2021 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP - First Look

John Burns
by John Burns

It’s official now: Honda’s evolutionary but not quite revolutionary new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP “will carry Honda’s sport motorcycle lineup into the future while also bolstering its racing efforts in series including the FIM Superbike World Championship.” Now adorned with the Fireblade monicker it’s always carried in other markets, as well as four capital “R”s, the bike is said to be packed with all manner of Honda Racing Corporation MotoGP trickle-down trickery, and is “focused on outright track performance.” Packing a more compact yet more powerful engine into an all-new frame, the new bike also gets the latest in aerodynamic and electronic aids – and looks pretty swell in its HRC Tricolor paint scheme as well. Price TBD. Our very own Troy Siahaan was at the U.S. unveiling of the new CBR1000RR-R, where he came back with a few notes:

“Looking at the new CBR head-on, it looks extremely narrow, with a nod to the CBR600RR in that intake scoop design. Finally, Honda has joined some of its competitors in the sportbike market and gone all-in on making their flagship extremely track-focused. Sitting on the new RR-R, your butt is high and the bars are low, and the TFT dash display is all business, with no information shown that doesn’t pertain to racetrack performance.

Inside the all-new engine, the bore and stroke numbers (81.0mm x 48.5mm) are identical to the RC213V, and the finger-follower rocker arms allow for a higher-spinning engine, which should give tuners some opportunities to make power. New, 52mm throttle bodies (vs. 48mm before) allow more airflow, and DLC coating on the camshafts is a first for Honda.

On the chassis side, the new frame sees a longer wheelbase: 57.3 in. vs. 55.3 in., a slightly less aggressive rake angle: 24º vs. 23º, and more trail also: 4.01 in. vs. 3.77 in. The engine itself is placed 33mm farther from the front axle and 16mm higher, while the new swingarm is 30.5mm longer.

Suspension-wise, Öhlins NPX electronic fork and shock handle bumps and can adjust on the fly, similar to the Yamaha R1M. Brembo Stylema calipers bite on twin 330mm discs. Honda reps also noted that this is the first time they can remember a Brembo master cylinder being used on a production bike, too.

Electronically, the new CBR also joins the Bosch 6-axis IMU army, employing it to manage the 9-level Selectable Torque Control, aka Traction Control, and wheelie control, among others. There’s also a new Honda Smart Key which is basically a wireless/keyless ignition. In researching intake paths for the incoming charge of cool air, it was noticed the tumbler holding the physical key would partially block the flow. Removing it cleans up that path considerable, says Honda.

If you’re the type who likes to recite numbers and figures, here are some about the new CBR1000RR-R:

  • Thanks to its MotoGP design influence, it boasts the lowest coefficient of drag in the category.
  • The finger-follower rocker arms reduce inertia by 75% from before.
  • Valve drive loss is 35% lower than before.
  • *Each* piston is 5% lighter and the connecting rods and bolts are half the weight as before.
  • Torsional rigidity of the frame has gone up 9%, vertical rigidity is up 18%, horizontal rigidity of the frame is down 11% and the horizontal rigidity of the subframe is decreased 15%. All for the elusive quest to maximize feel and rider sensation.

The CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP you see here is coming to the U.S. in limited numbers by June 2020, technically making it a 2021 model year (at least in Honda’s world). The European market will also get a base version CBR1000RR-R (non-SP), but here in America our base model will be the current-generation CBR1000RR (only three Rs).”

Learn more in the Honda press release below.

Honda Press Release:

21 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP RRQ
November 4, 2019 — TORRANCE, Calif.

Honda Motor Co. founder Soichiro Honda dreamed of competing in races around the world—and winning—with a vehicle of his own making. Driven by the same competitive spirit, and having since amassed the most premier-class Grand Prix victories of any manufacturer, Honda announced today the 2021 CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP. An evolution of Honda’s legendary 1,000cc sportbike, the all-new model draws heavily on MotoGP technology and will carry Honda’s sport motorcycle lineup into the future while also bolstering its racing efforts in series including the FIM Superbike World Championship.

21 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP front high beam

Designed from the ground up with involvement from Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) and an extreme focus on outright track performance, the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP pairs a more compact, yet more powerful inline four-cylinder engine with an all-new frame with optimized rigidity for improved grip and feel. An advanced suite of electronic rider aids works to enable fast lap times, while aerodynamic technologies from the RC213V MotoGP race bike are used to both increase downforce and improve braking stability. For the first time, the “Fireblade” name is being used in the U.S. market.

21 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP location 6

“From our earliest days, Honda has been committed to developing class-leading motorcycles capable of winning races,” said Chris Cox, American Honda’s Manager of Experiential Marketing/Public Relations. “Developed around technologies and information gleaned from Honda’s Grand Prix racing efforts, the 2021 CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP highlights the brand’s competitive spirit, and we’re excited for riders to experience the latest in our storied line of sport motorcycles.”

Focusing on outright track performance, engineers have developed the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP with engine and chassis technology from MotoGP, the all-new model drawing heavily on the RCV combustion efficiency and low-friction solutions. The engine is more compact than the inline four-cylinder powerplant it replaces and benefits from the use of high-end technologies like titanium connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons and finger-follower rocker arms.

21 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP LFQ

The CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP uses an all-new aluminum diamond frame with increased vertical and torsional rigidity, but decreased horizontal rigidity, for maximum levels of grip and feel. A longer swingarm—stamped from aluminum of 18 individual thicknesses—is developed with lessons learned through Honda’s Grand Prix efforts, further highlighting the connection between the all-new model and Honda’s championship-winning race bikes.

21 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP display 2

Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) has been optimized and an adjustable Start Mode joins Power, Engine Brake and Wheelie Control; a quick shifter is standard. The CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP is outfitted with a six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), three-level Honda Electronic Steering Damper (HESD) and second-generation Öhlins Smart Electronic Control (S-EC) suspension and user interface. New Brembo Stylema brake calipers bite 330mm rotors through two-level ABS. The bodywork and riding position have an uncompromising focus on aerodynamic performance, and the fairing features MotoGP-derived winglets to generate downforce. A full-color TFT screen and Honda Smart Key are the finishing touches.

  • Pricing: TBD
  • Availability: June, 2020
  • Color: HRC Tricolor
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