Consider the Honda CB1000R, everything you need and nothing you don’t. Beyond the naked bike school of thought, the CB1000R is unbridled joy, without the race replica look of a sport bike, nor the flash of a cruiser.
This time around, Honda further refined what they call the Neo-sports cafe concept. With the emphasis on light weight, great handling, and a powerful engine, they didn’t neglect styling either. Unchanged from 2020, the CB1000R’s steel frame uses pivot plates to secure the single-sided swing arm with an adjustable Showa shock and 5.2-inches of travel. Its 57.3-inch wheelbase incorporates 24.7-degrees of caster angle, with a 43mm Showa SFF-BP fork, adjustable for preload, rebound, and damping, with 4.7-inches of travel. Dual four-piston caliper brakes with 310mm full-floating discs are used up front, and a single 256mm single-caliper rear. Cast aluminum seven-spoke wheels are wrapped with a 190/55ZR17 tire in back, and a 120/ZR17 tire up front. With a tank full of gas and all required fluids, the CB1000R tips the scales at 467 pounds, and that’s with 4.3 gallons of gas, weighing a little more than 27 pounds.
A 998cc, DOHC 11.6:1 compression four-cylinder engine resides in the CB1000R’s frame. At 11,500 RPM, the redline begins, and at 12,000 RPM, you hit the rev limiter. PGI-FI settings for 2021 have been enhanced for smoother power delivery, and improved throttle response. Mated to a 6-speed close-ratio transmission, the bike’s tuning sweet spot is the 6-8,000 RPM range, which is great for roll-on acceleration and overall performance. A three-level, adjustable quick shifter was added for 2021, for faster, smoother up-and-down gear changes while on the fly.
On a test ride of the 2020 model, the CB1000R didn’t disappoint, and I believe the ’21 version would be equally as exhilarating. The balance is what’s most appealing, and it feels as forgiving as it is accommodating to your riding style. Mine is decidedly more relaxed than years ago while working on a bike publication, but that being said, it can provide plenty of thrills with a quick twist of the wrist.
Just as Henry Ford once said, you can have the 2021 Honda CB1000R in any color you want, as long as it’s black. To be more precise, in Honda’s case it’s graphite black. This isn’t limited to the tank, fenders, and other body parts, it’s the entire motorcycle, and outside of a bit of aluminum visible here or there, that’s it. The spoked wheels are black, and so are the forks, exhaust, mirrors, exhaust, and taillight housing. Limited only by model year, in 2021 you’re only going to get a 2021 CB100R in black, and unless Honda feels the need to come back midyear with a different exterior color, you’ll be able to spot a ’21 model easily.
One other thoughtful touch for 2021 is the addition of a USB socket under the seat, for smartphone charging.
Base MSRP is $12,999, with a $450 destination charge.