Review: 2014 Honda F6C - Attention Grabbing Custom
Posted at 02:00:00 PM
File under Product Review
Author: Damien Bertrand
Location: Paris, France
Since this is a translation directly from French, some of the colloquialism may seem a bit strange at times, for which I apologize. It's not easy to translate. Any mistakes below are mine, and mine alone.
Attention Grabbing Custom
Styled around its flagship, the legendary GL 1800 Gold Wing, Honda has produced within several years a family of different cruisers. Last year saw a superlative bagger named F6B, devoid of a top case and a windshield, displaying a most stylish and dynamic esthetic. Greatly appreciated in France, the Gold Wing sold close to 600 units in 2013, while 200 F6B found an owner. Thus, France is nothing less than the 2nd market in the world for these iconic machines. Note that 20% of these sales are for the transport of persons.
The manufacturer then expanded its offerings in this segment with more accessible machines, CTX 700, 700 N and early 2014 the innovative CTX 1300. Finally, the ultimate variation around the monumental 1800 cc six-cylinder engine, Honda today takes a dare with a power motorcycle. Named F6C, it is the culmination of novelties for the custom-cruiser of the Hamamatsu company. Remember that this name was already used in 1996 for a cruiser based on the then Gold Wing. To find out more about this extraordinary and naked creation, two days and 400 kilometers on winding roads in the sun were not too much. Less would have been a sin. And for this endurance trip, we were accompanied by Sebastien Gimbert, official Honda racer for the World Endurance Racing Championship.
The novelties have, of course, many elements of the Queen of Touring, but the powerful clean lines would almost make your forget the touring origins. Only the essentials are preserved and highlighted through a minimal fairing, leaving it to express the main assets of the bike. To which we add one major item: the custom weighs 341 kg or 80 less than a Gold Wing.
The whole consists of a power cruiser with great elegance, handsome and featuring some sportiness. A combination of modernity and classicism, Honda evokes a stramoine locomotive such as the Twentieth Century Limited or GG1 and S1 dear to the Pensylvania Railroad. The contrasts are important, combining dark color and metallic satin deck or chrome surfaces.
Less outrageous than a 2004 NRX 1800 RUNE VALKYRIE, the F6C imposes a magnetic presence. Her cyclopean eye, wearing a chrome cap (plastic), watches the world with an already superior look. This cybernetic eye composed of LEDs, as is the whole lighting system, is framed with gilled grill. The whole rests on a massive conventional 45 mm fork, and the top encasing appears embedded within wide shoulders. These massive scoops surmount the imposing lateral radiators in front of the fuel tank. Adorned by a gleaming deck (plastic) integrating the hatch masking the fuel hole, this 23.5 liters can is tapered towards the large seats. The pillion seat, thick and wide, is flanked by massive grab handles. They curve and dip on the stern ending dryly at the horizontal rear lights.
But let's get back to the main points. Because these volumes are only responding to those of the 1832 cc flat six-cylinder. A real sensations factory, the block features long satin housings and takes place in an aluminum twin-beam frame, which also participates in the rigidity of the whole. Her Dantesque breath pours into two long chrome silencers, each sporting a triple outlet. These flutes have been modified to exalt the sound coming from the Honda boiler. Similarly, the airbox has been reworked.
The chassis does not change much, the F6C stretching slightly. The caster angle increases by 0.35 units at 29 ° 5. The lack of fairing influences the stability, the distribution of weight changed the front-rear: 48% -52%. Now clearly visible, the swingarm integrates the cardan shaft drive. Its oscillations are assigned to a preload adjustable shock. The suspensions were recalibrated because of the less weight, but with a more dynamic behavior. The five gears gearbox remains unchanged.
Coated with a black tint, the 10 branch rims receive Dunlop D 256 and 252 4F tires. The front wheel moves to 19 inches, lifting the nose of the machine. Their rotation is stopped by two 310 mm front discs (296 mm for the Gold) with Nissin calipers with four pistons, since the weight is less and the performance is higher. A 316 mm rear element is clamped by three pistons. No linked system, but ABS is present. Finally, engine guards protect the flat six on which on the front, additional lights can be mounted. We can also mount a sissibar and the different windshields.
The Burgundy color gives a touch of class, but is a little dark. It is unfortunate that the electric blue is not imported here. Remains the black color, efficient and responsive to the brute force generated by the F6C .
In The Saddle
A new rear frame further lowers the seat height to 734 mm, while the leg arc does not exceed 300 mm. Enough to easily sit on the comfortable saddle. These values are halfway between those of a Gold Wing (740 mm) and those of the F6B (725 mm). Legs, moderately split by the stripped flat fuel tank, find easily the footrests and the hands fall naturally upon the grips. We notice their unusual size, but also their tolerable finish. The same feeling for the levers, wide, but not adjustable in spacing. More effective, the column stalks adopt generous buttons, with a hazard warning on the right.
The V-bar handlebar dips towards the upper bracket, surmounted by a fully digital instrument panel. The white letters on black background provide a pleasant modernity. Traditional information is available, but we regret the lack of a gear indicator. Speedometer, barograph tachometer, clock, fuel gauge and two partials fill the screen. It is effective and readable.
The finish is excellent though making overly use of plastic. Headlight, fuel tank deck whose lightweight hatch leaves no doubt as to its composition, the instruments ... drab for such an implementation. Fortunately, the integration of the cables and hoses are not subject to any criticism.
In The City
It's time to animate the Japanese locomotive. A quick coughing starts the horizontal mechanical cathedral. This unmistakable sound seems to me more successful than the BMW K 1600 GT. A little too quiet, but more velvety, it grants the stylish look of the F6 Custom.
Despite the substantial mass we quickly find our mark onboard. At very low speed, the front shows a certain heaviness that disappears past 10 kph. As is the case with her faired sisters, her balance is impressive. And what about the flexibility of the engine? It is quite possible to stay in the last gear in the city and elsewhere. The flat resumes at 750 rpm, below its idle therefore, from 20 kph! The first gear, short, but quick to warn the driver about the capabilities of the six cylinders' heart and her almost two liters. The city will soon become narrow for reasons other than the dimensions of the Honda; her 2473mm long and 942mm wide do not make her an urban queen. However, the machine steers well and maneuvers without difficulty for such a space. Her trick is the other dimension: that of sensations. Designed for large spaces, the F6C awaits an order to project yourself into the distance.
The beast took a fast train to hell. Springing towards the horizon, the custom carries you with enthusiasm to the legal speed limit. Even a "bit" faster. An angry breath comes out of her womb while her broad chest pushes the air flow, allowing incursions at high speed without much discomfort. 85 kilowatts (114 hp) at 5500 rpm seem little for this Leviathan , yet guaranteeing outstanding performance. The dual hundred kilometers an hour is reached without thinking. Oops ... and if we cruised calmly? Not easy when the beautiful-one asks only to run. At 130, the protection is very correct for this type of vehicle, especially in the legs, perfectly sheltered behind the radiators. An optional windshield should transform the dragster into a muscled traveler. The block purrs without vibration, at 3250 rpm, for the red zone is at 6000. You increase by 40 kph per 750 revs. Clearly, if the motorway becomes a runway, you will lose licenses and machine if you get caught. To ride happy, ride hidden in the secondary network.
Secondary and Country Roads
The real strength of the F6C is precisely that of the engine. Much more than its power, its 16.7 da.Nm torque at 4,000 rpm are a permanent enchantment. The significant weight loss transforms this custom compared to the Gold and F6B. Thus the ratio of the gearbox are unchanged, but in the intermediate, the Honda is an orbital catapult, trying to make you leave gravity. In fact, it does not keep a straight face for a second and the only attraction is hers.
Riding this stylish locomotive, you enjoy a pretty generous ground clearance that will not curb your desires. In the large curves, the stability is excellent and the custom switches from one side to the other by showing a great rigidity. Hairpins will be dealt with more circumscriptions and anticipation. This is only for better flow and torturing the rubber, both put to the test.
The rear 180/55 tire contributes to the agility of such a monument. It also contributes to the comfort on board. The suspensions work together to provide optimal damping in all circumstances, swallowing all the defects of bitumen. A race Gold Wing somehow.
At a very brisk pace, you will certainly need to keep in mind the large mass. If the brakes are up to it, the shell on a tight downhill requires a little more restraint. What you finally will remember is that it is possible to stroll with the F6C. Of course, we almost forget that the machine can be enjoyed in the landscapes. The sweetness of her prodigious six-cylinder then highlights your changes with an incomparable smoothness. The lack of a gear indicator is then less painful than when riding at a steady pace. Sometimes accusing a certain inertia, the gear selection may also be inaccurate.
At the limits of reality, the balance of this titan joins the other representatives of the flat six. Rigid, obviously, the F6C especially enjoys a net decrease in weight. Both in town and on tormented roads, the machine requires very little effort to be placed in its path.
Powerful, enduring, braking is in line with the dimensions of the power custom. Front calipers barely lock the steering and the rear element shows an unusual vigor. It serves the Honda perfectly while cornering, sitting the machine smoothly.
At first glance, you would not necessarily think to accumulate kilometers on a custom naked. Yes, but the F6C is not just any cruiser. These touring genes give her not only a superlative comfort, but also gives the possibility to ride prolonged and distant rides. Solo at the very least. But if by chance riding duo takes your fancy, you will need to, necessarily, buying a sissibar to get both of you to your destination. Similarly, a front air deflector optimizes your comfort. Honda would probably win if they propose rigid panniers for his creature. Also note the existence of different accessories packs.
Lighter, but more conducive to muscular acceleration, the F6C should stabilize her thirst to 7 liters per hundred kilometers. An autonomy of 300 km. A point to check.
Seductress, the Honda F6C is a sculptural machine with unrivaled dynamic elegance. Her imposing stature, but fluid charm at every moment, the powerful rhythm of its multi-cylinder block with the intoxicating melody. We regret even more the finishing details found unworthy of her status. Although meant for less long rides, the custom shows an ease on long trips. Without giving her claims she would refute, the F6C really can ride long trips. 250 kilometers of small roads, all in one go, we have not been under any stress.
Wishing to rejuvenate her high quality touring range, the brand scores a hit with this muscled achievement. Her price of €21699 places her wisely, both in the range of the manufacturer (F6B: €24199 and CTX 1300: €17699) and those in the competing weight class. The closest seems to me to be the Triumph Rocket III, with its three-cylinder 2294 cc. Less stylish than the Honda, it requires €17890. Also, the beautiful Moto Guzzi California 1400 Custom ABS available for €17350, is another choice. But far from the performance of the Japanese. On this point, the Ducati Diavel (€18090) and the Yamaha V-Max (€22490) would be closer.
A successful combination of elegance and excitement, comfort and dynamism, the Honda F6C is seductive to the power of six. Take this desirable train, her charms will take you far and fast.
|Strong Points||Weak Points|
- Engine character and availability
- Captivating sound
- Manufacturing quality
- Serious frame
- Some finishing details
- Limited level of equipment
- Sad colors
Via: Le Repaire Des Motards