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38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry for the novice question but I always wondered what the abbreviations "CBR" stands for? I always thought of it just be a simple chassis code or random letters to be the name, But recently I heard it actually stands for something. DO you guys have any clue?

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Closet Boy Racer ? Clingon Before Riding ? Choose Brakingpoint Respectfully ?

Crash Brings Rash ( roadrash that is ) Cemetery Burial Racer

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"The Honda CBR models are a series of Honda sport bikes several of which (400RR, 600RR, 900RR, 929RR, 954RR and 1000RR) are marketed as race replicas, having the suffix RR after the engine size designation. With the exception of the single cylinder CBR125 and CBR150, all CBR motorbikes have inline engines (as compared to the V-twins in the VT, VTR and VF/VFR series). Less sporting models with inline engines make up the CB Series."


" of the most extensive lines of Honda motorcycles is the CB Series which contains many of their most revered earlier models. Many CB models are still sold as commuting and cruising bikes. All CB series motorbikes have inline engines. The smaller CB models are also popular in vintage motorcycle racing.[1]
Honda's sport bikes with inline engines are sold as the CBR series"


Honda CB series - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Honda CBR series - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"There are exceptions that I don't know because of model changes since I've been "in the business", but they basically follow the following formula:

First is the Alpha Digits which identify the engine configuration & type, such as CB, GL, VF, VT etc. If the bikes engine is built to race specs, it gets a further designator "R". CB= Inline-four engine
VF= V-four engine
VT=V-twin engine
GL= Opposed Cylinder Engine

Second is the engine size (self explainatory).

Next digit is the one which identifies the type/body style of bike. Most sportbikes are an "F", most cruiser bikes are a "C"

Last, if the model has a sub-model it'll have further alpha digits after. For example the magna was a VF750C. They also offered some with a mini-fairing around the headlight & two-toned paint. This one was a VF750CDC. On our beloved CBR's, the last digit also tells us which generation bike it is. The original (Hurricane) was the CBR600F, the next generation is the CBR600F2, followed (of course) by the F3/F4 and F4I (Injected). I have no idea what the "RR" actually denotes...anybody?

Hopefully you will all see the pattern here. Here's some examples of different models by model name & engine type followed by the Model Designator:

Nighthawk 750 (inline 4)= CB750
CBR (inline 4)= We all know these!
599/919 (inline 4)=I haven't looked yet to see what model designator they got.
Interceptor (V-4)=VFR800I (Remember the "old" VFR750F?)
Magna (V-4)=VF750C
Shadow 600 (V-twin)=VT600C
Shadow 750's (V-twin)=VT750C (with additional designators for different 750cc
Shadow 1100 (V-twin)=VT1100C or CDC (many different models have been made
in current years & they all ended with a
different designator number, but they all
started with "VF1100C"
Goldwings (opposed cylinder)=GL1800?

Honda is the only manufacturer I have a clue about since they're the only ones I've worked for. Hope this helps someone, somewhere understand what all those digits/numbers mean"


Premium Member
2,119 Posts
yes, cbr stands for nothing initially but it means many for many bikers and racers around the world emotionally:)
So, cbr means an inline engined race bike.
It does not fit cbr500r though, isnt it?

3,131 Posts
I really thought that the CBR 750 was the first hurricane (only produced in Japan, but recognized as a special bike so some grey imports exist) as raced in the 750 series in days gone by. Which they replaced with the cbr600f when they no longer held races in the 750.

example of thje 750 here: 1987 Honda CBR750 Hurricane - CBR Forum - Enthusiast forums for Honda CBR Owners

I wish I still had photos of my 750, it was so beautiful as far as bikes from the late 80s early 90s go :D


This is the model / colour scheme my 750 had, it was a special edition paint scheme to note the end of the bikes production.

341 Posts
i found this in wikipedia

The Honda CBF models are a series of motorcycles with traditional styling that are designed to appeal to a mass market. They are generally available in Europe. According to Honda the abbreviation CBF means - Cheap to keep. Built to last. Fun to run.

so maybe the CBR means

cheap to build
fun to ride

for the 500f maybe it means. street FIGHTER

and for the 500X maybe ..eXtra

like eXtra suspension travel eXtra large fuel tank etc

i think they do mean something

1,057 Posts
Yup, just a designator from an alphabetical series. Make it into whatever backronym you want (even some Honda folks have played that game).

Here are some more details dug up from other forums (to add to what bmk dug up earlier).

From user hppants on the Nighthawk forums:
what does CB stand for?
"I consulted my "Everything You Need to Know About Honda Motorcycles" book. Apparently, I don't need to know much about this - there was a small chapter on the origination of the Honda Motorcycle Company, but the bulk of the book starts with 1959. However, in the chapter, the author describes how Soichiro Honda used the American alphabet to name his prototypes and I believe the type "C" ended up being the first production model. As he expanded his product offerings, a second letter was designated to sub-type the bike. For example, in the 60's, the 305 cc bike came as:

The CA305 - is a "Dream Touring"
The CB305 - is a "Super Hawk"
The CL305 - is a "Scrambler"

My feeling is that each bike incorporates many of the same basic components - frame, motor, tranny, etc. But each bike has some differences that makes it more appealing to a niche. Capt. Kirk also read this book - perhaps he could weigh in to? A Biography on Soichiro Hondo would be a cool read, if it wasen't 1000 pages long."

From user Phadreus on
What does "CB" stand for? - Honda Motorcycles -
"I read an article once about the unveiling of the original CBR600F (Hurricane) where the press asked the Jap Engineers at the unveiling what the "CBR" stood for and was quite surprised at their response; "Completely Bad-assed Ride". I was impressed..."
(So, although it's just a designator, even some Honda folks had fun with the backronym game. -N)

A couple good tidbits within a post on the site by user 929ADAM:
(Note that I'm not convinced of the accuracy of the point about US production bikes. I've seen more indication that the C was just the first series that made it to production, period. Could be wrong, though. -N)
Anyone know what CBR stands for - Page 8 - Honda Motorcycles -
"C was a prefix used on a japanese specification machine that was sold in the US and other markets.

The CB92 was the first CB model to come out. That was in 1959 and it was a OHC Parallel Twin / 124cc

At the time it was CA's and CB's. CA's being the more touring bikes, and CB's leaning to sport.

IN61 they came out with the CB92R Benly Super Sports Racer 125! Thats what started it all for the CB_R racing name.

Then CB160s, 350, 450, 750 and eventually 900s

The R wasnt really used again until 85 on the VF1000R, and the FIRST CBR wasnt seen until 1987 with the CBR600F Hurricane and CBR1000F HURRICANE!

thanks. rep me.

and the thing about the cross beam racer. . not true. but it WAS the most logical sounding up to this point. haha."

And a great description by user Geeto67 on the SOHC forums:
What does "CB" mean?
"it does not mean anything. They are Honda internal code designations (kinda like how GM uses F-body for pony cars and A-body for midsize cars). The very first preproduction hondas that were made carried A and B designations. When they went into production They were on their third version and so the C designation stuck. The second letter refers to different models or functions within the line. Think of it like software: you have version 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, etc. The letters do not actually stand for anything.

Overtime the C has taken on different meanings with different bikes (CR for example) but it's original meaning was road legal production bike with the B variants representing sports bikes, A representing standards, and L representing dual sports or scramblers. R was always racing variant so when coupled to C it just meant production racing bike. Latter honda would add an F to bikes it felt were more sporty based on a production road bike (cb750F, 550F, etc) with two exceptions: the cb350F and 400F where the F stood for four cylinder. What makes this harder is that inside the development name are other identifiers to signify upgraded versions or different year models (k0, k1, k2, cb350D, cb350E, etc....) to use the software analogy it is like version 1.2.1....well you get the idea.

All this talk that the letters actually stand for words are an urban legend, although it might be that the original prototype honda made carried the AA designation because that stood for something. That being said, all this stuff was developed in the 1940s and 50s before there was a us market and all the work was in Japanese and these bikes even carried the letter designations back then so the chance they stood for something in english is pretty thin. Plus the japanese use a different alphabet/characters from us in their native language. I doubt Mr. Honda himself was thinking about US distribution when building the first prototype in his house/shed.

currently the CBR designation is for sportbikes, RR is for production street legal race bikes (for built to comply with racing classes production rules) cb is for standards, and there are a whole host of other designations for off road.

The hardest part about figuring out what this means is that the meanings changed over the years. What CB meant in the 1960's and 70's is not the same as it meant in the 1980s."

So, there you have it, thanks to many folks who have actual books on this sort of thing. :)

610 Posts
CBR = Cool Black Ride
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