Honda BF6

Honda updates its portable outboards with the introduction of the new BF6.

Honda BF6
Honda BF6Honda Marine

Honda Marine has made some long-overdue updates to its portable outboards with the introduction of a new 6 hp BF6 model and the nearly identical BF4 and BF5 models, rated at 4 hp and 5 hp respectively. This trio of new motors will replace the current BF5, which has been in the Honda line for decades.

Honda has finally fitted these portables with integral fuel tanks, a feature on every competing portable outboard on the market. The previous BF5 required an external tank that compromised the portability of that motor — two things to carry to the water — and could really clutter the deck of the small boats these motors typically power. The new Honda motors carry 1.5 liters (about 0.4 gallons) of fuel, a little more than the 1.1-liter tank offered by Mercury, Yamaha and Suzuki. Honda says the BF4 will run for 40 minutes at wide-open throttle (WOT) on its internal tank. The Honda BF5 and BF6 also have a fitting for a remote tank if desired.

The new outboards share a 127 cc (7.75-cubic-inch) single-cylinder, overhead-valve powerhead. The BF4 has a 4,500 to 5,500 rpm WOT range, while the BF5 and BF6 make more power thanks, in part, to an rpm range between 5,000 and 6,000. The BF5 has a restrictor behind the carb to limit its power. The new powerhead features an automatic decompression mechanism that let me pull the starter cord with just two fingers. Another update is an ECU that will reduce rpm to 2,300 in the event oil pressure is low, protecting the engine while giving the operator some get-home thrust. There’s also a bright-red, low-oil-pressure warning light on the front of the motor. The new motors also cease running instantly when the stop button on the front of the engine is depressed. The previous design required the operator to hold the button down until the engine died. The charging power of the optional dealer-installed alternator has been increased from 3 amps to 6 amps. There are also three accessory props offered for the new motors.

Honda BF4
Honda BF4Honda Marine

The dry weight of each 15-inch Honda portable is claimed to be 59.5 pounds, on par with the ­Yamaha 6 at 60 pounds. Mercury’s 6 hp engine weighs 57 pounds and Suzuki’s DF6 is the category lightweight at just 51.8 pounds.

Honda has made the key fuel-system components on these new motors easily accessible. The fuel pump and a good-size filter are located right under the carburetor, and the carb has a little brass barb on its float bowl drain that will take a length of ¼-inch hose so you can catch the gas in a cup. Nice detail, Honda.

Nary a jiggle makes it past the four large rubber motor mounts that isolate the inherent vibration of the single-cylinder powerhead from both the tiller and the boat. No more numb fingers. This motor is quiet, easy to start and a pleasant partner on the water. Pricing will range from $1,875 for the BF4 to $2,025 for the BF6 (in the 15-inch length).