With the motorcycle industry collected in Cologne, Germany, for Intermot, Honda made the surprise decision to present its latest Neo Sports Café concept at a car show in France on the same day. Debuting at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, the CB650F-based concept follows in Honda’s new styling language for naked bikes established last year by the CB1000R, CB300R and CB125R.
Honda didn’t release very many details about the new concept, letting the bike’s style to speak for itself. Visually, the engine looks like the CB650F’s 649cc inline-Four, only in black and red. We used the engine as a reference point for the image comparison below to illustrate the differences. It’s important to remember the concept is up on a wheel stand, so the suspension compression will be a bit different between the two.
The concept’s frame looks to be similar to the CB650F’s, but with the rear subframe attaches at a slightly higher point. The tail is quite a bit shorter than the CB650F’s rear, with a flatter single seat. The footpegs are further back and slightly higher, creating more room for the stacked dual mufflers. The fuel tank has a very similar profile but the cutouts for the knees are a different shape.
Up front, the concept makes use of inverted forks with radial-mount calipers. The headlight is a significantly smaller LED unit, with a round horseshoe-shaped light surrounding two horizontal lights similar to the one used on the CB1000R.
The swingarm looks similar tot he CB650F’s swingarm, but with a new, slimmer chain guard. The rear shock also doesn’t look much different from the CB650F’s suspension.
The question everyone is asking, of course, is when we’ll see a production version. A new CB650R with the Neo Sports Café styling makes a lot of sense, as there’s a large displacement gap between the CB300R and CB1000R, so it’s more a matter of when than if Honda will build one. Honda’s choice to show the concept at a car show would suggest that Honda will show it again at EICMA for a motorcycle audience, but then again, we only have to look at last year as an example when Honda showed a concept version of the CB1000R at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show before following it up at EICMA a couple of weeks later with the full production model.