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2008 Honda CB1000R First Ride

Monday, May 5, 2008
After undergoing heavy market research with customers in Europe the design brief was to build a compact bike with a torquey engine and great handling.
After undergoing heavy market research with customers in Europe the design brief was to build a compact bike with a torquey engine and great handling.
Unfortunately, Honda is keeping its new super naked for Europe only, but that doesn't mean our U.S. readers can't see what their missing. Americans are accustomed to hearing some British blokes called the Stones singing "You can't always get what you want," now our pals at MCN give us their rendition with this review on the Honda CB1000R.

Way back in the '60s, when men had quiffs and woman wore beehives, the Japanese bike manufacturers invaded Europe. Their bikes looked strangely like the ones made in the midlands but they had funny winged logos on the tanks. And they worked come rain or shine.

The copycats were laughed off at first and then makes like Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki started landing on our shores in big numbers, at the right price, with the right kit (like electric starters that worked) and engines that didn't leak. And they took over the world of motorcycling forever.

It stayed that way for the last 40 years until a small manufacturer in Hinckley started making a bike called the Speed Triple and essentially created the Super Naked bike. Having been the first person in the world to ride the prototype, I remember that moment well. Okay, so the Ducati Monster was the original but that didn't have the same sort of sports bike horsepower linked with quality suspension and brakes, and the kind of style reminiscent of a crashed GSX-R1100 with bug-eye headlamps.

And now the tables have turned again, as the world's biggest bike manufacturer looks down from its ivory tower to a small industrial unit in Leicestershire and decides it's very interested in a bike called the Speed Triple. Combine it with a healthy respect for bikes like the MV Agusta Brutale and the Monster and you're starting to get the measure of Honda's new CB1000R.

Big H won't admit their influences but an off the record chat with a few people confirmed what I just said, and it's not going on sale in Japan because the emissions laws are so strict it would have to have an exhaust the size of a small car. This bike is for Europe only and that's where most of the design work and development was done.

Forget the fact it has the same name as the dinosaur CB1000 of the early nineties, or that it's a spine-framed, FireBlade-engined naked like the now defunct 900 Hornet. This is a whole new bag for Honda. A bike designed with Europe in mind and one that uses a retuned version of the 2007 FireBlade CBR1000RR engine and runs 2008 FireBlade forks, 2008 FireBlade brakes, a beautiful single-sided swingarm and styling tailored to the decor of the very best designer cafes in Milan. In green it looks purposeful, in white it looks as good as anything on the road.

The bike s style and design was created in Europe with a strong influence being “ready to attack” The concept was inspired by a vision to create a bike for Europe by the managers of Honda Europe.
The bike's style and design was created in Europe with a strong influence being “ready to attack” The concept was inspired by a vision to create a bike for Europe by the managers of Honda Europe.
And then there's the bike's heritage. It was developed by Tetsuya Kudoh, the man who was chief engineer and test rider on such bikes as the VFR400, RC30, NR750, CBR600F and VFR750F, so nothing much good in there then. And as such it's one high-spec piece of kit. The single-sided swingarm is one of the things that gives away the fact this isn't your average fat and lazy naked bike.

Then there's the short stubby attitude of the CB100R: the tiny seat unit designed as a token gesture to attract nubile Italian goddess' who may want to perch on your steed, so to speak. (But in reality no real human would want to sit on the back and you'd never get a tail pack on it, but Honda designed it that way.) It's all about being purposeful, minimal, and saying to everyone watching that you're a no compromise kind of guy who likes to ride fast and look good. The CB1000R weighs in wet at 217 kg (478 lbs), which is just 18 kg (40 lbs) more than the super lightweight 2008 Blade and most of that extra weight is in the heavily braced single-sided swingarm.

Check out the swoopy four-spoke rear wheel, the LCD clocks that are claimed to be the most expensive Honda make, the jagged lines of the bodywork and the aggressive 'ready-to-attack' stance, and you can tell this is no normal Japanese naked bike. It's designed to give a sporty ride with the stylish looks of a naked, and it more than delivers.

Undoubtedly it's a serious bit of kit that aims to do a totally different job to the old Hornet 900, and it's a bike that I'm slightly afraid of riding when I get handed the keys in the center of Milan on a wet and slippery Saturday morning.

But fearful is not one of the things that enters your head when you start riding the tiny Honda. Filtering through Milan in convoy behind a mad Welshman intent on showing us his knowledge of Milan's backstreets, the bike is gentle, easy and torquey. The fuelling is perfect, the grunt is huge and I'm already starting to think that for most people, most of the time this engine would be better in a FireBlade than the super-powerful motor de rigeur of bikes that say you're a real man, even if secretly the amount of horsepower terrifies you. Or is that just me?

Let us know what you think about this article in the Motorcycle USA Forum.
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PAUL -mr  January 28, 2011 12:09 PM
Brilliant bike , loads of torque great brakes and lovely handling done 15000 miles on mine in 12 months couldnt get off it ! no problems at all good Honda reliability and will see a R1 off if there happens to be a bend in the road ! Get one and you wont stop smiling.
Frank Victory -NICE BIKE  January 3, 2011 10:23 AM
I am from Costa Rica, and I own a CB1000R 2009, fast, light, secure. You drive it and you love it. I had a Suzuki B King before, and even do is more powerfull, the Honda is faster from 0 to 100 and in quarter mile too. I LOVE THIS BIKE VERY MUCH
Ben -CB1000r  September 3, 2010 12:25 PM
If Honda brings CB1000R to the states, I'll certainly consider it to be number one choice for my next bike. I like the its look better than z1000. Too bad, Kawasaki is the only one choice for me right now until Honda reconsiders.
t -smart 2 keep it out  August 28, 2010 12:34 AM
canada is getting this but the streetfighter slays this thing. the varadero, the fz1 te (touring), and cb1000f are here but are not hot enough and i think you just experiencing grass is greaner syndrome. the k1300r makes these posers write-offs. tuonos are cheaper now also.
Bruce Brian -hawk 92 AR  July 9, 2010 05:14 PM
Until Honda brings the latest versions of the 600 or 1000 hornets stateside, my 72,000 mile CB 750 Nighthawk happily remains in my garage!
Phil -WTF Honda !!!!  April 12, 2010 08:59 AM
How stupid could these guys be? I'm willing to pay anything for this bike! My email is fuilripclosers88@gmail.com if anyone has any info or if u r an ex/importer let's talk n do business. Send me ur info, n let's make a deal. Local dealer sucks! I want this BIKE!!!!!
Dan Foster -CB1000R  December 10, 2009 12:10 AM
Hi ive just bought a new cb1000r in black with abs as a work hack,i find it ok ,very loose on the steering tho and drinks fuel!!
Peter South Australia -CB1000R  November 23, 2009 09:00 PM
Just ordered mine'cant wait! Can anyone reccomend a good pipe?
Richard -cb1000r  November 12, 2009 11:30 AM
It is such a joke that Honda wont bring this to USA. What a screw up!!!
John -Rode the predecessor in Japan  October 10, 2009 11:36 AM
Loved the predecessor and rode it nearly every day during a two-year stint in Japan. I didn't bring it back with me because I learned that parts would be nearly impossible to come by. Now I see the updated bike of my dreams, and I'm ready to buy... but alas, no US distribution. Does this mean I'll have to buy in Europe and crate it over? Honda, please consider the US market. I believe the sales on this one will be worth the investment... then again, I wouldn't mind being the only one on the road with this thing ;)
DAVE -CB1000r  September 30, 2009 12:16 PM
I have had one for over a year great handling stunning in white have done 400 miles in a day, not to bad on backside.
Nearly 8000 miles on third set tires is only problem
Makaii -tired of waiting  September 21, 2009 12:44 AM
been hearing news bout honda new release quite some time ago & have been praying it'll be here in Malaysia.. u guess if uncle sam's not gettin one we won't be gettin it here too.. (T_T) snob2..
JUSTICE- IS NOT SERVERD-CB1000R -HONDA CB1000R  September 20, 2009 05:21 PM
Rick -CB 1000  September 8, 2009 04:58 PM
Come on Honda , get the CB 1000 to America... this is what I want.. and many like me want this too!!
BWE -cb100r  September 6, 2009 05:14 PM
This bike reminds me of the Kawasaki Z1000--I bought one new in 2006. I loved it--good power, handled great, comfortable....and Kawasaki could hardly give them away. You can bet that Honda has monitored the naked bike sales situation. I traded my Z1000 for a VFR--gave up some power and gained some weight, but really wanted the wind protection and long-distance comfort.
coalt45 -cb1000  August 30, 2009 05:13 PM
Lets go Honda get these in the States already. I'll be waiting for the 2010's if its not here I'm going Ducati or Yamaha.
Nick -omgz  August 4, 2009 08:24 AM
Bet ten bucks that Honda reps have read all these comments and many on other forums but still won't bring it to the US. Honda made it big in the US by being affordable and reliable. I'd take a Honda over a Ducati, especially this one. Come on Honda USA grow some and get this bike in the States!
Svi -If Honda won't sell this, check out the Street Triple  July 26, 2009 03:31 PM
Triumph Street Triple - similar styling, lighter weight, good power from a great motor. Makes a good alternative if Honda won't bring this to the US.
Francois Scherman -Hornet 1000  July 23, 2009 07:50 AM
Hi there live in Sa just colected my green 1000 it is the best thing aftre the Blade but o s difrent it is welll can not expain it is just the best

CRJ9Driver -Was wondering...  July 19, 2009 02:54 PM
Live in CA... Could I fly to Canada, and drive one back? Could I register it if not imported? Test drove it in Greece a day before I left and didn't want to leave...:(
Ben -Amazing bike  July 19, 2009 03:32 AM
Hey guy`s, i`m from germany and i drove the CB 1000 R of my dealer. That bike is just amazing. Handling, design, power.... everything is GREAT!!! After the ride i bought it.Two weeks later my company told me that i have to go to the US in october for three years so i had to sell my ordered bike before i was able to drive it. I´m very mad that Honda don`t sell that wonderfull bike in the US. Why not Honda??????? Regards. Ben
AJ -Released in India  July 16, 2009 10:17 AM
This bike was recently released even in India!!! I dont know what wrong USA has done to Honda. No honda naked sport bikes for you Uncle Sam.^--^

All you get is choppers.!!!

I also checked the Honda Sports Bike models available in Spain.. Its amazing...

Steve N. -We Want This  June 5, 2009 07:55 PM
Bring this to the U.S.!
dickie nz -cb1000r  May 31, 2009 11:44 PM
i just bought new 1000r had first wk end away on it outstanding bike really pleased with it even with pack rack on back handled great
Jon Jon -American Honda is lame  May 1, 2009 05:12 PM
Unfortunately for the U.S, Honda America hired a bunch of car salesmen as motorcycle reps so on the most part, not many actually ride. In their little minds, America is about cruisers and sportbikes and a few offroad motorcycles for the rest of the country that lives in trailerparks. Don't expect to see the CB1000R, Trans Alp, Varedaro , or FMX on U.S soil only because Honda USA have no clue what they are.
TomCR -CB1000R sells in CR  April 24, 2009 10:10 AM
I'm from Costa Rica too, and the Honda dealership here has the CB1000R available, don't know the price yet. But some of you in the USA could buy it here and have it shipped to the USA for a much lower cost than bringing it from Europe. Although, we pay like 80% tax on vehicles in general, so without knowing the price I don't know if there's really a trade off.
luke connor sydney australia -cb1000r  April 17, 2009 09:42 PM
the weight of this bike is completely un-noticeable when your riding. it really does feel like a little 600 but with oh so much power.this is the bike to own its a credit to honda for all of their work. $19,000 ride away with abs here in aus its a done deal for me.
Jim CR -Costa Rica have cb1000  April 17, 2009 04:03 AM
Thats unfair i am from costa rica and i have one the best bike i ever have and i dont think honda its going to sell 1500 units here!
georgi -cb1000  April 13, 2009 06:30 PM
this is a beauty. I wish honda was smarter. This is what exactly what we need. Kawasaki was stupid too. They hold on the versys for 2 years and when they finaly released in usa everybody went crazy for it. Honda will probubly do the same thing but we all know that things in usa come with at least couple years after. Same with cellphones, cars, motorcycles... Always last to get it
Joe Christmas -CB1000r  April 3, 2009 03:30 PM
I have an '06 919 -- and I love it, but c'mon, Honda, I'd love this bike even more. Put this bike on American streets.
Spdzlla -CB 1000 R  April 1, 2009 03:09 PM
This bike is so beautifull!
Maniak -CB1000  March 27, 2009 04:16 PM
This CB1000R just might wind up being American Honda's best seller, if they import it, I heard a rumor to possibly be 2010. Everyone I talk to and know would go on a waiting list, if they had one, I would probably buy two, one for my wife and one for me. I own four Honda's and the last was a 07 919, love it but am ready for its replacment. Honda better live up the the 2010 rumor or I will jump off Honda for a Ducati.
Daniel Cuttin -CB1000R  March 27, 2009 05:40 AM
I went to the HONDA Tent in Daytona (Florida) during byke week. I asked to talk to the Manager. The manager did not came forward but one who report to him came to talk. So I asked if the US Honda Marketing department knew what they were doing. I put the point that Honda is bringing the DN-01 (UGLIEST BIKE EVER) and the Chopper to the US and one of the best bike design I have seem (CB1000R) was only for the Europian people. He said that Honda believe that they can not sale 1500 CB1500R units per year, So I asked him if they believe they will sale 1500 of the DN or the Choper??? He could not answer...... I believe some one has the wrong idea of the what the American byke society is, I think US Honda Marketing is under the hands of people that they do not understand that motorcycles is more than just business, I believe Honda is losing a excellent opportunity and when they realized what they did it will be too late, we will all riding Ducaties instead of this beautyfull master piece, the CB1000R. Regards
wantacb1000r r -new honda cb1000r  March 22, 2009 02:09 PM
i want 1 but way too pricey !!! 10000 euros here in ireland..for 3 days of sun per summer...woah !!
Izzy -Honda Plzzzzzzzzzzzzz Bring it to the US  March 8, 2009 06:39 AM
I love this bike, screw the Ducati streetfighter and it's desmo, I'll take one of these over it any day. Please please please, bring it here!!!
Harry Balsak -me so horny for hornet  February 18, 2009 07:16 AM
Bring that sexy beast to US
russell blakeman -why do you have to be like that europeans c'mon  February 13, 2009 07:37 PM
i used to be a die hard ducati fan but this changed my mind for sure i want one so bad
pj -I'de buy one!  February 13, 2009 05:30 PM
I currently have a 04 5-9-9 that I modded with a f3 fork race tech springs ohlins shock, rear sets undertail, bars and the works to make it minimal as can be. I would buy this thing NOW if it was available. This is EXACTLY what I want. I tought of getting an MV Brutale but Honda prices, reliability and parts availabity would land me in this machine. I WANT ONE!
KT -CB1000R  February 4, 2009 09:10 AM
Not coming to the USA. That's some bull!!! I'd consider parking one of these in my garage.
Dustin H. -Honda...ugh...  January 29, 2009 10:52 AM
I used to be die-hard Honda. Ride Red or stay home. But the last few years it seems Honda doesn't give a rip about a certain demographic, the "streetfighter" or "naked class". One of the fastest growing demographics in the biking world. It is either full-on sport, or cruiser, or dirt with Big Red anymore. Look around Honda, there are a lot of companies that are cashing in on the streetfighter. Too bad the best one is still warming the bench...
Ynot -there are options  January 21, 2009 03:47 PM
Honda is missing the market here in the US. Ducati isn't so dumb, the 1098 Streetfighter will be here in May. Sure it's a little more expensive but its 100 lbs lighter, has 155 HP and isn't a watered down version of the sportbike it came from. For a little more money you can get high spec Ohlin's suspension, the best brakes on the market, super light wheels, and full race spec traction control. - on a streetfighter! I'm on the waiting list for a Streetfighter, if this Honda were coming to the US I'd have to rethink that decision. If Honda brought the cb1000r to the US I'm sure far fewer Ducati streetfighters would be sold... Honda, Ducati says "thank you"
Lee Richardson -CB1000R  January 21, 2009 02:12 AM
The usual story... beautiful high tech japanese machine! "Not coming to America". Hey Bruce, let me know what they are going for in Austalia, I will figure out the shipping cost from Sidney to Houston and we might be able to make a deal...
Probie -Honda CB1000R  January 15, 2009 07:36 PM
Test rode the Honda CB1000R, nice bike except I found the riders seat has to much slope and I could not find a comfort zone, other than that it's a well rounded machine.
Rossco P -CB1000R  January 11, 2009 08:17 PM
Sam -Crazy about The Cb 1000  December 7, 2008 01:01 AM
i will love to have the CB1000 ...............Go Honda
Vernon -CB1000R  December 3, 2008 03:56 PM
I would love to see this bike come to the U.S. It would be added to the current stable at our house...'04 1000RR, '03 600RR, '07 600RR, '08 ST1300. I love the looks of the bike, especially the single sided swingarm and the front headlight area. Sign me up Honda!
Frank -CB1000R Impresion  December 1, 2008 08:53 AM
It's styling is okay. It's a little to Transformer esque looking for me to love. I do like the insturmentation and the fly screen up front best. Even if it comes out in the US it does not move me enough to make me want to trade in my Speed Triple.
Jeremy -Honda Doesn't Get It  November 25, 2008 10:48 AM
We Americans would love to be treated with respect by Honda. Bring us THIS bike. Stop selling the Civic Si and bring us the Civic Type R. We don't need four different versions of the Goldwing! I miss the days when Honda made touring machines the average Joe could afford. At least BMW has a sport touring bike for $10,000.
Jacob Peterson -the bike  November 22, 2008 05:44 PM
This bike is heavy as crap. Us americans have something lighter, and faster. The Buell 1125cr, and it is more beautifull. :-)
Mike -"Why - not - Me!"  November 20, 2008 11:46 AM
I know the marketing depts of these large manufacturers of motorcycles know better than me but; my last 7 bikes consisted of 5GSXR-1000's and 2 ZX-10's mixed in and I would love to have a CB1000r or an MT-01 or an XR1200r. Please get these bikes here!
Neil -Americans love our low tech heavy unsafe cruisers  November 17, 2008 04:44 PM
It's all about being seen instead of safety and the ride. How many cruiser owners crash because the bike is so heavy that once it gets off track, many riders cannot pull it back again, especially at slow speeds. I pulled into traffic on a Harley Road King and had to cross the yellow line to make a sharp corner. It was a beautiful by 1940's standards pig full of chrome which further weighed it down and increased the price. So I like the CB1000 which is light years ahead of all those boat anchors.
LUKE -THE WARRIOR  November 13, 2008 05:28 PM
bruce hennessy -the bike  November 12, 2008 04:30 AM
come to australia and buy all you want