The updated flagship Neo Sports Café racer continues with the minimalist styling, but sports some subtle changes both on the engine as well as infotainment fronts, as well as a new ‘Black Edition’
Honda has unveiled the 2021 range overseas, and the chief interest for us Indian enthusiasts is the new CB 1000R, which comes in with changes in the aesthetic, technical as well as infotainment aspects, as well as with a brand new ‘Black Edition’ version. Additionally, considering the fact that it has been on sale in India in its BS4 iteration, we expect it to make an appearance in its BS6 iteration as well, albeit sometime in the middle of 2021.
Starting off with the visuals of the new CB 1000R, Honda has retained the signature round headlight, though it is now housed in a teardrop-shaped surround, is now angled ever so slightly backwards. Moving to the side, we see the smaller side shrouds beside the trademark angular yet bulbous to the redesigned upward-slanting rear subframe. Lastly, the new seven spoke wheels add some aesthetic depth to the otherwise functional design.
Meanwhile, the CB 1000R Black Edition amplifies the aggressive outlook, complementing the new lines with a hand-crafted custom look, courtesy the Deep Graphite Black paint scheme and black headlight bezel, fly-screen, fork stanchions, radiator shrouds, airbox covers, exhaust and muffler details.
Moving now to the engine, the CB 1000R sports the CBR 1000RR Fireblade-derived 998cc DOHC in-line-four mated to a six-speed slip/assist clutch, making 143.4bhp @ 10,500rpm and 104Nm @ 8,250 pm. The changes for 2021 include optimised PGM-FI settings – smoothing power delivery and improving response – and EURO5 compliance.
The CB 1000R’s engine is tuned to deliver its torque with a characteristic ‘ramp’ in the 6-8,000rpm range, a useful aid for rapid roll-on acceleration in real-world overtaking conditions, along with the shortened gear ratios ensuring quicker acceleration between 30-130kmph. In case of the Black Edition, there’s also the inclusion of a bidirectional quickshifter.
Besides, the airbox, ducting and air filter present a smooth route for airflow into the engine, reducing pressure loss all the way from the outer ducts; a 44mm diameter throttle body feeds air/fuel mixture into large diameter inlet ports and carefully-shaped combustion chambers. Inlet valve lift is set at 8.3mm, exhaust 8.1mm. The pistons are constructed from forged aluminium.
Moving now to the mechanical bits, and the CB 1000R gets a Showa Separate Function Fork Big Piston unit (SFF-BP) up front, with a Showa rear shock, adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping. Stopping duty is provided a dual radial-mount four-piston front calipers bite 310mm floating discs, matched to a twin-piston caliper and 256mm rear, and dual-channel ABS.
But the colourful bits don’t end there, with both the CB 1000R and CB 1000R ‘Black Edition’ featuring a new full colour 5-inch TFT display which offers four types of speed/rpm display – according to rider preference – as well as fuel gauge/consumption, riding mode selection/engine parameters and Shift Up indicator. Management is via the buttons on the left handlebar.
Also incorporated into the interface is the new Honda Smartphone Voice Control (HSVC) system, which links the rider to their smartphone while on the move and allows voice management of phone calls, email, music and navigation. A helmet-mounted headset is needed and the smartphone connects to the dash via Bluetooth; management of HSVC is also possible using buttons the left switchgear. There’s also now a USB socket under the seat, for smartphone charging.
As mentioned, Honda has simply unveiled the new CB 1000R and CB 1000R Black Edition as 2021 models for the European markets, with production set to kick off soon. Therefore though we expect both the standard CB 1000R as well as its Black Edition counterpart to make an appearance on our shores, the earliest we could say they would get here is sometime in the second half of 2021. Once here, the CB 1000R will go up against other naked bikes like the BMW F 900 R and the upcoming Kawasaki Z1000.