Remember how Honda launched the CB1000R in 2008 using a detuned the previous-generation Fireblade engine? Well since 2020 there’s been another generation of ’Blade and that means the 2008-2019 CBR1000RR engine is sitting unused at the moment – just waiting to be slotted into a new generation of CB1000R naked bike.
And a spate of new patent applications from Honda shows that’s precisely what’s being worked on at the moment, revealing detailed drawings of a CB1000R-style machine using a new alloy chassis and a version of the 2008-2019 Fireblade’s four-cylinder engine.
At the moment, the CB1000R is looking increasingly outgunned by rivals, as its 143hp is some way short of the 160hp-plus that’s offered by machines like BMW’s S1000R, Yamaha’s MT-10, KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R and Triumph’s Speed Triple 1200RS. While Honda might not want to sit at the 200hp-plus table that’s currently occupied by the Ducati Streetfighter V4 and MV Agusta Brutale 1000, the CB1000R could do with an extra 20hp to keep its relevance against the more mainstream opposition.
Since the last of the Fireblades to use the 999cc engine seen in these patent drawings managed 189hp, getting 160-170 from the motor in Euro 5-friendly CB1000R form should be more than possible.
The patent applications show that where the current CB1000R has a steel backbone frame, the next-gen bike will revert to an alloy chassis with a substantial, monocoque-style front section holding the steering head and smaller braces around the swingarm pivot.
At the back, the signature single-sided swingarm that’s been a CB1000R feature since the 2008 model remains, but it’s an updated design with a horizontally mounted rear shock on the left-hand side. This is the subject of one of the new patent applications, as Honda has combined the chain guard and the mounting for the shock’s rising rate linkage into one piece on the swingarm, reducing the component count in a design that’s not been seen before.
The patents suggest the styling will feature a sloping headlight that appears to be an evolution of the design that debuted on the latest version of the CB1000R, but adds aerodynamic winglets on each side, bolted to the radiator support brackets. These winglets are intended to be functional, generating genuine downforce, rather than just cosmetic.
At the very back, there’s another component that’s subject to a patent application in the form of the licence plate bracket. While it looks a lot like the design used on the current CB1000R, it differs in that it also incorporates the rear indicators – they’re vertical strips moulded into either side of the vestigial mudguard-shaped part, so they’ll poke out above the numberplate when it’s fitted.
Another unusual element is the exhaust, which features a strange, double-deck silencer arrangement with a larger exit from the upper section and a smaller one below. Although not mentioned in the patent documents, this could well be a system that’s designed to incorporate an internal valve to direct gasses through one or both pipes, changing the backpressure and sound levels in the process.
Other than that, we can see Honda is incorporating high-end forks, brakes and wheels into the mix, so like the current CB1000R the next-gen model isn’t intended to be a budget machine.
When will we see the new bike? That’s not clear yet. The current CB1000R is classed as a ‘2023’ model, so the version seen here is still at least a year away from showrooms, but it could be teased sooner than that via a concept bike.
It’s also not clear whether Honda will persist with the CB1000R title. The company has just revived the Hornet name for the new CB750 Hornet, and before the CB1000R was launched in 2008, its predecessor (also powered by an old Blade engine) was the Hornet 900. With the Hornet name now back in the nest, perhaps it could be expanded to the next-gen CB1000R, too.