Torque Monster Shootout…. Yamaha FZ1, Honda CBF 1000, Honda CB1300S.

24 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Torque Monster Shootout…. Yamaha FZ1, Honda CBF 1000, Honda CB1300S.
Honda CBF 1000

Torque Monster Shootout…. Yamaha FZ1, Honda CBF 1000, Honda CB1300S.

Torque Monster Shootout…. Yamaha FZ1, Honda CBF 1000, Honda CB1300S. (In three parts. )

How about some recent bike road tests, and a write up on what seems to be becoming a fun pastime for me…. That is spending a good few hours test riding bikes…. It comes recommended, an experience that surely has to be good for the soul.

I think I’ve ridden more different bikes in the last eighteen months or so since getting my Silver Wing and tweaking it than I ever did ever before…. What an irony that a “mere scooter” should be able to do this…. I wish now I’d done this years ago before I was married with kids, with more money and “disposable income.” Big sigh…. It’s never too late! Seriously, I’ve learnt quite a few things about myself, and it’s an enlightening experience.

This write up was supposed to be just about the FZ1, but the following day on impulse, I rang a different dealer and went out on a CBF 1000…. After that I was full of praise for it, but had commented that all I needed to test now was the Suzuki Bandit GS 1250… Alarmed one of the Honda salesmen had said, that in which case I should ride the Honda CB 1300S…. They just happened to have a demo bike….

Who was I to argue?

In town and just pootling along the FZ1 was quite innocuous really…. At low revs it just meandered along with a throaty burble, and nothing major, just a wee hint of the brute that was about to be unleashed. I have to say that initially I was a bit disappointed. Where was that awesome torque that on the Fazer had been there in your face from 3,000 revs?

That was still to come and clearly a bit higher up in the rev range. Still, handling seemed great, good poise and taut, and it seemed a little better perhaps than the Fazer. Brakes are superb, (but then they are R1 Brakes) and the bike is beautifully balanced retaining good control, even under really heavy braking. I actually can’t remember if I was riding an ABS version (which the Fazer doesn’t have).

Still a bit miffed about the torque being amiss as an experiment, I played about a bit and below 5k revs although the bike pulled OK, it wasn’t as good as the Fazer. At 30 mph in top gear, the FZ engine lugged a little bit when you opened the throttle…. Anyway when I finally was clear of the town, in top gear, I finally found what I was after, and began a series of more earnest accelerations on the open roads…….

Rather than the smooth transition and crescendo of power that you get from the Fazer, the FZ1 has a different idea…. Lets not bother with the smooth build up to big crescendo of power…. Lets just go for the big crescendo!

Oh yeah, this seemed for me to be the “signature” of this amazing machine. This was not so apparent accelerating in higher gears, as it was when you peg it down a few gears and let rip with the throttle… The first time I did this, the brute nearly wrenched the damn handlebars from my grasp…. God this is one viciously fast machine!

And it just does not stop, the red line is about 13k or something, and at first I have to admit, I had a bit of trouble getting there, cos the damn thing was going nearly too fast for road conditions already. If you really go for it, every time you change gear was like taking a tequila slammer, Bang straight back into that power band. Oh boy does this machine go! So surprisingly, despite the fuel injection the FZ felt more raw and savage than the Fazer….

At first I found this, well not to my taste…. I would have liked a more smoother integration into the G-force as you cling on…. That stepped seat by the way is great at keeping your bum parked….

But after 40 miles it was starting to feel a bit sore…. That said, it just felt a tad awkward, but didn’t seem to get any worse. Certainly nothing an airhawk seat couldn’t fix. As for the screen, it could do with being a bit higher, good enough for 80-90mph, but you’d need a bit more screen above this.

I have to say, the more sudden appearance of brute power, albeit further up in rev range is a rush, and until you get used to it, a bit breathtaking, and extremely good for that manic biker grin that we all cherish. This is unlike the Fazer which although also gives you plenty of that “biker grin” it also seems to hint more strongly of grunt lower in the rev range, and there is a danger that you can easily get seduced into wanting to use it more, and a bit more… Well the FZ doesn’t give you any time to be seduced, as long as you are at least at 5,000 revs, open the throttle, and bang!

Yehaaa! We are off on another G force adventure…. From that moment on, in real terms I guess there isn’t much difference between the FZ and Fazer, but the FZ sure “feels” different, and that brute kick in of power seems to be a feature of the FZ. So to this end it has an advantage that the FZ is less likely to seduce you to go faster and faster all the time like the Fazer could. It is perhaps easier to ride the FZ more gently….

It’s either that or very fast! There seemed to be a bit more middle ground with the Fazer, and so more temptation to be throttle happy. But the ride has a less manic feel to it. The FZ is more defined and sporty, you are going fast or you are not… But for one thing the FZ is one charismatic bike.

Every biker should at least experience a ride something like this…. It’s a hoot! Really….

The following day I had to ride about 35 miles to get to the Honda dealer…. And I had to get back to get the new universal oil cooler on my Yamaha Diversion that afternoon…. It needed some cutting of pipes and tweaking, so I needed to take it back to my local independent dealer and the dudes that do all the servicing of my bike and scoot… In between I had to pick up the kids from school mow the lawn, tidy the house, and move the damn tent that I’d set up for the boys….

Sheesh… Life interfering with bike riding…!

Interesting hybrid looks, old meets the new.

Well the CBF 1000 couldn’t be more different from the FZ1… From the ridiculous to the sublime. For one thing, the CBF ain’t the most exciting bike to look at…. I mean come on Honda…! It’s a hybrid of 1990s and 2000s styling with well, a shiny but kinda blandish, but functional image.

The finish mind is very good as per Honda. However, why should you take one of the most successful up to date bike engines of all time and stifle it in such a non flashy machine… And furthermore, it’s detuned to er, well 96bhp… Woah… what was that? Yes, sob! 96bhp from an engine that tuned up can deliver over 170bhp plus… And only 69ft/lbs torque…. And the whole bike a rather portly 220kg …. I mean Honda, what have you done….

Surely what a travesty…. Is this some cruel joke? I mean on paper the specs don’t look that much better than my 14 year old Yamaha Fazer/FZ ancestor…… But do you know, here is a thing…. And I really learnt from all this …….

Specs and facts are just that…! Sometimes things are just not what you might think them to be. You just have to go out and find out for yourself.…. And oh boy was I glad I did, cos riding that CBF 1000 turned out to be a huge pleasant surprise.

Within just a few hundred yards, it was abundantly clear that this bike was agile, with a low centre of gravity (as with the Fazer and FZ) and certainly didn’t feel anything like 220kg, but more like the 200kg of the FZ… And talk about super smooth…… We are talking sublime here, and dare I say to the extent that makes the FZ seem quite crude (which it isn’t, the FZ is awesome, but in different ways… super smoothness is not one of these attributes, and well hello, it doesn’t really gel with the sheer brutish power delivery!). However, the most “in your face” aspect of the CBF is its torque….

It is there in huge handfuls seemingly from idling revs…. Actually, later I was so perplexed at why the CBF should seem to have so much more lower grunt than the FZ, and on a par if not better than the Fazer, with in fact much less torque and bhp…. The answer lies in the fact that it develops 61 ft/lbs (of its max 69), at just 3,000 revs…. The clever Honda people carefully designed a bike that can give the rider access to a huge dose of torque at really low revs….

Thus loads of grunt is available from the word go, and continues to build up until the 9,500 red line (or thereabouts). Max torque by the way is at 6,500 revs. Therefore there is no need to have loads of bhp on tap… Just as well, cos that is the sacrifice that this engine has to make, simply decent enough torque well low down in exchange for massive torque and bhp higher up in the rev range.

So when you ride the CBF, it oozes torque, and importantly, right where you want it, low, low down…. No need to have to let this baby spool up like say my Diversion has to do. The CBF pulls like a train from next to nothing.

Ironically a rather scooter like (with a 4 stroke engine!) attribute, whereby the lack of gears and auto CVT is designed to produce maximum torque quickly and with a minimum of fuss…. However coupled with this low torque, low centre of gravity, and eminently flick-able agile feeling, the CBF detuned Fireblade engine is a peach…. Super smooth, and I have to say…. probably the smoothest engine I’ve ever come across in a motorcycle….

A fine package indeed, the low down torque of a V-Twin, but combined with the rush of a super smooth inline four…. And a good sound too…. A blip of the throttle rewards you with a swift rorty bark… Not quite as throaty as the FZ, but definitely the sound of a well tuned top of the range in line four 16 valve engine… The engine itself however, whilst unmistakably a modern fireblade engine has as I understand a different head and an apparently slightly less complicated fuel injection system….

So whilst in “race form” it is potentially a 170bhp mill, alas no amount of home tweaking without bolting on major bits from a CBR Fireblade, is going to see that much of a super bhp improvement. But that said, the engine is just so sweet, it’s difficult even for the most dedicated petrol head to see why you would want to change it.

It’s also worth mentioning that the entire exhaust system is a two into one high quality with super efficient with catalytic converter stainless steel “long lived” affair. So a petrol head conversion would need to change that too…. All in all not worth the hassle or expense on what already is a fine set up.

Something else to ponder is fuel economy, which I didn’t have time to really look into or test… But surely for the performance on offer, with that level of apparent good fine tuning, its going be good, if not the best of the litre bikes in this “class”…. Exactly what class is difficult to say, cos the CBF is one versatile machine. Could it be the ultimate all-rounder?

Here I am waxing lyrical about what by todays standards are an underpowered engine for a litre bike. (an FZ 600 knocks out the same bhp!), But what about the rest of the bike? Well build quality is superb, exactly what can be expected of a top notch Honda. Plus the handlebars, seat and screen are all adjustable, though it’s using an allen key, permanent bolt on job, rather than pressing a switch and everything moves about like on some on the top tourers.

The riding position is super comfortable, and I have to say riding the CBF was like finding an old pair of lost well worn favourite hiking boots in the loft. It was almost tailor made…. And with all the adjustments you can do, if it doesn’t fit quite right, than a bit of simple tweaking (which the bike is designed for!) will make it fit.

That said, my only real criticism would be for a slightly taller screen than the Honda set up in the highest position. The frame, handling, brakes and suspension of the Honda, are not however on a par with the more sport orientated aluminum framed, R1 braked FZ. However they would be more comparable (still not quite as sporty though) to the older style Fazer, with perhaps the exception of the brakes which are better on the Fazer.

However, to notice this, you really have to brake super hard, by which time the ABS will have kicked in anyway…. I did a few hard stops, and the brakes were good, just not “super good” like the Yamaha. (I actually didn’t get the ABS to kick in on the Honda…) However whilst under hard braking the Honda was poised and well controlled, I noted that it pretty well was all the way down on its front suspension.

A shame the front end can’t be tweaked to be a bit stiffer, though you only noticed this if you were really pushing the Honda and braking hard. To ride, I actually found the Honda more comfortable than the FZ and the Fazer, easier to handle, great neutral handling, great poise, and a level of tautness that is more like a sports tourer / sports bike than an all rounder. It inspired confidence within a very short time of starting to ride.

The CBF felt more familiar, with an old fashioned style instrument cluster with everything easy, practical and to hand. Very practical functional and user friendly… Just not very vogue or trendy! Nonetheless, even if its not a trend setter at the end of my test ride I really didn’t want to give the CBF back, and my bum hadn’t started to ache as it did on both the Fazer and the FZ.

However, whilst this makes for a well sublime ride, it’s clear that the Honda “all round perfection” does have its limitations…. OK so on a top gear roll on, the CBF is surely gonna leave the FZ behind, and probably the Fazer too, (though the Fazer ain’t gonna be far behind!).

And the Honda is super comfortable with a body that lends itself to panniers and a top box if you want. (you can also get a touring model with these and upgraded brembo brakes) And it probably wouldn’t look bad or out of place… But an FZ1 with panniers? Hmmm…! A Fazer perhaps?

Maybe…? But, and this is a big “but”, if you were to set off with a Fazer an FZ and a CBF, and the mission being to have fun, get throttle happy and “burn rubber” well that is gonna be a different story.

The FZ and the Fazer are gonna pull through here, with the Honda behind, though to be honest not by that much (unless you are on a genuine race track …..) I reckon the FZ handles as close to a sports bike as you can get without actually being a sports bike, and for hooligan fun and a seemingly limitless supply of power that just never runs dry, it rocks! It is awesome! The Fazer is similar, but perhaps not quite as accomplished in the handling area, and raw brute feel to its power….

To this end the Honda is good, but won’t hold a match to either the FZ or the Fazer…. It’s good, but not that good. I didn’t have it long enough to really push it to the limits, but I reckon that the handling just wouldn’t be able to keep up, and as opposed to the Yamahas where you are gonna be pushing the engine to the red line, well on the Honda, its gonna be a bit pointless since you will have achieved max power well before, and are (by comparison to the FZ and Fazer) gonna notice the power tailing off as you get to the red line, whereas the Yamahas are still gonna be pulling like a train. Mind you we are talking hooligan here and speeds well into 3 figures.

OK so this is cool, but life and riding in the race track of the “real world” populated by pesky cars, vans, and trucks is not like this for most of us. On the road as a versatile tool the Honda cuts it real good, with the Fazer being very close, and the FZ has well, “out-sported” itself. However, as a hooligan tool, then the FZ is for you, with the Fazer being second, and the Honda bringing up the rear… though its not gonna be too far behind…

Honda CBF 1000
Honda CBF 1000
Honda CBF 1000
Honda CBF 1000
Honda CBF 1000
Honda CBF 1000

Interesting articles

Tagged as:

Other articles of the category "Honda":

Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

Born in the USSR


About this site

For all questions about advertising, please contact listed on the site.

Motorcycles catalog with specifications, pictures, ratings, reviews and discusssions about Motorcycles.