posted September 29, 2007 08:23 AM
Edited By: frEEk on 25 Feb 2008 17:51
Up Close and personal with the 2008 Honda CBR1000RR - Exclusive Report
With the battle for 2008 heating up, how could I resist the offer of checking out what might possibly be one of the coolest bikes for the upcoming model year, especially when I was told that they'd throw in a bologna sandwich if I made the trek?
The allure of a luscious bologna sandwich fresh in my head I packed my bags and headed straight for the airport. After a short plane ride I found myself standing in the lobby of American Honda's "Campus" - a massive 100 plus acre facility in the greater Los Angeles area. After having my retinas scanned and my DNA added into the Honda database, I was lead into Honda's own on-site photo studio, a professionally equipped facility complete with theatrical lighting.
There she sits, right in front of me... the elusive 2008 Honda CBR1000RR.
Internet spy photos have been transformed into reality as I reach out and touch the tank of the new 1000. Cropped at the nose and at the tail, the short and narrow RR is a clear indication that GP styling is continuing to make its way to the street. I can see the plate of sandwiches out of the corner of my eye and I am being encouraged to eat them by Honda officials. Is this some sort of test? Motorcycle or sandwich? They're good looking sandwiches, but instead I catch myself looking at this jewel of a motorcycle - because I can't take my eyes off of it.
Throwing a leg over the RR reveals just how small this bike is - considerably lighter and narrower than I had expected. The fairing drops off sharply in front of you giving a clear view of the road from your perch.
Crane your head and look behind you and you're presented with a view that's almost Buell-esque in fashion - there's literally no bike there! Legroom is adequate for my 6'3" plus body, and the seat is about as comfortable as you could expect from a race pedigree track bike. The reach to the clip-ons is comfortable and the overall seating position falls somewhere between a 1098 and a ZX-10R.
The new improved 1000RR sports a shorty GP style exhaust but it's not as short and small as you might think. There's some visual trickery taking place here, and what appears to be black bodywork extending below a small aluminum canister is in fact the canister itself molded, shaped and painted black to look like it's part of the fairing. This allowed Honda engineers the volume the needed to conform to new strict emission standards.
Taking some subtle and some not so subtle cues from the wildly successful 1098, the RR sports 1098 style mirrors with integrated turn signals that, unlike the Ducati, pivot. Extending further out, they provide a slightly better view rearward than the Italian counterpart. Overall fit and finish of the CBR is impeccable, right down to the steering dampener hidden underneath the front of the gas tank.
The liter class is all about motor, and that's one thing we don't get to try as we crowd around the bikes. Though specs are sparse Honda's European half is reporting a wet weight of approximately 439lbs and a power output of 130.7kW at 12,000 rpm. The new 1000 also utilizes a new generation slipper clutch as well as an ignition control system that was perfected on Honda's 600.
Ready for racing, HRC is offering several race kits for you to spend your Brewster's Millions on - different levels for different budgets, bring a chunk of cash and you'll be ready to get the new 1000 on the track in proper factory form.
Available in several color combinations including a red and silver version the looks strikingly MV Agusta-ish, the RR is also offered in an extremely limited run of solid black. Honda tells us they will only produce 500 black RR's in total and at a slight premium of $200 above MSPR, you'll be sure the black ones will be sold out immediately.
After everyone leaves the studio, I suspect that the folk from Honda ferret their newest flagship bike away, back to the secret squirrel room where it lives. Soon to be ridden? We can only wait - from the looks of the bike and if what officials tell us is correct, the CBR1000RR is poised to be a winner for the 2008 model year.
MSPR $11599, add 200 bones for all-black.
posted September 29, 2007 09:06 AM
Man, that is a good looking bike. Fit and finish seems to be at a hand made level. Good job Honda.
''The angle of my dangle is inversely proportional to the heat of my meat'' Will Ferrell
posted September 29, 2007 11:37 AM
Damn that bike looks good in those pics! Those profile pics made it look hidious, the pics from beside the bike looking down at it(like you're standing next to it) are great. I can see the function for having such a short nose and tail, to make the bike transition easier and change direction faster, it would look even better with a longer nose but these are sportbikes 1st.
I am disappointed it doesn't have T.C. or a V4/V5 after the long wait and rumors, but having 30+ pounds less weight to lug around than the GSXR makes up for it.
Best Literbike: Performance Bikes, Superbike, BIKE, MCN, Road Racing World, and Motorcycle USA
posted September 29, 2007 12:32 PM
'08 R1 YAMAHA
CBR600RR track bike
posted September 30, 2007 06:50 AM
a couple new styling points will take some getting used too (the exhaust has already grown on me) but on the whole i gotta say that bike is CLASS! definitely feels more GT than SS to me in a way. i like it.