Honda’s Heavyweight Hitter.
Could this finally be the CBR that we have been waiting for? because let’s be honest it hasn’t been as competitive in recent years. Honda’s engineers have drawn heavily from their RC213V-S MotoGP bike which is a good thing considering it helped Marc Marquez clinch yet another world championship. There are so many things to talk about I almost don’t know where to start.
Well for starters it’s a completely new engine design which uses the same “oversquare” bore and stroke as the RC213V. The cam lobes have been coated in Diamond-like carbon to reduce friction – same as RC213V. The valve train is driven by a new (patent pending) semicam gear train system. To drive such high-rpm / high cam lift performance the chain is driven from the timing gear located on the crankshaft via the cam idle gear – this makes it shorter in length. The pistons are forged from the same Aluminium as the RC213V’s pistons. The list of technology taken from the MotoGP bike actually amazes me. So what does this mean for the average rider like myself?. Well, it means power and a fair amount of it. Honda claims 160kw(214HP) at 14,500rpm and 113nm of torque at 12,500rpm.
As with most high-end superbikes, the new CBR1000RR SP comes equipped with a host of the latest electronic gadgetry. First up is Launch control (Honda calls it Start Mode) which has a couple of predetermined rpm set points, 6000, 7000, 8000 and 9000rpm leaving the rider to just worry about the clutch release and lights. There is 3 default riding modes to manage engine power and character. Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) adjusts through 9 levels (plus off) with 1 giving weakest intervention. It has been optimised for the 2020 machine and now adds slip rate control. Throttle by wire has been updated over the previous model to make it more manageable and easier to use. Most of these systems use the 6 axis IMU to adjust to the current riding situation to make you faster and safer.
The newly developed diamond aluminium frame and swingarm have been designed to better manage weight distribution and aid high-speed cornering, stability under braking and acceleration. Once again more inspiration is taken from the MotoGP bike and this time its the rear swingarm which stamped out from 18 individual thicknesses of aluminium and as used by the RC213VS – is 30.5mm longer, at 622.7mm, but weighs exactly the same as the previous design. Another feature to help you keep this beast in check is the Showa provided Honda electronic steering damper (HESD). The steering damper has 3 different modes giving you even more customizability.
Suspension and Braking.
Another area where Honda hasn’t skimped is in the braking and suspension department. Starting with the latter, Honda has fitted Öhlins excellent semi-active system with a 43mm NPX fork whilst the rear end is handled by the Öhlins TTX36 Smart-EC shock. Bringing this superbike to a standstill is the New Brembo Stylema four-piston radial-mount brake callipers that now grip 10mm larger 330mm diameter discs; the 5mm disc thickness also dissipates heat more efficiently. They are operated by a Brembo master cylinder and brake lever. The rear brake calliper is the same Brembo unit used by the RC213VS.
Styling and Aero.
Alongside its new engine and chassis, the CBR1000RR-R SP has an aggressive new fairing design. It’s no mere styling exercise however; the drivers in development were to create a class-leading drag coefficient (with a tuckedin rider under track conditions) and restrict lift under acceleration while improving braking stability. To generate downforce at track speeds and maintain the smallest possible frontal area the CBR1000RRR employs wings that effectively generate the same downforce as the 2018 RC213V MotoGP machine. The results are a reduction in wheelies under acceleration and increased stability on braking and corner entry.
Will this new CBR have enough to take the title as the best litre-class superbike? In the past, they have always been one of the best all-rounders, not really the best at everything but not bad at anything. I feel that Honda is making a big push to make it the best but only time will tell.