HONDA’S new CB1000R will go on sale across Australia this month, bringing with it a thoroughly-modern styling mix of ‘naked sport’ and cafe racer — and one headline that will sell the bike more than any other; it’s quicker than a Fireblade.
Okay, we admit we haven’t actually put the two bikes head-to-head down a dragstrip, but if Honda tells us the new naked CB will beat a CBR1000RR Fireblade in a drag race up to 130kmh, we’re willing to believe them.
No doubt the ‘Blade would leave the CB1000R behind at the top end but, honestly, where do you do most of your riding — even your throttle-wide-open, let’s-give-it-a-caning riding? Yes, we thought so. 0-130kmh.
While Honda is using the term ‘Neo Sport Cafe’ to describe the big new CB, the rest of us are unlikely to bother trying to find words — we’ll just blink once or twice and either give it a thumbs up or thumbs down.
“Steered by retro-industrial minimalism, everything has been stripped back, with a focus on a host of textured metal finishes and an ultra-minimalist look under the design theme of ‘Neo Sports Café’,” says Honda.
Here at The Bike Shed Times, we’re giving it a thumbs-up.
Honda says the bike looks, feels and performs very differently from what’s come before and melds “exhilarating function to a form that offers a radically fresh, visually stunning two-wheeled aesthetic”.
“Only six exterior parts are constructed from plastic,” the company says, “the largest being the svelte front mudguard.
“By contrast, what really makes its presence felt is the use of premium metal finishes; parts such as the burnished-aluminium radiator shroud and airbox cover; machined engine cases, cylinder head, and sprocket hub and flangeless steel fuel tank.
“The result is a machine with a unique identity, a fusion of Sport Naked and bare-boned Café Racer inspirations.
“The 2018 CB1000R elegantly combines more with less. It gives riders a huge amount of usable engine power with the control of a cutting edge Supersports machine with innovative, minimalist styling.
“Its 998cc DOHC four-cylinder engine has been tuned to deliver its torque with strong character, offering more peak power at just over 10,000rpm and more torque right through the mid-range, where it’s most useful – and most fun. The CB1000R has Throttle By Wire (TBW) with 3 pre-set riding modes plus a ‘User’ setting. Power (P), Engine Brake (EB) and Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) work together across the pre-sets to offer optimum benefit to the rider dependent on the conditions. The exhaust transmits a raw-edged howl as revs rise.
“The 2018 CB1000R is 12kg lighter than the outgoing design, making for a 20% improvement in power to weight ratio. It’s also smaller, yet has a more relaxed riding position.
“Supporting the radical new look is a box section mono backbone steel frame, with Showa Separate Function Fork Big Piston (SFF-BP) USD suspension up-front and a Showa monoshock at the rear. Radial-mount front brakes, ABS and a 190-section rear tyre complete the chassis’ upgrade.
“All lighting is LED and the thin, round headlight employs a horseshoe-shaped light ring, as well as a distinctive two-bar light signature. The rear light is also a semicircular light bar that fully lights up when the brakes are applied. The T-shaped instrument panel integrates into the top triple clamp, minimizing bulk, and the ignition switch is positioned at the front of the fuel tank.
Project Leader for developing the 2018 CB1000R, Mr S. Uchida, said: “At Honda, our intention is always to look to the future and to be ready to lead. Hence, as the Naked sector’s requirements mature, we knew that we had to go much further than giving the new CB1000R a boost in real world performance. Customer expectation and interests are about much more than just ‘how fast?’
“We wanted to build in not only exhilaration and emotion to each experience of the CB1000R, but also real pleasure in owning, and showing off, such an individual machine. So we travelled in a new direction and are very proud of the result – both when out on the road and when admiring it in the garage.”
The new CB should be in dealer showrooms soon, with a list price around $16,500. Tell your dealer you saw the bike on The Bike Shed Times and he might do a special deal.
But he probably won’t.
2018 HONDA CB1000R
English bike website Motorcycle News has ridden the new CB. Read their report here.
Our favourite big Japanese naked is Yamaha’s MT-10. Read our report here.
Our favourite big naked is MV Agusta’s Brutale. We even bought one; an 11-year-old 910R . Our report is here.