Review: Honda BF60 outboard

By: Andrew Norton

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

There’s even more to love about the Honda BF60 outboard motor than you thought.

Review: Honda BF60 outboard
The Honda BF60 outboard comes standard with BLAST technology.

I must confess, Yamaha’s four-cylinder F60C has long been my favourite four-stroke 60. However, for those weaned on three-cylinder carbie two-stroke 60s, Honda Marine’s new three-cylinder 60 may make more sense.

Who needs that fourth cylinder on an outboard engine, anyway? Do we really want a smooth engine when we can have one that vibrates when trolling? One that triggers memories of the shaky old Johno 60, which encouraged less trolling? After all, drift or anchored fishing is kinder to the marine environment. And when you’re keen to impress your mates, what better aural backdrop than the strange exhaust beat of a three-cylinder four-stroke on song?

 

HONDA BF60

The Honda BF60 outboad motor is a stand-alone engine in the Honda outboard range, but it has the same cylinder bore of the four-cylinder BF75/90 with a slightly shorter stroke, though it’s still undersquare (stroke is bigger than the bore). This provides complete air / fuel combustion, giving the BF60 a three-star OEDA emissions compliance. It develops 59.2hp at 5500rpm with a WOT rev range of 5000-6000rpm from its 998cc powerhead, which has 12 valves operated by a single belt-driven overhead camshaft.

Honda’s BLAST (Boosted Low Speed Torque) technology is standard. This system advances the ignition timing and makes the air / fuel mixture richer (12:1 compared to the normal 14.7:1), to get a hull out of the water faster. Once the hull is planing the "ECOmo" setting leans out the air / fuel ratio to 18:1, transitioning to 14.7:1 only as the revs approach WOT. This system gives the BF60 phenomenal mid-range fuel efficiency, maximising distance travelled for fuel used.

Tiller-steer models have trolling control settings between 750-1000rpm in increments of 50rpm, so precise trolling speeds are possible depending on the fish lurking in your favourite spot.

Alternator outputs differ. The standard gear ratio (2.08:1) has a maximum of 17A, while the Power Thrust BFP60 model (2.33:1) has a 22A output. The Power Thrust BFP60 is better suited to planing hulls bigger than 5m and displacement-hulled workboats, and weighs 119kg compared to 110kg for the standard model.

Powerhead access is very good, with engine oil dipstick and canister oil filter easily accessed. Honda Marine (and I) recommend using Honda’s FCW (Four Cycle Watercooled) SAE 10W30 oil for all climates. Servicing intervals are every 100 hours or annually after the first 20. But if you indulge in extended trolling I recommend changing the sump oil and filter every 50 hours to prevent dilution. The timing belt should be checked regularly because, unlike the F60C, the Honda BF60 outboard motor is an interference engine. Recreational-usage warranty is five years.

 

PERFORMANCE

Mounted on a 4.9m Stessl aluminium runabout and spinning a 15in-pitch stainless steel Solas prop, our demo BF60 provided more than adequate power for our three-adult test load, bringing the total displacement to around 900kg. It started instantly hot or cold with no oil smoke, but at fewer than 1000rpm it did vibrate more than Yamaha’s F60C, though still far less than the twin-cylinder Evinrude E-Tec 60. In my opinion, 1L really is the maximum piston displacement for a three-cylinder four-stroke petrol engine.Having said that, it did use less fuel than the F60C when trolling because three bigger cylinders are more efficient than four smaller ones. Holeshot performance was also good, with the hull planing in four seconds and reaching terminal velocity (WOT) in 12.

Through tight turns at 4000rpm no prop ventilation occurred and the leg could be trimmed well out at WOT without incurring any prop blowout, partially due to the blade cupping on the stainless steel prop. Throughout the entire rev range the engine was about as quiet as the F60C and much less vocal than comparable-output DFI two-strokes.

 

THE TRADE-A-BOAT VERDICT

Honda Marine has packaged a compact four-stroke 60 that provides an excellent blend of performance, fuel efficiency and reasonable servicing costs. It’s lighter and more compact than the F60C despite its greater mechanical complexity.

As of November 2012, the remote-control Honda BF60 had a price of $10,999, with a spare stainless steel Solas propeller around $600.

The review Honda BF60 was supplied by Honda Marine, Campbellfield, Victoria 3061, (03) 9270 1111, marine.honda.com.au; and Cove Marine, Oyster Cove, NSW 2318, (02) 4982 4832, www.covemarine.com.au.

 

HONDA BF60 PERFORMANCE

2.7kts (5kmh) @ 800rpm (trolling)
3.2kts (6kmh) @ 1000rpm (fast troll)
5.4kts (10kmh) @ 2000rpm
5.9kts (11kmh) @ 2500rpm
11.3kts (21kmh) @ 3200rpm (minimum plane)
20.2kts (37.5kmh) @ 4000rpm (cruise)
25.9kts (48kmh) @ 5000rpm (max. cruise)
29.1kts (54kmh) @ 5500rpm (WOT)

 

Boat engines

More boat engine reviews


Find marine engines for sale.


 

Originally published in TrailerBoat # 292, March 2013.

 


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.