Traditionally Café Style Racers were designed for short-burst journeys, primarily through cities. In the 1980s the advancements to sports bikes meant that the popularity of Café Racers lay predominantly in the nostalgia of their minimalist aesthetic. The 2018 Honda CB1000R aims to combine the retro industrial simplicity of a Café Racer with the engine and comfort of a Sports Racer; creating something entirely new in an ever-changing market. A niche they’ve dubbed ‘Neo Sports Café’.
The bike’s exterior is a homage to the heyday of Café Style Racers, featuring traditional stylings all painted in stealthy matte black and dark grey. Although the CB1000R’s body kit is reminiscent of a Café Racer, Honda has managed to implement the comfortable ride that initially drove the Sports Racer’s popularity. The matched seat and handlebar heights place the rider in a natural crouch position, which is further aided by the heavily cut-away fuel tank allowing plenty of room for your knees. Other modernisations include the lighting, which is all LED for increased visibility, and LCD panels for the heads up displays.
Though there is a restrained approach with the CB1000R’s exterior design, Honda hasn’t skimped on the performance. The four-cylinder engine has been fine-tuned to bring noticeable improvements to both power and torque. The weight reduction afforded by a Café Style body translates to an increase in its power to weight ratio, allowing it to accelerate quicker. When given the space to open up, the engine delivers another performance push, something more akin to a Sports Racer.
Honda also allows the rider to control the performance of their bike depending on mood and conditions with three preset riding modes: RAIN, STANDARD, and SPORT. These presets adjust the levels of Engine Power, Engine Brake, and Honda Selectable Torque Control. Riders can also add a fourth customisable preset that lets them tailor the way their engine performs.
By blending the best features of two of the most popular categories of motorbikes, Honda has been able to create a unique bike that demands attention. Equally at home zipping through the city as it is cruising along the freeway, the CB1000R gives you the choice of how you’d like to ride and makes sure your journey is comfortable along the way. The new 2018 Honda CB1000R is truly the best of both worlds.
The new CB1000R is available in Honda dealers this month and can be picked up for a MLP of $16,499.