By Marissa Baecker
The mercury was hovering at 26 degrees, skies decorated with whispy clouds, no wind and several Osprey circling high above as I rode through the twist and turns of backroads farmland and orchards on the 2012 Honda CBF600SA.
Piloting the Pearl Cool White with black/red accented CB600SA, the smooth handling mirrored the floating of my feathered friends above. The colouring of the birds and the bike are identical but if you are not familiar with the Okanagan’s Osprey, the raptors resemble vultures from a distance and we all know what those mean.
As the afternoon heat from the sun, paired with my full leather, made me feel like I were riding the Mojave, the road ahead re-radiated the heat off the pavement making it look like water and the circling Osprey above seemed to complete the mirage.
The standard sport style ride is a confidence building user-friendly motorcycle that provides enough extra thrill for a more skilled rider. The analogue speedometer sided with the analogue tach are in perfect vision from riding position and are shielded by a half windscreen built into the half-fairing designed to direct the wind around the rider.
A cool wind would be welcomed on this day but the air was too warm making the wind virtually unnoticeable. With the sun directly behind me, the signal lights were difficult to see flashing on the dash and as they are manual (not self cancelling), I caught myself a few times riding with my blinkers on.
A three position adjustable seat, 785 mm (30.9”) adjustable plus or minus 15 mm (.6”), opens this bike up to a variety of rider sizes. Although I usually prefer a taller ride, I was quite comfortable at the base seat height.
With its lightweight die-cast aluminum frame and 41mm telescopic front fork (4.3” travel) paired with rear single shock (4.9” travel), the bike responds well to the rider in those twists and is agile when necessary yet provides a solid, stable ride in the straightaway. A combined braking system with ABS adds stability and control decelerating from higher speeds.
With a full 20 litre fuel tank, and all other fluids in, the bike weighs in at a mere 222 kg (480 lb.) To some this may seem like a lot, but with the right technique, this is effortless to pick up if you ever had to.
For riders upgrading from the 125 or 250, the 600 adds the power with its fuel-injected, liquid cooled, 599cc inline-four but doesn’t sacrifice handling that a less powerful model often provides. Graduating riders will slide right on and continue developing their skills without getting in over their head.
Over my head, the Osprey continued to circle looking for their next meal so I opened throttle intent on leaving those buzzards behind. The bike is peppy, responds well at the twist of the wrist and eases through the gears smoothly around 6000 RPM. You can ride more aggressively if you choose but I found this area to be quite comfortable.
At Coquihalla speeds, I was searching for one more gear for a bit of a smoother ride that lowering the RPM offers but had reached the limit of the six-speed transmission.
For those longer treks, load up the optional 33 litre panniers or add a 35 ltr top box and make your mirage a reality. Other options include heated grips to extend your riding season well into the Fall or jump the season in the Spring. You can also get a centre stand for easy parking of a balanced full load.
MSRP for the CBF600SA is around $10K but check with your local dealer for any special offers. Honda offers a one-year, unlimited mileage, transferable warranty.