Honda will have a new competitor in the highly-competitive middleweight class next year, when the CB650R hits British showrooms.
The CB650R replaces the streetfighter styled CB650F and echoes the lines of the bigger CB1000R, which was launched last year, by embracing the ‘Neo Sports Café‘ styling concept applied by Honda to its more upmarket naked bikes.
The CB650R has more power and less weight than the bike it replaces, which should make it more competitive against class benchmarks like the Triumph Street Triple and Kawasaki Z800, all of which feature bigger engines. As standard, the Honda pumps out 94bhp, 5% up on the old CB650F, and can also be specified with a 47bhp restrictor for A2 licence holders. The engine revs to 12,000rpm, 1,000rpm more than the outgoing model, due to new camshafts and a higher compression ratio. A new frame, fuel tank and footpegs lops 6kg off the F’s 208kg kerb weight, which will be welcomed by the many riders for whom the Honda will be their first big bike.
To look at, you’d be hard pressed to tell the new middleweight from the CB1000R – great for riders looking for a mid-capacity bike with the presence of something bigger. Showa 41mm upside down forks grace the front of the new machine, radially mounted four-piston caliper front brakes and new wheels are all upgrades from the outgoing CB650F, while the 1000’s LED headlight, LCD instruments and tapered handlebars add to the upmarket feel.
The updated CB650R engine will also be pressed into service in the CBR650R, which is an evolution of the CBR650F. The faired machine also sheds 6kg for 2019 and gets new, Fireblade inspired, bodywork, sportier riding position and a new rear end.
As well as the new 650s, Honda has also made some tweaks to its range of 500cc twins.
The CB500F, CBR500R and CB500X all get revised rear suspension, assist/slipper clutch, full LED lighting, new LCD instruments with gear position and shift-up indication, and twin-exit silencers for a fruitier engine note.
Both the CB500F and CBR500R get refreshed styling, while the adventure-styled CB500X (pictured) gets the most notable changes thanks for a new 19” front wheel, longer travel suspension, a slimmer seat and a more effective fairing.