which, is a good thing for someone upgrading from a smaller motorcycle. The bike has a brilliant mid and top-end range and once you reach there, the sound of the engine is surely going to put a smile on your face.

Just like other Hondas, the CBR650F engine is refined and smooth. However, there are vibrations, which is quite surprising for a Honda. The throttle response is crisp and quite friendly. Cruising between 120kmph and 140kmph is bliss on this motorcycle.

The Z800 is sane till 4000rpm, but once you cross that mark, it only gets more exciting. You won’t be disappointed if insane power figure delivery is what you are looking for.  It gets a linear and wide powerband and there is more than enough torque available at the low end. This engine is super refined, smooth and sounds sweeter every time you try to hit the redline

CBR650F: 7/10

Z800: 9/10

Ride Quality

We rode the CBR650F on every road possible and we came back mightily impressed. However, there are slight vibrations that start from idling and lingers like a bad itch. The single long seat is very comfortable and it is quite practical for the pillion as well. However, the under-belly exhaust touches the speed breaker every time you face a big one.

The ride quality of the Z800 is on the firmer side. Taking it on the potholed roads might make you feel uncomfortable. But unlike the 650F, the Z800 gets adjustable preload and rebound settings at the rear. The spilt seat has enough cushioning; however, the pillion rider won’t be comfortable with the small seat. So long journeys on the Kwacker is going to be a bit problematic.

CBR650F: 8/10

Z800: 6/10

Handling & Braking

Despite the CBR650F weighing 215kg, it did not translate into feeling heavy. So taming city traffic on this bike is a breeze and it’s the same story if you decide to take some corners. While it isn’t exactly sharp as other super sport motorcycles, it is good enough for twisty roads. The Dunlop tyres are super grippy and perform extremely well when needed.

Living with the Z800 could pose a problem because of its kerb weight of 231kg. Also,  due to the front-biased weight distribution it becomes difficult to handle/manoeuvre in heavy city traffic.. But at high speeds, the Z800 feels light and manageable.  In the corners, the Z800 performs well but not as good as the CBR650F. Just like the CBR650F, the Z800 gets Dunlop tyres with the same size. However, the ones on the Kawasaki takes time to heat up, but when it does, there is grip all the time. The Z800 might intimidate you while taking a U-turn due to its bulky body proportions.

The stopping power for the Honda CBR650F comes from a dual 320mm disc at the front with two piston calipers and 240mm disc at the rear. Antilock braking system is standard for this bike. All these aspects have resulted into mind-blowing stopping power. Also, there is more than enough bite on the lever.

In case of the Kawasaki Z800, there are dual 310mm disc doing the job at the front with four piston calipers and a 250mm disc at the rear. There is ABS as well. The brakes aren’t sharp as the Z1000 but offers good bite and progression.

CBR650F: 8/10

Z800: 7/10

Fuel Efficiency

People say fuel efficiency isn’t important for such bikes but at BikeWale, we don’t leave anything untouched. The Kawasaki Z800 returned a fuel efficiency of 16kmpl during the entire test cycle, whereas the CBR650F gave a real world figure between 16kmpl and 20kmpl.

CBR650F: 6/10

Z800: 5/10

Price & Warranty

This is where the CBR650F looks the least tempting. With a price tag of Rs 7.30 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), it is an expensive proposition. This is where the Z800 comes and takes it all away with a price tag of Rs 7.5 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). Kawasaki offers 28,000kms/ 3 years warranty for all its products, whereas Honda offers 2 years/24,000kms warranty on the CBR650F.

CBR650F: 5/10

Z800: 6/10 

Desirability

The CBR650F surely looks attractive, but with 85bhp at disposal, there is a power limitation. After a certain point of time, you might desire to have more power from the CBR650F, but unfortunately, you can’t.  With the Z800, you have lots of power all the time and chances are you might never use most of it. And that’s how the Z800 will keep you excited.

 

And when it comes to desirability, Kawasaki scores more because it just sells premium bikes in the country and that’s why the company has a terrific brand recall. What works against Honda is the tag of a small bike manufacturer and chances are that when you pay Rs 8 lakh for a product you would want premiumness all the way.

CBR650F: 7/10

Z800: 8/10

Verdict

The famous quote, ‘the more the merrier’ is what Kawasaki cracked with the Z800. With the competitive price tag, the Z800 outshines the CBR650F by a slim margin. But don’t forget that the CBR650F is a great product and very practical to live with. So if you have around Rs 8 lakh to spare and want lots of power and road presence, the Z800 is there for you. If you want to live a sober, yet fast life, then the CBR650F will neatly pencil in all your needs.

CBR650F: 69/100

Z800: 72/100

 

Photography by Sanchit Arora

Final Scores

 Parameters/Models  Max Points  Kawasaki Z800  Honda CBR650F 
 Rank    1  2
 Looks & styling  10  8  7
 Ergonomics & Quality  10  7  8
 Features & Technology  10   8  7
 Engine & Gearbox  10  8  6
 Performance  10  9 7
 Ride quality  10  6  8
 Handling & Braking  10  7  8
 Fuel Efficiency  10  5  6
 Price & Warranty  10  6  5
 Desirablility  10  8  7
 Total  100  72 69

Specifications

 MAKE  Honda Kawasaki
 Model  CBR650F Z800
 POWER TRAIN    
 Engine Type  Liquid-cooled Liquid-cooled
 Capacity  649cc 806cc
 Max Power  85bhp 111bhp
 Max Torque  63Nm 83Nm
 Gearbox  6 speed 6 speed
 Clutch  Wet, multiplate Wet, multiplate
 CYCLE PARTS    
 Chassis  Steel Diamond Tubular Backbone
 Supension F  41mm Telescopic Fork 41mm Upside-Down Fork
 Suspension R  Monoshock, 7-step adjustable  Monoshock, ajustable preload rebound
 Brakes F  Dual 320mm Disc Dual 310mm disc
 Brakes R  240mm Disc 250mm disc
 Tyre F  120/70 - 17 Tubeless 120/70 - 17 Tubeless
 Tyre R  180/55 - 17 Tubeless 180/55 - 17 Tubeless
 MEASURES    
 Fuel Tank  17.3 Litres 17 litres
 LxWxH  2107mm x 753mm x 1149mm 2100mm x 800mm x 1050mm
 Wheelbase  1449mm 1445mm
 Kerb Weight  215kg 231kg
 COST    
 Price (on-road, Mumbai)  Rs 8,35,248 Rs 8,69,734
 Warranty 24,000kms/2 years  28,000kms/3 years

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