If there is one thing Honda – via its racing arm Honda Racing Corporation, or HRC – hates doing is playing second fiddle to anyone, and its 2017 CBR1000RR SP and SP2 superbikes look to be doing just that. Taking careful aim at a certain black and green machine, Honda has shown it is deadly serious about taking the fight to the current World Superbike champions.
Honda has just released the complete specification sheet for the 2017 CBR1000RR, and the wait for the the update is well worth it. Taking a close, long look at the 999 cc DOHC inline-four that has been the cornerstone of Fireblades since 1992, the 2017 version puts out 189 hp at 13,000 rpm and 116 Nm of torque at 11,000 rpm.
What is even more impressive is the diet the CBR1000RR has undergone, and it now weighs in at 195 kg wet – 15kg less than the 2016 model. Part of the weight reduction goes to the use of aluminium in various areas, including a die-cast aluminium sub-frame, magnesium engine covers and a titanium exhaust that shaves 2.8 kg off from the previous version.
What is more astounding is the inclusion of a 16-litre titanium fuel tank, produced using a deep-drawing process that makes it 1.3 kg lighter than the equivalent steel unit. According to M. Sato, project leader for the 2017 CBR1000RR Fireblade, “All 1000 cc 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.”
The new CBR1000RR also comes with a full suite of electronic riding aids, including nine-level Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), Selectable Engine Brake (SEB) and Riding Mode Select System (RMSS). A quickshifter is standard, and three settings for the downshift assist that works in conjunction with the ride-by-wire auto-blipping.
Suspension for the Honda superbike is from Ohlins, and uses Ohlins Smart-Ec, or semi-active, suspension. The front fork is a 43 mm NIX30 Smart-EC fully-adjustable unit, while the rear is suspended by a TTX36 Smart-EC absorber, also fully-adjustable.
While the specification for the 2017 Honda CBR1000RR SP is impressive enough on its own, the SP2 version takes things up a notch with lighter Marchesini wheels and carbon-fibre patterns on the bodywork. The big difference lies inside the engine.
On the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, the cylinder head uses bigger valves, with narrower included valve angles but identical valve pitch to the SP1, ensuring that cylinder head breadth and width remains the same. The spark plugs are longer, with an optimised combustion chamber shape derived from the RC213-V MotoGP race bike.
Designed as a homologation special, the SP2 will have not one, but two race kits available. One kit is designed for full-on racing use, while the other is for general circuit purposes. - Paultan