Honda is set to throw a Blade-powered CB into the supernaked ring
AMCN sources in Japan have let slip there’s an all-new CB1000R supernaked in the wings, set for a late 2017 launch to join the Japanese ranks as a 2018 model.
According to our sources, the new nakedbike will be powered by an engine similar to that in the latest generation Fireblade and, in the face of competition like Yamaha’s R1-based MT-10, KTM’s crazy 1290 Super Duke R and Aprilia’s Tuono V4 1100, the latest motor has the performance to put Honda on a par with its rivals while still meeting all the latest emissions limits.
In terms of appearance, we’re told the styling comes from Honda’s Italian R&D arm, which has shown its worth with the CB4 Concept (revealed back in 2015) as well as last year’s CB1100TR concept. This computer-generated image of the mooted bike is based on information from Japan about how it’s likely to look, taking inspiration from both these earlier concept machines.
The outgoing CB1000R, which made its debut back in 2008, was modernist in its appearance with a distinctive headlight and single-sided swingarm. The new bike, however, is understood to have a certain retro feel to its styling. Rumours suggest a simple, round headlight and angular, flat-track-inspired shapes. The proportions are modern, though, with a stubby tail unit and a licence plate mounted on its swingarm to comply with European rules that demand bodywork extends beyond the rear edge of the back tyre. That swingarm is double-sided, too; lighter and stiffer than a single-sider can hope to be.
It’s unclear how high on Honda’s priority list the new bike sits, but given the popularity of naked roadsters the Japanese firm won’t be wanting to wait too long to launch it. As such, it would make sense for the bike to be revealed in late 2017 as a 2018 model.
Meanwhile Honda is also known to be working on several other key models. A new Goldwing has been under development for years and is finally approaching readiness, while the much-anticipated V4 superbike RVF project is still in the picture. However, for 2017 the firm has discontinued several key models – in Europe at least – including the ST1300 and, surprisingly, the VFR1200F. The scratchings leave Honda’s touring and sport-touring ranges looking thin – prompting speculation that something new must be under development to fill the gap.
By Ben Purvis