• 2021 - 2022 Honda CB650R - Performance Price, and Photos

More power and higher redline means more fun

Honda spruced up its naked-sport CB650R ahead of MY2021 and carries it directly over into the 2022 season with just a small change in price, but with no additional color packages like was teased pre-release. Beefy Showa BP-SFF stems, improve the suspension while other tweaks improve ergonomics for comfort and stamina.

  • 2021 - 2022 Honda CB650R - Performance Price, and Photos
  • Year:
    2021- 2022
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Honda CB650R Performance and Capability

2021 - 2022 Honda CB650R - Performance Price, and Photos
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Improvements to the engine that also powered the CB650F produce five percent more horsepower and a higher red line.

Power on the 2022 Honda CB650R comes from an in-line, transverse-mounted fourbanger to the tune of 94 horsepower at 12,000 rpm and 47 pound-feet of torque at 9,500 rpm. This comes along with a host of changes relative to the base engine that powered the “F” model that preceded the “R.” This includes five-percent more power generation above the 10k mark to go with the spanky new EURO5 emissions-rating qualification. Plus, the redline was elevated by an even grand, up from 11,000.

The 16-valve head is timed by dual over-head cams and kept simple through direct-cam actuation that eliminates weighty and bulky rocker-arms from the equation. Bore and stroke mic out at 67 mm and 46 mm respectively for a 649 cc total displacement and spicy, 11.6-to-1 compression ratio that’ll probably prefer at least mid-grade pusholine.

2021 - 2022 Honda CB650R - Performance Price, and Photos
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A quartet of 32 mm throttle bodies feed the beast with tweaks to the ECU that controls them as part of the package of improvements, again using the CB650F engine as the baseline. Steps taken to limit losses inside the engine were successful, including asymmetrical piston skirts that reduce friction and internal venting that reduces pumping losses.

Additionally, the cylinder bank is canted forward by 30 degrees as part of the effort to limit overall size. This effort continues into the six-speed gearbox with stacked architecture for the short length it adds to the drivetrain. A slip-and-assist clutch adds a level of safety for the rear contact patch with backup from the stock Honda Selectable Torque Control feature that adds traction-control features to the mix.

Engine: 649 cc liquid cooled in-line four cylinder, DOHC; four valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 67 mm x 46 mm
Induction: PGM-FI with 32mm throttle bodies
Ignition: Full transistorized
Compression Ratio: 11.6:1
Transmission: Six-speed
Final Drive: #525 Chain; 15T/42T


2021 - 2022 Honda CB650R - Performance Price, and Photos
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Overall, the café influence could stand to be stronger, but it is a welcome break from the hum-drum of the cookie-cutter, naked streetfighters.

Honda brought the full brunt of its Neo Sports Café design philosophy to bear on this mid-size CB-R model, and it makes for a welcome break from the hum-drum of the cookie-cutter, naked streetfighters. Yeah, it’s subtle, and yeah, the factory could have upped its game with a little bullet fairing or a café-tastic tail fairing, maybe even a stylized numberplate would be in order, but instead, here we are.

The clean front end is all modern with its inverted forks and molded front fender that benefits from the drag-mitigating architecture associated with modern sportbikes writ large. A round, LED, short-overhang headlight pairs with LED blinker-bar turn signals to ensure good two-way visibility, and it comes with a DRL ring for stylish safety during daytime operation.

2021 - 2022 Honda CB650R - Performance Price, and Photos
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A color LCD panel bundles all of the instrumentation together. The negative-type display rocks a comfortable blue background with mainly white characters for high visibility in a variety of light conditions. This is actually another area of improvement for Honda as readability was improved from some rather minute tweaks here and there.

Short risers mount a short-rise bar that was raised three degrees up to 35 degrees total for ease in tight turns, especially slow ones. Compact cheek fairings complete the forward structure in a fashion that fits with the minimalist mien that dominates the design.

The 4.1-gallon fuel tank is just a skosh elongated to further channel the look of the old-school CR builds, but the seat is of a more-modern sportbike design. CB650R seat height is 31.9 inches off the deck with a mighty skinny front bit where it meets the narrow trailing edge of the flanged gas tank. That and compact framing make for a very narrow waist indeed, so you won’t have to fight a bulky barrel to get your training wheels deployed.

2021 - 2022 Honda CB650R - Performance Price, and Photos
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Subframe-mount, flip-up footpegs join with a modest pillion pad to accommodate a passenger if you like. If two-up riding isn’t your routine, that flat deck makes a nice spot for some external cargo and bungee-net action.

An LED taillight rides in the tip of the tail, while the other lights and license plate holder are mounted to the mudguard assembly. The mudguard and plate provide some of the coverage, but there’s a swingarm-mount hugger that completes the fling containment out back.

Overall, the café influence could stand to be stronger by far. As it stands, the factory is playing kind of fast and loose with its interpretation of the classic design.


2021 - 2022 Honda CB650R - Performance Price, and Photos
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New Showa SFF-BP forks improve handling and ride quality over previous CB650 models.

The steel, diamond-type frame on the CB650R uses the engine as a stressed member to eliminate some weight and save on materials. It relies on tuned elliptical spars for much of its overall strength and planned-in flexion. Pressed-plate construction buttresses the swingarm-pivot point for the requisite strength to do the job while the die-cast aluminum swingarm itself is asymmetrical with a straight bar on the drive side and a boomerang shape on the brake side.

2021 - 2022 Honda CB650R - Performance Price, and Photos
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New-in-2021 is the Showa Separate Function Big Piston (SFF-BP) forks that definitely land at the stout end of the spectrum with its 41 mm inner fork-tube diameter and inverted construction. There aren’t any adjustments at all up front, while the obligatory, 7-position spring-preload out back marks the only such tweak which is a little disappointing. Honestly, I think that by the time a rider is ready for a Honda 650, they can likely be trusted with some ride-quality controls.

Suspension strokes measure 4.3 inches and 5 inches at the front and rear respectively, which is just about right for sporty riding in your favorite urban jungle. Gilded cast wheels round out the rolling chassis with a 120/70 ahead of a 180/55 in a “Z” rating that will tolerate speeds up to 149-plus mph so the hoops will take everything you and the CB650R can throw at it.

2021 - 2022 Honda CB650R - Performance Price, and Photos
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When it’s time to haul things down, a pair of four-bore calipers bite 310 mm front discs with a 240 mm disc and single-piston anchor out back and a stock, twin-channel ABS at both ends. Agility is baked right in with the 25.5-degree rake angle and 4 inches of trail over a 57-inch wheelbase.

Front Suspension/ Travel: 41 mm fork/ 4.3 inches
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Showa Single Shock/ 5.0 inches of travel
Rake (Caster Angle): 32°
Trail: 4.0 inches
Front Brake: Dual 310 mm discs with radial-mount four-piston calipers; ABS
Rear Brake: Single 240 mm disc; ABS
Front Tire: 120/70-17
Rear Tire: 180/55-17

Honda CB650R Pricing

2021 - 2022 Honda CB650R - Performance Price, and Photos
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MSRP starts at $9.3k for 2022.

Honda CB650R price goes up a bill to $9,299 for MY2022. Early information indicated at least one more color package, but it looks like it’s the same fare as before with Matte Black Metallic over blackout with silver trim, gold forks, and gold wheels, which is a bit of a snoozefest, but it is what it is.

Model ID: CB650RA
Warranty: One Year, transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty, optional extended coverage available with a HondaCare Protection Plan®
Colors: Matte Black Metallic
└ 2021: $9,199
└ 2022: $9,299


2021 - 2022 Triumph Trident 660 - Performance, Price, and Photos
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2021 - 2022 Honda CB650R - Performance Price, and Photos
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While there’s no shortage of homegrown competition around this displacement, I wanted to find something elsewhere and British giant Triumph Motorcycles obliged with its Trident 660 from the roadster ranks.

Triumph Trident 660

2021 - 2022 Triumph Trident 660 - Performance, Price, and Photos
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At a glance, the Trident fits the roadster mold to a T with its compact build and naked-sport looks. Triumph doesn’t seem to have gone to any particular effort to channel the same café spirit as the Honda, but some crossover occurs naturally given the history of the British marque.

One thing I prefer on the trumpet over the Honda is the dual-hugger setup out back rather than the usual mudguard assembly. That one change has an out-sized influence on the back end to wind up with a more modern look than with the CB-R.

2021 - 2022 Triumph Trident 660 - Performance, Price, and Photos
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A round cyclops headlight, high-mount blinkers and inverted front end lead the way, just like the Honda, but total blackout is the rule of the day for a much darker finish than do the gold-anodized bits in the CB-R’s chassis. Showa is the big winner here with its SFF-BP stems on both machines, and ABS is a constant across the board for stock safety improvement. Same with the slipper clutch that appears in both bikes.

Electronics have the Brit with a slight advantage. The traction control protection comes stock on both, but Triumph adds a couple of Riding Modes to the mix for quick personality changes. Triumph powers its entry with a 660 cc triple that, like its counterpart, comes with a clean bill of health and a EURO5 emissions rating. Power slips a bit on the Brit to cede the advantage with 80 ponies and 47 pounds o’ grunt against Honda’s 94/47, respectively.

The Trident remains competitive all the way to the checkout counter with an $8,395 MSRP. That really complicates things for the Red Riders.

Read our full article on the Triumph Trident 660.

He Said

“Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of the Neo Sports Café, I really do, but I’m positive that there is room for even more café-tastic yummygoodness, quite a bit more in fact. Yeah, I’m a fan of the café style as a whole, so it would be hard to overdo it in mine eyes. Bullet fairings front and back would be a good start, wink nudge.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “This is a nice bike for commuting or just everyday use for whatever life you live. The rider position is upright and comfortable and it has a broad powerband so whatever you need, whenever you need it, the bike gives it to you. It’s the same engine as the CB650F but tweaked here and there to improve performance. This is a nice, compact bike with enough agility and responsiveness to add a fun element to your ride.”

Further Reading


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TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
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