The Honda CB1000 is a naked or standard bike first introduced overseas in 1992 and the United States in 1994.
Honda was a decade ahead of the reignited interest in naked cafes, and poor sales led to the manufacturer taking it off the market by 1995.
In 2008 that trend had shifted, and Honda released the updated CB1000R, a naked cafe with a down-tuned version of the monstrous CBR1000RR engine.
The CB series is one of the most sought-after lines in motorcycles, and the CB1000R is a lean-mean-fighting machine in every sense, but what are the common problems with the updated Honda CB1000?
Read on to find out!
1. Heel Plate Paint Rubs Off
It’s the little things that get under the skin of some riders, but in this case, it’s a valid critique.
The paint on the heel plate of the Honda CB1000R tends to rub off if contact is made between the plate at the rider’s boot, especially if they’re riding in hard boots.
A heel plate is a factory-fabbed component bolted between the footpeg and the CB1000R’s engine. Not only does it protect your leg and foot from heat and moving components, but it’s also stylized and painted to match the aesthetic of the motorcycle.
The stunning CB paint job extends itself from the tin to the body to the heel plate, and one common complaint we’ve encountered regarding the CB1000R is that the paint rubs off relatively quickly.
Forum testimonials allude to the problem being a more prevalent problem for riders who wear tough riding footwear fit with toe protectors and metal shielding. Still, a few CB riders spoke up and said that they ride in plain ether boots, and tough leather was still enough to scratch the paint off the plate.
A common solution discussed was to line them with matt helicopter tape to prevent them from scratching. Riders who were unable to prevent theirs from scratching get it touched up by a local body paint shop before strapping their CB1000Rs heel plates with Ventureshield, helicopter tape, or stick-on carbon fiber to prevent any boot-scratching from happening in the future.
2. Rear Tail Light Recall
Honda recalled myriad units from the first generation of CB1000R, the 2008 re-design. The cause of the recall was a rear tail light failure at the hands of short-circuiting.
Like most moto-manufacturers, Honda engineers their components in-house but sources production of electrical parts to more experienced manufacturers. When production is high, they may outsource the design of a component like the taillight to multiple electronic manufacturers at once. The manufacturers are all using Hondas engineering designs, so the components are identical even though different third parties make them.
In cases like the 2008 CB1000R, where only a fraction of the bikes had taillight failures, the chances are good that one-third of the manufacturers make a mistake or cut corners somewhere in the process.
From what I’ve read, this was the case, and Honda provided VINs to their dealers to help track down the unfortunate units stocked with subpar taillight gear and swap them out with functioning parts they sourced from one of the more reliable third-party manufacturers.
If you’re the owner of 2008 CB1000R that’s having taillight issues, it might mean the original owner never took it in for the upgrade. Provide your VIN to your local Honda mechanic and get your upgraded taillight installed asap.
3. Throttle Lags at High RPMs
One of the more common complaints regarding the CB1000R is a dip in throttle performance at high revs.
CB1000R riders claim the engine lags between 3500 and 4500 RPMs. One CB rider claims that the power hesitation occurs at the mid-point of the throttle range and notes that their bike neither accelerates nor decelerates. If the rider twists the throttle back and forth a few times and then accelerates, they say they’re able to re-access the full motor power.
It’s not a gear-related issue, as the rider specified that the bike performs strongly in mid and low RPM ranges, and response is smooth all the way up through the gears. The interesting thing is that their previous bike was a Honda CBR1000RR, the sportbike from which Honda borrowed the engine for the CB1000Rs in question.
As I stated in the introduction to this piece, Honda down-tuned the motor for the CB; unlike its cousin, the CB isn’t a track bike, and packing that much power into a naked cafe is unconventional, to say the least.
I confirmed that this was an issue reported by multiple riders, all of which seemed more mechanically experienced and spent more time in the saddle of high-revving bikes than riders who reported no such issue.
This leads me to believe that the lag is subtle and nominal to general riders.
Some of the CB1000R riders who noted the lag even say that they thought it was in their head since the stock CB exhaust quiets things, but you can hear the shift in fuel injection in that high range if you listen closely.
They claim that it sounds like a bad carb until the lag stops.
This lag might be a problem for aggressive riders expecting the sportbike motor to perform as it does in the CBR; the naked CB1000 was never intended to rip as hard as a track bike and was intentionally down-tuned to hinder it back off of the racing range.
After a CB1000R owner said that he stopped experiencing the throttle lag once he started gearing up, I came to this theory, thoroughly throttling up through each gear one by one instead of RPM-boosting then rapid-firing up to the high gears like they’re on a racetrack.
Before we go into possible causes and solutions of the CB1000R’s high-rev-throttle lag, it’s important to note that all of the complaints surrounding this issue referred to 1000R models released before 2012, leading me to believe that Honda has since rectified the issue.
Possible Causes and Solutions
The leading theory on the CB1000R high-rev throttle lag is that it’s an ECU function to adhere to emissions regulations that vary from country to country.
There are EU regulations, for example, and certain states in the U.S. have varying regulations. The down-tuned motor’s ECU may lean the fuel mixture at high revs in a way that satisfies the most strict regulations.
The leading theory is that Honda was having trouble meeting the strict California regulations, so they hindered the motor’s fuel map from getting the bikes into the country. CB1000R riders found that if they removed the O2 sensor of their bikes, it solved this problem.
Another common fix is installing an aftermarket PCV.
Installing a PCV valve in the crankcase breather hose of a CB1000R reduces pressure from under the piston. Since the pistons don’t have to fight crankcase air on the downstroke, the motor response is tighter and frees the revs all the way through the gears.
Both of these options void the bike’s warranty since you’re messing with Honda’s factory tuning, but many riders pull the trigger on these upgrades anyway since the tuning isn’t up to Honda’s normal standards.
4. Bike Won’t Start on Side Stand
One other main complaint about the CB1000R in the forums is that the bike has problems starting when it’s on its side stand, even though it starts fine if the side stand is pulled up.
Modern motorcycles are performance-regulated by an ECU. The CB1000R is stocked with sensors, and these sensors relay their readings to the ECU, making things like ignition, fuel injection, throttle response, engine-cooling, etc., more accurate, reliable, and instantaneous.
The ECU only allows the motorcycle to start in gear if the side stand is up and the clutch is pulled in. Otherwise, the ECU will only prompt the ignition process if the CB1000R is neutral, regardless of how many times you crank on the starter switch.
Many riders assumed that the side stand switch was at fault since the neutral light was working, but the issue turned out to be the neutral switch.
A faulty neutral switch will send enough of a spark to keep the neutral light on but not enough to signal the ECU and let it know that the CB1000R is ready for ignition.
How to Check If Your Neutral Switch Is Bad on a Honda CB1000R
Inside the diode block, there are three connections. One goes to the neutral light, one connection grounds the current when the box is in neutral, and one grounds to the side stand/clutch switch when the side stand is up and the clutch is pulled in.
Using a multimeter or voltmeter, attach one lead to the battery’s negative and probe the center terminal. As you shift in and out of neutral, the status should change.
When the box is neutral, there shouldn’t be much resistance. If the Ohms are reading high or erratic, your neutral switch is bad.
Go ahead and test the continuity to the ground while you’re down there. If the ground reading is low, the chances are good that your side switch is the culprit.
The good news is that a neutral switch is relatively cheap. From what I read in the forums, it seems like the CB1000R manual implies that you have to drop the motor from the frame to swap out the neutral, but don’t fret; that’s not the case.
How to Change the Neutral Switch on a Honda CB1000R Without Removing Your Engine
Follow these steps to change the neutral switch of your CB1000R without removing the engine:
- With the bike on the side stand, uninstall the right-side swingarm brace, and you can get to the neutral switch. It’s the small silver component in a rubber boot that’s pulled back, the one with a red washer.
- Leave the left swing arm on and don’t remove the bolts from the right swing arm right where they are.
- Swap out your faulty neutral switch for a functional one.
- Re-install the right-side swingarm.
The faulty neutral switch isn’t present on all CB1000Rs, and if your CB is still under warranty, you can skip all this DIY jazz and have it swapped out at the Honda dealership; Honda will foot the bill.
Pros and Cons of the Honda CB1000
Here are the pros and cons of the Honda CB1000:
The modern CB1000R produces 122 horsepower at 9,800 RPM, with a peak torque of 5 foot-pounds. The 4-2-1 exhaust is impressive, to say the least, and the bike’s stylish approach to a modern, naked cafe maintains the look CB fanatics can’t get enough of.
The issues outlined in this article are small flukes that have surfaced in specific units during certain years; the Honda CB1000R is overall one of the most reliable and sought-after naked bikes available.
- Bike Won’t Start on Sidestand
- Throttle Lags at High RPMs
- Tail Light Recall
- Heel Plate Paint Rubs Off
What Do the Reviews Say?
Honda managed the feat via hot-rodding the CB’s prior generation CBR1000RR inline-four, yet hedged the bet with ride-by-wire electronics offering selectable ride modes and traction control. While at the drawing board Honda chassis gurus came up with a new lighter and stiffer steel backbone frame, shortened single-side swingarm, and fitted the bike with Showa’s up-to-date Separate Function Big Piston fork.
What’s the Resale Value of a Honda CB1000R?