HONDA CB1000R (2018 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£130|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The new Honda CB1000R doesn't chase super naked glory or go full retro, but by nestling nicely in between they’ve created a fast, slick, beautifully-crafted roadster that’s daringly different with a style of its own. It’s not the naked Blade some might have hoped for but we reckon it’s much better for it.
- Latest news: Honda unveil 2021 Honda CB1000R
- Related: Honda CB1000R long-term test on MCN
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- Related: Best naked motorbikes
This new Honda CB1000R replaces the outgoing model. It's affectionately known as the 'CB thou' by enthu
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
A new single tubular steel backbone frame let the designers keep the bike suitably skinny and there’s new suspension each end: Showa Separate Function Big Piston forks (SFF-BP) up front (with rebound and compression adjustment in the left leg and preload in the right) and a Showa shock with just rebound and preload twiddlers (no compression).
New 10-spoke wheels are shod with wider 190/55 x 17 tyres (up from the old machine’s 180-section). They actually have a racier profile and bigger side footprint than the Blade SP’s 190/50 rubber.
Smaller and squatter than the previous model, the Honda’s riding position is so natural you don’t think about it, there’s enough legroom for taller riders, but bars are slightly narrower than you’d expect from a big naked when you first jump on. The seat is comfier than it looks for a few hours…and then it isn’t.
Steering is ultra light and accurate at all speeds, OE Bridgestone BT-021 tyres have adequate grip and front brakes have lots of feel and power (and if you hammer them really hard the hazard lights come on!). The standard suspension is set for a plush ride, but gets floaty when you push hard and pegs stay nicely away from tarmac at full lean.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Happily the Honda goes as well as it looks. The motor is still the same longer-stroke 2006 Fireblade unit from the previous CB1000R, but the redline is up from 10,300rpm to 11,500rpm, power is increased 12bhp to 143bhp and there’s more torque to play with between 6000-8000rpm.
A new ride by wire system replaces the old throttle cables and the motor has Blade SP-style forged pistons, a gas-flowed head, increased valve lift and a higher compression ratio. Throttle bodies are up from 36mm to 44mm and the motor breathes through a new airbox and 4.5kg lighter exhaust. Gear ratios are 4% shorter and the Honda now comes with a light action assist and slip clutch.
All this adds up to an inline four-cylinder motor that’s calm and refined at low revs, but packed with midrange grunt and a fruity top end. The electronic throttle never surges or stutters and for anyone who’s ridden a big inline four, the seamless power delivery will be instantly familiar. Granted it doesn’t have the character of a twin, triple or crossplane crank four, but it growls when you prod it and accelerates hard enough to pull wheelies on demand.
And what a strange twist of fate that of all the over-intrusive modern traction control set-ups around right now, it’s a ‘sensible’ Honda system that lets you play, as well as keeping you safe.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
There have been no reports of major issues with the previous CB1000R, so don’t expect any nightmares from this new model.
At time of writing we have two Honda CB1000R owners' reviews on MCN. It scores 3.5 stars out of 5 overall, with both owners questioning whether the bike is exciting enough compared with its rivals.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
There’s little doubt the Honda has its own unique style, is beautifully built, has perfect performance for the road and just like the ’08 Blade, its looks really grow on you. But when you look at some of its closest rivals it’s not cheap. A Kawasaki Z900RS, Suzuki GSX-S1000, Kawasaki Z1000, base-model BMW S1000R are all less and the Yamaha MT-10 costs the same.
The very best thing about the new CB is the way it’s been put together. This is Honda build quality and attention to detail at its magnificent best.
The devil is in the detail and you get the feeling every component was thought through and lovingly chosen by the Japanese engineers: the fresh-from-the-gun deep black gloss paint finish, the brushed ali panelling, red saddle stitching and embossed radiator guard and seat-back logos. The elegant new subframe design features pillion grab handle cut-outs and the funky clocks are a '70s Tomorrow’s World glimpse into the future. That slash-cut exhaust looks and sounds so good there’s no need to go aftermarket.
LED headlights feature old school cooling fins, even though they’re not needed and together with the rear light they’re so thin the snub-nosed bodywork is smaller and more compact. The red sprung Showa shock screams Suzuka 8 Hour factory superbike and everything from the ali single-sided swingarm pivot plates to the engine covers look anything but mass-produced.
Riding modes, that started life on the RC213V-S and trickled down to the new Blade, Gold Wing and Africa Twin, give you the choice of Rain, Standard and Sport settings with ascending levels of power, engine brake and torque control.
There’s also a ‘User’ mode that lets you tailor the electronics to suit and of course ABS. None of the rider aids hinder you on the road, but serve as a silent safety net for when you need them. The CB1000R+ version we’re riding today (has even more silicone implants, offering a crisp, accurate quickshifter and autoblipper, as well as usefully UK-hot five-level heated grips.
Custom Honda CB1000Rs
The CB1000R is a popular bike for those who like to modify their machines. In fact, Honda displayed 12 versions at the Wheels and Waves Festival in 2018.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 16v, inline four|
|Frame type||Tubular ali spine|
|Fuel capacity||15 litres|
|Front suspension||43mm fully-adjustable Showa USD forks|
|Rear suspension||Single rear Showa shock, adjustable for preload and rebound damping|
|Front brake||2 x 310mm discs with four-piston radial caliper|
|Rear brake||256mm single disc with single-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||190/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£130|
|Used price||£6,900 - £11,300|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||143 bhp|
|Max torque||77 ft-lb|
|Top speed||150 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
2008: CB1000R launched. Features retuned ’06 Blade motor producing 130bhp, a single sided swingarm and funky styling. A fine machine, but lacked soul and performance compared to its rivals.
2018: Revised CB1000R with more power, electronic rider aids, a new chassis, bigger back wheel, new styling and as step up in build quality.
CB1000+. Has a quickshifter, heated grips, brushed aluminium front mudguard and rear hugger panels, a fly screen, single seat cowl and radiator grill with CB1000R logo.
Related Honda CB reviews on MCN
Owners' reviews for the HONDA CB1000R (2018 - on)
5 owners have reviewed their HONDA CB1000R (2018 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£130|
Great design with neoclassical appeal. Riding position almost perfect, but saddle comfort could be a little better. This bike handles well, having had a CBR600FS (amazing bike and should Honda would do well to revamp this legend) and a couple of Blades, culminating in the last one you could actually tour, the 954, the CB1000R fees solid, reassuring and a pleasure to ride on the twists and turns, but is equally at home in commuter traffic. My one issue is the amount of false neutrals from the quick-shifter. A Great piece of Honda tech, but from 1st to 2nd, about 50% of the time, there’s a neutral. I’ve taken to using the clutch for that particular gear shift. The downshift works well and you have to remind yourself this isn’t an automatic. There are various power, torque and engine breaking settings and these can also be personalised. The heated grips work brilliantly. My last, personal note is that I am a Bridgestone fan. When researching this bike, prior to purchase, every review, official or otherwise, had the bike shod in Bridgestones. When my bike arrived at the dealer, it had Dunlop’s and old tech Dunlop’s at that. When you part with a significant amount of money for a beautiful new Honda, you don’t expect to have to pay for the right boots to be fitted, rather than the seven year old alternates apparently factory fitted. That said, the bike is a dream, it’s looks amazing, feels amazing and a pleasure to own and ride.
Pillion ???? I’d have the seat cowl off and I’ve told no one but nearest and dearest that there’s a pillion seat.
Quickshifter needs a little improvement between 1st and 2nd.
Only had first service so far.
Buying experience: Good buying experience, apart from the tyres, which I had to pay to rectify.
Annual servicing cost: £73
Awesome performance, very well balanced even at low speeds. No self canceling indicators, tyres only good for warmer months
The abs was called into action recently (smidsey at a junction) and worked well although I had thankfully started to slow down when I saw the car racing to the junction, I can ride a good two hours before needing a break and/or petrol, the riding position means you are not leaning on your wrists all day, seat it quite adequate. I do need to get the suspension set up for me as it is a bit too bouncy
No matter what hear you are in it pulls, I love 2nd and 3rd gear and the acceleration for the faster rides but you could quite easily leave it in 5th or 6th, I also like the engine braking especially in 2nd gear on twisties.
Not had any problems at all
Just paid £73 for annual service at Kent motorcycles. The bike feels like it is in sports mode after the service even though the setting is in standard, very pleased. Decent rear tyre will cost £180 and £120 for the front
I would have expected heated grips on a new U.K. bike and self cancelling indicators, I have fitted a Givi rear rack but it spoilt the lines but unfortunately I need it, I also fitting a puig light smoke screen that looks good and really helps with wind pressure once you get over 80, and have just fitted Michelin pilot 5's as I am an all year round rider
Buying experience: I bought my bike from Kent motorcycles, they gave me a great trade in my Cb650fa along with dealer discounts I paid about £10,500 on 0%
The Bike looks and rides the business
on the road the bike is amazing, im 14 stone and the suspension is far from harsh and gives good feeling braking in and accelerating out of corners.
this underpowered naked honda? acceleration is where you need it on the road to think about overtaking is to overtake, standard mode smooth through all the gears.
realy too soon to tell, but secondhand bike picked up in excellent condition. no problem with the paint finish as some seem to have, slight niggle the seat cowl is so high the previous owner and myself are scratching it getting on and off.
again too soon to tell
dealer fitted new tyres (after only 1800miles ) and also have the aftermarket slip on, so all good.
Buying experience: excellent Derby Honda dealer
Version: Plus model
Annual servicing cost: £180
Lovely all round bike with some finish issues
The suspension Honda have set a few notches off dead soft, so a lot of people are replacing rear shocks, this appears to mainly be larger riders, i have had my suspension set up and its much more planted and useable! The brakes appear sharp and give plenty of stopping power!
Despite the CAT being in place i find the power more than enough and midrange is good fun,the front wheel often pops up and skips about under acceleration and with the right rider will wheelie no problem.
i have given the bike the rating i have due to the many issues the bike has shown over the months,not just from myself but from the many owners worldwide who voiced these views on owners groups. 1st example the riders seat appears to have rips in, this im told is how they are produced and the stitching is incomplete leaving you with "gaps" either side of the rear where it bolts on. secondly in my case is the rust forming around the welds, this appears on the top of the tank where the shrouds bolt in and on the back of the tank where the front seat sits and also at the front inside of the tank, the paint finish even though im assured by honda is an adequate finish considering the euro friendly paint/clearcoat is shocking, after being aware the paint was soft i avoided contact where possible but after light buffing/cleaning and a little polish it is left looking like i have used wire wool on it and the rainbow looking micro scratches show through big time.I have had my tank and seat replaced under warranty ,the new tank is scratched beyond belief and the rust i am in no doubt will appear again..Other owners suffer condensation in the display to the point they have had them replaced,failing peeling paint around the sump bolt is another issue, so in short Honda have really dropped the ball on finish!
Has to be the quickshifter/blipper,i owned a 2017 fireblade prior which i added this too and it was a delight, and the heated grips on the plus model work well for what they are!
Buying experience: I speak to Honda dealer in Blackpool on facebook and a good deal was offered in p/x for the fireblade so no dramas
Version: Standard (not the +version)
I came into possession rather by accident as I traded in my GSX-S1000F due to high milage. As there was nothing else modern and quite fast available, I went for the CB1000R. I have a hard time to name what the CB does better than the GSX-S... I guess only the brakes and the front-fork.
The strong suit of this bike are the brakes and (with a few turns toward hard on the rear-damper) the suspension.
Could be stronger - especially in the middle of the rev-range you feel a torque-plunge that really goes on your nerves. Sixth gear uphill around 6 - 7000 rpm it nearly stagnates. I have installed a Shark Track Raw Slip-on exhaust with claims to bring 4 additional hp. I wreck my brain why they did not use the SC59 engine as basis - so much more expensive?
The core-virtues of Honda are still well made - very smooth engine and everything seems well crafted and engineered. But... all the other japanese producers excel in this catagories as well for years.
As Honda seems not to be able to sell its huge stock, you can get them at a bargain, far under listprice. With 998 ccm you are in any case in the 749 to 999 ccm-range - due to a bit lower horsepower it is a few Euros cheaper than my previous GSX-S. The fuel-economy is on average - I neet 5,66 l to 100 kilometers on very low-rev-pace. I was used to 5 l straight with the Suzi and a bit more punch through the rev-range.
First thing you need to install is something against the wind as soon as you go over urban-riding, onto country roads or tours. I was pondering a long time what will not worsen the looks of the already not so sharp front with the round headlight and reduce wind-pressure. I chose the Puig 3133F eventually. The traction-control is very different to the GSX-S - I was used to have power on full and traction on highest (safest) setting. Worked perfectly on the GSX - you never had the feeling you are hindered but super safe and fast. The same setting on the CB frustates you as it brutally slowes you down - somehow unnecessarily overzealous. Strangely when going uphill fast through corners in high gear it also brings you down although the wheel are most likely not to spin... somehow as the lean-angle and corner speed sets off the traction control. Then I went down to two bars in the User-mode - same. Then I went down to only one bar left for traction-control. Now it is not as intrusive as to slow you down but I am a bit anxious what happens when I accelerate fully and lose grip... how fast it will engage and prevent a crash. I tested this setting on a gravel parking-area - it does work at least there. ABS is excellent front and rear.