Honda’s old CB1000R was a cracking road bike, with a riding experience and performance that was far more than the sum of its parts. A bit lardy and low on power according to the spec sheet, it was, nevertheless, a corking ride. The motor was nicely fuelled, and the throttle response was sweet. Handling was assured and stable, and with a natty single-sided swingarm, it had a certain high-quality style.
But the rest of the class has been leaving it far behind. So Honda’s given it a thorough going-over for 2018, with more power, less weight, and an all-new modern retro style, that the firm has dubbed ‘Neo Sports Café’ (NSC). Hmmm.
We’ve seen the new CB1000R in the flesh tonight in Milan, and it’s certainly a strong new style. Honda’s brought out a CB125 and CB300 with the same look, so there’s a whole new family of NSC machines. You can judge those looks for yourself, from pics for the moment, and in the metal at the NEC show in a few weeks’ time.
In terms of the spec, the engine has been retuned for more peak power over 10,000rpm, up to 145bhp, and there’s now ride-by-wire throttle, allowing rider modes, power settings, traction control and engine braking settings. There’s more valve lift, 8mm larger throttle bodies and an all-new exhaust system. Finally, overall gearing is a tad shorter, for sharper acceleration, and you also get a new slipper clutch.
On the chassis front, there’s an all-new backbone frame, Showa Separate Function - Big Piston Forks, radial calipers and Showa rear shock. The swingarm is shorter and wheebase longer, and there’s new instruments, more relaxed riding position and full LED lighting.
So – there you have it. A very welcome performance boost for Honda’s big naked, plus a distinctive new look. We’ll be riding one as soon as we can, and will let you know how she goes…