Honda updates CB650R, CBR650R for 2021

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Honda’s sensible 650s are sticking around for a while yet; Big Red’s dropped word the CB650R and CBR650R are both getting some minor updates for next season.

We aren’t getting the normal show circuit this fall, but we are getting the usual list of updated bikes—COVID-19 hasn’t stopped the industry from moving forward. Mostly, it’s business as usual, and that means the bikes are updated to Euro5 emissions standards, and given some other low-budget tweaks.

The 650s both saw some ECU, top end and exhaust system changes to bring them forward into the Euro5 era, while still keeping power at the same level. It sounds as if Honda had to go to considerable trouble with the engine to pull this off, but at least the bike is now legal in the crucial Euro market going ahead. Honda kept wet weight to 208 kg for the CBR650R and 202.5 kg for the CB650R.

Both the CBR650R (pictured above) and the CB650R (pictured here) get new Showa Separate Function Big Piston Forks for 2021.

Elsewhere, the biggest change is probably the new suspension. Now, both 650 models have Showa Separate Function Big Piston forks, which means one fork does the actual “springy” work, while the other handles compression, etc. 

Both bikes get some re-designed bodywork. They still have cheap-as-chips LCD gauges (with slight updates), and the CB650R gets a different handlebar angle, intended to make it more rideable at low speeds. Both machines now have a USB-C power port underneath the seat as well.

Neither bike seems to be on Honda’s Canadian website yet, so we don’t know pricing or availability—but unless COVID-19’s really screwed things up beyond repair, we’d expect some of these machines available for next riding season. Everyone in the industry seems keen to keep pricing low, too, so don’t worry too much about MSRPs climbing.

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