• Brian Jablon

Hunting for a Honda CBR650F

"You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda."

1962 Slogan from Honda's Ad Campaign

2015 Honda CBR650F
A Picture Perfect 2015 Honda CBR650F

Back in January I posted a blog piece, "New Year New Bike," where I described my "project" to find a new larger more powerful motorcycle to replace my current 250cc model, a 2013 Honda CBR250R with 63K kilometers. After an exhaustive search in the market, I decided that my next bike will be a Honda CBR650F, a larger version of my current bike but with a 86HP engine compared to my current 27HP. Yes, 0 - 60 in 4 seconds. Self control will be needed. I was looking at newer models but when corona hit I decided that, perhaps, an older model will be a more reasonable frugal decision. It took some time but I found a 2015 model at a decent price. The dealer, who's inventory was an hour away, brought the bike on a trailer and met me in south Tel Aviv. I'll keep the dealer's name anonymous.

Dealers in most parts of the world ensure that every bike is detailed to look the best - shiny, polished, new tires, and balloons attached. The motorcycles displayed may be a disaster on the road but they look great on the showroom floor! Here in Israel it's common that bikes are put on the floor dented with broken clutches, bashed gas tanks, and often not even cleaned. This one fell into the later category. No dents or obvious broken parts but geez....could the dealer have cleaned the dirt from the seat and washed the grime from the tires before hauling it into town to meet a buyer....and how in the world did that rim get scratched up? And, of course, a dead battery when I tried to start it. The salesperson's been sitting for two months. I should have seen the ominous signs. A call is made for a mechanic who shows up for a jump start. The bike sounds great. We negotiate a price including mine as a trade in and the dealer agrees to replace both tires and the battery as well as to "guarantee a check by the mechanic of my choice" - S. The last part is a common way of purchasing bikes here, the dealer will agree to any reasonable repairs the mechanic discovers.

It was obvious that this bike didn't receive much TLC over the years by its two previous owners and needed some love but the price was right, it was exactly what I wanted, and it WAS A HONDA, "heart" over "mind." A word about S. This guy is known throughout the country as one of THE best motorcycle inspectors. Israelis have been known to pay for him to drive up north or down south, all expenses paid, to check out a prospective bike. He doesn't come cheap but his reputation is unquestioned. If S passes a bike and slaps his sticker on its license plate - it's golden. His reports are detailed and his briefings to the prospective owners are excellent. He knows bikes. Well...this one came with a few hiccups. Besides the tires and battery he discovered it needed steering head bearings, a new water pump, the reserve coolant tank was dry (not a good sign), front brake callipers needed cleaning, new chain guard required, and a few other "minor" issues. Chassis, engine, electrical - all good. No accidents or damage. His recommendation - get all the repairs and replacements including diagnosing the coolant issue - and the bike will likely serve you well.

I send the inspection report to the dealer and they agree to perform the repairs listed by S. I wait. Days go by without hearing anything....finally five days later the dealer calls. They refuse to replace the water pump that is listed on the report as needing replacement as THEIR mechanic says it's fine. Stuck in the middle between the opinions of S and THEIR mechanic, I don't wish to risk a bill of several thousand shekels + towing charges if/when it fails while I'm riding in the Negev. So the deal falls through.....I'm out the cash for the inspection....and the bike returns to the dealer's stock....back to the hunt.

My life lesson - I should have gotten agreement by the dealer IN WRITING regarding what they would cover in the inspection report. Never trust oral agreements. By my age, I should have learned this....anyone have a CBR650F for sale?

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