Showa SFF forks – Slipper clutch
6kg lighter – Arriving March 2019 in Australia
Honda Australia have announced that the 2019 CBR650R and CB650R will arrive in Honda dealerships in March, with pricing set at $9,999 MLP for the CB650R and $10,299 MLP for the CBR650R.
Both of the new 650s – the CB650R and CBR650R – are LAMs approved, with the full power version not to be available in Australia at this point in time. The CB650R is available in Graphite Black and Candy Chromosphere Red and the CBR650R is available in Matte Gunpowder Black Metallic and Grand Prix Red.
Honda’s CBR650F was launched back into 2014, along with its naked sibling the CB650F, offering a traditional four-cylinder offering with a sports-touring lean and strong value proposition. It would further evolve in 2017, with new styling, more power and improved forks and brake calipers.
For 2019 the model further evolves, and now claims the CBR650R moniker, with styling based on the brand’s iconic sportsbike, the 2018 CBR1000RR Fireblade, and comes in lighter, more powerful and with a revised chassis. The LAMS version coming to the Australian market in early 2019 will just boast the styling and chassis refinements, while retaining the 35kW output, with possible torque benefits…
The riding position has further been adjusted to move the rider’s weight more forward, and downward, while all lighting is LED and the new LCD instrument display now includes a Gear Position and Shift Up indicator.
6kg has been shaved from the chassis compared to the CBR650F, thanks to revisions to the frame, fuel tank and footpegs. A 41mm Showa SFF USD fork, radial-mount four-piston calipers and floating discs are new additions. The wheels are also redesigned.
A new intake and exhaust, plus cam timing change and increased compression ratio are responsible for the engine’s 5% peak power boost and smoother and stronger torque delivery through the mid-range on unrestricted models, although it’s unclear how this may effect LAMS restricted machines with the 35kW limit as far as delivery and engine characteristics.
The unrestricted CBR650R also now revs to 12,000rpm, an extra 1,000rpm, while the claim of stronger torque may be the most noticeable on LAMS machines, although figures for 35kW models are not available.
For 2019 an assist and slipper clutch is now fitted to ease upshifts and manage fast, successive downshifts, while Honda’s Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) maintains rear wheel traction.
2019 Honda CBR650R features
Aggressive sports styling of the CBR1000RR Fireblade
Lighter frame plus other savings shave 5.6kg from kerb weight
41mm Showa Separate Function Fork (SFF) USD front suspension
Radial-mount brake calipers and floating discs
Full LED lighting and new LCD instruments
Clip-on handlebars now mount below the top yoke
5% more power above 10,000rpm, 1000rpm higher redline (excluding LAMS)
Torque delivery smoothed and boosted
New intake and exhaust designs flow more gas, and enhance the engine note
Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) feature
LAMS legal 35kW model for Australia – March 2019
$9,999 MLP for the CB650R
$10,299 MLP for the CBR650R
Lighter, sportier and more stylish
While its four-cylinder power unit is still firmly on display, the CBR650R’s new wrapping ramps up the sporting appeal, with dual LED headlights emit a penetrating, uncompromising stare, and the upper and extended lower fairings blending with sharp, slim lines and angles.
The seat unit, too is more compact and truncates the rear of the machine, adding to the harder-edged sense of purpose. The aggressive riding position starts with clip-on handlebars that now mount beneath the top yoke; they’re 30mm forward and lower than the CBR650F, and footpegs are 3mm further back and 6mm higher. Seat height remains 810mm.
The 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.
Kerb weight is reduced at 207kg thanks not only to the lighter frame, but also savings to both fuel tank and new super sport-style footpegs.
Also new is the 41mm Showa Separate Function front Fork (SFF) USD fork. Adjustable for 7-stage spring preload the single-tube monoshock operates directly on the curvaceous gravity die-cast aluminium swingarm. Rake is set at 25.5° with trail of 101mm and wheelbase of 1,450mm.
Four-piston radial-mount front brake calipers work on 310mm wave-pattern floating discs, matched to 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.
Honda’s development engineers wanted to create the most enjoyable mid-sized four-cylinder performance possible for the rider. So the 649cc, DOHC 16-valve engine has been tuned to eliminate a slight torque dip at 5500rpm, and deliver 5% more power above 10,000rpm with a redline raised 1000rpm. Peak power of 70kW arrives at 12,000rpm with peak torque of 64Nm delivered at 8500rpm.
The net result out on the road is a motor that spins harder, and for longer at high rpm, with a smooth, linear torque delivery that builds strongly as revs rise, and sounds great in the process. A 35kW version is also available in some markets, and will be coming to Australia as a LAMS model, so it remains to be seen how the engine refinements translate into restricted performance, with power gains largely impossible, but stronger torque a possibility.
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 ram air ducts feed the airbox from either side of the fairing with a larger volume of air, as opposed to the single, central duct of the CBR650F. 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 transmit the evocative howl more directly to the rider.
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 (with 12% less lever load) while managing rear-wheel lock up under rapid downshifts. Also, for 2019 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 despite the 15.4L fuel tank.
A range of Genuine Honda Accessories is available for the CB650R, including Front Fender Panels, Side covers, Seat cowl (aluminium parts or aluminium inserts), Wheel Stripes, Tank bag and seat bag inherited from the CB1000R, Quick shifter, High Screen (2 versions: clear, smoked), 12V socket, Heated grips.
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.