Featured Motorcycle Brands

Motorcycle.com Staff
by Motorcycle.com Staff

CBR1100 Fast, but Dangerous???

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Nov. 16, 2003
It's dangerous but not odd for Honda to put superb build quality into the 2000-2003 CBR1100XX Blackbird / Dos Equis yet cripple it with economy class price point suspension. It is especially dangerous with the power plant: 1137 cc, fuel injected, dual balancers, mated to a six speed close ratio independently counter balanced transmission, 164 crank Bhp- with careful tuning; 160 where the rubber meets the road.

My shop owns three Hondas today- a CBR954RR and two CBR1100XX. You bring in your bike for $2000 to $sky-high tuning- you get a loaner. Bring in a wreck, we will fix it, but you don't get a loaner.

Having owned many Hondas in the past I can make a general observation. ALL the road machines had the same fault: cheep suspension components.

Hondas high performance dirt bikes carry superb suspension components. Since Honda engineers clearly understand the importance of suspension to control, and safety, why do they shortchange the road bike customer in this vital area?

High performance dirt bike sales are driven by overall performance. Dirt bikes dont sell without quality suspension. Road bikes sales are driven by looks, and horsepower.

Its expensive and pointless to dial in suspension for the few customers who would come close to overwhelming the middle quality setups they sell- the 1%. The same philosophy holds for the exhaust systems as well. The new CBR1000RR's ehaust is heavy stainless. The bike is also the heaviest in its class, also the easiest to lighten. It sports a steering damper. Hondas legal fig leaf is it is electronic controlled.

Cognoscenti will pull very good components and fit the best they can find. The true one-percenters will make their own R models.

Our shop has done the honest R on two of our bikes, and several for customers: It's already got superb brakes. If you don't like the engineers braking proportion ratio, buy better pads for the end you want to work harder- usually the front.

The price point shocks get changed out for Ohlins. The forks get Race-Tech valves and fluids. The stainless steel exhausts go on the shelf- Micron or TiWorks replacements are fitted. This saves 33 lbs each on the dos Equis, 15 on the 954. A damper goes on. Preferably Ohlins- Hyperpro makes the mounts for the Blackbirds. Ohlins does not. Coincidentally Ohlins dampers always fit Hyperpros mounts when the HP Race Weight damper wears out.

Power Commanders are fitted and mapped for precise throttle control and to save the valves from burn out.

The blackbirds need rear sets- lest a bump forces an upshift in a tight corner. LSL of Germany makes a very nice set.

For comfort add heavy bar end balancers- Throttlemiester from USA. My ride also got a one-off Corbin Butt stop saddle. The others seat has been reupholstered in textured leather with two up in mind.

Here is the recipe for CBR1100XX-R 2000-2003


NEW 2003 CBR1100XX $10,000 tops.

USED 2000+ CBR1100XX from $6500


add $2000 for Ohlins and Race-Tech.

Exhaust: add $1500 for TiWorks, $400 for generic steel- watch out for clearance problems with the cheep brands. TiWorks add cornering clearance with center stand removed-optionally.

$300 for Power commander (Dynojet publishes custom maps for most popular models. most tuners have custom maps ready too. Ask. ,when you book dyno time).

Steering: $300 for Hyperpro mount.

$500 for Ohlins SD120 long body damper.

$250 for Throttlemiester bar ends.


Seat: $250+ reupholstered to $Sky-high for butt stop. (Mike Corbin owns a XX, and makes several seat configurations from $450, nice bags too).

Never put a standard aftermarket tractor saddle on any sport bike.

Radar:$100 plus any brand with audio out fitted to Radar Screamer.

Adding it up: $10,000 to $15,600 buys the Honest R CBR1100XX-R. You can season with Magical racing carbon fiber bits-$1500, and forged dot wheels- $2000. But you really don't need $3500 of adornment.

With an Honest "R" You can eat R Ducatis for breakfast- two up, all day long with a range of about 180 miles. And have $5000 or more in change compared to a Ducati R- enough to tip your mechanic.

I don't work for any of these vendors. I have not given you the name or location of my shop. You got my name- the folks who know me already know what I do. If you ride hard on the Blackbird you know the facts. Get on the phone, compare prices, and fix it before you get hurt.

Happy trails,
George Checkal
Would you like us to deliver Motorcycle.com Articles in your mail box once a week? Simply submit your e-mail address below !
Motorcycle.com Staff
Motorcycle.com Staff

Motorcycle.com presents an unrivaled combination of bike reviews and news written by industry experts

More by Motorcycle.com Staff

Join the conversation