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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Have been salivating over the Black Ed for months and finally rode it home in the rain and loved every bit of it.

Looks Dept
Looks are subjective. Is that true? Yes, it is true when the looks are borderline. But, when it is overwhelmingly beautiful (like a super model), I think most people will agree that she is beautiful, with a fraction of the people disagreeing. To me, the CB1000R (Black Ed) is like a super model. It’s so eye-catching that when I walked away, I had to turn my head for a second look. The lines and curves are almost similar to Italian supercars. Yes, the Neo Sports Cafe CB1000R Black Edition (NSC/BE) is that good looking and it does live up to the Cafe part of the Neo Sports Cafe.

Exhaust Note:
Before I begin, I’m not one of those who likes to replace parts because it is popular to do so (like replacing the exhaust). The factory exhaust note is simply glorious to my ears; especially, at the lower RPMs. It sounded like a machinery that is dipped in butter and has enough of the metallic raspiness to give it that masculine presence. Like my CBR1000RR SP, I do not think I will replace it, it is music to my ears.

Torque and Power:
The bumps on the torque curve arrives much earlier than my CBR1000RRs; mainly, due to the fact that NSC/BE is meant to move about in the streets rather than on the track. Below 5,000 RPM, the torque of the NSC hovers above 50 lb-foot earlier than the Fireblade and maintains it at that level till slightly over 5K RM. At 6,000 RPM, the speed range is already somewhere in high 80's to lower 90's MPH. Above 6,500 RPM, there is bump up in the torque to hit its peak torque.

So, watch how you twist that right handle grip. Even at lower RPM ranges, like 3-4,000 RPM, I can feel the rear wheel throwing the bike forward in a very raw manner. In short, I would not recommend leaning into your right hand or have any unnecessary pressure against your right hand; as we all know, pressure on the right hand can inadvertently twist the grip and send you somewhere you did not intend to go. So, I make sure I hold the right grip very gently.

Throttle By Wire (TBW):
I know some of us are purists and nothing digital can come close to analog controls, like cables. I hear what you are saying and I still have a 2005 CBR1000R that is cable-controlled. Having said this, I now have 3 TBW bikes and honestly, I cannot really tell if the throttle is cabled or not. Yes, they have improved chip/sensor-driven throttle markedly over the years. When the bike is already in motion, the input of the fueling action is instant as far as I can feel it on the rear wheel. Based on experience, I think it will be even smoother & responsive when the bike hits 3-4,000 miles on the odometer — the engine and chassis will be more settled down.

There is a little quirkiness when accelerating from stationary. I encountered a couple of times when I twisted the right handle and it seemed like nothing happed for a fraction of a second and then it kicked in. I cannot put my finger on anything I did that may have caused that. I’ll keep this issue in view and report back if more of it happen in the future. I posted this finding on the NSC group in Facebook and 2 persons confirmed that they experienced the same thing. One even said it caused him to drop his bike in the first few days due to this issue.

Self-cancelling Signal Light
Never had this feature before in my bikes and it is quite novel to me, just like when I first started using QuickShifters. This is another marvel which increased the pleasure of riding this machine than without it. I think it will become more prevalent as riders and manufacturers realized that this is something which the machine should take care of it and the rider really does not want to be bothered by such mundane operations. After all, signal lights are not related to performance; so, to me, it is a chore which I will not miss if the machine can do it for me. One caveat with Honda’s implementation for this feature is that this: if the turn is a 90 degrees turn, it worked like a charm; but, if the turn is a gentler curve, the signal light will not be cancelled as quickly as it will rely on the Change-Lane feature with a 7 seconds expiration.

Honda QuickShifter (QS)
The first time I get to ride with a real Honda-implemented QS was on my 2018 CBR1000RR SP. I thought the QS on my SP was a little notchy but so far, it has been close to 100% reliable and there was never a hesitation in all of the gear shifting. I have to say that the QS on the NSC is less notchy and definitely smoother. I am using Medium setting for sensitivity.

Braking system
So far so good; the brakes felt like my 2005 CBR1000RR Tokico brakes. They have the same feel, same type of bite, no negative surprises.

Tires
Well, for my NSC/BE, it came with a factory installed Pirelli Diablo Rosso III. Can’t comment much on these tires except that they are a less track-oriented version of the Diablo Supercorsa, even the tread pattern resembles it. On the whole I expect it to be quite high performing on dry road; although the Pirelli website stated that it has better wet road holding than the previous generation.

Vibrations (handle-bars, foot-pegs & seat)
I have taken the bike beyond 65 MPH momentarily, just to slide the engine across the RPM range. I did not experience any harshness or vibrations on the handle-bars, foot-pegs or seat that I can report about. At least for my copy of this bike, Honda did a very job in taming those down. Just for comparison, I can still feel some amount of vibrations that are noticeable in my Ninja 1000SX even though it has a larger engine and it has 4,000+ miles on it. On my CBR1000RR SP, those vibrations at certain RPM ranges are beginning to go away as I ride it beyond 2,500 miles. New bikes really take some time to settle in; so, I need to be patient.

Fairings Absent and wind protection
This is my first naked bike and I really did not know what to expect after reading so many horror stories about wind buffeting and intolerable wind pressures. Well, I took the bike above 65 MPH and tugged in, wearing a Shoe RF1400. It did not feel that much different from my CBR1000RR SP at that those speeds. So, the key is tugging in, as in chest on the tank and face forward: it has the same effect as on a supersports bike with fairings.

Chassis and Suspension
As far as handling is concerned, I believe the bike lived up to the Sports part of the Neo Sports Cafe designation. It is very nimble, almost CBR1000RR-like. With the extended handle bar (compared to the clip-ons on a CBR1000RR), the leverage gave it a super responsive steering input and the front suspension handled everything you throw at it. The only thing it felt a little weird are the road feel is more than what the Ohlin suspension on my CBR SP gave me; perhaps, a little too much, because I can feel almost every pebble or large gravel the bike roll over at speeds below 40 MPH. The right handle grip seem a little loose to the extent that I can feel it bouncing a little when going over small rocks or pebbles. I looked around but cannot find any causes for this looseness.

Public Image
Needless to say, a naked bike conjures up a stereotypical impression (think hooligan) and a 100% black naked bike confirms that image even more so. Consequently, I am going to avoid more black in my attire but will liberally add Hi-Vis colors to brush away some of the hooliganism from public opinions. Nothing is springing from inside me to have any intention to exhibit hooliganism.

Wish list & Issues
  • Curb weight (467 lbs) is quite heavy. I wished Honda had used stronger and lighter materials.
  • Service Manuals are still not published yet at Helm Inc.
  • Bluetooth connectivity to phone (why is it not available in the US?)
  • Left mirror mount bar: kept hitting it when I lift up my left hand. Not sure why.
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Will add more to this over the course of the next few months when I ride more.

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UPDATE: Oct 18, 2021

Survey from Honda

North America Honda Powersports sent me 2 emails: one, to thank me and provide some links to some not very useful resources and the other for a survey.

The survey focused everything about the delivery and the dealer. Not a single question was about the bike itself. Hmmm, Honda must be thinking that they have produced a perfect bike; therefore, there is no need to ask. :unsure:;)🤪 That's a pretty sad state of affair, considering it was a post-sale survey.
May be later, there is another survey about the product itself ... I'll be patient to wait.

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UPDATE: Oct 20, 2021

Suspension

When I first saw/read reviews about the lower quality rear shocks, I brushed it aside and thought to myself that it cannot be that bad. Well, now that I have about 300+ miles of riding, I have to say that the suspension is really not good enough; perhaps, it was not correctly set in the factory. I never had any issues with suspensions from my 2005 CBR1000RR, 2018 CBR1000RR SP and 2021 Ninja 1000SX. As it is, from the factory, the bike is very bouncy when it goes over bumps at 55 MPH or faster. It gave me the feeling like it wants to throw me off the bike. At lower speeds in urban centers, crossing road constructions, it is very jittery and twitchy. In short, I don't feel safe to continue riding it until I commit resources into learning to fine-tune the suspension. This is quite a shocker as it is a product from Honda and I expected more.

Anyway, I have committed an entire evening reading, understanding the physics and have finally set the front suspension to Owner's Manual specs and the Rear Rebound Damping slightly harder than what the Owner's Manual prescribed. Let's see how the bike will behave in my next ride on the usual roads when the weather permits.

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UPDATE: Oct 21, 2021

Tested re-adjusted Suspension

The increase in rear shock Rebound Damping tamed it considerably. It took away around 70% of the throw-you-off-the-bike feeling when I go over bumps at 55 MPH or higher. At slower speeds, the rear is also pretty tame now. In general, it can have a little less Compression Damping in the rear but unfortunately, this particular dimension is not adjustable with the OEM shock.

Setting the front suspension to factory specs reduce the twitchiness by around 30-40%. It's still bouncy but better than before. I'll make incremental adjustments and see how it goes.

Gears and weirdness
This occurred twice today when I upshifted from 4th to 5th and from 5th to 6th, the gear indicator went from "4" -> "-" and it felt like a Neutral, rev shot through the roof.
Had to re-try upshift and it engaged correctly. Anyone seen this before?

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UPDATE: Oct 30, 2021

Fuel consumption

Looks like the fuel consumption is a little higher than other 4-cylinders bikes I own. It is currently hovering in the lower 40's MPG, higher than my CBR1000RR's which have approached upper 40's MPG. It's still a new engine and it is settling in. I have been keeping track of it at Fuelly.

Suspension
Rear shock is more or less there but can be adjusted further.
Front fork is also more or less there at mid-range and higher speeds; but, at lower speeds over construction areas with lots of undulation on road, it still felt like I'm riding a horse. I had to lean forward and take off almost all pressure off the right hand grip to prevent snappy fueling due to bumps.

Pirelli Diablo Rosso III Tires
These are pretty impressive tires. They are sticky even when the ambient temperatures are cold. They quickly warm up and build confidence when you push them. I think I will probably replace these OEM tires with the same tires when I am done with these.


Tire Wheel Cloud Sky Fuel tank


Land vehicle Vehicle Tire Motor vehicle Automotive tire
Tire Land vehicle Wheel Vehicle Car


Wheel Tire Fuel tank Plant Vehicle


Wheel Tire Plant Fuel tank Vehicle


Tire Wheel Bicycle wheel Automotive tire Vehicle brake
Tire Plant Fuel tank Vehicle Wheel
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You won't last many miles tucking in every time you go over 65. Eventually you'll realize the wind is part of what's fun about a naked bike. And it helps keep your speed below 120 :D
Yes, you are right! I should try that some time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great review --

I'm currently a week into my new BE and would like to provide an update to my initial review soon.

I'm really enjoying it so far. Not enough miles yet to give a meaningful review.
Excellent. Looking fwd to your review.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That would have resulted in a higher price on a bike that isn't a big seller as is.
Yup, I agree. It's already a fun bike, not sure why it is not selling better.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think if I were to buy this bike earlier, I would not have bought the CBRs and the Ninja 1000SX.
This bike fits most of my needs. It took 3 other bikes for me to find this out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you for the review. Interesting read.

8. Chassis / suspension -- TBD. So far, I can report that the front forks perform nicely for my type of riding. (Leisurely pace most of the time around town -- and then high speed pursuit in the middle of nowhere around 10% of the time). The front forks are nicely composed for the current settings, however, yesterday on the 10% ride -- the rear shock can get unsettled on roads that have some undulations. We tried dialing in the settlings last week, but I may re-think the rear settings.
I have to admit that the bike is bouncy when I rode through road constructions areas. I may soften the suspension if it continues to be a problem.
Some people complained about the rear shocks being too soft in early copies of this model (mentioned in VisorDown First Ride review).
Factory may have made it too hard now.

Is yours too bouncy or too soft when you said "the rear shock can get unsettled" ?

[...]
So far so good. I think it is a great motorcycle ----
It's always a deep pleasure to see another person enjoying his bike --- true therapy occurring in the whole being!
Tell us more when you ride more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
[...]
Months of wind tunnel testing produced this bit :p
:LOL::coffee:(y)

I have ordered the smoked OEM windshield which is meant for the 2021 CB650R. Someone in the NSC Group in Facebook bought one and installed it in 30 secs on their Black Ed. It's a drop-in installation.
And, I thought it looked quite good and taller. Hopefully, I don't upset the wind tunnel perfection.

Tire Wheel Plant Automotive tire Automotive lighting
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The issue with the shock, and I've had my suspension adjusted by a professional for my weight, is that it tends to bounce. When traveling over a bump, it should compress, rebound, and stop. It doesn't, it continues to bounce some. My tech pointed this out as he was adjusting it. IMO Honda made the shock soft.
Not that I'm considering this but I wonder if this issue will all go away if we upgrade the shocks to something better. I want to say Ohlin but I may have to foot out a couple $thousands. The issue with Ohlins suspension is that you are not even allowed to service it yourself; so, theoretically, every 3 years, you need to remove them and send them to the factory or authorized dealer to service them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 · (Edited)

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
How to install the Ohlins rear shock ... just in case ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Case you missed it:
[...]
Thanks so much.
Wonder where he got this table from. I think I have seen this table circulating in the Internet but I can never find it in Owner's Manual nor in Service Manual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Added an UPDATE to the original post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Case you missed it:


Based on my weight + a little tail-bag, it is the 154 lbs line. All the settings on that line is exactly the factory settings.
Should I increase their stiffness more ?
I'm currently experiencing bounciness and when I go over bumps, like bridges, sometimes I felt like I was about to be thrown off the bike. So, I tend to slow down a lot when I come to visible bumps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 · (Edited)
I will try to bump up the rear shock Rebounding Damping and see what happens. By the way, the bounciness obviously gets worse as the speed is higher; i.e. above 55 MPH. I did raise my butt whenever I see a bump approaching on a highway.

And, yes, for those who are not Americans, our Interstate highways (called freeways) is quite an animal. In Texas, they are usually class-1 roads, which means they are not asphalt but concrete, which are more expensive, last longer and better quality. I know because when I was living in Houston, my friend was working in the Texas Highway Dept.

Usually, the posted max speeds ranges from 55 MPH all the way to 80 MPH in more remote areas. I may be wrong with the upper limit, there may be states that allow 85 MPH, which I am not aware of. Although, they are not German autobahn, when you have wide open roads, people speed a lot. Most traffic flow around 20 MPH above the speed limit in large cities like Houston. When I commuted from NJ to NYC on interstate I-78, you would be endangering yourself if you cannot keep at 80-85 MPH with the morning traffic, even though the posted speed limit is 65 MPH. I would have to respect the NJ/NYC/Connecticut drivers; they certainly have better skills in their high speed driving.

So, there you have it, the American interstate freeways are like a semi-autonomous "autobahn", where there is a legal speed limit but in actuality, it is determined by the flow of the traffic. The cops close one eye until they need to bag some people to fulfill their monthly speeding-ticket quota.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
On closer inspection, looks like the rear shock Pre-Load was set to position #1 by the factory when the Owner's manual says #3.
In this case, I've now lost all confidence that the bike was set to factory specs in terms of the other settings. May be these were set by the dealer? Not sure.
I'm going to re-validate everything now.
 
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