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Honda’s road racing machine


IT’S QUITE astonishing to think that Honda’s iconic Fireblade has been with us for over 21 years with well over 200 000 sold. The original CBR900RR was first seen in 1992 and for the past 10 years or so we’ve had the CBR1000RR as one of the best superbikes money can buy.

There is some racing pedigree behind the Fireblade with victories in the World Super Bike (WSBK) championship and success at the Isle of Man TT, with average lap speeds of 210km/h plus over 60.7km over the mountain course.

There has been a demand for a more hardcore version of Honda’s flagship sports bike. So in its response and in celebration of its success Honda has announced a special edition CBR1000RR Fireblade called the SP. It’s a track-focused, fully-road-legal, limited edition Sport Production version of the standard bike.

Changes to the updated machine include circuit-ready front and rear Öhlins suspension (replaces the Showa unit). The adjustable 43mm inverted fork and rear shock were developed specifically for the CBR1000RR SP to help cutting lap times on a closed circuit. There have been revisions made to the frame with new top and bottom yokes to suit.

The aluminium gull-wing swingarm operates through MotoGP-derived Unit Pro-Link rear suspension. The changes to the frame and rear suspension are aimed at providing the rider with improved feel while improving traction.

The second-generation Honda Electronic Steering Damper (HESD) monitors speed and tailors the damping force accordingly. Kerb weight is 199kg with a front/rear weight distribution of 53/47.The sticky Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tyres finish off the modifications made to the handling.

 The 999.8cc inline four-cylinder engine has been fettled with too and features an updated cylinder head with improved inlet/exhaust gas flow and combustion efficiency resulting in an extra 2kW of peak power. Total outputs now stand at 133kW at 12 250rpm while torque is 114Nm delivered at 10 500rpm. 

 There are also factory-matched pistons and conrods, to ensure optimum internal balance. This means that a factory blueprint of the pistons and rods are used so each batch of pistons and rods are weighed and those that most closely match the middle tolerance and each other are used.

 This machine is so track-focused that there isn’t event the option of a passenger pillion as the single seat solution saves weight. The SP also comes out with a unique tri-colour paint job that sees white and blue two-tone, a central red stripe along with gold wheels.

There are a number of features that come with the SP, one being the new fuel cap which features an improved breather design for better venting.  There’s also a multi-function LCD with a digital bar-type linear tachometer that scrolls left to right as engine speed increases. Beneath this are the main numerical readouts: gear position, coolant temperature, speedometer, clock/lap time, trip/fuel efficiency/fuel consumption and odometer/numerical tachometer.

 The tachometer has four display modes: Conventional, which uses black LCD segments to show current rpm; Reverse, which employs black LCD segments to show remaining rpm and Peak Hold indicates rpm in the conventional way and also leaves a tell-tale segment showing the peak rpm achieved while Single Segment uses a single block to show current engine speed.

There’s also a lap timer which features four modes. The display can also show fuel consumption, average fuel efficiency, distance travelled and total elapsed time. To assist debriefing after a session, lap time recall mode shows the fastest lap time and the lap on which it was set.

The Honda CBR1000RR SP retails for R189 990 and comes with a Complimentary Rider Training course through the Honda Academy, 12 months Free Roadside Assistance and a 24-month Unlimited Distance Warranty.

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