I have been writing several reviews of all the CBR600 models lately ... I hope
you guys enjoy them and find them useful, this is my second one for the
CBR600F2 of 1991 to 1994 :-)
This is a review of the 1991 to 1994 CBR600F2. (CBR600FM, FN, FP, FR)
Take a good look at those pictures again. She’s nice, isn’t she .. real nice!!
This is when Honda’s CBR600 really came of age.
The CBR600F2 was launched to gain back the middleweight throne.
The old ZZR600 was faster, the FZR600 was lighter and faster round the bends and winning more races, the Suzuki at the time never really mattered,
that GSX600 teapot thingy ..lol ..it might have been argued more comfort but little else over the CBR.
It’s 1991 and so was launched the CBR600F2, a completely revamped bike over the old F1. A new frame.
A new shorter stroke higher revving engine and forks were up from 37mm to 41mmm.
All new racier (for then) bodywork too.
This new F2 was a rider’s delight in 1991 and even today, if you can find a good one, have a very nice feel and ride quality to them.
The engine was the first 600 to claim 100Bhp (the original F1 was 85Bhp and 93Bhp) although I suspect this was at the crank,
the bike producing a true 85Bhp at the rear wheel.
However, this was still not to be sniffed at. A genuine 85 rear wheel Bhp in a light manageable package was a recipe for fun and so it was.
This new F2 cornered where the ZZR600 wallowed and had a healthier mid range to boot, although still not quite as fast as the ZZR’s top end.
On a good day it was supposedly capable of 150mph. Is anybody here really going to argue that is not fast enough ..lol.
It was, as usual, the all round package that Honda offered with this bike. It was comfortable enough to go two up touring,
you could go to work on it during the week and race it at weekends, it was a true all rounder.
Many people also preferred it’s more stubby and aggressive look over the older jelly mould F1.
I owned two of these bikes and loved them both. I had the early 1991 F2 which I clocked considerable miles on and then the later 1994 F2.
Both these bikes were a joy to own and ride.
The 1994 bike had slightly revamped suspension, and the passenger foot peg carriers were changed from steel tube to alloy
(these were the 93-94 bikes) but with any of these bikes today condition is all and the determining factor on a purchase.
The F2 had timeless style and in my opinion still looks good today especially the well kept ones in original colours.
What is it like to ride??
I found the engines to be really smooth on both these bikes and they had a good spread of power and a strong power band above 7,000 – 8,000 rpm.
It has to be said that singing these bikes through the gears between 8,000 and about 11,000 rpm made for very rapid and fun progress,
especially back in their day.
If I am going to be hyper critical there is a flat spot, that is almost over stating it though, it’s more an easing up of urge and I managed to pinpoint it between
about 4500 and 5500 revs.
If you opened the throttle in this range in the higher gears it sometimes felt a bit breathless and not quite the urge you wanted.
That said it was excellent above 5500-6000rpm and had good useable power in traffic from 3000 to 4,500 rpm.
This was not a problem once you knew the flat spot was there and where it was.
Both my bikes were totally standard and exactly the same in that regard.
The handling always felt taut and tight in the twisties and the bike itself was very comfortable for long or short journeys.
The mirrors are excellent if time is take to adjust them right.
Gear selection was always a bit clunky especially going into first could be quite a clonk but that was just a Honda CBR600 thing
and more of an annoyance than anything to worry about.
Performance and Specifications
Once again as I wrote about the old F1, an F2 will feel dated by modern sport bike standards.
It won’t feel anywhere near as dated as the F1 though because the F2 was quite a leap forward over that bike.
Compared to a modern 600 RR the F2 will feel heavier, much slower and less flickable.
That does not mean it is heavy, slow and not flickable. It’s all relative.
One thing the F2 does have is comfort. A 150mph top end and 0-60 time in about 3.2 secs is fine for most.
Engine: liquid cooled, carb fed,16V DOHC, inline four, 599cc
Claimed Power: 100Bhp @ 12,000rpm
Claimed Torque: 47lbft @ 10,500rpm
Frame: steel beam
Front suspension: 41mm stepless preload and rebound adjustable
Rear Suspension: Pro link with 7 step preload and stepless rebound and compression adjustable damper with gas charged remote reservoir.
Dry weight: 185Kg
Seat height 810mm
Fuel capacity 16 litres
0-60mph 3.2 secs
Top Speed 150mph
Fuel consumption 46mpg
Some close ups of the F2. As usual being a Honda the bike was very well appointed and nicely finished.
It had thick shiny paint and a nice set of clocks that gave the bike a luxurious feel.
When the bike was launched in 1991 these were the three available UK colours.
I owned the red/white colour scheme which I loved but I really, really wanted the Bennetton colours or liquorice allsort as it was affectionately know here.
In 1994 the F2 was still going strong and came in these colours in the UK. I had the black/purple one above.
The only minor differences I remember were the addition of adjustable rebound damping to the rear shock and alloy passenger foot peg carriers,
oh and that remote thingy for the rear suspension ..lol
The layout of the clocks and console remained unchanged and was always quite beautiful to my eyes.
I just have a thing for original clocks and needles on bikes. The F2 in my opinion had much nicer clocks than other 600s of the day.
Despite the futuristic and impressive looking digital console of my RR I still have a preference for my F2/F3 clocks,
my F3 has a white tacho which I love ...however, I digress ..lol
As I said in my F1 review all models of the CBR have been pretty much bomb proof but like anything there were a few ****les here and there
but nothing too drastic.
The engine/gearbox is strong, the CBR engine if looked after is capable of well over 100,000 miles.
Indeed many despatch riders in London clocked up much more than this with some CBR600s showing
150,000 miles plus, and still going strong.
Regular oil/filter changes are your friend. That, and not continually thrashing the bike to within an inch of it’s life ..lol
On F2s some people have cam chain woes, I think around the 30-40K mark or less if unlucky.
Also the voltage regulator can go but other than this the electrics are mostly reliable.
All I can say it’s an easy fix and there will be plenty of help around the forums if you need advice on changing a tensioner or regulator.
In my 25,000 miles on my first F2 and my 15,000 on my second F2 I never had any engine or electrical problems at all and
I used to ride daily and very briskly when in my younger days.
Again, I never skimped on oil changes or redlined though. I am always a couple of K short of redlines.
As I said the 1993/4 CBRs got revamped suspension.
The front forks had rebound damping adjustment and the rear also got adjustable compression damping.
The passenger foot peg carriers were alloy too. Today though, you should buy purely on condition.
In my opinion the CBR600F2 is still a great bike today. It was simply quite brilliant in 1991 at it’s launch and even today all these years later,
if you can find a good one that has been well serviced and looked after, it’s still a great bike to ride and have fun on.
Whilst it is certainly no 600RR, and lacks that bike’s aggressive looks and potent performance,
it is still a very pleasant machine to ride that is well rounded with an ample turn of speed if pushed.
Besides, if you are not travelling everywhere at warp speed you get to admire the views more.
A well looked after CBR600F2 for the right price could be just the ticket to get into some fun biking cheaply without being saddled
with finance in these somewhat hard times.
Review written by
Data and performance figures taken from various sources.
Pictures scanned from my own original CBR600F2 brochure :-)
(This review can and will be added to with more facts and information)
Coming soon ... super reviews of CBR600F3, F4 and 600RR!!