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Honda has always thrived on exploring new boundaries in technology, design and engineering to create motorcycles that inhabit new spaces in the marketplace.

The ‘Neo Sports Café’ range is one such project, born to explore facilitating new rider preferences and needs. Steered by retro- industrial minimalism, they have stripped everything back and adapted a host of textured metal finishes and an ultra-minimalist look that results is a machine with a unique identity, a fusion of Sport Naked and bare-boned Café Racer inspirations. The CB1000R and CB300R came first and appealed to riders within their respective engine capacity ranges but one obvious segment remained for the new aesthetic to find expression: the competitive naked middleweight arena.

For 2019, the new CB650R confidently takes on this role. Using the same styling blueprint as its siblings, the CB650Rs retro-minimalism is aimed at a young demographic that wants to show off in style and enjoy 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 and 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 midsized four-cylinder performance possible for the CB650R rider. The 649cc, DOHC 16-valve engine offers a smooth, linear torque delivery that builds strongly as revs rise and sounds great in the process.

Direct cam actuation makes for a compact cylinder head; compression ratio is 11.6:1, and the combustion-chamber shape is optimized 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 minimize bore contact, reducing 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 the cylinder head to the cylinders does away with most of the exterior hoses.

New twin air ducts on either side of the fuel tank feed a larger volume of air, as opposed to the single, central duct, raising atmospheric pressure in the airbox. They also produce a throaty intake roar. The exhaust features a large bore tail pipe inside the muffler to flow more gas and with its exit pipe angled upward, to emit an emotional howl. The engine uses a compact internal architecture, stacked six-speed gearbox and starter layout with the cylinders canted forward 30°. An assist/slipper clutch eases upshifts while managing rear-wheel lock up under rapid downshifts. Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) manages rear-wheel traction; it can be turned off should the rider choose.

The CB650Rs steel-diamond frame offers pressed (rather than forged) swingarm pivot plates 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. Curb weight (measured with all required fluids) is 202kg Handling is well balanced thanks to a centralization of mass.

Front suspension is 41mm Showa Separate Function Fork (SFF) where the fork is held by a forged-aluminium bottom triple clamp. Adjustable for seven-stage spring preload, the single-tube shock operates directly on the curvaceous, gravity die-cast aluminium swingarm.

Four-piston radial-mount front brake callipers work on 310mm floating discs and are paired with a single-piston rear calliper and 240mm discs. Two-channel ABS is standard. The cast aluminium wheels are a brand-new design with five Y-shaped spokes.

Tightly wrapped and aggressive, the CB650Rs Neo Sports


TYPE649cc, liquid cooled, 4-stroke, 4-cyl
BORE & STROKE67 × 46mm
CARBURETIONPGM-FI electronic fuel injection
TRANSMISSION6-speed manual
DIMENSIONS (LXWXH)2,130 × 780 × 1075mm
FUEL CAPACITY15.4 litres
FRONT120/70 – 17
REAR180/55 – 17
FRONT41mm Showa Separate Function Fork (SFF) inverted fork, 108mm travel
REARPro-link with adjustable pre-load, 128mm travel
FRONT2× 310mm discs, ABS
REAR1× 240mm disc, ABS
TECHNOLOGYHSTC (Honda Selectable Torque Control)
LED LIGHTINGHeadlight, tail light, indicators
COLOURCandy Chromosphere Red and Graphite Black
LAMS APPROVEDThe 2019 CB650R is LAMs approved
NOTESpecifications subject to change

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