Honda had everyone pleasantly surprised when it announced its plans to locally assemble the CBR650F. As the motorcycles sold through the CKD route fall under a lower tax bracket, CBR650F was predicted to be one of the most affordable four-cylinder bikes available here. However, the price tag of Rs 7.3 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) has pushed the CBR650F far away from its core competition, right into the territory of two very different motorcycles – the Triumph Bonneville and the Ducati Scrambler. As customers with a budget of Rs 8 lakh are sure to consider these motorcycles, despite their different segments, here is an on paper comparison of the CBR650, Bonneville and the Scrambler.
In terms of approach, these three motorcycles are as different as chalk, cheese and a chair. While the CBR650F is a fully-faired sports tourer, the Bonneville is an easy-going modern classic, whose rustic design will probably fool you into believing that it is from the early 1960s. The Scrambler, meanwhile, is the spiritual successor of the original Ducati Scramblers of the 1970s, and symbolises the same minimalist approach in a modern package.
- 648.72 cc
- 20 kmpl
- 84.2 bhp
- 216 kg ;
Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price
Even the powertrains of these three bikes couldn’t have been any different. The CBR650F’s twin-spar steel frame houses the most powerful engine of the lot – a 649cc liquid cooled inline four. Equipped with (PGM-FI) system for its four throttle body sensors, this 86 horsepower engine is ideal for touring as well as some spirited sports riding.
The Bonneville’s parallel-twin air-cooled 865cc engine is housed in a classically styled tubular steel frame, and produces a respectable 67bhp and 50Nm of torque. The engine delivers a good amount of its grunt in the lower band, which makes the Bonneville a highly competent highway muncher. On the contrary, the Scrambler is built around a trellis frame and is powered by a detuned version of the Monster 796's V-twin engine. This 803cc air-cooled units puts out 74bhp and 68Nm of torque, highlighting the typical V-twin character right from the low-revs.
All three motorcycles serve their purpose in different ways. The CBR650F has been pegged as an all-in-one package and caters to commuting, sports riding, long distance touring as well as the occasional track day. Though the CBR650F gets racy clip-on handlebars and rear set footpegs, the wide and spacious seat should give you enough room to adjust your riding position depending on your mood. Considering the power figures and strong low-end and mid-range characteristics of the engine, we can safely expect the CBR650F to be the most capable middleweight sports tourer in the country.
The Bonneville has also been designed as a touring motorcycle, although it takes a completely different approach. It gets a very relaxed and laid-back riding position, with a long and cushy seat allowing enough space for the rider and a pillion. Given the lower power figures and its traditional architecture, the Bonneville is not particularly the fastest or the best handling motorcycle over here, though it does make up all for all these shortcomings with its character. The Bonneville might be miles away from being suitable for a track day, but is a comfortable bike which you can use for long distances as well as your daily commutes.
Unlike its other cutting-edge Italian siblings, the Scrambler misses out on sophisticated electronics, which further enhances the bike’s minimalist character. The Scrambler is the only bike among this lot to get USD front forks, and the high suspension travel hints at the Scrambler’s off-road capabilities, something which can be off-limits for the other two motorcycles over here. And though the Scrambler might be a competent touring motorcycle, its naked guise, steep steering rake and the engine characteristics makes it more of an urban machine.
In the end, it all comes down to what you are expecting from the motorcycle. The CBR650F would be a multi-purpose tool which can be used for daily commute, weekend rides as well as on the race track. It might lack soul, but if you want the assurance of Japanese reliability, then the CBR650F would be perfect for you. The Bonneville is a proper old-school classic motorcycle, which is not so much about the performance as it is about the vintage feel and looks. The Scrambler meanwhile, is a hooligan which will appeal most to someone looking for a motorcycle to have plain simple fun with. The decision is up to you now. Go figure!