4 interesting updates to Honda’s motorcycle lineup
The motorcycle world functions on an entirely different schedule than the comparable car market. With April showers soon to give way to May flowers, and also clean riding roads, now is the time that just about every two-wheel enthusiast is either getting their machine ready for the season or on the prowl for acquiring a new two-wheel conveyance for this riding season. So while new cars get announced in the months leading up to the calendar flipping to a new year, motorcycle announcements come right now.
CBR650R gets a big piston (fork)
The market is hot for four-cylinder bikes right now. With race replica 600 and 1000cc inline-fours getting ever faster and more powerful, they easily outpace the needs of most riders on the street. The middleweight bikes like the CBR650R bring the full-fairing style but with a more tractable 649cc inline-four powerplant. This year the CBR650R also gets upgraded to a 41mm Showa® SFF-BP “Big Piston” front fork, which is the next step up in suspension damping from traditional cartridge forks. Combining an engine tuned for regular use with an even more capable chassis should provide a smooth middleweight that would be just as comfortable in the canyons as commuting to work.
CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE SP gains mid-corner muscle
Airflow is of the utmost importance on motorcycles. Aerodynamics over the bike and through the engine needs to be a priority for a track-focused machine like the Fireblade SP. The outside aero stays the same, but a revised intake tract consisting of small changes to everything intake air sees before entering the combustion chamber and also a fresh look at how the exhaust exits help midrange power. A three tooth increase in rear sprocket size will accentuate that strong mid-range punch. All this will be reined in by improved tuning of the Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) in an effort to keep riders on track longer by better managing rear tire wear.
Montessa COTA gets more bounce and power
Trials bikes are the most specialized motorcycles—bar none. The design is laser-focused on agility and nimbly-pimbly handling. The Montessa COTA 4RT260 evolves enough to warrant the addition of an R at the end of the name for 2022. Showa suspension is now standard, along with a new aluminum muffler for the 259cc four-stroke which gives a bump in power while also shedding weight. With a curb weight of just 170 pounds, there wasn’t much fat left on the bone.
Fresh color for the XR650L
While a color and graphics update is rarely worth talking about, the fact that the XR650L is getting any attention is worth noting. This 644cc air-cooled single has been lumbering along in its current form for nearly three decades. Tried and true has never been more apt than when describing the XR650L. A fresh look goes a long way in making the purchase of a new one less of a hit when a used bike is literally the same thing, but we would love to see some bigger changes like fuel injection on this thumper. How many Luddites are still buying new bikes?