Take a look around and you won’t need numbers to tell you that superbike sales are up. It is easy to spot a Kawasaki here and a Triumph there which means there are buyers and most importantly demand for these machines.All this however, doesn’t translate to wanting a “big” motorcycle. People now have particular uses for a motorcycle, thankfully as has dawned on our biking fraternity, that a motorcycle can have uses other than just commuting.The middleweight 600c class is a safe bet for most stepping up to the higher capacity classes and this is a market that now has a lot of options. Honda Motorcycle and Scooters India has realized this to bring in its newest contender for the segment, the CBR 650F.The CBR name has heritage and the attachment to the newest 650cc motorcycle from Honda isn’t uncanny. It’s what gets attached later in the nomenclature that dictates the type of motorcycle this is. F denotes the sport touring line-up that began in the mid-Eighties with the CBR 600F.Where the 600RR took care of the hardcore, race-bred track duties, the 600F catered to the daily, more practical users looking for a little comfort along with the performance.The “Hurricane” as it was known in some markets was followed by the F2, F3, F4 and F4i in the later years. In 2011, Honda got the new CBR 600F out internationally. It was based on the Hornet and was only bettered by the CBR 650F when launched in 2014. However, the 650F has been long in the making and is a brand new motorcycle.advertisementHazard lights are a thoughtful integration. Horn and indicator switches aren’t intuitively placed. (Photo: Pawan Dagia)In the flesh, the 650F is a big machine. The fairing and the fuel tank make up the bulk of the front-end while a sharpened tail section is complemented by a chunky 180-section rear tyre. Getting astride the bike, the first noticeable trait is the large 17.3-litre tank. Now, a bigger tank is always good to grip, keeping weight off your arms but we found the tank a tad on the larger side.This and the fact that it’s entirely smooth, devoid of contours means that it’s slippery. Nothing a set of Stompgrips can’t solve so make sure it’s on your list of accessories. Once you seat yourself into the one-piece seat, you find yourself stooped down (albeit comfortably so) on the clip-ons.650cc in-line four is banked at 30-degrees for better mass centralisation. (Photo: Pawan Dagia)It’s a sporty stance and most riders will find the riding position spot-on. Honda’s have always been about feeling good and the 650F definitely conveys those emotions to its rider.Starry eyes are usually an enthusiast’s reaction to the sound of an in-line four but I’m going to disappoint you a little here. The 650F when cold started idles into a soundtrack akin to industrial fans. It won’t be what you’ll expect a four to sound like.No grab rails keep the rear look neat while pillions can use underseat grab recesses to hold on while on the move. (Photo: Pawan Dagia)Muted and humble, just like most Honda’s. It’s not all that bad though and as you climb through the gears and revs the exhaust note gets better, wailing only beyond 9,000rpm. A little advice, save up for an aftermarket exhaust and you won’t be disappointed. A smooth and light clutch with an equally slick gearbox made trotting about in traffic a breeze.Most importantly, the 650F doesn’t let its weight be felt. Riding about, the 215kg kerb weight is easily managed by the twin-spar steel frame which used the engine as a stress member. Also helping the weight is a near 50:50 weight distribution between both axles. Old-school 41mm right-side up suspension in the front and a seven-step preload adjustable rear monoshock are setup to supply pliant ride quality.This is a point where the 650 shines as the rider barely gets to know undulations as bad roads are soaked up really well. The suspension is firm enough to also make the bike hold its line around a corner and not wallow about upsetting itself.320mm twin Nissin ABS-assisted brakes handle stopping duties well. (Photo: Pawan Dagia)The front-end is light and aides in handling the bike through traffic but I would’ve liked a little more feedback from the Dunlop tyre. This is probably because it isn’t built as a sharp corner carver and focus is undeniably on comfort. The handling is forgiving and it’ll be easy for riders new to this capacity and weight to get accustomed to the 650F.advertisementThe engine is smooth as silk, it had to be it’s a Honda. Heating is controlled and never annoying; the engine revs freely and is eager to climb up the revs. The CBR isn’t scarily fast nor does it take offence to sudden throttle inputs and will pull cleanly to the ton and beyond without making the rider realise its quickness.VerdictHonda has managed to price the CKD, 650F at a place where it’s inviting competition not only in price but capacity too. We’ve got the Kawasaki offering a 650 and the naked Z800 while there’s Benelli too with touring and a naked in their line-up at a lower price band too. Then there is Ducati jumping in the price range with a the Scrambler.The Ceeber however, can hold its own amidst them as being the most refined of the lot. This is a trait that tourers have to consider and will surely swing towards it for the very reason. Also, it will probably be the most reliable amongst them too. Styling is mostly desirable and Honda is offering a few accessories to further spruce up your CBR.
Philippe Coutinho Klopp plays down talk of Coutinho captaincy being Barcelona snub hint Jamie Smith 23:23 12/29/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Philippe Coutinho Liverpool Liverpool v Leicester City Leicester City Premier League Jürgen Klopp The Brazilian midfielder captaining Liverpool does not necessarily mean that he will be staying at the club, according to the man in charge at Anfield Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has played down Philippe Coutinho being given the captain’s armband in the absence of Jordan Henderson and James Milner.Coutinho continues to be strongly linked with a switch to Barcelona after the Catalan giants failed with an attempted move for the Brazilian in August.With club captain Henderson out with a hamstring injury and his deputy Milner benched, Coutinho captained Liverpool to a 5-0 demolition of Swansea City on Boxing Day and scored a delightful opening goal. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Coutinho has scored in three consecutive Premier League appearances to take his tally to 12 in all competitions this season, but Klopp played down the importance of the midfielder being given the captaincy, denying it is a hint Liverpool will be able to keep the 25-year-old throughout the January transfer window.”I don’t want to make the story less romantic but it’s how I said it – when Hendo [Henderson] and Milly [Milner] are not playing I have to look [for a captain],” Klopp told reporters on Friday. “Phil is long-serving, so he is captain.”I could say that if I give him the captaincy he’ll never leave or he’ll be happier, but that’s not how it works. The armband does different things, you can feel the lift or the pressure.”It didn’t disturb him, so it’s all good in the moment. It’s a good moment [for Coutinho], I’m not sure if the armband has a big influence, but he has played very well in the last couple of weeks especially. “It’s just an armband and not more. The job Hendo and Milly do in the dressing room is different. In England when you get the armband everyone tells you what you have to do. It’s important on the pitch, but not in the same way.”Liverpool Football Club can confirm they have reached an agreement with Southampton for the transfer of Virgil van Dijk.Full story: https://t.co/tJy9vsGOen pic.twitter.com/L17A7UwqaU— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 27, 2017Liverpool have already confirmed the signing of Virgil van Dijk, the Southampton centre-back set to join on January 1 for a world-record fee for a defender, widely reported to be £75 million.But Klopp insisted the price tag of the Netherlands international is not a concern, with Van Dijk’s arrival breaking the club-record fee agreed to bring Naby Keita to Anfield from RB Leipzig at the end of the season.”If you want to sign a player, the last thing I think about is the price,” Klopp added. “Not because I like throwing money around, but because we’re thinking about the player.”You either accept the price or you do not. It’s a big change in football and we have to adapt to it, that’s how it is. It doesn’t mean all transfers will be in this category but now we have a big transfer for a defensive player.”It’s not nice, but that’s the market and that’s the world – we have to adapt to it.” Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web