2021 Honda CB1000R Revealed – Black Edition Also Announced
The CB1000R was introduced through a major model change in 2018, Honda’s development engineers re-assessed the hard-core streetfighter underpinnings of the previous model and, steered by retro-industrial minimalism, stripped everything back. The resulting machine, born under the banner of ‘Neo Sports Café’, was a new fusion of sport naked and bare-boned Café Racer inspirations.
It stood out from the crowd by moving away from the standard super sports-derived big naked formula, melding exhilarating function to a form that offered a radically fresh, visually stunning two-wheeled aesthetic. Combining more with less, the reborn CB1000R gave its rider a huge amount of usable engine performance, with the control of a super sports machine.
Exciting to ride, and fully capable of chasing much more focused machinery down on a twisting back road, from whichever way it’s approached – aesthetics, emotions, performance or technology – the CB1000R has proved itself a hard motorcycle to ignore. Minor cosmetic updates for 2020 further enhanced its premium status. Now, for 2021, the CB1000R moves forward significantly, both in terms of style and rider engagement.
Visually, the 2021 CB1000R’s lines are more aggressive, forward-set with shrink-wrapped new details like the exposed aluminium subframe, radiator shrouds and airbox covers, flowing in holistic, dynamic harmony. The headlight, too, evolves in shape and now slants back, while intricately crafted new wheels add to the engineering prowess on display. While the chassis is unchanged the engine earns revised PGM-FI settings, smoothing power delivery, and EURO5 compliance. A new, full colour TFT instrument display offers Honda Smartphone Voice Control System, linking the rider to their smartphone function, and there’s also a USB charging socket under the seat.
The 2021 CB1000R will be available in the following colour options:
Candy Chromosphere Red
Mat Ballistic Black Metallic
Matt Beta Silver Metallic
The Black Edition
While the new CB1000R is a motorcycle hewn into purposeful beauty, Honda’s engineers chose to go several steps further with the new Black Edition. With a hand-built, custom look, the Black Edition starts out on the same manufacturing line as the standard CB1000R, then takes a detour into a moodier aesthetic territory and some extra, desirable, accessories.
Apart from a few machined aluminium details – on the wheel spokes, swingarm plates, engine covers and handlebar clamps – everything on show is black: the headlight bezel, fly-screen, fork stanchions, radiator shrouds, and airbox covers (with an anodized finish), exhaust and muffler. Deep Graphite Black paint adorns the fuel tank and pillion seat cover. A quickshifter, too is standard-fit. A machined ‘CB’ logo adds a finishing touch,
Aggressive, ‘mass-forward’ stance heightened, with sleeker styling front to back, and new cast aluminium wheels. Honda Smartphone Voice Control System links the rider to their smartphone via Bluetooth and 5-inch colour TFT screen; USB charging socket under the seat. Honda’s ‘Neo Sports Café’ design aesthetic was created not only with a fondness for the past, but with an eye on the future as well, with ample scope for variations to the theme. As such, it is not standing still for 2021; the CB1000R takes the impressive styling statement made in 2018 as a springboard, and turns up the dial. The distinctive Neo Sports Café look is unmistakeable, but the drama is heightened and stance even more aggressively hunched forward, and diagonally down, around the striking, black-finished engine. New 7-spoke cast aluminium wheels add an intricate, head-turning finish.
From tip to tail the flow is harmonious: the instantly-recognisable round headlight now sits in a teardrop style surround, and lays backwards between the forks; the burnished aluminium radiator shrouds are much more compact and angled into the direction of travel, a design cue mirrored by the airbox covers. The sinuous aluminium subframe, completely redesigned, is now finished in aluminium (rather than black) highlighting the stark minimalism of the rear. And not to miss an aesthetic detail, the number plate mount is also smaller.
While it may turn heads and stop traffic with its revised looks, the day-to-day practicalities have also not been overlooked, and real-world ease-of-use is improved with the new CB1000R. The instruments now comprise a 5-inch, full colour high-visibility TFT screen, 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.
The CB1000R’s rear indicators have an Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) function. Under hard braking, the hazard lights flash to warn other road users a hard stop is in process. The indicators also auto-cancel; rather than using a simple timer, the system compares front and rear wheel speed difference and calculates when to cancel the indication relative to the situation.
The CB1000R’s 998cc DOHC four-cylinder engine provides a healthy dose of both power and torque: 107 kW @ 10,500rpm and 104Nm @ 8,250 pm. Bore and stroke are set at 75mm x 56.5 mm with compression ratio 11.6:1. The redline begins at 11,500rpm and the rev-limiter cuts in at 12,000rpm; the only changes for 2021 are optimised PGM-FI settings – smoothing power delivery and improving response – and EURO5 compliance.
2021 Honda CB1000R engine is tuned to deliver its torque with a characteristic ‘ramp’ in the 6-8,000rpm range, where it bulges significantly, generating an exciting and engaging riding experience. It’s also a useful aid for rapid roll-on acceleration in real-world overtaking conditions.
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. Short gear ratios ensure exhilarating acceleration through the gears between 30-130km/h. The assist/slipper clutch is super-light and helps manage hard, rapid downshifts.
The exhaust adds to the CB1000R’s mid-range muscle and light weight. It’s a 4-2-1 design, feeding via 4 short catalysers into a main chamber, which then feeds a dual chamber muffler. The exhaust note has been tuned internally, meaning that as the revs rise past 5,500rpm it takes on a significantly deeper, more raw tone. For EURO5 compliance, the 02 lambda exhaust sensors have been replaced with Linear Air Flow (LAF) sensors in the downpipes to allow for much more accurate measurement of the spent gases. The engine returns fuel efficiency of 17.1km/L.
Throttle By Wire (TBW) allows the rider maximum control over the CB1000R’s powerful engine via 3 default riding modes plus 1 USER mode, managed between the left handlebar and the TFT screen. There are 3 levels of Engine Power (P), Engine Brake (EB) and Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) available; HSTC can also be switched off. The riding modes offer different combinations of each parameter.
RAIN mode employs the lowest Power setting for the least aggressive power delivery, medium amount of EB and high HSTC. The lower levels of power and torque delivery are focused on the first 3 gears. STANDARD mode uses the middle setting for Power, HSTC and EB. It softens the power delivery a little out of first and second gear, and uses a power delivery just below that of SPORT mode, with reduced torque at partial throttle openings. SPORT uses the highest Power delivery and lowest levels of EB and HSTC to deliver 100% performance through all six gears, maximum torque and power at all throttle positions and minor intervention from HSTC. USER mode allows the rider to choose between the 3 settings for each parameter and save the setting for future use.
The CB1000R’s chassis is unchanged for 2021 and employs a mono-backbone steel frame and uses split-tightening aluminium pivot plates to grip the signature 574.2mm single-sided swingarm. Rake is set at 25° with trail of 100mm. Wheelbase is 1455mm with wet weight of 212kg. Weight bias is 48.5%/ 51.5% front/rear. A ‘natural crouch’ is afforded by the relaxed rider triangle of wide, tapered aluminium handlebars matched to an 830mm seat height. The flangeless fuel tank too, is broad-shouldered, but heavily cut-away to allow plenty of knee room.
The adjustable front fork is a Showa Separate Function Fork Big Piston unit (SFF-BP). It contains all the damping function in one leg, reducing weight, while delivering compliance, comfort and control across a broad range of riding conditions. The Showa rear shock, adjusts for spring preload, and rebound damping. Up front, dual radial-mount four-piston front calipers bite 310mm floating discs, matched to a twin-piston caliper and 256mm rear, and 2-channel ABS. The new, intricately designed cast aluminium seven-spoke wheels exude bold elegance; the rear tyre (sitting on a 6-inch rim) is sized 190/55 ZR17, the front a 120/70 ZR17.
A full range of Honda Genuine Accessories are available for the CB1000R, and include:
Pillion seat cover
Front fender cover
Alcantara pillion/rider seat
Rear seat bag