Honda's 2018 CB1000R meshes naked sports and neo-retro into a distinct, new motorcycle package. Before discussing the CB1000R it's worth mentioning its cousin the CB1100. Despite, being a beautifully built bike the Honda CB1100 and its variants have seemingly failed to capture the imagination of the market.
Back to the present – Honda is not the type of motorcycle manufacturer, that rests on its laurels, cries over spilt milk or any other idioms you can think of that imply complacency or mournful rumination.
NEO SPORTS CAFÉ TEASER
A few weeks back Honda unveiled the Neo-Sport Café concept. So different was this motorcycle from anything in its line-up, that it was naturally assumed by most that the bike would be an entirely new line, (if ever it was brought to production).
The naysayers were quick to pounce, voicing the usual complaints, “….it's only a concept…. it'll probably never come to production” et cetera, et cetera.
How wrong the naysayers were. And how very quickly, they were shown to be wrong.
Just a matter of a few weeks passed and then at EICMA, Honda announced that the Neo-Sport Café was in actual fact the 2018 CB1000R! A slick, piece of marketing theatre, indeed. Well executed and well played, Honda.
A NEW APPROACH TO NAKED SPORT MOTORCYCLE STYLING
Allow me to come back to the CB1100, the other bike in Honda's revival/heritage line-up, along with its EX and RS variants. This line's styling is based on the classic UJM silhouette made contemporary.
The Neo-Sport Café CB1000R, on the other hand, takes the opposite approach. It's a modern naked bike which has adopted retro styling and as such, is stripped of preconceptions of what a modern naked sport should look like.
However, Honda has sparingly ‘retrofied‘ the bike. Just enough to appeal to riders in the retro/custom segment (imagine this bike with lowered bars, maybe a half or bikini fairing and café racer seat/cowl). But not so much as to alienate previous buyers of the CB1000R.
In terms of styling, Honda has adopted a similar tack to that taken by Yamaha, with the XSR900/700 and now Suzuki, with the SV650x. Although Honda has been more radical… far more radical!
Of course, the major difference is that the CB1000R, while sharing its architecture with the CB1000RR is an entirely new bike. Whereas the former, merely implanted an existing engine into an altered frame and dressed the bike up respectively. In Honda's words:
“…an ultra-minimalist look under the design theme of ‘Neo Sport Café’. The result is a machine with a unique identity, a fusion of Sport Naked and bare-boned Café Racer inspirations…”
2018 HONDA CB1000R SPECS:
The specifications seem to suggest that, Honda's 2018 CB1000R is superior in every way to its predecessor. Here are the highlights.
Throttle-By-Wire, with three rider modes
12kg lighter than the outgoing design, which gives a 20% improvement in power to weight ratio
CBR1000RR derived four-cylinder engine, re-tuned for 15kW power up
Strong torque and response in the mid-range
Max. Power Output – 143.5 bhp @ 10,500rpm
Max. Torque – 104Nm @ 8,250rpm
16% more peak power at just over 10,000rpm and 5% more torque right through the mid-range