Honda’s got an all-new literbike challenger in the form of its 2008 CBR1000RR, and though it’s not yet in dealers, it’s already been on the racetrack.
The American Honda factory squad recently had a shakedown test of this aggressive new Superbike at the Daytona tire tests.
“We feel this new bike has got the genes to do what we need,” said Honda’s crew chief David McGrath during the test. “Our old bike was a very fast bike, but the guys tended to really struggle with the agility to be competitive.”
Agility shouldn’t be a problem on the 2008 CBR, as it now sports the most radical chassis geometry in its class. A rake angle of just 23.3 degrees is the steepest among literbikes, and its 96mm of trail is also on the short side of its rivals.
The pre-production CBR1000RR brought to the test was ridden by new-hire Neal Hodgson, a former World Superbike champion, and Erion Honda rider Josh Hayes, standing in for the injured Miguel Duhamel. The test mule wasn’t anywhere near its full Superbike trim, as the changes from stock were confined almost entirely to the suspension, exhaust pipe and bodywork.
“We’re actually very pleased,” said McGrath. “It wasn’t slow. It actually hung pretty good. We had the radar on it, and it’s got pretty good speed already,” adding that the CBR ran a similar speed to the developed Suzuki GSX-R1000 of the Jordan Motorsports team.
Honda basically threw out everything from its previous CBR1K and started fresh. Our boy Pete detailed most of the changes in his First Look piece on the new Honda, which features a lighter frame, a stronger yet more compact motor, titanium valves and – finally – a slipper clutch. Also new is Ignition Interrupt Control, which seems to be a similar electronic system to the traction-enhancing technology in the new ZX-10R. (And, no, we can’t call this one traction control, either!)
It’s going to be very interesting to find out how this clean-sheet design performs when we’ll get our chance to hammer the new CBR later this week. Keep your eyes peeled for our First Ride impressions from Laguna Seca!