2019 Honda CB650R First Look: Going Neo Sports Café
It had to happen after the makeover of Honda’s 1000 and 300 naked sport bikes. Last year’s CB650F has been transformed into the striking 2019 Honda CB650R, featuring Neo Sports Café styling, but the functional improvements are even more important.Let’s take a look at how the F became the R.
1. There’s a new Showa Separate Function Fork on the 2019 Honda CB650R. Only around for a year on the CB650F, the Show Dual Bending Valve fork is replaced the SFF from Showa. The SFF design features a spring in one fork leg, and the damping rod in the other leg. According to Honda, the Showa SFF is lighter and more rigid. The tube diameter stays the same at 41mm, though the CB650R gets a new aluminum lower triple clamp.2. The brakes are seriously upgraded. Instead of a pair of traditionally mounted two-piston calipers, the 2019 Honda CB650R gets radial mounting for its pair of four-piston calipers that squeeze 320mm floating discs.3. Honda reworked the DOHC inline-four for more power. The 2019 Honda CB650R has updated intake and exhaust, along with new cam timing for the 16 valves, plus a slightly higher compression ratio (boosted to 11.6:1). According to Honda, the changes “boost peak power and provide a smoother, stronger torque delivery through the midrange.”4. The styling changes mean the 2019 Honda CB650R gets the round LED headlight and LCD dash from the CB1000R. The Neo Sports Café family resemblance is undeniable, and the CB650R slots between the CB1000R and CB300R perfectly. Still, the CB650R has its own look with bronze contrasting nicely with blacked out features. Do note that the photos are of the European version, and the American edition may vary slightly due to conflicting bureaucratic standards.5. The new wheels on the CB650R are more traditional. Instead of the swirling spokes found on the CB650F last year, the 2019 Honda CB650R had straight spokes.6. The 2019 Honda CB650R is nine pounds lighter than last year, though part of that is due to a half-gallon smaller fuel tank. The smaller fuel load subtracts three pounds quickly, though that’s only when running a full tank. The front end should be lighter with the new lower triple clamp and Showa SFF fork, so the enticement to wheelie is enhanced.7. Upgrading to the 2019 Honda CB650R ABS means a $450 price increase over the 650F ABS. The premium for ABS has gone down to $300 on the CB650R, compared to $500 on last year’s CB650F. Now, if you want the non-ABS version—a choice we don’t recommend—the CB650R is $650 more than the standard CB650F.8. Be patient—the 2019 Honda CB650R won’t be available until April 2019.
2019 Honda CB650R Specs
Bore x stroke: 67mm x 46mm
Compression ratio: 11.6:1
Valve train: DOHC, 16 valves
Fueling: EFI w/ 32mm throttle bodies
Final drive: 525 O-ring chain
Front suspension; travel: Showa Separate Function 41mm fork; 4.7 inches
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!