Honda Honda CB650R (2019) review

Honda CB650R Review

Honda introduces the middleweight naked market to the Neo Sports Café design ethic

Honda's CB650R brings some class to the middleweight naked market
Styling, Handling, Sweet motor, Surprisingly quick
Budget tyres, Small tank, hard to read dash

NEO SPORTS CAFÉ, it may sound like a futuristic coffee shop from Blade Runner, but it is a design ethos first seen in the Honda CB4 concept at EICMA back in 2015. The premise is a stylised take on the classic lines of the Hondas of the 70s, like the CB750 and CB Super Four, but engineered with modern materials, components and manufacturing techniques.

And I love the latest breed of Honda nakeds, I first rode the CB125R at the launch in Lisbon and was really taken with its minimalist style, light-weight and exploitable handling. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get to the launch of its bigger sibling, the CB650R.

Honda CB650R Video Review

Honda CB650R Review 2019

The CB650R is a stripped back and re-imagined bike that’s based around the bones of the outgoing CB650F. You know, it was the weapon of choice for riding schools up and down the land and was a bit try-hard in the futuristic styling department. Gone is the Tron-style headlight and tail-unit and instead the face of the bike now houses a large three-part LED headlight with halo-styled DRL around the outside.

Gone are the graphics that previously adorned the intake covers of the old bike and instead we have classy looking brushed aluminium panels flanking the long, but deeply scalloped fuel tank. The seat unit is now shorter and less fussy than before but still more than big enough to carry two people in relative comfort.


Pricing for the CB650R is £6,999 and I think that’s good value for such a great looking bike. It looks like nothing else in the middleweight naked market – the Z650, MT07 and SV650 are all good bikes, but (in my mind at least) they don’t come close to the CB in terms of looks. And that’s normally something you pay a premium for.

Colours available are Graphite Black, Matt Crypton Silver Metallic, Matt Jeans Blue Metallic or Candy Chromosphere Red (as ridden).

PCP example:





Monthly repayments

36 x £89.00

Optional final payment





4000 miles p/a

Total payable



We have minimal changes internally to the CB's four-cylinder mill and I think that’s because it didn’t really need it. The DOHC four-valve motor puts out a shade under 100bhp at a fizzy 12,000rpm – not that you’ll get to the red-line very often as the bike keeps on revving and only feels like it’s running out of puff at above 10k rpm.  

Peak torque of 47.2 lb.ft (63.9Nm) comes in at an equally heady 8000rpm and while that doesn’t make the bike a tarmac-shredding torque-fest, it does mean it can haul you out of tighter than expected hairpins with little complaint.

With the bikes on the launch being brand new (the odometer on mine showed under 200km) you’d expect them to free up considerably on the way to the first thousand miles and become slightly more powerful but, on the brilliantly fast and flowing roads north of Almeria, it was more than up for the task and produced grins on all the riders in our group.

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EICMA 2018 - Honda