Honda BF 50 – Gotta have one
  |  First Published: September 2008

The all-new 50hp Honda electronic fuel injection four-stroke outboard is a very impressive piece of machinery. In today’s climate, fuel economy has become paramount and the BF 50 has nailed the opposition by reducing fuel consumption by a further 22%. It is in a class of its own with cruising speed, 3,000-4500rpm, fuel consumption around 50% of a standard two-stroke.

The Honda BF 50 employs Honda’s 40 years of experience with four stroke engines and is the world’s largest engine manufacturer to deliver an absolute cutting edge outboard. Incredible fuel economy is just the beginning of a long list of features that include lightweight, noise reduction, BLAST (Boosted Low Speed Torque) technology, electronic fuel injection, in line 3-cylinder engine and a newly designed gear case.

The test engine was fitted to a Blue Fin 4.5m Barracuda and supplied by Mitchell’s Marine in Cairns.

My first impressions were slimline and compact, and that every square centimetre of space has been used to the max. And the in house testing proved that it is one decibel quieter than its forbearer.

Honda continues to break all records in weight reduction of four-strokes. The BF 50 weighs in it at a mere 98kg compared to the DF 50hp Suzuki at 109kg, F50FETL Yamaha at 110kg and the Mercury 50hp EFI at 112kg.

This new Honda also compares very favourably with two stoke outboards in the weight stakes, with the Yamaha 50 HETOL at 88kg, the Mercury 50hp at 93kg and the Evinrude E-TEC at 109kg. If you take into account the ability to carry less weight in fuel compared to two-strokes, the all new Honda BF 50 wins the weight stakes hands down.

The BLAST technology has certainly improved the Honda’s performance from a standing start. While the response is not quite as instant as a two-stroke, it is not far behind it.

The torque of the Honda was particularly good when I put the Barracuda into a tight turn at 4000rpm. I did two full turns in a circle about 15m across and the Honda didn’t drop a single rev. Now that was impressive!

The Honda pushed the Blue Fin along at a good speed, doing 22km/h (14mph, 12knots) at 3500rpm, 30km/h (19mph, 16knots) at 4000rpm, 36km/h (22mph, 19knots) at 4500rpm, 42km/h (26mph, 23knots) at 5000rpm and 47km/h (29mph, 25knots) at 5500rpm.

The BF 50 also surpasses all of the world’s most stringent emission controls. By exceeding the 2008 CARB (US California Air Resources Board) standards and Japanese voluntary regulations, the BF 50 gains the OEDA three-star ultra low emission rating.

Combine this with other features such as 17amp battery charging capacity, one-touch plastic cap internal anode inspection for easy corrosion monitoring, constructed with 93.6% recyclable materials, and an all new gear box casing and a thicker capitation plate, the all new Honda BF 50 sits head and shoulders above the competition. I was so impressed I have ordered one as a replacement motor for my own boat.


Since the original review I have had my new Honda BF 50 DLRTL on my boat for three weeks, putting nine hours on the clock, and it has exceeded all expectations. Fuel consumption, noise and fume levels and performance have been outstanding.

The last trip, involving four and a half hours of non-stop running and trolling, would have used about 30L with my old 40hp two-stroke and this little beauty only used 12L! This has reduced my fuel costs to significantly less than what they were five years ago!

At 900rpm it pushed my Top Ender along at perfect barra trolling speed, and the best part was absolutely no fumes when running with the wind. I am still adjusting to the lack of engine noise when cruising at 34km/h at 4500rpm and have to continually look at the taco and speedo to confirm we are still travelling at the desired speed.

The loudest noise when cruising comes from the hull when trolling and hitting the water. While the Honda is slower getting my Quinnie out of the water it beats my old motor in every other regard by a country mile.

When the cowling came off it was obvious that every square centimetre of space has been used to the max.

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