While Honda’s race-winning CBR600RR is soon expected to go the way of the dodo, the 2021 CBR650R, along with the CB650R with which it shares many parts, has received some updates to keep it fresh and Euro5 compliant. The changes to both 650s include suspension upgrades and engine tweaks, while aesthetic changes are minor.
The CBR650R and CB650R were both dramatic upgrades from the bikes they replaced, the CBR650F and CB650F, at least stylistically. The somewhat bland look of both F models gave way to a CBR1000RR clone in the CBR650R, and a CB1000R clone in the CB650R, both transformations much for the better. With respect to appearance, Honda has opted to keep well enough alone with the 2021 updates.
Under the skin, however, the bikes receive engine upgrades in order to comply with new Euro5 standards without any significant performance loss. Changes to the ECU, cams, timing, and exhaust system keep emissions clean and regulators happy.
The biggest changes come with the suspension, which now features Showa’s Separate Function Big Piston fork. Separate Function refers to placing spring function in one fork leg, and damping duties in the other, in order to both reduce weight, and provide more space for damping operations. Originally developed for motocross applications, separation of these tasks is only made possible by the stiff structure of modern upside-down fork architecture, owing to the difference in forces transmitted through each fork leg.
Big Piston refers to Showa’s use of a large-diameter piston for damping control, which improves response and makes for smoother operation and increased feel. The CBR650R and CB650R were already known to be competent handlers, but the suspension upgrade should further improve things.
The list of changes also includes a USB-C port under the seat, some minor improvements to the LCD dash, and an altered handlebar angle for the CB to improve comfort.
Pricing and availability has not yet been announced.
Sources: canadamotoguide.com, visordown.com