Honda’s venerable CB1000R sport standard turns an important corner for 2018, with a ground-up redesign that bridges the gap between performance and bare-boned Cafe Racer inspirations. In a dramatic identity shift, the CB1000R receives cutting-edge Neo-Sports Cafe styling, an updated chassis, and an improved electronics package-all changes that bolster performance while highlighting the importance of a strong, emotional connection between rider and machine.
The 2018 CB1000R’s 998cc DOHC four-cylinder engine-which shares its architecture and layout with the previous-generation CBR1000RR super sport bike-has been reworked to provide healthy increases in power and torque. Compression ratio is up 0.4 to 11.6:1 and the pistons are now forged (rather than cast), as with the CBR1000RR SP.
Development concentrated on improved gas flow into, through, and out of the cylinder head. Valve lift is higher, with inlet at 8.5mm and exhaust 8.1mm (as opposed to 7.9 and 7.8mm). A 44mm diameter throttle body (up 8mm) feeds larger-diameter inlet ports; the shape of the combustion chambers is also revised. The airbox, ducting, and air filter are also brand new and present a much simpler, smoother route for airflow into the engine, reducing pressure loss all the way from the outer ducts to the throttle body.
A new 4-2-1 design exhaust system adds to the CB1000R’s midrange muscle, and a link pipe joins the two main pipes just before the catalyzers, boosting torque at 5,000 rpm and above.
Throttle By Wire (TBW) has also been added to the platform, allowing the rider various options for utilizing the powerful engine, via three preset riding modes plus 1 USER mode (selected from a switch on the left handlebar).
There are three levels of Engine Power (P), Engine Brake (EB), and Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) available; HSTC can also be switched off. The three individual riding modes offer different combinations of each parameter.
RAIN mode employs the lowest Power setting, medium EB, and high HSTC. The lower levels of power and torque are focused on the first three gears. STANDARD mode uses the middle setting for Power, HSTC, and EB. It reduces output a bit in first and second gears and uses a power curve that sits just below that of SPORT mode, with reduced torque at partial throttle openings. It also allows for small rear-wheel slides and the front wheel leaving the ground. SPORT uses high Power and lowest levels of EB and HSTC to deliver 100% power through all six gears, maximum torque at all throttle positions, and minor intervention from HSTC. The USER mode allows the rider to choose between the three settings for each parameter and save the setting for future use.
The 2018 CB1000R’s styling takes a bold, distinct new direction that deliberately separates it from the naked-bike mainstream. Every aesthetic detail has been finessed for a dramatically updated overall design, with a powerful stance and an elevated performance package. The CB1000R’s proportions are now much compact, with a trapezoid silhouette. The overhang of the distinctly styled round headlight is 3.5 inches shorter, and the swingarm-mounted rear mudguard unit (a first for Honda) allows for an extremely short, sculpted aluminium tail unit that incorporates neat, under-slung passenger handholds.
Only six exterior parts are constructed from plastic, the largest being the svelte front mudguard. By contrast, what really makes its presence felt is the use of premium metal finishes throughout, drawing on the long cafe-racer tradition-parts such as the burnished-aluminium radiator shroud and airbox cover; machined engine cases, cylinder head, and sprocket hub; and flangeless steel fuel tank.
All lighting is LED, and the thin, round headlight employs a horseshoe-shaped light ring, as well as a distinctive two-bar light signature. The rear light is also a semicircular light bar that fills in solid when the brakes are applied. The T-shaped instrument panel integrates into the top triple clamp, minimizing bulk, and the ignition switch is positioned at the front of the fuel tank.