Honda brings a fresh new approach to the ultra-competitive naked middleweight arena, with the Neo Sports Café styling of the CB650R the ultimate middleweight bike. The classically- Honda four-cylinder engine propels a lightweight chassis with high-revving brio, and premium specifications throughout include 41mm Showa SFF USD fork, radial-mount four-piston brake calipers, Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), assist/slipper clutch and ultra-modern instruments. A 35kW conversion for A2 license holders will also be available.
Honda has always thrived on exploring new boundaries – in design as well as engineering. In 2018, the new CB1000R, CB300R and CB125R trio brought a fresh identity to its naked motorcycle line-up, mixing café racer inspirations with an ultra-minimalist look under its ‘Neo Sports Café’ design theme. One obvious segment remained for the new aesthetic to find expression: the hugely competitive naked middleweight arena. For 2019, the new CB650R confidently takes on this role.
Using the same styling blueprint as its siblings, the CB650R’s retro-minimalism is aimed at a young demographic that wants to show off in style and enjoy to the maximum the combination of exhilarating four cylinder engine performance and light, versatile, refined chassis handling. Add to this mix of head-turning, individual looks and exciting, usable performance a spec sheet replete with high quality, premium features, and the result is a naked middleweight designed for maximum pride and pleasure of ownership.
The new CB650R mirrors the CB1000R, with pared-down lines designed to put maximum machine on show – this is the motorcycle laid bare. Its super-compact, trapezoid form draws extremities in tightly, and the four-cylinder engine – blacked-out with cam and engine covers highlighted in burnished bronze – is very much the centerpiece of the machine.
Compared to the street-fighter-styled CB650F, which it replaces in Honda’s line-up, 6kg has been saved from the chassis thanks to a revised frame, fuel tank and foot-pegs. A 41mm Showa SFF USD fork, radial-mount four-piston calipers, floating discs and new wheels are further features not present on the CB650F.
Tapered handlebars make for easy steering, and the riding position is on the sporty end of the naked spectrum. The CB650R also shares the CB1000R’s distinctive round LED headlight (all lighting is LED) and modern LCD instrument display, which includes a Shift Up and Gear Position indicator. For the 650cc engine, a revised intake and exhaust, plus new cam timing and compression ratios bring a 5% peak power boost and smoother, stronger torque delivery through the mid-range. The engine revs to 12,000rpm, an extra 1,000rpm compared to the CB650F.
An assist/slipper clutch is fitted to ease upshifts and manage fast, successive downshifts; Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) maintains rear wheel traction. Compact Neo Sports Café style accentuates ‘real metal’ engineering, a lighter frame plus other savings shave 6kg from kerb weight compared to CB650F. A 41mm Showa Separate Function Fork (SFF) USD front suspension and radial-mount brake calipers and floating discs along with full LED lighting and new LCD instruments as well as tapered handlebars and more aggressive riding position add to the overall new look.
Tightly wrapped and aggressive, the CB650R’s Neo Sports Café style features the signature compact ‘Trapezoid’ proportion of short, stubby tail and short overhang headlight. The long fuel tank is a key motif of the family design; its smooth lines accentuate the solidity of real metal surfaces and crown the engineering of the four-cylinder power plant. It also houses the ignition.
The round headlight is based on that of the CB1000R. It’s LED, as is the rest of the lighting. Sharp new LCD instruments also use the CB1000R as a baseline and include a Shift Up, Gear Position and Peak Hold indicator. A more aggressive riding position than the CB650F moves the 557mm tapered handlebars 13mm forward and 8mm down, with foot-peg position more rear set – 3mm back and 6mm higher. Seat height is 810mm.
The CB650R’s steel diamond frame is updated for 2019 with pressed (rather than forged) swing-arm pivot plates; it’s 1.9kg lighter than the previous design and uses twin elliptical spars with a rigidity balance specifically tuned (stiffer around the headstock and more flexible in the spar sections) to deliver balanced handling characteristics with high levels of rider feedback.
Rake is set at 25.5° with trail of 101mm and wheelbase of 1,450mm. Kerb weight is 202kg (the CB650F weighed 208kg) thanks to weight saving in the frame, but also in the fuel tank and new super sport-style foot-pegs. The new 41mm Showa Separate Function Fork (SFF) USD front suspension is clamped by a revised, forged aluminum bottom yoke. Adjustable for 7-stage spring preload the single-tube mono-shock operates directly on the curvaceous gravity die-cast aluminum swing-arm.
Four-piston radial-mount front brake calipers work on 310mm wave-pattern floating discs, and are paired with a single-piston rear caliper and 240mm disc. Two-channel ABS is fitted as standard. The cast aluminum wheels are a brand-new design and mount 120/70-ZR17 and 180/55-ZR17 front and rear tyres. The CB650R will be available in the following colors: Graphite Black, Candy Chromosphere Red, Matt Crypton Silver Metallic and Matt Jeans Blue Metallic.
Honda’s development engineers wanted to create the purest, most enjoyable mid-sized four-cylinder performance possible for the CB650R rider. So the 649cc, DOHC 16-valve engine has been tuned to eliminate a slight torque dip at 5,500rpm, and deliver 5% more power above 10,000rpm with a redline raised 1,000rpm. Peak power of 70kW arrives at 12,000rpm with peak torque of 64Nm delivered at 8,500.
The net result out on the road is a motor that spins harder, and for much longer, at high rpm, with a smooth, linear torque delivery that builds strongly as revs rise, and sounds great in the process. An easy 35kW conversion is available for A2 license holders. Direct cam actuation makes for a compact cylinder head; bore and stroke is set at 67mm x 46mm with compression ratio raised to 11.6:1 (from 11.4:1) and combustion chamber shape optimized by use of a revised piston design. The valve train has been reinforced and valve timing revised; Iridium spark plugs are also now employed.
Asymmetric piston skirts minimize bore contact and reduce friction. Ferrous spines on the outer surface of the cylinder sleeves reduce oil consumption (and friction) with improved heat transfer and a silent SV cam chain reduces frictional losses by using a Vanadium coating on its pins. Internal water channeling from cylinder head to cylinders does away with most of the exterior hoses.
New twin air ducts either side of the fuel tank feed the air-box with a larger volume of air, as opposed to the single, central duct of the old model. They also produce a throaty intake roar. The exhaust now features a larger bore tail pipe – from 35 to 38.1mm – inside the muffler to flow more gas and, with its exit pipe angled upwards, to also howl emotively purely for the rider’s benefit.
The engine uses a compact internal architecture, stacked six-speed gearbox and starter layout with the cylinders canted forward 30°. An assist/slipper clutch is a new addition and eases upshifts while managing rear-wheel lock up under hard braking and rapid downshifts. Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) is fitted to manage rear wheel traction; it can be turned off should the rider choose. Fuel consumption of 20.4km/l (WMTC mode) gives a range of over 300km from the 15.4L fuel tank.
A range of Genuine Honda Accessories is available for the CB650R: including several aluminum parts and aluminum inserts to maximize the Neo Sport Café design that CB650R and CB1000R have in common (meter visor, front fender panels, shroud covers, side covers, seat cowl), under cowl, wheel stripes, tank bag and seat bag inherited from the CB1000R, quick shifter, front visor, 12V socket, heated grips and tank pad.