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Honda CB1000R: Italian Styling Meets Japanese Technology

By Arv Voss, August 3rd, 2013

A casual glance at the Honda CB1000R quickly indicates that it is a classic recreation of Honda's formula for high performance in a four-cylinder bike without a fairing. Essentially, it's a naked bike or it might even be considered by some riders as a street fighter, or even a race machine in civilian garb.

No matter how its categorized, it's a proven and well accepted design form that's been around Honda for several years that reflects a clean, essentials-only format. Perfectly framing its fuel-injected four-cylinder 998cc engine that produces a satisfying instantaneous power, the CB100R serves as an all-around high-performance motorcycle that's ready to do duty in a variety of scenarios. Its chassis is unique, incorporating a single-sided swing arm featuring a high-performance single-shock rear suspension that makes the CB1000R an exclusive and ideal choice in today's motorcycle marketplace.

The powerplant delivers a sport and racing heritage in a compact and lightweight form. The 998cc liquid-cooled DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine with PGM fuel injection and 36mm throttle bodies has been specifically retuned for street-wise riding while providing an impressive amount of low-end torque, as well as mid-range power. The motor transfers motive energy to the rear wheel via a #530 O-ring sealed chain through a close-ratio six-speed sequential manual transmission.

A surprising fact about the CB1000R is that even though it is for all intents and purposes, a Japanese sport bike, it is actually built in Italy by Honda Italia -- resulting in a unique ride that blends a pleasing Italian design with benefits and features from proven Japanese race technology.

The CB1000R, showcasing a standard seating position, delivers an ideal level of rider comfort and versatility for either long-distance solo travel or two-up riding. The lightweight seat and tail cowl are short, compact and attractive as well as functional. The stylish three-section LCD instrument panel is also compact and features a multi-segment LCD tachometer. Up front is a distinctive triangular multi-reflector headlight, with a unique LED position light. The cast aluminum wheels display a futuristic, swept or swirl, four-spoke design.

Suspension componentry consists of fully adjustable (spring preload, rebound and compression damping) 43mm inverted forks up front with 4.3 inches of travel and radial-mounted four-piston calipers from the CB1000R along with full-floating 310mm dual discs. Out back is the single gas-charged HMAS shock with spring preload and rebound damping adjustability with 5.0 inches travel and a single-caliper 256mm disc. The CB1000R rolls on a Bridgestone Battlax120/70ZR-17 radial tire up front and a 180/55ZR-17 radial rear tire, both mounted on 4-swirl-spoke alloy wheels.

The bike weighs in at 485 pounds, ready to ride, which includes all standard equipment, required fluids and a full tank of fuel. Fuel capacity is 4.5 gallons, including a 1-gallon reserve. Estimated fuel economy is 37 mpg, and the bike meets current CARB and EPA standards.

My test Honda CB1000R sported a Cool Pearl White bodywork finish along with flat black, brushed aluminum trim pieces and gold anodized front forks. The base price was set at $11,760 while the as-tested sticker came to $12,010.

Riders who have outgrown all-out radical sport bikes for more pleasurable riding experiences are sure to appreciate the Honda CB1000R. It is still a sport bike in spirit and capability, but unlike its CBR1000RR counterpart, it comes with a much more civilized and comfortable riding position, while providing rapid acceleration, smooth gear transitions and excellent manageability and maneuverability. It is exceptionally well-balanced, and it looks great, too.

A little more padding in the seat would be plus. A couple of other improvement suggestions would include self-canceling turn signals and a gear indicator. Other than these personal issues, the CB1000R is a really nice bike that is indeed a pleasure to ride

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Unquestionably, the majority of testosterone-loaded male riders shudder at the prospect of being seen aboard a scooter of any size, shape, or form, but trust me, there's nothing wimpy, or to be ashamed of, about riding the BMW C evolution scoot.

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Naked sport bikes, I love 'em. They can have all the torquey punch of fairing-clad sports bikes, but without the hunching posture that my older bones feel or the maintenance annoyances of plastic removal and replacement.

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