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Honda has always thrived on exploring new boundaries – in design as well as engineering. In 2018, the new CB1000R, CB300R and CB125R trio brought a fresh identity to its naked motorcycle line-up, mixing café racer inspirations with an ultra-minimalist look under its ‘Neo Sports Café’ design theme.
One obvious segment remained for the new aesthetic to find expression: the hugely competitive naked middleweight arena. For 2019, the new CB650R confidently takes on this role.
Using the same styling blueprint as its siblings, the CB650R’s retro-minimalism is aimed at a young demographic that wants to show off in style and enjoy to the maximum the combination of exhilarating four cylinder engine performance and light, versatile, refined chassis handling.
Add to this mix of head-turning, individual looks and exciting, usable performance a spec sheet replete with high quality, premium features, and the result is a naked middleweight designed for maximum pride and pleasure of ownership.
Honda’s development engineers wanted to create the purest, most enjoyable mid-sized four-cylinder performance possible for the CB650R rider. So the 649cc, DOHC 16-valve engine has been tuned to eliminate a slight torque dip at 5,500rpm, and deliver 5% more power above 10,000rpm with a redline raised 1,000rpm. Peak power of 70kW arrives at 12,000rpm with peak torque of 64Nm delivered at 8,500.
The net result out on the road is a motor that spins harder, and for much longer, at high rpm, with a smooth, linear torque delivery that builds strongly as revs rise, and sounds great in the process. An easy 35kW conversion is available for A2 licence holders.
Direct cam actuation makes for a compact cylinder head; bore and stroke is set at 67mm x 46mm with compression ratio raised to 11.6:1 (from 11.4:1) and combustion chamber shape optimised by use of a revised piston design. The valve train has been reinforced and valve timing revised; Iridium spark plugs are also now employed.
Asymmetric piston skirts minimise bore contact and reduce friction. Ferrous spines on the outer surface of the cylinder sleeves reduce oil consumption (and friction) with improved heat transfer and a silent SV cam chain reduces frictional losses by using a Vanadium coating on its pins. Internal water channelling from cylinder head to cylinders does away with most of the exterior hoses.
New twin air ducts either side of the fuel tank feed the airbox with a larger volume of air, as opposed to the single, central duct of the old model. They also produce a throaty intake roar. The exhaust now features a larger bore tail pipe – from 35 to 38.1mm – inside the muffler to flow more gas and, with its exit pipe angled upwards, to also howl emotively purely for the rider’s benefit.
The engine uses a compact internal architecture, stacked six-speed gearbox and starter layout with the cylinders canted forward 30°. An assist/slipper clutch is a new addition and eases upshifts while managing rear-wheel lock up under hard braking and rapid downshifts. Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) is fitted to manage rear wheel traction; it can be turned off should the rider choose.
Fuel consumption of 20.4km/l (WMTC mode) gives a range of over 300km from the 15.4L fuel tank.
Tightly wrapped and aggressive, the CB650R’s Neo Sports Café style features the signature compact ‘Trapezoid’ proportion of short, stubby tail and short overhang headlight. The long fuel tank is a key motif of the family design; its smooth lines accentuate the solidity of real metal surfaces and crown the engineering of the four-cylinder powerplant. It also houses the ignition.
The round headlight is based on that of the CB1000R. It’s LED, as is the rest of the lighting. Sharp new LCD instruments also use the CB1000R as a baseline and include a Shift Up, Gear Position and Peak Hold indicator.
A more aggressive riding position than the CB650F moves the 557mm tapered handlebars 13mm forward and 8mm down, with footpeg position more rear set - 3mm back and 6mm higher. Seat height is 810mm.
The CB650R’s steel diamond frame is updated for 2019 with pressed (rather than forged) swingarm pivot plates; it’s 1.9kg lighter than the previous design and uses twin elliptical spars with a rigidity balance specifically tuned (stiffer around the headstock and more flexible in the spar sections) to deliver balanced handling characteristics with high levels of rider feedback.
Rake is set at 25.5° with trail of 101mm and wheelbase of 1,450mm. Kerb weight is 202kg (the CB650F weighed 208kg) thanks to weight saving in the frame, but also in the fuel tank and new super sport-style footpegs.
The 41mm Showa Separate Function Fork (SFF) USD front suspension, adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping; it’s clamped by a revised, forged aluminium bottom yoke. Adjustable for 7-stage spring preload the single-tube monoshock operates directly on the curvaceous gravity die-cast aluminium swingarm.
Four-piston radial-mount front brake calipers work on 310mm wave-pattern floating discs, and are paired with a single-piston rear caliper and 240mm disc. Two-channel ABS is fitted as standard. The cast aluminium wheels are a brand-new design and mount 120/70-ZR17 and 180/55-ZR17 front and rear tyres.
A range of Genuine Honda Accessories is available for the CB650:
Candy Chromosphere Red
Matt Crypton Silver Metallic
Matt Jeans Blue Metallic
To ride the CB650R, you will need an A2 licence as the minimum. If you have an A2 licence, the bike will have to be restricted.
The minimum age to hold an A2 licence is 19. With an A2 licence you can ride a standard motorcycle up to 35 kW (and a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.2 kW per kg), the bike must not be derived from vehicle more than twice its power.
To acquire an A2 licence you can take the direct access route where you take a theory and practical test. The other option is to take the progressive route. If you decide to take the progressive route, you must have 2 years experience on an A1 motorbike and take a further practical test.
All information on the licence required to ride the bikes are correct at time of publication but may be subject to change. We endeavour to maintain accurate information, however cannot guarantee the details to be accurate all the time due to legislation changes. Cox Motor Group and North West Honda accepts no liability for any misrepresentation and recommends that the individual dealer be contacted to confirm the licence required to ride the bike.
|Bore × Stroke (mm)||67mm x 46mm|
|Carburation||PGM-FI electronic fuel injection|
|C02 Emissions||112 g/km|
|Engine Displacement (cc)||649cc|
|Engine Type (cm³)||Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 16-valve DOHC inline-4 cylinder|
|Max. Power Output||70kW/12,000rpm|
|Clutch||Wet multiplate, A.S.clutch|
|Battery Capacity (VAh)||YTZ10/FTZ10S 8.6Ah MF|
|Dimensions (L×W×H) (mm)||2,130mm X 750mm X 1,150mm|
|Frame type||Steel diamond|
|Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres)||15.4L|
|Ground Clearance (mm)||150mm|
|Kerb Weight (kg)||202kg|
|Seat Height (mm)||810mm|
|ABS System||2 channel|
|Brakes Front||310 mm x 4.5 mm disc with four piston caliper|
|Brakes Rear||240 mm x 5 mm disc with single piston caliper|
|Suspension Front||Showa separate function fork (SFF) USD|
|Suspension Rear||Mono with 10 stage pre-load adjuster, Aluminium Cast swingarm|
|Tyre Size Front||120/70ZR17 M/C (58W)|
|Tyre Size Rear||180/55ZR17 M/C (73W)|
|Wheels Front||17M/C X MT3.50 Multi-Spoke Cast Aluminium|
|Wheels Rear||17M/C X MT5.50 Multi-Spoke Cast Aluminium|
|Ignition System||Full transisterized|
|Instruments||Digital Speedometer, Digital Bar Graph Tachometer, Dual Trip Meters, Digital Fuel Level Gauge & Fuel Consumption Gauge, Digital Clock, Water Temp, Gear position, Shift UP Indicator|