Let’s take a look at the amazing sports line-up from Honda for 2017. The most significant models on the books are the super special Honda CBR1000RR SP1, CBR1000RR SP2, standard CBR1000RR, and the unexpected CBR600RR. Let’s start with the most exclusive models and work downwards…
The 2017 Honda CBR1000RR SP1 “Fireblade”
The Fireblade’s project leader Mr. Sato-san explained: “All 1000cc sportsbikes are extraordinary examples of high performance engineering. But for us, for our new Fireblade, we want extraordinary to be the pleasure of handling and controlling such a machine. Its true purpose – wherever it’s ridden – is to enjoy something that is not normally experienced in everyday life, something that cannot be surpassed.” And as a starting point, that’s a nice direction to move in, right?
It’s been 25 years since the first Fireblade model, and to celebrate this illustrious birthday, Honda have decided to take the core values of the CBR – cornering prowess, acceleration and braking, and keeping a tight power to weight ratio – and crank them up to eleven. This is still Honda – but not as you’ve seen them before. This isn’t about “just enough” or “playing it safe” – this is something rather incredible, and with this effort, the 2017 Honda CBR1000RR SP1 may not just be on par with its industry rivals…it may even surpass them.
The CBR1000RR SP1 comes with a revolutionary array of on board gadgetry geared towards improving the bike’s handling. To keep them all working, Honda have employed a sophisticated 5-axis Inertial Measurement Unit to oversee the operation. It works by monitoring almost everything the CBR is up to, and provides electronic assistance whenever necessary.
The suspension duties are handled by brand new Ohlins S-EC units, with a NIX30 front fork arrangement and TTX36 unit at the rear. The suspension is controlled by Honda’s Suspension Control Unit, which uses the Bosch 5-Axis IMU to monitor the bike’s lean angle, yaw rate, and roll rate; on top of that, the IMU also takes readings of the wheeled speed, engine rpm, braking inputs and the throttle positions, all from the ECU. Using this combined knowledge, and depending on the riders suspension settings, the bike will provide optimal damping and compression for an optimized ride. The available suspension modes include three “Active” modes and three “Manual” modes.
If that wasn’t enough handling tech to impress you, Honda have also added a rear lift control unit (RLC) into the mix to ensure that the rear end remains stable under heavy braking. Next up, they’ve given the CBR1000RR SP Cornering ABS. The Cornering ABS is no longer the old Honda unit, and the transition to Bosch has saved the CBR1000RR 10 kilos of weight.
To keep an eye on all of this high tech gadgetry, Honda have upgraded the SP’s dash to a full color TRT crystal display, similar to that employed on the mighty RC213V-S. The new display adjusts itself according to the ambient light, to make it easier to read under any circumstance, and it comes with three distinct display options: Street, Circuit, and Mechanic. The rider can choose what info they need to see.
The Street setting shows off the different riding modes, and the degrees of power, torque control, engine braking options and suspension settings. The display also shows the onboard computers calculations for fuel economy, fuel consumption, a reserve fuel light, your average speeds, and all the usual stuff we’re already familiar with.
Circuit mode, however, comes with all of the relevant track day tech: lap timers, best times, and circuit information. Mechanic mode, on the other hand, is more for tinkering with the finer points of the bike, such as the gear positions, the grip angles, the voltage of the battery, and coolant temperatures.
But that’s enough about the display – let’s talk about the important stuff. Firstly, the chassis weighs in a massive 14 kilos lighter than the last iteration of the machine. The usual rake and trail remain the same as last time, but the rest of the twin-spar frame has be slightly revised for improved handling, overall feel, and for maximum stability. Minor weight shavings have been made by adjusting the aluminum thickness in certain places, especially in the Unit Pro-Link swingarm, and in the subframe section.
Other weight saving opportunities presented themselves in the wheels, which now weigh 100g less. These come shod in Bridgestone RS10s.
In terms of looks, it’s a stunning looking motorcycle. But that’s a matter of taste, so we won’t go into it. There’s engine stuff to cover – and only a limited amount of words to play with!
Interestingly, the all new SP will be Honda’s first inline four engine to employ a throttle by wire system. The system comes with three modes that offer very different ride experiences and varying levels of “babysitting” depending on where you want to make the most gains. All of these modes can be adjusted and tinkered with in “USER” mode. Thankfully, the SP also comes with a quickshifter for both “up” and “down” clutchless exchanges, and an autoblipper too.
The engine hasn’t received as much improvement as many people expected, however, Honda have done a great job with it. They’ve managed to add an extra 11 hp into the mix, shave 2 kilos of weight off of the lump, and raised their rev roof to the tune of 13,000 rpm. The SP boasts a peak power figure of 189 hp at 12,500 rpm, 81.79 lb-ft of torque at 10,500 rpm. It might not be as powerful as its industry rivals, but what it lacks in power, it makes up for in handling prowess.
As far as Honda’s go, this is the most sophisticated, technologically advanced, and beautifully designed that we’ve seen. However, we’ve still got the SP2 to discuss…
The 2017 Honda CBR1000RR SP2
The SP2 has been built as a homologation special, and with only 500 units being made specifically for race purposes, the CBR1000RR SP2 may be out of the reach of us mere mortals, but that doesn’t mean we can’t admire it…or see what Honda have done, and steal their ideas for our own customer level CBRs…
So what makes this homologation special different from the other SP model? Well, apart from wearing the HRC badge of honor, it also comes with some rather special upgrades and additions. Visually, the SP2’s appearance is a tiny bit more “sporty,” featuring carbon pattern insets, gold striping and some other minor visual enhancements. The Marchesini rims are also given a subtle color pop, but they do more than just add a bit of spice to the machine, they reduce wheel inertia considerably: 18% up front, and 9% at the rear. But it’s the engine and HRC’s race kits that we’re here to talk about…
The CBR1000RR SP2 retains a lot of the SP1’s engine characteristics, including the 76mm bore, but there are subtle differences: the cylinder hear runs larger intake and exhaust valves. Revised valve shapes, combustion chambers and elongated spark plugs are also thrown into the mix, along with a new piston designs too. Almost all of the fancy changes are derivative from the RC213V, and that’s quite a boast.
However, if you want to make the most out of this limited edition race machine, you’d probably want to get involved with HRC kits.
The CBR1000RR SP2 HRC Race Kit includes some serious competition-ready upgrades: these upgrades include a race ECU and, a titanium exhaust, a revised swingarm, new cylinder components, an upgraded braking system, and a simplified and minimized wiring harness. Naturally, this bike is not for road use…
The SP2 also has a CBR1000RR SP2 Sport Kit option, which comes with HRC camshafts, valve springs, a specific Race ECU, and a full exhaust system. These components promise that any rider will make the most of the engine’s full performance. Not on the road though… this is competition only, remember?
With only 500 available, I doubt we’ll be seeing many of these in the flesh…Not like the base-model CBR1000RR, which we’ll be seeing plenty of, no doubt.
The 2017 Honda CBR1000RR
If the SP1 and SP2 are a little too fancy for your tastes, you can grab the new CBR1000RR for $17k instead. Or $16,999 to be precise – but even with Honda’s new updates and revisions, it might be a little too pricey…especially when compared with its rivals. Put it on the track against Suzuki’s new GSX-R models, Yamaha’s R1, or Kawasaki’s ZX-10R, and the Honda is likely to come off worse… In terms of bang for your buck, it doesn’t fare much better either. However, Honda have never really pushed the CBR1000RR in the horsepower war, but they’re pushing a respectable power to weight ratio for the 2017 model, as well as some rather impressive onboard gadgetry. Does it warrant the price tag? Well that’s not for me to say – but if anyone out there is looking at buying a liter class sportbike this year, they’ve got some serious thinking to do.
To keep things fresh for 2017, Honda have treated their flagship sportsbike with some rather exciting electronics. The bulk of the new additions have been worked around a sophisticated 5-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) which keeps an eye on all aspects of the bike, on every plane, and measures the ins and outs and tells the rest of the bike what to do. It’s hooked up to Honda’s Selectable Torque Control system, and manages rear wheel traction through the ECU and the Throttle By Wire. It also keeps an eye on the ABS, and offers superior braking under any circumstances. Add Rear Lift Control and Wheelie Control into the mix, and you’ve got quite a smart package.
The new electronic features are controlled by a by a cool left hand switch gear, and displayed on a TFT liquid crystal display – the very same unit that’s featured on Honda’s ridiculously expensive RC213V-S machine, which in itself is a direct road-going descendant of the Honda Repsol RC213V MotoGP racer. The screen has three display modes: Street, Circuit, and Mechanic, and they give the rider all the information for any circumstance.
Electronics aside, the 2017 CBR still holds on to Honda’s core values from back in 1992: to strive for the optimal balance of power and weight, rather than just focusing on out and out power. Having said that, Honda have increased the power for the 2017 edition, by a not so insignificant 10 hp, bringing the total up to 189 hp at 13,000. The new power figure is thanks to a few new components, a higher compression ratio, revised cam timing, and an Accelerator Position Sensor.
But to get the right kind of power to weight ratio that Honda is known for, other changes had to be made. The power is up and the weight has gone down thanks to the careful application of expensive metals, such as magnesium in the engine and a titanium muffler, and a careful redesign of key chassis components. The frame is more rigid than before and carries less weight, the swingarm has been stiffened, the wheels sport a new design, and a new rear subframe helps the new CBR weigh in whole 33 pounds (15 kg) lighter than last year’s model.
The overall aesthetic styling is a little more aggressive; all in all it’s a slimmer beast than we’ve seen before from Honda, and the minimalist aesthetic is quite pleasing. If you’re sold on the CBR, you can look forward to buying it in either Victory Red or Matte Ballistic Black Metallic, depending on which flavor you like best. The proper release date is set for April, and the asking price is $16,999 (without ABS) – but is that a little too much? If you add on the usual dealership fees and then compare it with its nearest competitors, it’s a little pricey.
Finally, The 2017 Honda CBR600RR
Despite rumor after rumor about the Honda CBR600RR being discontinued, it seems that the supersport dream isn’t over for! Granted, we did help perpetuate this rumor a little, but with all of the confusion of the new Euro4 laws and a steady decline in sales, we thought the demise of the CBR600RR was inevitable. However, Honda USA had something to say about the whole thing, and it looks like the CBR600RR will ride again…for 2017 at least.
Keep in mind that Honda has a strange way of raising cash for their R&D department – each region invests money into a global pot that Honda’s R&D nerds spend appropriately. Since the CBR600RR has already been effectively discontinued in Europe, it means that North America would have to invest all of the money required to keep developing new CBR600RR models in the future…a tall order for a motorcycle that can only be sold locally, and has declining sales figures. We might have a new model for 2017, but anything beyond that is “uncertain” at best.
A New CBR600RR?
So, it’s here…but do we care? Of course, it’s great to see the 600 stick around for a little longer, but in terms of innovation and development, not a lot has gone on. At the heart of the CBR, the 599cc inline four has been relatively untouched, the frame is identical to the last iteration, and in terms of on-board technology, there’s not a hell of a lot on offer. In the tech department, you can opt for Honda’s Combined Anti-Lock Braking System as an optional extra, but despite the addition of a comprehensive ABS package, the 2017 CBR600RR still lacks a slipper clutch and many other riding aids that Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha have long since had on offer. It does come with the same electronically controlled steering damper from 2016 too.
Playing a game of spot the difference between the 2016 and 2017 models will be difficult, even for CBR600RR aficionados. Having said that, the CBR600RR has always been a nice and compact package that’s suitable for weekday commuting, weekend ride outs, and track day fun. Perhaps Honda were thinking: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” with their approach to the 2017 CBR600RR model?
Whether you’re pleased that the CBR will live on for another year or not, you’ll be happy to know that it comes with a new color option for 2017 – at least that’s something, right? The 2017 Honda CBR600RR now comes in the standard black and red, bringing it in line with the rest of Honda’s CBR family. As for pricing and availability: the price hasn’t officially been announced yet, but most sources are speculating that it will have an MSRP of $11,799 (or $12,799 with ABS). As for availability, expect it to arrive in US dealerships by March 2017.
If you’re in need of some specs of the 2017 CBR600RR, here they are:
|Engine Type||599cc Liquid-Cooled Inline Four-Cylinder|
|Bore And Stroke||67mm x 42.5mm|
|Induction||Dual Stage Fuel Injection (DSFI) with 40mm throttle bodies, Denso 12-hole injectors|
|Ignition||Computer-controlled digital transistorized with 3-D mapping|
|Valve Train||DOHC; four valves per cylinder|
|Transmission||Close-ratio six speed|
|Final Drive||#525 O-ring chain|
CHASSIS / SUSPENSION / BRAKES
|Front Suspension||41mm inverted Big Piston Fork with spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability.|
|Rear Suspension||Unit Pro-Link® HMAS™ single shock with spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability; 5.1 inches travel|
|Front Brake||Dual radial-mounted four-piston calipers with full-floating 310mm discs|
|Rear Brake||Single-caliper 220mm disc|
|Front Tire||120/70ZR-17 radial|
|Rear Tire||180/55ZR-17 radial|
|Rake||23.5° (Caster Angle)|
|Trail||97.7mm (3.9 inches)|
|Seat Height||32.3 inches|
|Curb Weight||410 pounds (Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and a full tank of fuel—ready to ride)|
|Fuel Capacity||4.8 gallons|
|Miles Per Gallon||TBD*|
|Emissions||Meets current EPA standards. California version meets current CARB standards and may differ slightly due to emissions equipment.|
FACTORY WARRANTY INFORMATION
|One Year||Transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.|
|Note||*Honda’s fuel economy estimates are based on EPA exhaust emission measurement test procedures and are intended for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you ride, how you maintain your vehicle, weather, road conditions, tire pressure, installation of accessories, cargo, rider and passenger weight, and other factors.|