2018 Honda CB1000R Tech

11/6/2017 7:29:00 PM

Honda’s venerable CB1000R sport standard turns an important corner for 2018, with a ground-up redesign that bridges the gap between performance and bare-boned Café Racer inspirations. In a dramatic identity shift, the CB1000R receives cutting-edge Neo-Sports Café styling, an updated chassis, and an improved electronics package—all changes that bolster performance while highlighting the importance of a strong, emotional connection between rider and machine.

Originally introduced in Europe in 2007, the CB1000R has always been designed for versatility through the classic Honda formula of high performance in a naked four-cylinder machine. Now, in an embrace of retro-inspired design through a more compact and aggressive layout, the model looks to satisfy the needs of a growing audience—customers who desire a motorcycle that performs aptly but also features retro-minimalist looks that inspire emotion.


The 2018 CB1000R’s styling takes a bold, distinct new direction that deliberately separates it from the naked-bike mainstream. Every aesthetic detail has been finessed for a dramatically updated overall design, with a powerful stance and an elevated performance package.

The CB1000R’s proportions are now much more compact, with a trapezoid silhouette. The overhang of the distinctly styled round headlight is 3.5 inches shorter, and the swingarm-mounted rear mudguard unit (a first for Honda) allows for an extremely short, sculpted aluminum tail unit that incorporates neat, under-slung passenger handholds.

Only six exterior parts are constructed from plastic, the largest being the svelte front mudguard. By contrast, what really makes its presence felt is the use of premium metal finishes throughout, drawing on the long café-racer tradition—parts such as the burnished-aluminum radiator shroud and airbox cover; machined engine cases, cylinder head, and sprocket hub; and flangeless steel fuel tank.

All lighting is LED, and the thin, round headlight employs a horseshoe-shaped light ring, as well as a distinctive two-bar light signature. The rear light is also a semicircular light bar that fills in solid when the brakes are applied. The T-shaped instrument panel integrates into the top triple clamp, minimizing bulk, and the ignition switch is positioned at the front of the fuel tank.

The rider triangle is relaxed, with a natural crouch afforded by the tapered aluminum handlebar. The flangeless fuel tank is broad-shouldered but features distinct cutaways to allow plenty of knee room.


The CB1000R has a new a mono-backbone steel frame that uses split-tightening aluminum pivot plates to save 5.5 lbs. Mounted to those plates is a signature single-sided swingarm, which itself is .6 inches shorter, at 22.6 inches.

Front suspension is an adjustable Showa Separate Function Fr Fork Big Piston unit (SFF-BP). All of the damping function is contained in one leg for reduced weight, and the fork delivers compliance, comfort, and control across a broad range of riding conditions. The Showa shock has adjustable spring preload, compression damping, and rebound damping.

Dual radial-mount four-piston front calipers bite 310mm floating rotors while the twin-piston rear caliper squeezes a 256mm rear rotor, and two-channel ABS is standard. A 190/55 ZR17 rear tire sits on a 6.0 inch rim, replacing the 180/55 ZR17 from the outgoing model. The front tire is still a 120/70 ZR17.


The 2018 CB1000R’s 998cc DOHC four-cylinder engine—which shares its architecture and layout with the previous-generation CBR1000RR super sport bike—has been reworked to provide healthy increases in power and torque. Bore and stroke remain 75mm x 56.5mm, but compression ratio is up 0.4 to 11.6:1 and the pistons are now forged (rather than cast), as with the CBR1000RR SP.

The engine has been tuned to deliver its torque with strong character, especially in the 6,000-8,000 rpm range, where it generates an exciting and engaging riding experience. The character is ideal for rapid roll-on acceleration in real-world overtaking conditions. Redline begins at 11,500 rpm, and the rev limiter cuts in at 12,000 rpm.

Development concentrated on improved gas flow into, through, and out of the cylinder head. Valve lift is higher, with inlet at 8.5mm and exhaust 8.1mm (as opposed to 7.9 and 7.8mm). A 44mm diameter throttle body (up 8mm) feeds larger-diameter inlet ports; the shape of the combustion chambers is also revised. The airbox, ducting, and air filter are also brand new and present a much simpler, smoother route for airflow into the engine, reducing pressure loss all the way from the outer ducts to the throttle body.

A 4% reduction in gear ratios complements the engine’s internal updates and greatly improves acceleration through the gears between 20 and 65 mph. Additionally, the new assist/slipper clutch offers lighter lever pull and helps manage aggressive downshifts.

A new 4-2-1 design exhaust system adds to the CB1000R’s midrange muscle, and a link pipe joins the two main pipes just before the catalyzers, boosting torque at 5,000 rpm and above. At 24.7 pounds, it’s also 10 pounds lighter, and the exhaust note has been tuned internally, so that as engine speed rises past 5,500 rpm, the machine takes on a significantly deeper, rawer tone.


Throttle By Wire (TBW) has also been added to the platform, allowing the rider various options for utilizing the powerful engine, via three preset riding modes plus 1 USER mode (selected from a switch on the left handlebar).

There are three levels of Engine Power (P), Engine Brake (EB), and Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) available; HSTC can also be switched off.

The three individual riding modes offer different combinations of each parameter.

RAIN mode employs the lowest Power setting, medium EB, and high HSTC. The lower levels of power and torque are focused on the first three gears.

STANDARD mode uses the middle setting for Power, HSTC, and EB. It reduces output a bit in first and second gears and uses a power curve that sits just below that of SPORT mode, with reduced torque at partial throttle openings. It also allows for small rear-wheel slides and the front wheel leaving the ground.

SPORT uses high Power and lowest levels of EB and HSTC to deliver 100% power through all six gears, maximum torque at all throttle positions, and minor intervention from HSTC.

The USER mode allows the rider to choose between the three settings for each parameter and save the setting for future use.

Other information available to the rider includes a shift-up indicator on the top-right corner of the dash, which either flashes white with increasing frequency as rpm passes the preset value, or goes yellow-amber-pink as a visual guide to shift up. There is also an ECO riding indicator, gear-position indicator, and riding-mode indicator.


A selection of genuine Honda Accessories is ready to customize the 2018 CB1000R, including:

  • Quick shifter
  • Heated grips
  • 12 volt accessory socket
  • Instrument visor
  • Seat cowl
  • Aluminum front fender panel
  • Aluminum rear hugger  
  • Alcantera rider and pillion seat
  • Wheel-rim decal
  • Engine-case protector
  • Tank pad
  • Tank bag & ATT
  • Rear seat bag & ATT