Features 5 Jul 2018

Countdown: Attractions of the new CB1000R

Three aspects that make this sharp naked a model to consider for 2018.

There’s a lot to like about Honda’s 2018 model CB1000R, the production version of the Neo-Sports Cafe Concept showcased at the Tokyo Motor Show in October last year. Honda’s leading sport naked-bike reborn, the CB1000R was officially unveiled at EICMA in Milan soon afterwards during November and has just recently landed in Australia at the sharp price of $16,499. Today’s Countdown on CycleOnline.com.au details three standout aspects that you’ll most definitely be impressed with.

Image: Supplied.

3. Powerhouse:
Honda has fitted a 998cc DOHC four-cylinder engine that’s based upon the previous generation CBR1000RR superbike, however reworked to increase both power and torque. The bore and stroke remain 75×56.5mm, but the compression ratio is up 0.4 to 11.6:1 and the pistons are now forged (rather than cast), as with the CBR1000RR SP. The engine has been tuned to deliver its torque with strong character, especially in the 6000-8000 rpm range according to Honda. The redline kicks in from 11,500 rpm, before the rev limited cuts in at 12,000 rpm. Development concentrated on improved gas flow into, through and out of the cylinder head. Valve lift is higher, with inlet at 8.5mm and exhaust 8.1mm (as opposed to 7.9 and 7.8mm). A 44mm diameter throttle body (up 8mm) feeds larger-diameter inlet ports, while the shape of the combustion chambers is also revised. The airbox, ducting and air-filter are also brand new and present a much simpler, smoother route for airflow into the engine, reducing pressure loss all the way from the outer ducts to the throttle body. A four percent reduction in gear ratios complements the engine’s internal updates and greatly improves acceleration through the gears between 30 and 100 km/h. Additionally, the new assist/slipper clutch offers lighter lever pull and helps manage aggressive downshifts. A 4-2-1 design exhaust system adds to the CB1000R’s mid-range muscle and a link pipe joins the two main pipes just before the catalysers, boosting torque at 5000 rpm and above. As engine speed rises past 5500 rpm, the machine takes on a significantly deeper, rawer tone.

2. Hi-tech:
To handle the engine’s character, Honda has implemented an assortment of technology within the CB1000R platform. Throttle-By-Wire (TBW) enables various options for utilising the powerful motor via three preset riding modes, plus one User mode (selected from a switch on the left handlebar). There are three levels of engine Power (P), engine Brake (EB) and Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) available and the latter can also be switched off. The three individual riding modes offer different combinations of each parameter. Breaking the options down further, Rain mode employs the lowest Power setting, medium EB and high HSTC. The lower levels of power and torque are focused on the first three gears. Standard mode uses the middle setting for Power, EB and HSTC, reducing the output a bit in first and second gears and using a power curve that sits just below that of Sport mode, with reduced torque at partial throttle openings. It also allows for small rear-wheel slides and the front wheel leaving the ground. In addition Sport uses high Power and lowest levels of EB and HSTC to deliver 100 percent power through all six gears, maximum torque at all throttle positions and minor intervention from HSTC. The User mode allows the rider to choose between the three settings for each parameter and save the setting for future use. Other information available to the rider includes a shift-up indicator on the top-right corner of the dash, which either flashes white with increasing frequency as rpm passes the preset value or goes yellow/amber/pink as a visual guide to shift up. There is also an ECO riding indicator, gear-position indicator and riding-mode indicator.

Image: Supplied.

1. Identity shift:
One look at the 2018 Honda CB1000R and you will take note of its minimalist, modern look. Every aesthetic detail has been finessed for a dramatically updated overall design, with a powerful stance to suit the elevated performance of the package. You can’t go past its signature single-sided swing-arm, but aside from that it’s more compact in its proportions and is distinctively styled. The round headlight is shorter, the swing-arm-mounted rear mud-guard unit (a first for Honda) allows for an extremely short, sculpted aluminum tail unit that incorporates neat, under-slung passenger handholds. Only six exterior parts are constructed from plastic, the largest being the svelte front mud-guard. By contrast, what really makes its presence felt is the use of premium metal finishes throughout, drawing on the long cafe-racer tradition including parts such as the burnished-aluminum radiator shroud and air-box cover, machined engine cases, cylinder-head, sprocket hub and flangeless steel fuel tank. 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 fills in solid when the brakes are applied. The T-shaped instrument panel integrates into the top triple clamp, minimising bulk, and the ignition switch is positioned at the front of the fuel tank. The rider triangle is relaxed, with a natural crouch afforded by the tapered aluminum handlebar. Coupled with the new mono-backbone steel frame, adjustable Showa Separate Function Fork Big Piston (SFF-BP) unit, fully-adjustable Showa shock and top-level two-channel ABS brakes, the 2018 CB1000R is 12 kilograms lighter than the outgoing design. What that results in is a power to weight ratio that’s improved by 20 percent!

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