First Ride

Honda Launch test: Honda's slightly mental CB1000R - page three

Launch test: Honda's slightly mental CB1000R - page three
Details
Manufacturer:
Honda
Category:
Naked
Price:
£ 6950
Overall
Not rated

For a naked bike, the CB is fairly firmly sprung which helps the bike to hold and recover its geometry quickly through fast direction changes and into and out of slower corners. The shock is fairly basic but feels plush and progressive. 

The fully-adjustable Showa ‘Big-Piston’ forks have a similar progression and handle bumpy roads but without diving like an Italian footballer at the first stroke of the brake lever. The steering is super-fast and takes a little getting used to — it’s a cliché but you really do steer this bike with your eyeballs. Stability doesn’t seem to be an issue, and I could only upset the bike by being overly aggressive, and even then was only reprimanded with a disapproving wag of the bike’s head. 

The brakes are powerful with good modulation and I didn’t notice the ABS unless I deliberately grabbed a handful of brake; if you can’t tell it’s there, then it’s working perfectly. It is an easy bike to ride — however you want to ride it — but if there are two things I’d change then they’re both black and round. In my opinion the OE Bridgestone S21 tyres let this bike down.

On the cold Andalusian roads on our way to the Ascari race resort, while I didn’t have any real moments, neither did I have the confidence to push in the corners or carry a great deal of lean angle. Even on the track I didn’t feel as though I could trail brake with much conviction. If grip isn’t the issue, feel certainly is, and my first modification would be to get these on eBay and fit something softer and stickier to exploit the bike’s true potential.

Verdict

There’s no question that Honda has moved the CB1000R on a huge leap. In a naked market that’s often hard to define, there will be plenty of debate as to which bikes are its direct rivals. Some would say that it’s 20bhp down on the BMW S1000R and 15 down on the Yamaha MT-10. Others would argue that it’s streets ahead of its retro-modern counterparts such as the BMW R nine T.

Whatever your reasons for being interested in this bike, tyres aside, I’m struggling to think why you’d be disappointed. It looks amazing, it’s fast, it handles, it’s packed with useful technology and it’s comfortable. But above all else, at long last, the CB1000R finally has what it needed to be more than just an also-ran. Finally, it’s got a soul.

And there's more...

We tested the more expensive ‘+’ variant that comes with heated grips, brushed aluminium front mudguard panels and rear hugger panels, brushed aluminium inserts on the flyscreen and single seat cowl, a radiator grille with a CB1000R logo and top it all off, a quickshifter.

These parts are all very welcome and without doubt improve the bike. But are they worth a grand? Well, yes and no. The heated grips were brilliant but I was less impressed with the quickshifter. It wasn’t terrible per se, but if you’re looking to start modifying your CB1000R (and there’s no doubt custom bike builders will be clamouring for this bike) perhaps junking the catalytic converter and going for a remap, then you may as well extend that to an HM quickshifter or similar that can be programmed to suit your style of riding.

So if you’re looking to ride the bike as is, then yes, you might as well spend 12 instead of 11 large. But if you’re going to start tinkering, we’d suggest you save that bag of sand for a few parts and some dyno time. Can’t wait to see what the tuners and builders do with this bike…

Tech feck

ENGINE

 

Type

Liquid-cooled DOHC In-line 4 cylinder

Valves per cylinder

4

Engine Displacement (cm³)

998cc

Bore and Stroke (mm)

75mm x 56.5mm

Compression Ratio

11.6:1

Max. Power Output

143.5 bhp @ 10,500rpm

Max. Torque

104Nm @ 8,250rpm

FUEL SYSTEM

 

Carburation

PGM-FI

Fuel Tank Capacity

16.2 litres

Fuel Consumption

48.6 mpg

ELECTRICAL SYSTEM

 

Starter

Electric

Battery Capacity

12V/8.6AH

DRIVETRAIN

 

Clutch Type

Wet, multiplate clutch

Transmission Type

6-speed

Final Drive

Chain

FRAME

 

Type

Steel mono backbone

CHASSIS

 

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2120mm x 789mm x 1095mm

Wheelbase

1455mm

Caster Angle

25 degrees

Trail

100mm

Seat Height

830mm

Ground Clearance

135mm

Kerb Weight

212kg

SUSPENSION

 

Type Front

Showa SFF-BP USD fork

Type Rear

Showa BRFC (Balance Free Rear Cushion)

WHEELS

 

Rim Size Front

Cast aluminium

Rim Size Rear

Cast aluminium

Tyres Front

120/70 ZR17

Tyres Rear

190/55 ZR17

BRAKES

 

ABS System Type

2 channel

Front

310mm double disc

Rear

256mm single disc

INSTRUMENTS & ELECTRICS

 

Instruments

LCD

Headlight

LED

Taillight

LED