Honda CBR: The Never-ending Journey to the Perfect Bike
The Honda CBR series is one of the most classic incarnations of this Japanese giant’s work. It has been around in a plethora of formats and sizes for over 35 years and doesn't show signs of stopping. The Honda CBR motorcycle series is one of the most long-lasting series Honda has maintained throughout the years. Times changed, and so did trends, and this line stayed relevant and current during all of them. Read on as we go through its most relevant models, specs and insights of the series. Also, I will tell you about a couple of amazing accessories I came across and love. Jump in to check the Honda CBR series and all its wonders.
Honda CBR 125
This living legend has given Honda many satisfactions throughout its production-line years. Although it didn´t start with other models back in 1983, it has quickly become a classic for Honda. It is part of the one-cylinder version of this motorcycle line along with other, slightly more prominent models. It was first introduced to the world in 2004 to great acclaim and, although they were contemporaries, was later replaced by the 150 models. This group of one-cylinder motorcycles in the Honda CBR series was completed with a 150cc, a 250cc and a 300c. The 300cc and the 150cc are still being manufactured to this day.
The Honda CBR125 sports a 124.7cc engine, and a 6-speed transmission. The bike has enough power for the city, and that was precisely the aim of Honda in its conception. It is a light bike at only 127kg, and it sure does look great. It borrows some of the outside characteristics of more prominent incarnations like the Honda CBR600RR. They transformed it into a fuel-injection powered vehicle by the year 2007. Its final overhaul was in 2011 and was discontinued by Honda in 2016 leaving the Honda CBR150 in its place. For those looking for a fantastic bike for city and short commuting, the Honda CBR125 is a great choice. The price in the used market should not be very high.
Honda CBR 500R
This straight-twin engine that Honda gave the CBR500R is a new introduction in 2013. This model is sometimes confused with a Honda CBF500F, but it has an inline-four engine. They manufactured 500F between 1986 and 1993, and it differs drastically from the 500R.
The Honda 500R is the sports version within the line that also features a naked and adventure/tourer too. These came out under the name of Honda CBF 500F and Honda CBF 500X respectively. The three models, despite the difference in the name and the external appearance, they share the engine. This piece is a 471cc parallel twin-cylinder mounted transversely. The bikes also share the 6-speed gearbox and meet all regulations for a European A2 license. The main difference is mainly with the Honda CBF500X because it is slightly taller and has a bigger fuel tank.
Redesign in 2019
The entire line was very well received from launch and except for the addition of LED lights in 2016, didn´t have any significant overhaul. By 2019 Honda went much more in-depth and revised the exhaust system, rear shocks, and the LCD instrumentation. Also, the anti-rebound clutch was a great addition this year, along with the full LED lighting.
The Honda CBF500R feels every bit like a sports bike from every perspective possible. It looks like a sports bike sounds like one and feels like one. If you have ever been on a Honda CBF600RR, you will feel a similar pull when you activate the throttle. It works marvellously well in short distances and the streets of a city. The pull is enough while manoeuvrability is flawless.
All three bikes got critical acceptance in their arrival to the world in 2013, and the reputation continues till this day. If you are looking for a little more power in a two-cylinder motorcycle that uses less fuel, this is the best bet.
Honda CBR 600
The Honda CBR600 is, perhaps, the most common Honda CBR incarnations. Along with the Honda CBF 1000, these bikes are the flagship of Honda in this category of bikes. Just like the 500, the Honda CBF 600 comes in different incarnations for sports and racing. The bike went on to win eight Supersport World Championship from 2000 to 2008. Then it won the 2010 and a 2014 one. Honda reutilised the engine and the lines of the Honda CBF600RR in other bikes. The success of this incarnation of the Honda CBF lives on in the shape of bikes and also a legacy. It is easy to spot racing 600cc bikes in other brands, and the Honda CBR600 is where it all started.
Honda CBR 600 RR
Honda launched this ten-time Supersport World Championship winner bike in 2003 to critical acclaim. Much of the features meet the regulations of streets bike belong to the racing world. Inspiration for this bike came directly from the racing tracks. If you have ever been on one of these, you know exactly how they pull and the low torque they have. These concepts came straight from the Honda MotoGP.
By the year 2006, the Honda CBF 600 RR received its first major overhaul. Among some of the changes, the bike got a lower wet weight and also a significant increase in middle-power. Brakes, bodywork and a fully adjustable suspension also gained a considerable improvement. By the year 2008, they introduced the same model as a complete redesign. The changed engine along with the different frame and yet another cut on weight did wonder. The new design for the Honda CBF 600 RR resulting from it was faster, lighter and more comfortable.
Since the year and except for ABS-introduction, the model maintained mostly the same till the Honda CBR600RR 2018. This is the go-to bike for those who want a bike that is powerful enough to race with but can still commute with. The Honda CBF 600 RR is a powerful bike not suitable for beginner riders. In the hands of an experienced person, it can be a ton of fun. For those who dream with racing, you can also find it in the Honda CBR 600 RR Repsol graphics.
Honda CBR 600 F
When I was a child, I used to dream with a Honda CBR 600 F. The first incarnation was “Hurricane” and saw the light as far back as 1987. Its manufacture years went until 2006 and after a hiatus resumed between 2011 and 2013. This four-in-line wonder conquered the hearts of children and grown-ups around the world. If you see it on the street, you would think it is a racing bike. The body design went through a lot of changes but never lost the racing-bike vibe.
I was lucky enough to try one of these and can say that it feels like a racing motorcycle. I was lucky enough to try it out at a racetrack and was able to push it through curves and more. Its size put it in a sweet spot between the tremendous CBR1000 and the smaller street bikes. The pull is impressive, the torque is excellent, and the peak speed is very high for the city; it is not a beginner´s bike. Perhaps the most fun bike (I tried at least) in its price and power range.
Honda discontinued this model in 2014 to release the Honda CBR 650 F which sells globally under the same name.
Honda CBR 1000
This incarnation of the Honda CBR series has a particular spot in my heart because I used to own one. It brings great memories to my mind about opening the throttle on the open road and feeling the adrenaline. It is one of the biggest, most potent bikes you can buy to ride on the streets. Also, it has this racing-bike look that will make you excited every time you walk towards it.
Mine had two after-market accessories that I have to recommend to you. The first one is SBM and stands for Smart Brake Module, and what it does is great and super simple. This device will engage your braking light every time it senses that you are slowing down when you ride a big bike, like the Honda CBR 1000 you can work with smoother transitions. That is what I do all the time; I loosen the throttle and maybe drop a gear to slow down. This doesn´t involve touching the brakes, and the brake light will not go on. Slowing on a big bike without informing your manoeuvre to the rest is not the safest thing. With the SBM, problem solved.
Safety and comfort
The second accessory is made by the same company and goes for STS (Smart Turn System). It is again a super simple idea that solves a problem most people have. I drive a car as well as multiple bikes (too many, says my wife). My car kindly disengages the turning lights for me, but my bike doesn´t. What happens is that I then tend to forget them on and that can easily cause an accident. This little accessory will fix that for you because it will disengage them for you. I installed it in every bike I ever owned and feel much safer than ever before.
I would highly recommend these two safety additions to any rider out there, regardless of which bike you are riding. So submit your motorcycle details in the form below to check for compatibility and the STS team will send you a special offer for your motorcycle.
I was so impressed by the STS and SBM, so I looked up the company who developed them, and stumbled upon another amazing product which I had to try out immediately. The Vigo Smart Track is a motorcycle tracker which is easy to install. You just connect it to the bike’s battery and with the Vigo Smart Track phone app. The tracker features an advanced anti-theft detection mechanism, SOS notification in case of an accident, as well as ride tracking and a scoring system. I think it’s the perfect riding buddy for every motorbike rider out there.
Honda CBR 1000 RR
Also known as Fireblade, this motorcycle´s introduction to the world in 2004 created a vast cult of followers. It is the 7th evolution from the original Honda CBR900RR from 1992. You can call this motorcycle as the bigger sister of the Honda CBR 600 RR because it uses some of the same concepts. Along with the engine being bigger, more powerful and faster, the bike grew in size and reputation.
The engine of this motorcycle is a compact four-in-line 998cc that runs a six-speed gearbox and dual-stage fuel injection. Also, right from the first incarnation, it sported a computer-controlled butterfly valve. This early model went through some changes until in 2008 it got its first significant makeover. That version was slightly modified and sold for over nine years until in 2017 it got its second major makeover. If you happen to acquire a Honda CBR1000RR 2018, you will receive a 189 Horsepower. It will weight only 196 kg. It feels lighter and more powerful than its predecessors.
Honda Repsol edition
The reputation that the regular model and the Honda CBR1000RR Repsol have as a racing bike is undeniable. Some of it might be for the menacing, racing looks they have. The rest is because of the Honda CBR1000RR top speed. This machine can go as far as 299km/h! That is more than enough for any track anywhere in the world.
It might be evident by this moment that this is not a beginner´s bike and you can make the most out of it only at the racetrack. This is one of the reasons many people don´t buy it as a commuter or as a daily motorcycle. It is like buying a Ferrari to go to work and back daily, and you are using 1% of its power. This motorcycle excels at every category you can imagine, and sometimes, that is its only drawback: it´s a little too much. If you are an experienced rider and you are on the look for a big, racetrack bike, this is a serious choice.
The Honda CBR series expanded and shrink many times during the three-and-half decades of production. It all started back in 1983, and since then its fan base only grew. You will find Honda CBR series users all around the world, even in the most remote places. It is a series of bikes that is solid and is a result of many years of research and development. Regardless of the size you pick, the result will always be a reliable, powerful machine.
Do you think our take on the Honda CBR series is accurate? Would you like to add something? Feel free to share this post with fellow riders and leave us a comment.