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HONDA CB1000R (2018-on) Review

Published: 14 April 2020

Updated: 14 April 2020

Honda has created a fast, slick, beautifully-crafted roadster

Honda CB1000R wheelie by Michael Neeves

Honda has created a fast, slick, beautifully-crafted roadster

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

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. 

This new Honda CB1000R replaces the outgoing model. It's affectionately known as the 'CB thou' by enthu

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

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. 

Engine 4 out of 5

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.  

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

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. 

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

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. 

Equipment 4 out of 5

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.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2018
Year discontinued -
New price £11,299
Used price £7,500 to £12,800
Warranty term Two years
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £180
Performance
Max power 143 bhp
Max torque 77 ft-lb
Top speed 150 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption -
Tank range -
Specification
Engine size 998cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 16v, inline four
Frame type Tubular ali spine
Fuel capacity 15 litres
Seat height 830mm
Bike weight 212kg
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

History & Versions

Model history

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.

Other versions

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

3 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.

Review your HONDA CB1000R (2018-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4.3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.7 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

CB1000R first impressions

21 May 2020 by Mr Walker

The Bike looks and rides the business

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
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.
Engine
5 out of 5
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.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
again too soon to tell
Equipment
4 out of 5
dealer fitted new tyres (after only 1800miles ) and also have the aftermarket slip on, so all good.
Buying experience

excellent Derby Honda dealer

4 out of 5

Being sensible without being boring!

28 October 2019 by Wevsky

Lovely all round bike with some finish issues

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
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!
Engine
5 out of 5
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.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
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!
Equipment
5 out of 5
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

3 out of 5

Still not thrilled - I doubt it's my best bike yet. Granted, my GSX-S1000F is a tough predecessor

04 October 2019 by Michael83_austria

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.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The strong suit of this bike are the brakes and (with a few turns toward hard on the rear-damper) the suspension.
Engine
3 out of 5
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?
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
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.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
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.
Equipment
3 out of 5
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.

Photo Gallery

  • Honda CB1000R wheelie by Michael Neeves
  • Honda CB1000R overhead riding shot
  • Michael Neeves on the Honda CB1000R riding action panning shot
  • Honda CB1000R ridden on track
  • Honda CB1000R cornering shot
  • Honda CB1000R engine
  • Honda CB1000R front wheel
  • Honda CB1000R front wheel showing brakes
  • Honda CB1000R front mudguard
  • Honda CB1000R clocks
  • Honda CB1000R left-hand bar
  • Honda CB1000R trio parked up together
  • Honda CB100oR right-hand bar
  • Honda CB1000R static front three quarter
  • Honda CB1000R radiator
  • Honda CB1000R headstock
  • Honda CB1000R exhaust
  • Honda CB1000R end can
  • Honda CB1000R motor
  • Honda CB1000R screen
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