2018 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 cafe’-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.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CB1000R.
2016 - 2017 Honda VFR1200X
Honda brought its VFR1200X — a.k.a. the ’CrossTourer’ in other markets — to the U.S. back in 2016, and it rolled as a direct carryover into the ’17 model year. Built as an adventure bike with a bias toward the blacktop, the “X” sports a powerful, 129-horsepower engine and a choice between a manual, six-speed gearbox and Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission that provides seamless automatic gear changes sans clutch or toe shifter. The factory also sought to boost its tour-ability with its proprietary Selectable Torque Control, adjustable suspension components and a robust accessories lineup that boasts all manner of gadgets meant to expand capabilities and comfort alike. Around the world, the adventure-bike market is expanding like mad, and Honda is even taking some wind out of the X’s sails with its own Africa Twin model, so today I want to see if it has what it takes to compete in this rapidly evolving and expanding market.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda VFR1200X.
2015 - 2018 Honda CB500X
Honda’s CB500X pushes the adventure-bike envelope well into entry-level territory with a mid-displacement engine and low-impact price tag meant to bring more riders into the genre. Let’s face it; the one-liter Africa Twin and larger VFR1200X are a lot of bike for new riders who are not — I repeat: NOT — liable to ever see a trek down the Ivory Coast. Could it be used as a trainer for the larger bikes? Certainly, but its main lot in life will be as an urban commuter with the capacity to handle some poorly-maintained roads and the occasional pothole. If it sounds like I’m downplaying the bike a bit, I would submit that the urban adventure ride is about all most of us manage in a lifetime, thus making it good enough for its designed purpose.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CB500X.
2013 - 2018 Honda CB500F
Back in 2012, Honda presented the CB500F to the world at the EICMA Motor Show to bolster its “standard” category for the 2013 model year. This compact streetfighter sported Honda’s then-new 471 cc in a rather naked layout with almost 50-horsepower on tap to push the 414-pound curb weight around, so it’s safe to say that it definitely punches above its weight. This is at least part of the reason for its success and market popularity, and the factory has made tweaks here and there in an attempt to keep it fresh all the way into 2018 in order to maintain that momentum. Now that the family has matured somewhat and settled into its groove if you like, I want to take a look at the range to try and divine the secrets to its success.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CB500F.
2015 - 2018 Honda CBR500R
Honda started the CB500 twin line back in 1993 to plug a gap in the entry-level market and serve as a mid-size commuter bike – a mission statement that’s still valid today. You could consider the CBR500R as the supersport branch of the CB family tree, but with the same 471 cc engine as its closest kin, the CB500F and CB500X. In spite of its sporty exterior, the CBR500R seems to maintain the family tradition of entry-level and commuter service.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CBR500R.
2018 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports
Honda’s Africa Twin Adventure Sports makes the jump from concept to production to further expand the CRF1000L lineup. This newest model — dubbed the CRF1000L2 — brings a decidedly more rugged visage to the table along with the same 998 cc powerplant that drives its more street-centric adventure siblings. I submit to you that the importance of this model goes beyond a handful of special features and a clever name; in a way, it fulfills the promise of the capabilities implicit with the “Africa Twin” moniker. The updated engine churns out 94 ponies with street-knobbies to put the power to the pavement and an updated suspension system to keep the rough roads and trails from rattling the fillings out of your head. What else has Honda done to capitalize on the popularity of its original AT models? Plenty, not only on this specific model, but across the whole range.
Continue reading for my look at the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports.
2014 - 2018 Honda CBR600RR
Honda’s latest generation of 600 cc, CBR supersports toes the family line with its race-winning blend of power and maneuverability all packed onto a MotoGP-inspired chassis. Much like the original CBR600RR that hit the streets back in ’03 and was built as a racebike replica, the current model features a strong engine along with a front suspension featuring Honda’s 41mm Big Piston Fork for superb handling and snappy action, plus MotoGP-inspired bodywork in a race-tested aerodynamic supersport design.
Continue reading for more my review of the Honda CBR600RR.
2015 - 2018 Honda Ruckus
Do you want to ride a scooter for the ease of operation and the extraordinary fuel economy but don’t want to look like a sissy? While not all 50 cc scooters are sissified, a lot of them are. They come in pretty pastel colors and cute designs, something that just isn’t your style. How do I know? Because you’re reading this. Enter the Ruckus (NPS50 ) from Honda, known in other markets as the Zoomer. Bare bones — naked bike, anyone? — and gnarly, the Ruckus looks like it’s right out of Mad Max. No one is going to say, “Awww, isn’t that cute?” when you ride by on a Ruckus. Granted, you won’t be going very fast, so on-lookers will get a good, long look.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Ruckus.
2016 - 2018 Honda Metropolitan
Honda revamped its classic-looking Metropolitan – known in other markets as the Giorno – for the 2016 model year. Early models enjoyed a bit of popularity starting back in 2002, but that took a hit with the changes made for the ’13 models up through the ’15s. The factory proves that it listens to customer feedback and acts on it with a fresh set of changes for the 2016 and 2017 models, tweaks that directly address the concerns coming from the customers. On the top of the list was a new, liquid-cooled engine that ramped up overall performance, as well as relocating the fuel tank for more storage under the seat. What we have now is a scooter that aims to regain the popularity it once enjoyed with a classic look and a revamped engine.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Metropolitan/Giorno.
2018 Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour
Honda is well into its fourth decade of Gold Wing production now, and needless to say, it’s now a much different world than the one for which its most recent vintages were designed. A younger buyer is clearly in the factory’s sights with this updated version of its venerable GL line. Reduced bulk and updated looks are just the bait; the hook lies in the renewed focus on performance. Sure, the ’Wing has always cornered less like a dresser and more like something from one of the sportier categories, but the Red Riders managed to improve further on that point by shedding nearly 100 pounds off the overall weight with the same low center-of-gravity. The all-new engine comes in the typical flat-six configuration and 1,833 cc displacement with 124.6 ponies just waiting to be called upon. What else has Honda done to try to make the ’Wing something other than “my grandfather’s bike” to the younger buyers? Read on and find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Gold Wing and Honda Gold Wing Tour.
2018 Honda CRF450R
Back in ’17, Honda rebuilt the CRF450R pretty much from the ground up, so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of new stuff and expected to see a straight-up carryover. Boy, was I mistaken. A new, lightweight lithium-ion battery drops enough weight that the factory decided to keep the electric leg and rely on it alone, having offered push-button start as an option last year as a market test. May as well, most of the other big-name MX producers have already done so and it will be expected from now on. Besides, it only adds five pounds to the bike, and that’s only likely to get lighter on subsequent models. Updated suspension settings and a lower center-of-gravity deliver a superior ride as compared to the ’17 model. Plus, tweaks to the engine result in quicker holeshots to help you establish and maintain your lead right out of the gate. All-in-all, a more capable machine meant for competition on the MX course, at least according to the factory prose. Let’s take a look for ourselves, shall we?
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CRF450R.
2015 - 2018 Honda CBR300R
Since 2011, the CBR250R has served both as Honda’s small-displacement street-riding and racing trainer, and the model is actually used in amateur, closed-circuit races as a prelude to entering the larger brackets. Based on that success, Honda designed this, the next generation of little sportbikes. I am, of course, referring to the new-from-2015 CBR300R that comes with the then-new, 286 cc engine based on the previous 249 cc version.
While I am at a loss to explain it, I confess I have a certain affinity for beginner bikes, and “one-design” race categories that remove hardware advantages and force racers to win based on nothing but their own skills and bravery, which is arguably the purest form of competition. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the CBR300R, and see what the Red Riders have to look forward to in Honda’s continuing campaign to draw new riders into the sport and lifestyle we all love so much.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CBR300R.
2015 - 2018 Honda Shadow Aero / Shadow Phantom
According to Honda , cruisers are meant for relaxed, comfortable riding. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that nothing says “laid back” quite like the vintage American cruisers from the 1950’s (or so), and Honda made an honest attempt to capture that look and feel of yesteryear with these rides, the big brothers to the Rebel range. Maybe just a little too honest – is that a mechanical drum brake I see? Still with a 745 cc engine and a wide-ratio transmission, the Shadow Phantom and the Aero, which wasn’t brought forward after 2016, fill the "cruiser" slot quite adequately for Honda.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Shadow Phantom and Shadow Aero.
2017 - 2018 Honda Rebel 300 / Rebel 500
Honda brought one of its most recognized model families into the 21st century with a complete overhaul of the much celebrated Rebel range last year. Available as the Rebel 300 and 500, this reworked line sports water-cooled mills and fuel-injection induction control to meet modern and near-future emissions standards. A sportier look greets the eye this time around, though the Rebel still targets the same small-[cruiser-mot392], entry-level market. Unveiled at the Long Beach PIMS, I do think it is worth a look.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Rebel 300 and Rebel 500.
2016 - 2018 Honda Fury / Stateline
The Honda designers targeted the outlaw chopper culture of the ’60s and ’70s, and managed to turn out a fairly faithful interpretation in the Fury, which is carried into 2018 though we lost its stablemate, the Stateline, from the lineup last year. The deep saddle and cut-down rear fender combined with the sweep of the fuel tank give it that stretched, custom look. For the American market, the 52-degree V-twin fits right in with a 1,312 cc engine that isn’t so big as to be intimidating. Join me as I critique Honda’s attempt to recapture our glory days.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Stateline and Fury.
2015 - 2018 Honda CB300F
New from 2015 and going strong in 2018, the CB300F from Honda is all about naked sportbike styling at an entry-level price and demeanor. A little bit lighter and with a more upright riding position than its kissing cousin, the CBR300R, the CB300F carries essentially the same engine as the CBR250R but with a longer stroke to add a few more cubes to the mix. Beginner’s bike? Check. Commuter bike? Check. Sportbike trainer? I don’t know. Let’s check it out.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CB300F.
2014 - 2018 Honda CTX700 / CTX700N
Honda’s CTX700 siblings brings flexibility and rider-friendliness to the table with a laid-back cruiser attitude. The 670 cc, parallel-twin engine delivers manageable power, and a choice of transmissions lets you choose how involved you will be in the shifting process, even to the point of full-automatic functionality. This allows the family to cover a range of experience levels from the entry level on up to veteran commuters.
The fairing and optional bags on the CTX700 (non-N) model place it right into the weekender/tour bracket as well. Best of all, Honda priced the bike to be accessible, and this combination has the potential to appeal to folks who may have otherwise passed on the joys of fists in the wind and bugs in their teeth. Today I’m going to take a look at the specifics of the CTX700 and 700N and see what all Honda packed in that makes this bike so popular with its owners.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CTX700 and CTX700N.