Which motorcycles on sale today give the best mpg?
The beginning of this century saw the world views changing gradually towards climate change and the need to preserve the environment. This, along with stringent policies, has forced the manufacturers to develop motorcycles that can run cleaner fuel and extract the maximum economy from it, sometimes even at the cost of performance.
Bad news for people who seek the element of thrill, but a pretty good one for someone living in urban jungles where folks prefer commuting on a motorcycle rather thank a car for its practicality and frugal fuel-efficiency. Then there are us few who love the idea of putting serious miles on two-wheels and living the adventure.
We here have compiled a list to give you the best available tools for such situations and save some money on gas while at it.
2019 Honda CB650R
After a race to the upper displacement range and a subsequent search for the bottom usable cubage, Honda is revisiting its midrange and spruced up its CB650R ahead of the 2019 model year. That’s right sports fans; the Neo Sport Café concept has gone to production under this new moniker, and it rolls into MY19 with a handful of tweaks that brush up the looks and carve off a little fat. The powerplant also took a beating from the buffhammer to turn out a 5-percent increase in power with steps to improve rideability and safety.
2018 - 2019 Honda CB1000R Neo-Sports Café
Honda revamped its naked CB1000R for the 2018 model year, but rather than dressing it up, the Red Riders actually dressed it down even further with a retro café-racer kick. The CB1000R replaced the CB600F Hornet back in ’08 and its naked streetfighter presentation and performance envelope was an instant hit all across Europe. Fast forward to ’18 and we find it still going strong with the same 998 cc mill and a brand new handle as the Neo-Sports Café’. Subtle refinements give the NSC a new look that takes inspiration from the past without becoming enslaved to it, and the result is fresh, modern and appropriately aggressive. Today I’m going to take a look at this decade old model to see what else Honda has done to keep it relevant and competitive in today’s market.
Honda’s dreamy CBX six-cylinder could make a comeback
Manufactured by Honda between 1978 and 1982, the CBX was a production bike that has deceiving bodywork and a massive 1047cc inline, 24-valve, 6-cylinder engine that produced 105 hp. That low-frequency rumble coming out of this at idle and the high pitch tone when revved could make the hair on the back of your neck stand.
Until now, Honda hadn’t shown much interest in recreating that magic, but fresh patent application images show the Japanese intent to bring the beauty of the six cylinders onto a café-racer of the future.
If the new CB1000R is the present, this CB4 ’Interceptor’ is Honda’s future
If you have a crazy sharp memory (won’t blame you if you don’t), Honda had showcased an interesting concept called the ’CB4 Concept’ at the 2015 EICMA. The concept showed us Honda’s capabilities in making a futuristic motorcycle that still gave it a retro appeal.
Fast forward to 2017 and Honda has gone ahead and done just that on a production model, the CB1000R that was launched at the ongoing EICMA. Along with that, Honda has taken the CB4 nameplate and stuck it on another new concept that is futuristic for sure, but also has an evocative ‘Sport Endurance’ tone added to the Cafe-Racer silhouette.
Honda revealed its Neo Sports Cafe concept and it looks brutishly handsome.
If there was ever any inkling about Honda not making the best looking motorcycles, here is your opportunity for redemption.
Showcased at the ongoing Tokyo International Motor Show, Honda officially unwrapped their brand new concept of the Project NSC (Neo Sport Cafe) which has caught every motorcycle aphrodisiac’s attention ever since it was teased earlier this month in two separate videos.
Honda’s Neo Sports Café gets teased before the 2017 EICMA.
"JAPANESE CRAFTSMANSHIP" and the "Spirit of CAFÉ RACER". This is how Honda described its new Neo Sports Cafe motorcycle project that will be unveiled to the world on November 6th, just a day before the EICMA Milan motorcycle show.
Although the teaser showed not many details, it is certain that it will have classic design lines with modern underpinnings. As the name suggests, the Neo Sports Cafe will have a modern-retro take on the CB 150R street motorcycle Honda launched for the Thailand market last month.
The Honda CB450 Cafe Racer "Bonita Applebum" started its life as a 1971 Honda CB450 bought from eBay, and believe it or not, the bike was built in a small apartment. After buying all the items needed from eBay, Pepe Luque - the guy who now owns the bike - started to clean, paint, and spit polish every piece before installing them on the frame.
Besides some minor fine-tuning, Luque worked on this project all by himself, including upsizing the main jets to compensate for the airflow in and out of the motor and replacing the Pirelli tires for some Firestones. As for the exterior paint, it was inspired by a CB450 Armadillo, while the handgrips and seat color was suggested by his flatmate. Why is the fact that he built the whole thing by himself so noteworthy? Well, Pepe Luque is colorblind.
When explaining how he came about picking the colors and getting everything just right for the bike to work, he said: "The main section I really struggled with was the wiring of the bike. As you could imagine, being color blind did not help with the colors of the wires. I was very fortunate that my girl and my brother’s wife helped with labelling the wires. For instance, yellow with a white trace, I labelled FLB (front left blinker) and so on. It took me by surprise that I nailed the wiring on first go."
Hit the jump to watch the video.
A café racer fan found this 1977 Honda CB750 on eBay and made it his for a couple hundred bucks. The bike was sitting in a barn for a couple of years, but it was fully functional and could be ridden for the next few months before the café racer transformation began.
First thing first, clubman bars and a tri-bar headlight were added so that the bike would lose its factory look. Also, the seat was reformed and reupholstered so that it would add a sporty look and yet offer plenty of comfort. After getting its carbs synchronized, exhaust pipes trimmed and brakes overhauled, the old CB was already transforming into a much sweater ride.
But this Honda’s Norton-like toutch was to be given during the second stage of the customization process by a new tank paintjob. In the end, this looks like a sweet and comfy café racer with plenty of years left to spend on the road. Hear it after the jump.
Want to have the new kind of café racer? Do like Larry Houghton: take a 1983 6-cylinder Honda CBX and build an origami-like frame for it from a one-inch thick aluminum sheet and then bring in a pair of 17-inch Marchesini wheels from a Ducati 916. Create a radical front end, but retain the Ducati’s single-sided swingarm and the thing can go off the stand.
The engine and gearbox is pretty much all that remains from the Honda CBX and because the powerplant makes it look so wide it’s called ‘Wide Boy’. But it’s no Harley, just a custom bike trying to make it in this business. It actually came third in the Freestyle class at the latest London Ace Cafe Motorcycle & Custom Show, so it rides on the good track.
If you’re looking to buy a nice café racer to ride the summer on, we just came across one that is worth taking a look at. It originally started as a 1976 Honda CB550 which seems to have ended up in the right hands and after being fitted with parts such as the café seat, clubman drop bars with mini chrome gauges and 4 into 1 MAC exhaust, it is now worthy of the Honda CB550 café racer designation.
The owner claims “the bike only has 8604 miles on it so the engine is rock solid” and the only thing it needs is a new paintjob. How’s that for a way to make it suit your taste?
Considering the $2,900 asking price, this café racer looks to us like the find of the day. Hit the jump for the entire list of changes.
You can spend a lot of money on a custom bike designed and built to suit your taste and still feel like the thing isn’t even yours? Maybe it is because you haven’t put your blood, sweat and tears into it. Take this case for instance. This 1976 Honda Gold Wing GL1000 powered by a gold four-cylinder engine was found on eBay and after being bought and given a magic touch, it has turned into a veritable café racer.
A simple look at it is enough to suspect this bike required some serious modifications, but we’ll have to say that a black and gold paint job, new tail section and fairing as well as new exhaust pipes do the trick in this case. The rest is just what makes the bike feel like belonging to a rider – all the time and energy put into it.
So, was it all worth it? Well, the thing is now Bike of the Month, March 2010 over at Naked Goldwings, so you decide.
Honda barely introduced their latest big four model, the CB1100 and Japanese tuner Mugen has already released a package of bits and pieces for future owners to easily turn their nakeds into café racers worthy of the 1970s.
The café racer kit is mainly composed from a silver headlamp cowl and a racy looking seat, while the matt black fenders and sports exhausts are just the right touches to help set this bike further apart from the naked crowd and closer to the café racer one. Hit the jump for the Mugen CB1100 café racer action video.
This Honda CB750 café racer was created by Japanese custom builder Whitehouse together with Japanese retailer Motorimoda and it is actually called CB750 Café Type Motorimoda. What first meets the eye is the 1970s racing styling achieved with the use of modern materials such as carbon fiber, from which several parts have been made. These, together with the aluminum gas tank lighten this custom CB750 with 33 lbs (15 kg).
Underneath the aerodynamic fairing sits an original carbureted, air-cooled, four-cylinder engine that delivers 20hp more than the original production version after being tuned and getting a new exhaust.
So, with less weight, more power and much better looks, this café racer qualifies for the very special price of $29,290.
As hard to believe as it may be, this motorcycle right here started life as a Honda CB 750 and was going pretty well until ending up in the hands of the guys at Garage Company Customs. They made it look, perform and sound even better and now call it the Honda CB 750 Cafe Racer. It looks more like a bobber than a café racer to us, but the name is the least important when looking at the actual bike.
This retains the original engine, which now breaths out through a custom exhaust system, while the modified frame and new, sportier suspensions are supposed to glue it to the road. The riding position looks a bit harsh, but does that even matter when you’ll be turning more heads than on any production bike out there, if that’s your goal. Also, beware of the paparazzi if you’re riding this custom made Honda CB around the streets of LA because they sure ruined Brad Pitt’s day and you’ll be looking like him on it. Hear that engine roaring in a short video after the break.
The ’V12 Andreas’ isn’t just one of those concept motorcycles that won’t ever turn into reality, but a running café racer that originally started life as a Honda CBX, which was a six-cylinder UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle). Although what Andreas came up with is anything but universal, his custom Honda CBX V12 Café Racer is actually powered by two such engines, which have been joined together, resulting the impressive V12 mill.
These are simple words to describe the amazing amount of work behind this project as Andreas spent a year working on the chains, tensioners and guides, just so that you get a clue of the dedication needed to achieve such a piece of mechanical jewel, but it takes a look at the old-timer’s face to see it was all worth it.
But the engine isn’t the only feature making sure this thing turns heads. This café racer’s entirely polished bodywork looks very cool, especially if you consider the fact that it was hand built. What a bike! Follow the jump for more pictures and no less than four videos of the V12-powered Honda CBX.
The Honda CB450 looks pretty cool in stock condition, but riders who won’t satisfy with that can always choose the rather facile transformation into a café racer. This particular example was spotted in South Africa as it attracted quite a crowd with its 1970s rebel bike appearance.
Like most café racers, this Honda CB450 stands out thanks to a unique tank and seat unit, while the frame, swingarm don’t look like having suffered any modification and the wheels are the original ones.
The overall sporty look is completed by the bikini fairing and vented mudguard, but if we take a better look at the back, the underseat exhaust tends to turn it into a veritable racing motorcycle, which is what café racers were originally supposed to be. Also, the red/white color scheme was the adequate choice in our opinion.
What you see here is a Honda CB750 Four café racer designed and built by WrenchMonkees, a custom motorcycle company in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The 85 horsepower, inline-four engine was entirely rebuilt, while the wiring, wheels and bearings have been completely replaced. An excellent final touch is given by the custom paint and satin grey finish on the forks, triple clamp and engine covers, while the headlight mesh is a nice thing to have on a bike like this too.
With a listed top speed of 112.5 mph (180 kmph) and a $30,000 (DKR 186.800) price tag, this WrenchMonkees creation shouldn’t stay long on the floors of the Danish Museum of Arts and Crafts and the Rojo Artspace in Barcelona, where it is currently exhibited. Read the specs after the break.