Honda brings a fresh new approach to the ultra-competitive naked middleweight arena, with the Neo Sports Café styling of the Honda CB650R. The classically- Honda four-cylinder engine propels a lightweight chassis with high-revving brio, and premium specifications throughout include 41mm Showa SFF USD fork, radial-mount four-piston brake calipers, Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), assist/slipper clutch and ultra-modern instruments.
Honda has always thrived on exploring new boundaries – in design as well as engineering. In 2018, the new CB1000R, CB300R and CB125R trio brought a fresh identity to its naked motorcycle line-up, mixing café racer inspirations with an ultra-minimalist look under its ‘Neo Sports Café’ design theme. One obvious segment remained for the new aesthetic to find expression: the hugely competitive naked middleweight arena. For 2019, the new CB650R confidently takes on this role.
Using the same styling blueprint as its siblings, the CB650R’s retro-minimalism is aimed at a young demographic that wants to show off in style and enjoy to the maximum the combination of exhilarating four cylinder engine performance and light, versatile, refined chassis handling. Add to this mix of head-turning, individual looks and exciting, usable performance a spec sheet replete with high quality, premium features, and the result is a naked middleweight designed for maximum pride and pleasure of ownership.
The new CB650R mirrors the CB1000R, with pared-down lines designed to put maximum machine on show – this is the motorcycle laid bare. Its super-compact, trapezoid form draws extremities in tightly, and the four-cylinder engine – blacked-out with cam and engine covers highlighted in burnished bronze – is very much the centrepiece of the machine.
Compared to the streetfighter-styled CB650F, which it replaces in Honda’s line-up, 6kg has been saved from the chassis thanks to a revised frame, fuel tank and foot-pegs. A 41mm Showa SFF USD fork, radial-mount four-piston calipers, floating discs and new wheels are further features not present on the CB650F. Tapered handlebars make for easy steering, and the riding position is on the sporty end of the naked spectrum. The CB650R also shares the CB1000R’s distinctive round LED headlight (all lighting is LED) and modern LCD instrument display, which includes a Shift Up and Gear Position indicator.
For its 650cc engine, a revised intake and exhaust, plus new cam timing and compression ratios bring a 5% peak power boost and smoother, stronger torque delivery through the mid-range. The engine revs to 12,000rpm, an extra 1,000rpm compared to the CB650F. In addition, an assist/slipper clutch is fitted to ease upshifts and manage fast, successive downshifts; while the Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) function maintains rear wheel traction on tricky situations. The CB650R’s Neo Sports Café style features the signature compact ‘Trapezoid’ proportion of short, stubby tail and short overhang headlight. The long fuel tank is a key motif of the design; its smooth lines accentuate the solidity of real metal surfaces and crown the engineering of the four-cylinder powerplant. It also houses the ignition.
The round headlight is based on that of the CB1000R. It’s LED, as is the rest of the lighting. Sharp new LCD instruments also use the CB1000R as a baseline and include a Shift Up, Gear Position and Peak Hold indicator. A more aggressive riding position than the CB650F moves the 557mm tapered handlebars 13mm forward and 8mm down, with footpeg position more rear set – 3mm back and 6mm higher. Seat height is 810mm. The CB650R’s steel diamond frame is updated for 2019 with pressed (rather than forged) swingarm pivot plates; it’s 1.9kg lighter than the previous design and uses twin elliptical spars with a rigidity balance specifically tuned (stiffer around the headstock and more flexible in the spar sections) to deliver balanced handling characteristics with high levels of rider feedback.
Rake is set at 25.5° with trail of 101mm and wheelbase of 1,450mm. Kerb weight is 202kg (the CB650F weighed 208kg) thanks to weight saving in the frame, but also in the fuel tank and new super sport-style footpegs. The new 41mm Showa Separate Function Fork (SFF) USD front suspension is clamped by a revised, forged aluminum bottom yoke. Adjustable for 7-stage spring preload the single-tube monoshock operates directly on the curvaceous gravity die-cast aluminum swingarm. Four-piston radial-mount front brake calipers work on 310mm wave-pattern floating discs, and are paired with a single-piston rear caliper and 240mm disc. Two-channel ABS is fitted as standard. The cast aluminum wheels are a brand-new design and mount 120/70-ZR17 and 180/55-ZR17 front and rear tyres.
The CB650R will be available in the following colors:
Candy Chromosphere Red
Matt Crypton Silver Metallic
Matt Jeans Blue Metallic
Honda’s development engineers wanted to create the purest, most enjoyable mid-sized four-cylinder performance possible for the CB650R rider. So the 649cc, DOHC 16-valve engine has been tuned to eliminate a slight torque dip at 5,500rpm, and deliver 5% more power above 10,000rpm with a redline raised 1,000rpm. Peak power of 70kW arrives at 12,000rpm with peak torque of 64Nm delivered at 8,500.
Fuel consumption of the new CB650R has been improved over the older CB650F, with approximately 20.4km/l (WMTC mode), giving a range of over 300km from the 15.4L fuel tank, which is 1.9L less in capacity over the latter’s 17.3L’s.