In terms of styling, the CBR650F carried the same design language as seen on the older gen of the same bike, with subtle changes. Although the facelift version received few aesthetical updates in 2017, it didn’t look exciting. On the other hand, the CBR650R looks like a scaled-down version of the CBR1000RR Fireblade, which in itself is an aggressively styled sport bike. The fuel tank is now more chiselled and the fairing receives sharper lines that accentuate its visual appeal further. The handlebar now sits lower than before and even the footpegs have been moved rearwards by 3mm. These updates mean that the riding position is more aggressive and sportier in comparison to the CBR650F.
In terms of features, the CBR650F featured a single LED headlamp, while the CBR650R, being the sportier of the two, is equipped with aggressively styled twin-LED headlamps. The CBR650R sports a modern-looking LCD instrument cluster whereas the CBR650F had an archaic twin-pod digital instrument cluster. New additions to the CBR650R includes redesigned alloy wheels that endow the bike with a contemporary look. One major grouse we had with the old bike and still continues to persist on the new one is the ergonomically flawed left-side switches. They took a while to get used to but we wish Honda would rather have switched to the conventional layout of the horn switch below the indicator toggle. The only electronic aid the CBR650F received from its maker was ABS. On the other hand, the CBR650R gets a slipper clutch and switchable multi-stage traction control.
Being the sportier version, the R is lighter and more rider-focused than its predecessor. The frame that it sits on is the same as the CBR650F. But still, Honda has made some minor alterations to it. For example, at 207kg, the CBR650R is 7kg lighter and sits 3mm lower to the ground than the CBR650F. Following the same design language of the big litre-class motorcycle, the CBR650R had to sacrifice one small thing: the fuel tank size. Where the CBR650F had a 17.3-litre fuel tank, the CBR650R comes with a smaller 15.4-litre tank. Talking about braking, the CBR650R gets better hardware which includes four-piston units working with twin 310mm discs up front and a single-piston caliper and a 240mm disc at the rear. Both the motorcycles receive dual-channel ABS as standard fitment. The CBR650F was equipped with Showa Dual Bending Valve Forks up front and a preload-adjustable monoshock at the rear. On the other hand, the CBR650R’s suspension duties are handled by Showa Separate Function (SFF) forks while the rear suspension setup remains the same as the CBR650F.
Both the motorcycles are powered by the same 649cc, liquid-cooled, in-line-four engine, but it has received a significant power bump. When the CBR650F was launched, the India-spec model was slightly less powerful than the Euro-spec version. The international variant of the CBR650F produced 95PS at 12,000rpm and 64Nm at 8,500rpm. The Indian variant, on the other hand, produced 86PS at 11,000rpm and 60.5Nm of max torque at 8,500rpm. Honda usually detunes its engine for the Indian market to meet the permissible decibel limits and because of poor fuel quality. So expect Honda to cut the power output of the CBR650R by a few PS, but still, even with the subtraction, the CBR650R will considerably be more powerful than the CBR650F.