“We might be deep into fall – with the accompanying frigid temperatures – but on sunny days, the roads aren’t without motorcycles…”

Honda VRF800
Honda NC750X
Honda CB500X
Honda CRB650F

Honda has had a big year.

Not only did it bring back the popular VFR800F (which I’ll get to in a bit), they released some all-new products.

But the fun isn’t stopping there. With more motorcycles on the way for 2015, I thought now would be a good time to look back at some great bikes I rode in 2014.

Besides, we might be deep into fall – with the accompanying frigid temperatures – but on sunny days, the roads aren’t without motorcycles. That’s definitely a warming thought.

CBR650F

Don’t let the “CBR” designation – followed by the 650 – intimidate you. This all-new middleweight bike has the sporty flair that you’re used to but with a twist.

With a curb weight of 211kg (465 lbs.) and a seat height is 810mm (31.8-inches), complete with a narrow middle profile, it allows a range of riders to feel comfortable atop its seat.

What I really liked about this bike is that yes, you have the sport bike styling, but without the wrist and backache that can sometimes be experienced. The ergonomics are more upright so I was comfortable for much longer when I decided to go for an extended ride.

Honda mentions that the development team included many engineers in their 20s.

That’s a good thing, considering they want to attract a younger customer with the CBR650F.

Furthermore, engineers decided early on that chasing peak power at redline was off their agenda. Strong acceleration from a standing start, low/mid range torque and mid-gear roll-on throttle response were targeted as the essential elements.

Speaking of which, it’s powered by a liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, inline-4 engine.

It comes in great colours like Sword Silver Metallic, and my test bike, which happened to be the eye-catching Candy Tahitian Blue

The CBR650F has an MSRP of $8,999.

VFR800F

The wait is over and 2014 saw the re-introduction of the VFR800F.

The legendary motorcycle is completely updated with a modern look, a brand new telescopic fork, Pro-arm swingarm, wheels and bodywork.

Not to mention, there’s an adjustable seat height, standard-fit Traction Control System, ABS, heated grips and Honda’s unique new self-cancelling turn signals.

In the process, it sheds 10kg from the previous model, and has an engine re-tuned for greater low and mid-range torque.

The V4 engine configuration, which powers this sport-touring machine is unique to Honda and dates back four decades.

The 782cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC 90° V4-VTEC engine allows for some great low-end power, but rev it higher and you dig into the VTEC, which will really put a smile on your face.

Much like the VTEC in Honda vehicles, VTEC valve timing still operates one pair of inlet/exhaust valves per cylinder at low rpm, and then switches to four as revs rise but the transition is now seamless.

The seat is height adjustable (789mm/31-inches or 809mm/31.8-inches) using the tool provided and it weighs in at 239kg (527 lbs.)

It’s not a svelte bike by any stretch, so urban riding wasn’t my favourite. But on the open road, it is just a treat.

It has an MSRP of $13,499.

NC750XA

Ah, the NC750XA. A bike I’ve been dying to get on since the NC700s came out two years ago.

It’s the more adventurous of two NC models (the S and X), with a taller ride height (830mm/32.6-inches in comparison to 790mm/31.1-inches) and a more upright seating position.

This “different” breed of bike isn’t the high redlining sort Honda riders might be used to. It’s ideal for urban romping or a pleasure cruise.

For 2014, an extra 75cc capacity was added to the liquid-cooled, SOHC 8-valve parallel twin- cylinder engine.

With its engine mounted low to the ground, it naturally equates to a low centre of gravity and an easy-to-move-around type of riding dynamic. Furthermore, you can get upwards of 400km out of the 14L tank. Not bad.

And it get’s better.

With the fuel tank under the seat, you have that allows for a handy storage compartment in place of where you’d normally put in your gas; one of the coolest features of this bike.

It has an MSRP of $8,199.

CB500XA

One member of the CB500 trifecta, the 500XA, is a charming little bike that fulfills the idea of owning an adventure-style bike but one that is more manageable for newer riders in the genre. It has a compact adjustable windscreen, open riding accommodations and large-capacity fuel tank.

It has an MSRP of $6,049.

Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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