As the already flagship model of the Honda’s Neo-Sports Café lineup, the 2021 CB1000R Black Edition takes it a step further with a number of form and function improvements for the new model year. The best part? Honda maintained its relatively well-priced $12,999 MSRP despite such upgrades.
Honda added the “Black Edition” suffix to the CB1000R, following the footsteps of its premium automobile offerings. The rebadge identifies an up-spec fit and finish to the outgoing, with hints of blacked-out coloring scattered throughout. Bits like the radiator shrouds, fork legs, airbox covers, exhaust system, and more drip in black finish. New seven-spoke cast aluminum wheels are also fitted to the Black Edition for a more intricate styling.
Sure, the CB1000R’s dyno chart suggests modest peak figures, but it is a ripper in the midrange. Opening the throttle reveals a direct connection to the rear wheel via its throttle-by-wire system and a confidence-inspiring, butter-smooth initial acceleration as it rolls off the corner, quickly followed by an entertaining jolt in power around 7,000 rpm. Keep it wrung, it’ll loft a front wheel skyward as it spins toward redline. The added bidirectional quickshifter fitted to the ‘21 model makes for near seamless gear changes through its six-speed gearbox.
Quick acceleration and ripping performance is only complemented by the CB1000R’s nimble and flickable chassis. The in-command position of the one-piece off-road-style handlebar position leverages the 468-pound wet weight with quick turn-in characteristics and easy midcorner corrections. OE-fitted Pirelli Diablo Rosso III rubber lends itself to superb grip and feel.
This street bike is brought to a quick stop via a pair of Tokico four-piston calipers and 310mm discs up front. Although stopping power is strong, the system lacks brake feel and robs understanding of how much pressure is being applied to the disc. A fixed ABS setting is standard and offers a well-balanced level of intervention.
Honda added a 5-inch TFT display to the CB1000R for 2021, which replaces the LCD display of the outgoing model. The new dashboard offers much improved visibility of pertinent information and is easily navigated through via the left handlebar switch. All-LED lighting adds to the Black Edition’s premium touch and Honda’s high-quality fit and finish.
The 2021 Honda CB1000R Black Edition adds a degree of both performance and quality to an already impressive platform. Considering that it achieves both without an increase in price, it’s hard to argue the value. No black card needed.