It’s Edgy, Agile, and Eager In The Corners

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.

  • 2018 - 2019 Honda CB1000R Neo-Sports Café
  • Year:
    2018- 2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Displacement:
    998 cc
  • Top Speed:
    141 mph
  • Price:
    12999
  • Price:

Honda CB1000R Design

2018 - 2019 Honda CB1000R Neo-Sports Café
- image 768588
Whether you cleave to the sport-naked aspects or the café-tastic heritage, there is no denying the aggressive nature of the Neo-Sports Café.

Honda tightened up the dimensions of its popular sport-standard by shaving half-an-inch off the length of the swingarm and carving 3.5 inches off the headlight can. In the spirit of the original café racers that were essentially bobbed standard/UJMs set up with nothing in the way of excess fat that might impede performance, the factory cut the front fender down to the bone. The snub-nose headlight can sports a horseshoe-shaped DRL and a duplex projector with a well-defined break between the high beam and low beam lights that is compact but takes care of business with super-bright LED technology.

At the other end, the factory kept the elevated subframe clean by moving the mudguard/plateholder down to the swingarm-mount hugger position, and y’all can go ahead and pencil me in as a fan. Not only does it clean up the ass end, but it lends it an even more sport-tastic vibe. If I’m honest, I’ll admit the café DNA is subtle at best, but it’s sufficient to give the NSC a nice finish that sets it apart from the crowd.

Short bars pull the rider forward over the tank to makes the strongest café connection yet in that the classic knee dents help the flangeless tank taper down to the saddle. The saddle itself carries a shallow scoop with a short rise to the pillion pad with a set of JC handles tucked inconspicuously away below. LED whisker-mount turn signals flank the also-LED taillight, but the winker stanchions are not enough to ruin the clean finish. Whether one cleaves to the sport-naked aspects or the café-tastic heritage, there is no denying the aggressive nature of the NSC, and I, for one, am eating it up.

Honda CB1000R Chassis

2018 - 2019 Honda CB1000R Neo-Sports Café
- image 768587
It's no surprise that Honda went all out with an all-new mono-backbone skeleton.

New bikes get new bones, so it’s no surprise that Honda went all out with an all-new mono-backbone skeleton. Steel members provide the strength and rigidity to manage the stresses of sport riding with aluminum pivot plates that shave 5.5-pounds off the standing gear. I’m glad to see the adjustable usd forks up front. The Separate Function Fork-Big Piston stems by Showa provide full-spectrum adjustability with variable spring preload as well as compression and rebound damping via the easy-to-get-at adjustment points on the fork caps.

At 467 pounds wet, the NSC generates enough energy to rate four-piston anchors that bite dual 310 mm front discs with a 256 mm disc and twin-pot caliper out back. Yeah, that may be a bit of overkill there, but a two-channel ABS feature provides the safety net so you can get the most out of the brakes and still keep the machine dirty-side down. Symmetrical cast rims run a 17-inch diameter with a 120/70 up front and 190/55 out back that saw a size boost from the previous generation.

Rake (Caster Angle): 24.7º
Trail: 96.1 mm (3.8 in.)
Suspension, Front: Showa Separate Function Fr Fork Big Piston (SFF-BP)
Suspension, Rear: Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion (BRFC)
Brakes, Front: Two hydraulic calipers w/ 310 mm floating discs; 2-channel ABS
Brakes, Rear: Single hydraulic caliper w/ 256 mm disc; 2-channel ABS
Tires, Front/Rear: 120/70 ZR17/ 190/55 ZR17

Honda CB1000R Drivetrain

2018 - 2019 Honda CB1000R Neo-Sports Café
- image 768575
Honda's engineers tweaked the mill from the CBR1000RR SP, so there's plenty of power and a stupidfast top speed.

Honda’s engineers also tweaked the 998 cc, four-banger mill that powers the NSC. They borrowed from the CBR1000RR SP and ran with forged pistons in the 75 mm bores with a 56.5 mm stroke and slightly warmer 11.6-to-1 compression ratio. Dual overhead cams provide increased valve lift for improved waste-gas scavenging and volumetric efficiency plus a tuned intake tract that includes improvements to the airbox, filter and associated ducting.

Induction control falls to the 44 mm throttle body with a throttle-by-wire system that provides variable engine power, TC and engine braking so you can tune the engine right where you want it. You can count on 143 horsepower at the 12,000 rpm redline with 76 pound-feet of torque that comes on fully at 8,250 rpm and around 141.7 for a top speed. Power flows through a six-speed gearbox with a tough-as-balls chain final drive and a slipper-type clutch.

Engine: 998 cc liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder
Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 75.0 mm x 56.5 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.6:1
Induction: PGM-FI fuel injection w/ 44mm throttle bodies
Ignition: Full transistorized ignition
Starter: Electric
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Clutch: Multiplate wet

Honda CB1000R Pricing

2018 - 2019 Honda CB1000R Neo-Sports Café
- image 768588
MSRP is $13k in a bright Chromosphere Red for 2019.

MSRP held steady from 2018 at $12,999. Last year’s black was replaced by a bright Chromosphere Red for 2019.

Model ID: CB1000RA
Color:
└ 2018: Black
└ 2019: Chromosphere Red
Price: $12,999

Honda CB1000R Competitors

2018 - 2019 Suzuki GSX-S1000
- image 725857
2018 - 2019 Honda CB1000R Neo-Sports Café
- image 768589
In the looks department, I gotta say Honda beats the pants off the Suzuki, then chases it out into the parking lot for good measure.

Honda calls it a “café,” but I ain’t really feeling it so I grabbed another naked sportbike for my head-to-head in the form of the GSX-S1000 ABS from Suzuki. To be fair, the NSC does have a rather unique and fetching look about it, but the Gixxes sticks to the pure-D Japanese streetfighter look with angular body panels and a Transformer-like headlight housing. In the looks department, I gotta say Honda beats the pants off the Suzuki, then chases it out into the parking lot for good measure. Yeah, I know it comes down to personal taste, but if you disagree then you need to be getting yourself some taste. Just sayin’....

Suzuki tries to keep weight down through the use of an aluminum frame and swingarm versus the steel support from Honda, but both got it right with fully-adjustable, inverted forks that allow you to dial in for your personal preferences. The brakes are likewise fairly even across the board with dual four-pot calipers up front and ABS protection as part of the standard equipment package.

Suzuki’s four-bore mill gains a single cube on the NSC with a 999 cc displacement but the third-party dyno numbers paint a very unflattering picture for Honda; at the rear wheel you can expect around 109 horsepower from the NSC, but the Gixxes pumps out 137 ponies, so in the power category Suzuki gets to flip the script and spank the Honda.

At $10,799 I think it’s safe to say the GSX-S1000 ABS hasl have a leg up on the Neo-Sports Café, but is it enough to sway a buyer not loyal to either brand?

He Said

“Sexy as hell as far as naked sportbikes go. Though subtle, the changes Honda made to the looks of the CB1000R really pay off in the end. Sure, performance drops off a skosh, but it ain’t always about brute force or pretty numbers ’cause the Honda has something just as valuable: soul.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I’m not really seeing the café part so much, but it would just be a different perspective. It’s a nice-looking bike; very angular, even the sculpted fuel tank, with an almost industrial edginess to it. It’s lighter than the previous model and the changes to the chassis should make it even more agile and eager in the corners. I like what I see so far.”

Honda CB1000R Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 998 cc liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder
Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 75.0 mm x 56.5 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.6:1
Induction: PGM-FI fuel injection w/ 44 mm throttle bodies
Ignition: Full transistorized ignition
Starter: Electric
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Clutch: Multiplate wet
Final Drive: Chain
Chassis:
Rake (Caster Angle): 24.7º
Trail: 96.1mm (3.8 in.)
Suspension, Front: Showa Separate Function Fr Fork Big Piston (SFF-BP)
Suspension, Rear: Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion (BRFC)
Brakes, Front: Two hydraulic calipers w/ 310 mm floating discs; 2-channel ABS
Brakes, Rear: Single hydraulic caliper w/ 256 mm disc; 2-channel ABS
Tires, Front/Rear: 120/70 ZR17/ 190/55 ZR17
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 83.5 in.
Width: 31.1 in.
Height: 43.1 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.3 in.
Seat Height: 32.7 in.
Wheelbase: 57.3 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.3 gal.
Curb Weight: 467 lbs.
Details:
Model ID: CB1000RA
Color:
└ 2018: Black
└ 2019: Chromosphere Red
Price: $12,999

Further Reading

Suzuki GSX-S1000

2018 - 2019 Suzuki GSX-S1000
- image 725856

See our review of the Suzuki GSX-S1000.

Honda CBR1000RR SP

2017 - 2019 Honda CBR1000RR SP
- image 823261

See our review of the Honda CBR1000RR SP.

Honda

ALLYN IMAGES - DO NOT DELETE
- image 794666

Read more Honda news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: honda.com, suzukicycles.com

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