2018 Honda CB1000R Redefines Modern Café Racer Concept

Engine updates unleash more horsepower and a flatter torque curve

2018 Honda CB1000R static front 3/4 view
2018 Honda CB1000R Café Racer ConceptCourtesy of Honda

Honda showed the Neo-Sports Café Concept at the recent Tokyo Motor Show and then unveiled the production version of that bike, the 2018 CB1000R, at EICMA. This bare-bones sportbike is still powered by the same liquid-cooled, DOHC, 998cc (75mm bore, 56.5mm stroke) inline-four that was used in the previous model, but said engine now produces 20 more horsepower—145 hp at 10,500 rpm—and 76.7 pound-feet of torque at 8,250 rpm with a much-flatter curve.

New forged pistons, re-profiled combustion chambers, higher-lift camshafts, larger intake and exhaust valves, and 44mm throttle bodies (plus 8mm), along with a more aggressive-looking 4-into-2-into-1 exhaust system, are responsible for the improved engine performance. Throttle control is now by wire thanks to a new ECU that offers four rider-selectable throttle-response modes (Standard, Sport, Rain, and User).

The six-speed gearbox now features 4 percent "shorter" ratios to enhance throttle response and initial acceleration. In fact, according to Honda, the new CB1000R is quicker than the current CBR1000RR through the first three gears up to 80 mph. The engine is harnessed in a steel backbone-type frame with large aluminum pivot plates that solidly locate the footpegs and single-sided swingarm.

Steering geometry is listed as 25 degrees of rake with 3.9-inch trail. Wheelbase is 57.3 inches, 0.4 longer than the previous edition, yet the swingarm is half an inch shorter. Weight distribution is thus more rearward biased, 48.5 percent front, 51.5 rear. Showa supplies the suspension, front brakes are 310mm discs squeezed by four-pistons calipers, and the bike rolls on 120/70-17 front and 190/55-17 rear radials. With a full gas tank, the CB1000R is said to weigh 467 pounds.

Check out the rest of our coverage of all the new motorcycles released at EICMA this year.

2018 Honda CB1000R static side view
2018 Honda CB1000R Café Racer ConceptCourtesy of Honda
2018 Honda CB1000R studio front 3/4 view
2018 Honda CB1000R Café Racer ConceptCourtesy of Honda