Motorcycles

Honda releases 2017 CBR1000RR: The famous Fireblade goes electronic

Honda releases 2017 CBR1000RR:...
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: now fully ride by wire
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: now fully ride by wire
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: the Fireblade goes electronic
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: the Fireblade goes electronic
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: 189 horsepower is about 15hp behind the class leaders at this stage, but will likely not make a difference to most riders
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: 189 horsepower is about 15hp behind the class leaders at this stage, but will likely not make a difference to most riders
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: 33 pounds lighter than the previous model
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: 33 pounds lighter than the previous model
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: now fully ride by wire
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: now fully ride by wire
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: features adjustable riding modes, lean angle sensitive traction control and wheelie control
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: features adjustable riding modes, lean angle sensitive traction control and wheelie control
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: the first Fireblade to get an Inertial Control Unit
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: the first Fireblade to get an Inertial Control Unit
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: hopefully keeps its excellent road manners
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: hopefully keeps its excellent road manners
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: 25th anniversary Fireblade
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: 25th anniversary Fireblade
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: new styling is sharp and accentuates how compact the bike is
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: new styling is sharp and accentuates how compact the bike is
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: titanium fuel tank keeps mass low and central
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: titanium fuel tank keeps mass low and central
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: adjustable engine braking, multiple engine maps and a 3-mode up/down quickshifter
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: adjustable engine braking, multiple engine maps and a 3-mode up/down quickshifter
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: looking badass in matt black
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: looking badass in matt black
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: black/red
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: black/red
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: the exhaust is ugly, but that's not going to stay for long
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: the exhaust is ugly, but that's not going to stay for long
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: Big Piston Showa forks and right switchgear
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: Big Piston Showa forks and right switchgear
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: left switchgear and mode/menu buttons
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: left switchgear and mode/menu buttons
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: attractive cockpit
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: attractive cockpit
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: full colour TFT dash
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: full colour TFT dash
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: aggressive front end
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: aggressive front end
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: tidy rear end will get tidier with the use of a tail tidy
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: tidy rear end will get tidier with the use of a tail tidy
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: mean looking LED headlights
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2017 Honda CBR1000RR: mean looking LED headlights

It's been 25 years since Honda sent the motorcycle world into an ever-escalating nuclear arms race with the original Fireblade. Now, the flagship superbike gets a 10-horsepower boost, drops 33 pounds and goes fully electronic to put it back in the hunt with the top dogs in the open class.

2017 marks 25 years for the Honda Fireblade, a quarter of a century since the original CBR900RR came onto the scene in 1992 and changed the motorcycle world forever, putting literbike power into a lightweight chassis only a shade heavier than the 600cc supersports of its day.

The ultimate expression of this weight reduction philosophy 25 years later is found in the extraordinary Ducati 1299 Superleggera, an exotic roadbike that's so light it wouldn't be eligible to race in World Superbike.

The Superleggera is the supermodel star of this year's EICMA motorcycle expo in Milan. But at US$80 grand, and with a limited run of 500, it's not a bike you're gonna be seeing on the street much. The 2017 Honda Fireblade, though, will be selling in bulk.

2017 Honda CBR1000RR: titanium fuel tank keeps mass low and central
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: titanium fuel tank keeps mass low and central

In basic numbers, the CBR has hung back behind the competition since about 2005, never competing for outright horsepower honors. It's probably lost some customers as a result, but then, there's a particular kind of customer that buys off the spec sheet and always wants to have the bike with the biggest numbers, and Honda has never seemed that interested in that kind of buyer.

Instead, the 'Blade has built a reputation as the "friendly" superbike, the faultlessly reliable option, a reasonably priced crotch rocket that didn't need expensive technology between the rider and the throttle butterflies to make it a safe, controllable, fun and fast machine on road and track.

All good things must come to an end, and if 2016 has taught us anything, it's that if you want to make a bike that can hit Euro IV emissions targets, you're gonna need to go ride-by-wire. And if you go ride-by-wire, you might as well stick the safety gear on.

2017 Honda CBR1000RR: full colour TFT dash
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: full colour TFT dash

Thus, like the race homologation SP specials we saw from Honda last month, the standard Fireblade gets a robot throttle and a five-axis Inertial Measurement Unit that drives its new traction control, wheelie control and angle-sensitive slide control.

It's also got selectable power modes, selectable engine braking and an up/down quickshifter you can set for three different levels of actuation feel.

Power is the same 189 horsepower we saw on the SP models, so Honda's still not interested in a piston measuring contest with the S1000RRs and R1s of the world. Wet weight is 435 pounds (197.3 kg) for the ABS model, which puts it at the lower end of the superbike class, but not by a massive amount.

2017 Honda CBR1000RR: aggressive front end
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: aggressive front end

Instead of the electronic suspension we saw on the SP models, the standard Blade will rock Showa's excellent Big Piston forks and Balance Free Rear Cushion shock. But it does get to keep the SP's titanium fuel tank, making it the first mass-production bike to get one of those.

It appears some markets will get access to non-ABS models as well as ABS, and the grabbing power is supplied by four piston Tokico calipers gripping 320 mm discs.

2017 Honda CBR1000RR: tidy rear end will get tidier with the use of a tail tidy
2017 Honda CBR1000RR: tidy rear end will get tidier with the use of a tail tidy

In some ways it's a little disappointing to see the Fireblade go so high-tech – many folks liked the idea that there was a fully manual superbike out there on the market. But times march on, and Honda has taken its time evaluating the new gear. We've got no doubt this bike will be an exceptionally tight, high quality and well thought-out package, and it'll sell by the boatload.

Source: Honda

2 comments
KeithPhillips
At the same price tag of the new Ducati It will come down to the purist as to which brand they support. As there isn't a lot of difference between the two bikes except a bit of weight, and a few horses. For me it would have to be the Ducati!!
Martin Hone
Keith, I think the Honda will be substantially cheaper than the Ducati. What I find amazing is that Honda has been able to pare 33 pounds ( do people still use this measurement ? ) off an already light bike. How did they do it Loz ???