CBF125 vs YBR125 – from the archives

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Image credit: Visordown

I dug this up from a reply I wrote to a comment burried in the murky depths of this blog. It’s based on my experiences with both bikes and may be useful if you’re deliberating between purchasing a CBF or YBR, especially the older 2005 carburettor based YBR125. Although apart from the introduction of fuel injection, later YBR125s are similar.

What do I prefer? Well, I’m a bit divided to be honest; there are minor pros and cons to each bike… The CBF seems to have had more warranty issues than the YBR – the build quality is questionable, they’re made in India with the YBR being made in China, which has also had its issues, predominantly with premature corrosion. I’d love to hear your comments. Which do you prefer and why? Or are you riding sometbing else? Read on…

Differences I can see:

Brakes

The CBF has a 2 piston brake calliper, the YBR has a single piston one. The CBF front brake has more stopping power in my opinion because of this.

Lighting power supply

The CBF powers a lot of the ‘running lights’ (headlamp, tail, instruments) from the alternator directly, the YBR powers them from the battery. The current going to the lights on the CBF is ‘pulsed’ DC, which you could argue shortens bulb life (a lot of people have reported this). I haven’t noticed this greatly, apart from the glass on the 5W ‘sidelight’ going black.

Luggage

The YBR comes with a decent luggage rack and bungee points under the pillion seat, the CBF doesn’t, but you can buy an after-market rack for the CBF. The YBR wins at carrying big loads on the back.

Fuel pump

On the CBF you’ll probably have to get a new one. This is due to Honda putting some kind of protective coating inside the fuel tank, which should be washed out before the bike is fuelled up for the first time. Dealers didn’t do this and as a result, this stuff clogged up the fuel pump after a few hundred miles. That’s what I’ve been told anyway. The CBF does better mileage – 120mpg vs 90mpg of the carbed YBR.

Electrics

I feel the CBF has better built electrics – wiring etc. Connectors have rubber boots all over the place to protect them, whereas they didn’t on the YBR. I also notice rubber boots on control cables as well on the CBF. I like that sort of thing.

Headlight

The CBF wins on this hands down, compared to my 2005 YBR. I don’t know what newer YBRs are like in comparison as the reflector design has changed on them, but the spread of the beam is wide and you get a halogen bulb as standard (my old YBR came with a krypton bulb – very old school!).

Tyres

You have more choice with the YBR due to the sizes and that means you have the awesome Michelin Pilot Sporty as a choice! On the CBF you basically have to have Conti-Go! or TVS, unless you deviate from the specified tyre size slightly, then you can go for others. You’d need to declare this as a modification to your insurers though. The CBF tyres are a bit wider.

Size

The CBF is bigger than the YBR and you can notice this – on big roads when you see both bikes, the YBR looks very ‘puny’ in comparison.

Riding position

The seat on the CBF is wider than the YBR, I find it comfortable. You also sit higher on the CBF, and your knees tuck in more, giving you a little bit of a forward lean. It’s quite an ‘assertive’ position, almost like you’re commanding the road, so to speak. It gives you confidence. The YBR is more like a ‘dining room chair’, or ‘sit up and beg’ affair, more laid back. I prefer the CBF.

Handling

I personally prefer the YBR, especially the way it takes corners. I felt I could really lean it into corners and it held its grip very well (using Michelin Pilot Sporty tyres). It naturally wanted to corner. The CBF is different – it feels like you’re going to let the back slip out during a corner and doesn’t inspire confidence. How you shift your weight around the bike makes a lot of difference, and because you’re sitting higher, you don’t think you’re leaning as much as you actually might be! It took me a lot of getting used to, but I’m more comfortable with it now. Others may have different opinions entirely!

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2 thoughts on “CBF125 vs YBR125 – from the archives

  1. i choce the ybr over cbf 125 for one main resion you can acces the valve gap without having to take off loads off panels, up here in cold nothern scotland the panels are always cold and difficult to take off i bought the We Yam and im very satisfied

  2. I bought the CBF and have really liked it. I completely get what you mean about grip and still tiptoe around hard bends, especially in the wet, as the back doesn’t feel planted.

    Reliability has been excellent on my 2014 model, though recently the exhaust sounds like someone has poured a handful of coins into it. My Honda dealer are replacing that under warranty though which speaks highly of their service attitude.

    Love the 125mpg + I get out of it no matter how hard I ride it.

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