Review: Honda BFP60 power thrust outboard

By: Andrew Norton, Photography by: Barry Ashenhurst & John Wheatley

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  • Trade-A-Boat

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Engine Man compared the Honda BFP60 Power Thrust against the standard Honda BF60, and was impressed with the difference.

Review: Honda BFP60 power thrust outboard
The Honda BFP60 Power Thrust has noticeable improvements over its predecessor.

On a recent trip to Pipeclay Creek at the western end of NSW’s Port Stephens, Honda Marine’s Ross Taylor, former TrailerBoat editor Barry Ashenhurst and I put in our Stessl 4.9m runabout for a bit of testing, throwing the boat through more than a few tight turns at full throttle. The plan was to compare a Honda BFP60 Power Thrust outboard motor combo with the standard model and, to be honest, we found the performance of the standard Honda BF60 to be a little lacklustre. But not so the Power Thrust version.

With Ross and Barry hanging on for their lives, I trimmed in the outboard leg, spun the steering wheel and slammed down the throttle lever. The hull turned in a few boat lengths, right over on its side, while the big-bladed prop refused to let go. Similarly, Barry was thrown hard against the transom coaming while accelerating hard out the hole, a little trick I did a few times to wake him up from enjoying the summer sun. No wonder he constantly ribs me.

 

60hp HONDA OUTBOARDS COMPARED

The concept of mating an outboard with the lower unit of a more powerful engine is not new. Mercury does it with its F60 and Big Foot F60, and Yamaha with its standard F60C and deep-ratio FT60D. But these differ from Honda’s BF60 in that they have four-cylinder engines that develop more bottom-end torque, so performance differences between the gear ratios is not so marked, even though variation in ratios is bigger.

Honda makes do with a slightly bigger piston displacement three-cylinder engine, which, although more fuel efficient (three big cylinders will always use less fuel than four smaller ones), has less torque down low. So while gear ratio variations of 2.8:1 versus 2.33:1 might seem small, swinging a bigger diameter and pitch prop at lower revs makes all the difference.

The Honda BFP60, or Power Thrust, utilises the same lower unit as the BF75 / 90, enabling engine torque to be converted to prop thrust more efficiently, to a point. The trade-offs are slower WOT speeds and longer periods of times to reach WOT once planing. But unlike the standard BF60, which is suited to hulls of less than 4.8m, the BFP60 is a viable alternative to a BF75 on hulls up to 5.2m.

Sure, it lacks the grunt of the four-cylinder Honda BF75, which also has 50 per cent greater piston displacement, but its 27 per cent less weight goes a long way to masking these differences.

 

HONDA vs HONDA

Apart from fitting a Honda BF75 / 90 lower unit, the Honda BFP60 is the same as its standard BF60 counterpart. The 998cc SOHC powerhead develops 59.2hp at 5500rpm, with a WOT rev range of 5000-6000, and has BLAST (Boosted Low Speed Torque) and "ECOmo" technology to improve holeshot performance and reduce mid-range fuel consumption. No doubt regular readers enjoyed my insomnia-killing description of these technologies the initial review of the BF60 (TrailerBoat #292, March 2013), so we won’t go there again.

It’s more important to know how many electronic toys the alternator can power, and the Honda BFP60’s higher 22A output means anglers can carry even more on-board. However, the new engine’s dry weight leaps from the BF60’s 110kg to 119kg, so it’s up there with Mercury’s F60 Big Foot and FT60D models.

Servicing intervals and oil requirements are the same as the Honda BF60, and the OEDA three-star-rated BFP60 has a five-year recreational-usage warranty.

In order to avoid the expense and timing of running-in two separate engines, Ross arranged for Phillip Bailey of Cove Marine to swap the lower units after testing theHonda BF60. We also varied the hull loading between three and four adults by carrying an additional 80kg of cement bags aboard, making sure they didn’t get wet, of course.

With its three-cylinder powerhead, the BF60 lived up to the previous testing, but not so much when transformed into a BFP60, which seemed to be better balanced due to the load of the big-blade prop. The standard BF60 prop was a 15in pitch Solas three-bladed stainless steel model, but for the BFP60 lower unit Phillip fitted a 14in Solas three-blade, which more than made up with its fat blades and larger diameter, despite having a smaller pitch.

As before, the engine started instantly hot or cold, with no oil smoke appearing at any time, and even though the big-blade prop imposed more load on the dog clutch there was no greater "clunk" when engaging forward or reverse.

Low-speed handling was significantly better with the BFP60. Not only could the boat be brought up to a jetty and reverse engaged without opening the throttle to stop the boat, but when tilting the leg in shallow water more of the prop could be exposed when backing out from a beach.

Though faster out of the hole due to the effective conversion of engine torque to prop thrust, the drag of the lower unit did prevent the Honda BFP60 from reaching WOT as fast as the BF60 lower unit. But that was only with the three-adult load. When the cement bags were added, holeshot and WOT times were much quicker than the BF60, and the hull’s ability to maintain a slower planing speed was a real bonus, especially useful for covering big distances in rough water.

Letting the engine reach higher revs did contribute to the performance difference because most four-stroke outboards like to reach the upper end of the recommended WOT rev ranges.

Since mechanical steering was fitted, torque steer from the big prop was no greater than the BF60’s. However, if you value keeping your arms the same length after a day afloat, I still wouldn’t opt for a tiller-steer version of the BFP60 because, given it has the same gear ratio as Yamaha’s Enduro 60, it would make a day out more of a gym experience than enjoyable angling.

As expected, noise levels were no greater than the Honda BF60 across the entire rpm range.

 

THE TRADE-A-BOAT VERDICT

I still have no problem with the standard BF60, and it’s definitely the way to go for smaller, lighter and tiller-steer tinnies. Mount it on a side console Barra boat around 4.5m and it would be a lot of fun because, despite its four-stroke multi-valve complexity, you just want to drive it hard.

But if you plan on taking your family out for a day on a tinnie up to around 5.2m, then it’s worth spending a bit extra and investing in the BFP60. It really is a viable alternative to a BF75, and though top-end won’t be as blistering, the greater trolling and mid-range fuel efficiency, not to mention the more cost-effective initial outlay, will make this engine very attractive.

As of February 2013, the longshaft Honda BFP60 retailed for $11,599 with a spare stainless steel prop coming in at around $600.

 

Special thanks to Ross Taylor of Vic’s Honda Marine (03 9270 1111, honda.com.au) and Phillip Bailey of NSW’s Cove Marine (02 4982 4832, covemarine.com.au) for their help with our review.

 

HONDA OUTBOARD PERFORMANCE SUMMARY

HONDA BF60

Three adults, 15in prop, 900kg

 

2.7kts (5kmh) @ 800rpm (trolling) – 0.6L/h

3.2kts (6kmh) @ 1000rpm – 1.2L/h

5.4kts (10kmh) @ 2000rpm – 2.7L/h

5.9kts (11kmh) @ 2500rpm – 4.2L/h

11.3kts (21kmh) @ 3200rpm (min plane) – 6.3L/h

20.2kts (37.8kmh) @ 4000rpm (cruise) – 8.4L/h

25.9kts (48kmh) @ 5000rpm (max cruise) – 16.6L/h

29.1kts (54kmh) @ 5500rpm (WOT) – 19.8L/h

 

Time to plane: four seconds

Time to reach WOT: 12 seconds

 

 

HONDA BF60

Four adults, 15in prop, 980kg

 

2.7kts (5kmh) @ 800rpm (trolling) – 0.6L/h

3.2kts (6kmh) @ 1000rpm – 1.2L/h

5.1kts (9.5kmh) @ 2000rpm – 2.7L/h

5.8kts (10.8kmh) @ 2500rpm – 4.2L/h

13.5kts (25kmh) @ 3500rpm (min plane) – 7.5L/h

17.8kts (33kmh) @ 4000rpm (cruise) – 9.5L/h

25.9kts (48kmh) @ 5000rpm (max cruise) – 15L/h28.3kts (52.5kmh) @ 5400rpm (WOT) – 19.3L/h

 

Time to plane: five seconds

Time to reach WOT: 21 seconds

 

 

HONDA BFP60

Three adults, 14in prop, 910kg

 

2.4kts (4.5kmh) @ 800rpm (trolling) – 0.6L/h

3kts (5.5kmh) @ 1000rpm – 1L/h

5.1kts (9.5kmh) @ 2000rpm – 2.6L/h

5.4kts (10kmh) @ 2500rpm- 3.6L/h

9.4kts (17.5kmh) @ 3000rpm (min plane) – 5.7L/h

16.7kts (31kmh) @ 4000rpm (cruise) – 7.4L/h

24kts (44.5kmh) @ 5000rpm (max cruise) – 13.5L/h

28kts (52kmh) @ 6000rpm (WOT) – 20.6L/h

 

Time to plane: three seconds

Time to reach WOT: 14 seconds

 

 

HONDA BFP60

Four adults, 14in prop, 990kg

 

2.4kts (4.5kmh) @ 800rpm (trolling) – 0.6L/h

2.7kts (5kmh) @ 1000rpm – 0.9L/h

5.4kts (10kmh) @ 2000rpm – 2.7L/h|

5.7kts (10.5kmh) @ 2500rpm – 3.6L/h

11.9kts (22kmh) @ 3500rpm (min plane) – 7.5L/h

16.7kts (31kmh) @ 4000rpm (cruise) – 7.8L/h

23.2kts (43kmh) @ 5000rpm (max cruise) – 14.1L/h

26.7kts (49.5kmh) @ 5700rpm (WOT) – 19.9L/h

 

Time to plane: four seconds

Time to reach WOT: 15 seconds.

 

THE FOUR-STROKE OUTBOARD MOTOR COMPETITION

OUTBOARD MOTOR

MERCURY F60 BIG FOOT

YAMAHA FT60D

Weight

118kg

121kg

Cyl / HP / Rpm

4 / 59.9 / 5750

4 / 59 / 5500

Displacement

996cc

995cc

RRP

$9,633

$9,325

Warranty

5yrs

4yrs

OEDA stars

OEDA Stars 3

3

 

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Originally published in TrailerBoat #294, April / May 2013.

 


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