$1,100 1978 YAMAHA 250CC DT250
VIC | 16,808Kms
JUST Bikes 04/07/2012
As a replacement for the long-lasting, but outdated CB 900F (Hornet), the CB 1000R that debuted at Milan’s EICMA motorcycle show in 2007 was also Honda’s challenger to the popular Kawasaki Z1000, offering a high-performance Fireblade-spec engine, sportsbike handling and an all-new, very modern appearance.
When it made its local debut in late 2008, the ‘look’ of the CB 1000R was hard to ignore. This was a bike to be seen as much as it was to be ridden. With its nose-down stance, sharply-angled plastics, and bobbed rear, the CB 1000R was a ‘factory streetfighter’. Granted, that’s a contradiction in terms, but out of the crate, the CB 1000R did have a very custom appearance. The new naked was designed primarily for the Euro zone, which makes sense, given the much stronger streetfighter culture in the UK and Europe. Honda had a very ‘urban’ look in mind, designing a machine that was a head-turner when parked on the boulevard (what Honda referred to as a ‘Bar Star’ – whatever that means!), able to cruise at ease through city traffic, but still able to light it up on the highway. One thing’s for sure, the CB 1000R looked radically different from the CB 900F it replaced!
By definition, the CB 1000R was a ‘Performance Naked’. That meant it ran the same 998cc inline four as the 2007-spec CBR 1000RR Fireblade, but retuned for stronger low and midrange performance, which was where the CB 1000R would do most of its work. The hydraulic clutch for the shorter-geared six-speed transmission had a lighter operation, which could be engaged at under 2,000rpm without stalling. The frame was die cast aluminium backbone style, with a chunky, single-sided, braced swingarm. While this looked good, it did add weight. Despite lacking the fairing and other garnish of a sportsbike, the CB 1000R was heavier (some believed around 10kg heavier) than a comparable Fireblade.
Suspension comprised the aforementioned swingarm at the back, which was sprung with a monoshock, adjustable for preload (10-way) and rebound. At the front, the CB 1000R used the same 43mm fully adjustable USD forks as found on the Fireblade. Brakes were also Fireblade-spec, in the form of floating front discs with Tokico calipers. Combined ABS was available as an option, which added $1,000 over the $18,190 (+ORCs) retail price of the CB 1000R when new. The Honda ABS replaced the 4-piston front calipers with a 3-piston setup, but did add extra weight. Wheels were cast aluminium in a distinctive curved four-spoke design that added to the whole ‘fast-when-standing-still’ look of the CB 1000R.
A 17-litre fuel tank equated to an approximate range of 240 kms, which made the CB 1000R a reasonable touring proposition, but given the lack of fairing protection, short hops were more suitable. At 825mm, seat height was a challenge for shorter riders, but not as bad as you’d think, given its narrowness. However, that same trait, and minimal padding, made for an uncomfortable ride after long periods in the saddle, and was identified as a flaw in the CB 1000R design by road testers, but there was a plusher, touring-friendly seat option available from a dedicated CB 1000R accessory list. A pillion seat was part of the design, but wouldn’t win any favours from your two-up partner. While it was there, and could be used, the reality was that the vast majority of CB 1000R riders would be going solo, so the design reflects that.
Moving on to the actual bodywork, the CB 1000R was a mix of sharp, angular shapes, and an aggressive, nose-forward design that led to the “predator” nickname. The fuel tank shoulders projected forward to shroud the frame, creating a muscular look, while the side panels continued the theme to create the appearance of wings or claws. The headlight was housed in a distinctive triangular ‘beak’, at the bottom of which sat a circular LED running light. The tiny wind deflector ‘hood’ over the headlight served as a housing for the fully digital dash display. Echoing the angular design of the rest of the bike, the dash was split into three sections: a strip-style LCD tachometer and the usual info lights in the middle; speedo and engine temperature in the left-hand section; and an odometer, clock and fuel gauge in the right hand pod.
The stubby exhaust is a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it thing, but it’s not as prominent on the CB 1000R as it is on other bikes that have used a similar design. Grey plastic sections at the trailing edge of the tank and below it separate the front-painted sections from the rear, with the tail unit itself a slim, barely-there piece that suited the streetfighter look. Available colours for 2009 included ‘Dragon Green’ metallic and ‘Pearl Night-Star’ black, with others available in other markets. Black cast aluminium wheels, with their distinctive curved spoke design, were common to both locally released colour choices.
The general reaction to the CB 1000R upon its local debut was positive. Road testers praised the torque, and especially the attention paid to the midrange grunt. Handling came in for similar praise, with the CB1000R generally agreed to be more docile, and thus easier to ride, than a similar Italian or British naked, sometimes being compared to a bike of much smaller weight and capacity. Riding position was over-the-tank sportsbike style, but the bar placement didn’t strain the wrists and was considered comfortable for a bike of its type. As previously mentioned, the seat did cop some flak, but this only became evident on long rides. Brakes were described as being very effective, but testers were unconvinced of the value of the ABS. For experienced riders, it’s arguably unnecessary, but for those returning to riding or upgrading from smaller machinery, ABS does offer additional confidence.
For all its good points, the CB 1000R didn’t really strike a chord with buyers here. Put that down, at least in part, to a local streetfighter culture nowhere near as strong as is in the UK. Essentially, the bike was being pitched to a market that didn’t exist in in serious numbers in this country. You could also say the CB 1000R was a victim of the GFC. The release of an $18,000+ bike soon after the world went into financial meltdown made a lot of people jittery, and bike buyers were no exception. Cashback offers and, later, significant discounting did little to spark up sales, and the CB 1000R was in the retail doldrums soon after its local release. Dropped from the local Honda lineup after a couple of years, CB 1000Rs are an uncommon sight now.
Despite its failure in the marketplace, there’s little to fault on the CB 1000R, either mechanically, quality of finish, in terms of its dynamics, nor the whole rider experience. Being based around proven Honda engines and componentry means there are no surprises mechanically, and parts are easy to source. The tank, headlight and other items exclusive to the CB 1000R may become harder to track time with time, but for now, they should be readily available. Demands for more power are well catered for by the aftermarket industry. Yoshi and Akrapovic exhausts are common upgrades, but there is a bunch of other goodies that can be applied to extract more out of the CB 1000R’s 998cc four.
Those looking to step up to a bigger capacity bike, but without the budget to wheel a new bike off the showroom floor, should do themselves a favour and give a CB 1000R a closer look.
SPECIFICATIONS – 2009 Honda CB 1000R
Engine: 998cc DOHC inline four-cylinder
Bore/Stroke: 75 x 56.5mm
Power/Torque: 92kW @ 10000rpm / 100Nm @ 8000rpm
Ignition: Digital transistorised
Fuel System: PGM-F1 electronic fuel injection, 36mm throttle bodies
Cooling System: Liquid
Electrical System: 12 volt
Transmission/Drive: 6 speed manual/chain drive
Front Suspension: 43mm HMAS telescopic USD forks, fully adjustable
Rear Suspension: Single-sided swingarm with monoshock, preload and rebound adjustable
Front Brake: 2 x 310mm ventilated discs w/4-piston calipers (3-piston on ABS-equipped models)
Rear Brake: 256mm ventilated disc w/2-piston caliper
Front Wheels: 17-inch
Front Tyre: 120/70 ZR17
Rear Wheels: 17-inch
Rear Tyre: 180/50 ZR17
Weight: 217kg – wet (approx 3kg extra with ABS)
Seat Height: 825mm
Fuel Capacity: 17 lt
Top Speed: 225 kph approx
NSW | 50,000Kms
VIC | 16,808Kms
VIC | 16,765Kms
NSW | 83,000Kms
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Club Meeting Information: Regular 2-4 hour rides in SE Qld mountain areas
The club is open to owners of any model Harley Davidson manufactured between 1903 and 1965. The club has monthly rides to various locations throughout Victoria