With the announcement of the new Honda CBR1000RR SP and SP2 at Intermot, as well as the standard CBR1000RR at EICMA 2016, we haven’t been this excited about Honda’s flagship literbike since, well, 2008, when the now outgoing model was first introduced to the world. So, for this Church of MO installment, we’re going back in time to October 2007, when we got our first look at the then all-new 2008 Honda CBR1000RR; a sportbike we’d grow very fond of over the years. For more pictures, be sure to check out the photo gallery.
Just as we suspected, Honda today unveiled its much anticipated 2017 CBR1000RR at Intermot in Germany. We first reported on the new CBR last month as spy photos started to come out, but Honda still had a few surprises in store with this announcement. Two, actually. First, Honda decided to release its up-spec model, the CBR1000RR SP, ahead of the standard edition (Honda says to expect an announcement on that one come November). And second, there would be a second, limited-edition model, the CBR1000RR SP2, homologated strictly for racing purposes (more on that later).
Honda’s CBR1000RR/Fireblade has stood patiently by the wayside all these years while its contemporaries in the fiercely competitive liter-class sportbike category have bulked themselves up, delivering levels of performance and technology not seen anywhere but the MotoGP and World Superbike paddocks.
Nicky Hayden is a busy guy. As if the rigors of competing full-time in World Superbike on board a Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR wasn’t enough, the less glamorous portion of his job includes all his sponsor obligations and chatting with media hacks like Yours Truly. But there’s a reason why The Kentucky Kid is such a well-loved figure in racing paddocks worldwide – he always gives whatever time he has to those secondary obligations, and he does it with a smile. Motojournalists like the guy because he’ll always give you honest answers to the best of his ability and not canned one-liners other racers sometimes snort out reluctantly, as if talking to the media is beneath them.
Do you get the feeling that the financial crisis and its aftermath signaled nap time for the supersport division of Honda’s CBR engineering department? Since the last two major revamps – 2008 for the 1000RR, and 2009 for the 600RR – things have been pretty quiet other than mild massaging to the existing CBR supersport models (there was the SP model, but…). On the other hand, maybe it was the redirection of Honda brass to broaden the CBR spectrum by introducing the less performance but more affordable CBR300R, CBR500R and CBR650F.
This is a difficult position to be in for both me and Honda. We’ve a superbike shootout pitting the CBR1000RR SP against the likes of newer, technological-laden weapons from Aprilia, BMW, Ducati, Kawasaki and Yamaha, where the CBR is predisposed not to win that competition. But yet I’m about to give the bike a fairly glowing review with an individual score that may be higher than its shootout score.
In preparation of our upcoming 2015 Superbike Shootout we came across this similar gem posted a decade ago. From then to now we find similarities in the entrants as well as the editors, such as Yamaha’s R1 and Sean Alexander. In terms of performance, things have, of course, progressed far beyond what these four machines possessed – mostly in the realm of electronics. “You don’t have a 6-axis gyro, TC, slide, lift and launch control,” asks the 2015 of its predecessor.
For some riders the top of the line isn’t enough, and Honda wants to give these folks what they deserve. So, this week for EICMA, Honda has just announced the 2014 CBR1000RR SP. What does the SP stand for? Suitably pimped? Super Powers? Specially Produced? Regardless, Honda will be releasing a limited number of CBR1000RRs that have been given this exclusive once over by Honda’s engineers.