Article by: Martin Lortz
There are a lot of factors that make the annual Bikers Reunion in New Liskeard the coolest motorcycle gathering in Ontario, Canada. Top of the list is the cause; since it’s inception in 1999, the event has raised over a million dollars for cancer research with 2015 adding another $128,000 to the kitty. Then there is the carnival like atmosphere, music, food , stunt shows and of course the bikes, thousands of them. You won't find any bike discrimination here, ride what you own policy is in full effect. In fact you might just turn the most heads if you arrive on a scooter, but hey you know it’s every bike owners hidden dream to have a bike that can hang with the cool crowd. Not an easy task at the Bikers Reunion where the cool crowd is a few thousands strong.
When I was informed that I could make this year’s trip on a 2015 40th Anniversay Honda F6b I was thrilled to have the opportunity to spend a weekend on one of my favourite machines. Last season I got to bond with the F6b as I cruised the Ontario Highlands and remembering the attention the bike received on that trip, I know it’s a head turner.
The 2015 F6b still sports the fluid bagger styling, integrated luggage and stubby windscreen but its first impression impact gets a boost with a stunning flat grey finish (Honda calls it silver), a spattering of 40th anniversary badging and the look and rumble of a new blacked out exhaust pushing it to an 11 out of 10 on the looker scale. Hey Bikers Reunion, save me a spot in the cool section,I can feel it, my time is now.
Who’s your daddy? Yes the F6b has a blood line and is in fact the offspring of no other than Honda’s long distance touring papa the Gold Wing. Like in any family you hope that junior will take the best of what you have to offer and then step it up and carve a path of its own. In this case the daddy and son share the same power plant, the liquid – cooled,1832 cc, horizontally opposed, six - cylinder, SOHC, PGM-FI engine. Being lighter, leaner and trimmer, the F6b makes the tested and proven engine come alive. What speeds up must slow down, hence the dual full-floating 296mm discs with CBS three-piston callipers up front and a rear single ventilated 316 mm disc with CBS three-piston calliper will keep you in control.
New Liskeard is exactly 500 kilometres from home. Why does this matter, if you add it all up, a ride there and back, plus a day of northern exploring makes for a solid weekend in the saddle. Luckily while the F6b did trim down compared to the Gold Wing the seat remained big and comfortable like a well worn leather couch. There needs to be more to a touring bike than a comfy seat, sound system, cruise control, heated grips; it’s all here plus the 22 litre side bags provide ample room for a few days on the road. My only gripe, the F6b comes in two trim packages and only the more expensive deluxe outfit offers heated grips, doesn’t seem fair for a Canadian market distance cruiser.
When I say the F6b has trimmed down from the Gold Wing, it has, but at 844 pounds it’s still far from a sport bike. Like an NFL linebacker, size can be deceiving and the F6b is surprisingly capable of around town wondering but with a 66.5” wheel base it’s best suited for long straights and sweeping curves of the open road and this is where it shines. Testing the lean angle clearance through a spirited set of twisties proves there is plenty of room providing the kind of G-force joy only a motorcycle can. Highway speed cruising,smooth like butter, passing, just giver.
We were blessed with an amazing weekend of blue sky and sunshine, the ride home not so much. By the time we rounded North Bay the sky darkened and the clouds burst. The next three hours it was darkness and downpours, misery, you would think so. The Honda engineers took their time in the air tunnel perfecting the F6b’s minimalistic looking fairing for maximum electiveness. All I can say is that if they were here and now in the cold dark night and pouring rain I would give them a hug. The fairing does a stellar job of dispersing the elements. Sure I got wet but in a nice and gentle way.
The Bikers Reunion weekend; three days, 1500 kilometres in the saddle and twice as many bikes for company. From sunshine to rain, from rock and roll to bike parades, stunt riders and test rides, all in all nothing but good-time goodness.
The Honda F6b; comfort, power, handling,reliability, it’s everything you need from a distance tourer. If you like the looks you will love the whole package. Judging by the attention it receives at every stop, I do believe the cool crowd would approve.