Common Tread

2018 Honda CB1000R first look

Nov 06, 2017

Honda’s Neo Sports Cafe concept became a reality today with the release of the 2018 CB1000R, launched today at the EICMA show in Italy.

Just like the concept, Honda calls the new design language “Neo Sports Café.” In their words, it's “modern and minimalist, mixing sports naked and café racer inspirations with head-turning results.”

2018 Honda CB1000R
2018 Honda CB1000R. Honda photo.

2018 Honda CB1000R instrument panel
An uncluttered cockpit for the rider. 2018 Honda CB1000R. Honda photo.
The CB1000R is the latest in a series of high-profile motorcycles from Japan seeking to shake up the stylistic standoff in motorcycle aesthetics, and it certainly turns heads. They’ve gone to great lengths to create something that  “looks, feels and performs very differently from what’s gone before”. No harm in that. Kawasaki’s Z900RS and Yamaha’s XSR900 also sought to solve that problem, but the three arrived at very different conclusions, which makes for great variety on the showroom floor.

The CB1000R looks to be more than a design manifesto in the metal, however.

2018 Honda CB1000R headlight
Manufacturers are getting more creative with LED headlights. 2018 Honda CB1000R. Honda photo.

“As Honda, our intention is always to look to the future and to be ready to lead," said S. Uchida, Large Project Leader for the 2018 CB1000R. "Hence, as the naked sector’s requirements mature, we knew that we had to go much further than giving the new CB1000R a boost in real-world performance. Customer expectation and interests are about much more than just ‘how fast?’”

2018 Honda CB1000R rear
The swingarm-mounted rear fender keeps the tail tidy. 2018 Honda CB1000R. Honda photo.

For the most part, the radical styling of the NSC concept bike carried over into the production model. Check out the BMW-style rear fender, which allows the CB1000R to retain that stubby tail. Available in black or a metallic dark red (as seen on the NSC concept), the CB1000R will take the place of Honda’s outgoing bike of the same name. Honda’s shaved more than 25 pounds off their big retro, and the engine has been updated, as well, with a variation of the CBR1000RR Fireblade lump. Shorter gears mean the new bike pulls harder than the RR through the first three gears. And should riders still wonder “how fast” (they always do), the new bike makes 143.5 horsepower at 10,500 rpm and 76.7 foot-pounds of torque at 8,250 rpm. That should satisfy most.

2018 Honda CB1000R
Neo-retro style, modern horsepower, brakes, suspension and electronics. 2018 Honda CB1000R. Honda photo.

Riders also get multiple riding modes, three-mode Throttle By Wire, and Honda Selectable Torque Control, plus an assist/slipper clutch. Expect a fully adjustable suspension package, as Honda’s stuffed a Showa Separate Function Big Piston (SFF-BP) inverted fork up front with a rear monoshock, also from Showa. If these specs aren’t exciting enough for you, a CB1000R+ will be coming soon with aluminum bodywork and a few other upgrades.

Honda CB1000R, CB300R and CB150R
Honda is also building CB300 and CB150 versions of its neo-retro bike. Will we see either in the U.S. market? The 300, maybe. The 150, no way. 2018 Honda CB1000R. Honda photo.

Honda’s also producing CB300R and CB150R versions of the same style. No word yet on which models will come to the United States or what they will cost, but dreaming is still free.