The New Neo-Sport Café Adds Its Retro-Tastic Flare To The Middleweight Field

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.

  • 2019 Honda CB650R
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Displacement:
    649 cc
  • Top Speed:
    135 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    8999
  • Price:

2019 Honda CB650R Design

All-in-all, it's a very clean and compact ride that sets itself apart with its retro-tastic bent.

No doubt about it, I dig machines with a café racer influence in the woodpile, and Honda’s Neo Sport Café is certainly no exception. In fact, this is my favorite naked the factory puts out, especially since it made the old CB650F superfluous to the point that it fell off the family tree. If I’m honest, it’s that retro-tastic vibe that does it for me, even if its more of a suggestion than an actual guideline.

The CB650R leads the way with a pared-down front fender that makes an immediate connection to the custom culture reinforced by the ample blackout treatment throughout the design. A single, round LED headlight splits the night with an LED DRL ring for improved safety during daylight hours. The factory moved the swaged and tapered handlebar forward and down by 13 mm and 8 mm, respectively, to give the bike a slightly more aggressive, race-tastic attitude while leaving open the possibility of adopting a comfortable upright riding position if that’s what the situation calls for.

Also new this year is an LCD instrument cluster that delivers all the critical metrics. A pair of compact cheek fairings add some flavor without adding a bunch of useless weight, and as simple as it may seem, are responsible for much of the overall panache. A new 4.1-gallon fuel tank adds to the charm with a layered look that tapers off to form a bit of a knee pocket ahead of the seat/tank/frame juncture. The flyline tumbles down the tank to meet the saddle, but the rearward lines are less severe with a slight rise and soft shoulder to segregate pilot from pillion.

Subframe-mount, flip-up footpegs complete the passenger’s gear ahead of a large taillight at the terminus. An extended mudguard reaches back to support the blinkers, and the tag itself serves as the final spray-control component. All-in-all, a very clean and compact ride that sets itself apart with its retro-tastic bent.

2019 Honda CB650R Chassis

2019 Honda CB650R
- image 821098
Add up the tweaks and improvements in the chassis and the result is a ride that's even more flickable than before.

Honda updated the twin-spar frame with a number of weight-saving measures that include refined seat rails, engine mounts and pivot plates for the yoke-style, asymmetrical, die-cast aluminum swingarm to shave a whopping 13 pounds off the final tally compared to the outgoing “F” variant.

The steering head and tripletree arrangement set a surprisingly wide rake angle of 32 degrees from the vertical with the typical four inches of trail and a 57-inch wheelbase to give the CB650R solid tracking at speed with respectable cornering behavior. Another boon to handling can be found in the rims; specifically in the hollow Y-spokes on the 17-inch rims that shed just over two pounds in total, and that lowers the gyroscopic effect so the wheels have a lower resistance to changing the angle on the axis. In short, it’s even more flickable than before.

The factory beefed up its suspension game with a set of inverted, 41 mm Showa forks up front that are of the Separate Function sort, but still come sans adjustments so there’s definitely some room for improvement there. Out back, a coil-over monoshock takes care of business with naught but the obligatory spring preload. Again, room for improvement. A pair of radial-mount, four-piston anchors bite dual 310 mm discs up front followed by a 240 mm disc and single-pot caliper out back, and you have a choice between a non-switchable ABS variant, and a non-ABS base model. ZR-rated hoops round out the rolling chassis with a 120/70 and 180/55 on the front and rear, respectively.

Front Suspension/Travel: 41mm fork/ 4.25 inches travel
Rear Suspension/Travel: Showa Single Shock/ 5.04 inches travel
Rake (Caster Angle): 32°
Trail: 4.0 inches (101 mm)
Front Brake: Dual 320 mm discs with radial-mount four-piston calipers (ABS model w/ ABS)
Rear Brake: Single 240 mm disc (ABS model w/ ABS)
Front Tire: 120/70-17
Rear Tire: 180/55-17

2019 Honda CB650R Drivetrain

2019 Honda CB650R
- image 821106
The powerplant on the 2019 CB650R brings more to the table of everything you like with a higher red line and a five-percent power boost.

The powerplant on the 2019 CB650R brings more to the table of everything you like with a 12,000 rpm redline (up from 11k) and a five-percent power boost above the 10k mark for a grand total of 94 ponies at the top end. Torque measures in with 47 pound-feet that caps at 8,500 rpm to give an estimated top speed of 135 mph.

It’s a four-banger that runs 67 mm bores and a 46 mm stroke giving it a 11.6-to-1 compression ratio, up from 11.4-to-1. Dual over-head cams time the 16-poppet head with “Direct-Cam” actuation that reduces the overall mass of the valvetrain. The factory tweaked the pistons with an asymmetrical piston-skirt layout meant to minimize piston-to-cylinder contact, and the piston comes with a phonograph finish that carries an oil film to further reduce wear and mechanical losses.

Oh, and those cheek fairings that look so cool? Yeah, those are actually dual intake scoops to increase the volume of intake air while raising the airbox pressure to give the volumetric efficiency a little boost. It ain’t much, but every little bit counts. The factory increased exhaust diameter to reduce backpressure and open up the back end of the circuit so the engine can breathe more freely.

A compact “stacked” gearbox manages the ratios with a new slipper-type clutch that provides some anti wheel-hop protection and delivers a lighter pull weight at the clutch lever. A final layer of safety net can be found in the engine-control electronics, specifically the switchable Honda Selectable Torque Control feature that comes on the ABS-equipped model only.

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

2019 Honda CB650R Pricing

2019 Honda CB650R
- image 821107
MSRP is just under $9k for non-ABS and just over $9k with it.

The 2019 CB650R base model rolls in Chromosphere Red for $8,899. Shuck out another three Benjamins and you can score the ABS/HSTC variant in the same color.

Model ID: CB650R (ABS model: CB650RA)
Warranty: One Year Included, Transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty (optional extended coverage available with a HondaCare Protection Plan®)
Color: Chromosphere Red
Price: $8,899 (ABS model: $9,199)

2019 Honda CB650R Competitors

2017 - 2019 Kawasaki Z650 ABS
- image 813334
2019 Honda CB650R
- image 821110
In a naked-middleweight dook-out, Kawasaki lacks traction control, but scores a win at the checkout counter.

Whenever practicable, I like to pick a competitor from the same general area, and this time Kawasaki was my Huckleberry with its Z650. It’s billed as a supernaked-middleweight model, so I consider it fair game, so let’s get to it. Kawi makes no effort to hit any café-tastic high points — it has the W800 fitted in that slot — so the Z650 tends to look like the rest of Kawasaki’s naked lineup with its distinct genetic markers.

Angular and aggressive with a definite dark side, the Z650 allows for a similar pilot posture that let’s you prop yourself up in a near-vertical position, or tuck in for a proper haulin’-booty form. A deep swale between the tank and the tail pull the rider down into the bike for some solid man/woman/whatever-machine integration and a feeling of oneness. It rocks a Kawi-green Trellis frame that really pops against all the blackout with dual front anchors and the option of choosing between ABS and plain vanilla, just like Honda’s entry.

The seat on the Z650 is a skosh lower at 30.9 inches off the deck, so it has the potential to be more comfortable for shorter inseams with a lighter curb weight of 410.1 pounds (ABS) versus the Honda’s 445 pounds. Torque measures in with 48.5 pound-feet at a lower 6,500 rpm, which isn’t surprising since it’s a twin-cylinder mill, and though Kawi declines to post its horsepower figures, it’s a given that the ponies fall off a tad just based on the configuration alone as the trade off. Kawasaki scores at the checkout with a $6,999 base sticker and a $7,399 tag on the ABS model.

He Said

“The Kawi might be a sidegrade in power with a lighter bank note, but I am just shallow enough to pay the extra cash for the CB650R’s looks. Yeah, it’s like that. Oh and the traction control, that’s something that the Z650 has no answer for and I decided a long time ago that my next bike is gonna’ have that safety net. Bottom line is; I think the Red Riders made all the right moves with this replacement for its “F” model, and you can go ahead and pencil me in as a fan.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “This bike has the same engine as the CBR650R, and pretty much the same chassis and brakes, but the result is so different. Between mapping and differences in air intake, the CBR650R has a little more power, but the CB650R is, in my opinion, a more versatile bike. The ride is more comfortable, and while it certainly remains a fun ride, I find the Neo Sport more utilitarian and it’s less expensive. If you have to have a sportbike, there’s no contest, but if you’re looking around for something in the middleweight range, the CB650R is worth a look.”

2019 Honda CB650R Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 649 cc liquid cooled in-line four cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 67 mm x 46 mm
Induction: PGM-FI with 32 mm throttle bodies
Ignition: Full transistorized
Compression Ratio: 11.6:1
Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder
Transmission: Six-speed
Final Drive: #525 Chain; 15T/42T
Chassis:
Front Suspension/Travel: 41mm fork/ 4.25 inches travel
Rear Suspension/Travel: Showa Single Shock/ 5.04 inches travel
Rake (Caster Angle): 32°
Trail: 4.0 inches (101 mm)
Front Brake: Dual 320 mm discs with radial-mount four-piston calipers (ABS model w/ ABS)
Rear Brake: Single 240 mm disc (ABS model w/ ABS)
Front Tire: 120/70-17
Rear Tire: 180/55-17
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 57 inches
Seat Height: 31.9 inches
Curb Weight: 445 pounds (ABS model: 447 pounds)
Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gallons, including 0.8-gallon reserve
Fuel Economy: TBD
Details:
Model ID: CB650R (ABS model: CB650RA)
Warranty: One Year Included, Transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty (optional extended coverage available with a HondaCare Protection Plan®)
Color: Chromosphere Red
Price: $8,899 (ABS model: $9,199)

Further Reading

Kawasaki Z650

2017 - 2019 Kawasaki Z650 ABS
- image 813327

See our review of the Kawasaki Z650.

Honda CB650F

2019 Honda CB500F
- image 812860

See our review of the Honda CB650F.

Kawasaki W800

2019 Kawasaki W800 Café
- image 804500

See our review of the Kawasaki W800.

Honda CBR650R

2019 Honda CBR650R
- image 814070

See our review of the Honda CBR650R.

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, kawasaki.com

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