New Honda CB1000R – a naked Fireblade
Story: Mat Durrans
We’re a bit different from the South African biker norm at The Bike Show because we love naked bikes. Generally speaking, large capacity naked models simply do not sell in South Africa. They may be massive across most of Europe, but down here on the southern tip of Africa the craze just hasn’t caught on.
Despite this strange South African aversion to two-wheel nakedness we shall persist with our obsession and get unashamedly excited by Honda’s new CB1000R.
The previous generation of this bike was one of the more successful South African naked bikes, thanks to a competitive price and modern looks. This new model has the ingredients to be even more successful, as long as the price remains one of its strong points.
As with many sporting nakeds, the CB1000R uses the brand’s superbike as a starting point, so in a very loose way this is actually a naked CBR1000RR Fireblade.
As is always the way of these things the engine has been retuned, detuned and generally emasculated for this naked model, and so there’s 143.5 horsepower available – noticeably less than the Fireblade, but still a useful 20hp up on the outgoing model.
Honda, though, are still claiming that it accelerates harder in 1st to 3rd gear than the Blade, which we’ll have to test before we fully believe it.
The CB is now shorter than it was, and at 212kg is a full 12kg lighter than it was, too. Combine the loss of weight with the increase in horsepower and you have a bike that has a significantly improved power-to-weight ratio – up 20% in fact.
All the cycle parts have obviously been improved as well, including the upside-down forks that now have all the damping function in just the one fork leg in order to save weight. There’s also a set of radial calipers and big 310mm brake discs.
There’s obviously ABS, and a selection of rider modes, along with a slipper/assist clutch. Options offered will include a quick-shifter and heated grips and the usual array of naked goodies like seat cowls and fly screens.
More important than all of that, though, are the new looks. The CB has mixed some retro influences with the previously ultra-modern looks and it is now, well, you decide for yourself. We think it’s fantastic, and it should stand apart as a stylish alternative to the traditional approach of BMW’s S 1000 R, or Yamaha’s futuristic MT-10.
We don’t yet know when the Honda CB1000R will be available in South Africa nor the price.
See below for a video and a full gallery: