Embodying speed and dynamism: The previous CBR1000RR was designed around the keynote themes of ‘compact dimensions’, ‘lightweight’ and ‘mass centralisation’. For 2012, it was decided that the styling should underline the sheer speed and dynamic potential of the CBR1000RR. Some styling keys remain – for example, the familiar vertical slit in the fairing side panels has been retained, providing visual tension. The result is a more graceful profile that draws the eye from the sharper nose, and revised air intakes, to a more elegant tail. The overall effect is a more dynamic and faster-looking machine, one whose strongly-defined lines leave no doubt as to its performance potential.
Aerodynamically functional layered fairing: The new CBR1000RR incorporates the layered fairing concept resulting in improved functionality. The fairing creates a large pocket of calm air around the rider, improving comfort, while also helping draw air through the cooling system. These intricately worked surfaces also add to the machine’s aggressive looks. An integrated chin spoiler in the nose also reduces aerodynamic lift at speed, improving handling.
Unique Balance Free Rear Cushion: The main objectives for further developing the CBR1000RR’s suspension set-up were a smoother suspension action, improved rider feel and increased grip and traction. The rear suspension system uses the Unit Pro-Link configuration and introduces the first Balance Free Rear Cushion on a production motorcycle.
Developed in conjunction with world-leading suspension specialists Showa, instead of the conventional single-tube layout, the Balance Free Rear Cushion uses a double-tube design: the damper case and an internal cylinder. The damper piston features no valves. Instead the damping force is generated as displaced oil passes through a separate damping component.
In the conventional structure, the compression-side damping force was generated in two places with the main and sub damping valves, but elimination of the sub valve and concentration in one place allows pressure changes within the cushion to be controlled even more smoothly. And because there is no small amount of oil being used at high pressures, damping force response is improved and damping force can function smoothly during load input. Moreover, damping force can be generated smoothly when switching from tension to compression due to smooth pressure changes.
The Balance Free Rear Cushion delivers more consistent damping over the duration of a ride, plus improved shock absorption and therefore greater traction since contact is more consistently maintained between the rear tyre and the road or track surface. This technology has been proven in both the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hour race and the MFJ Superbike All Japan Road Race Championship. Indeed a CBR1000RR Fireblade fitted with a Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion won the 2010 Japanese Superbike championship, underlining the advantages of this advanced new suspension solution.
Easily accessed rear suspension adjusters: The combination of Honda’s Unit Pro-Link rear suspension and the Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion brings more than simply improved rear suspension performance and increased traction. To allow road and track riders to more easily adjust the rear compression and rebound damping performance, the adjusters have been placed prominently on the top of the shock body, offset to the left. As a result the rear suspension can be more quickly adapted to suit different riding conditions and requirements.
Big Piston Front Fork: To complement the Balance Free Rear Cushion, the front suspension system now comprises a pair of inverted 43mm telescopic forks with Showa’s Big Piston Front Fork technology. The forks use a unique construction with a bigger damping volume to effectively reduce the hydraulic pressure generated as the forks compress and extend. The result is reduced play during the initial stroke and smoother damping, helping maximise tyre contact with the road or track, giving the rider improved handling, a reassuring feel from the front tyre and enhanced stability during hard braking.
12-spoke cast aluminium wheels: The 2012 CBR1000RR features new 12-spoke cast aluminium wheels which offer more consistent rigidity. Together with the new suspension, these wheels provide improved handling and feedback for the rider.
Aluminium frame with optimised rigidity balance: The CBR1000RR’s four-piece aluminium frame combines all the most desirable attributes of a high-performance frame. It delicately balances the strength, rigidity and lightness required for both superb handling and a strong power-to-weight ratio. Wrapped tightly around the main components of the machine, the frame also contributes to the centralisation of mass, a guiding principle of Honda’s racing and road-going bikes that contributes to both stability and responsive handling. At the rear of the frame the gull-wing swingarm is deliberately long. It works with the innovative Unit Pro-Link rear suspension, a configuration derived from Honda’s 990cc RC211V MotoGP racer, to deliver outstanding traction and high levels of rider feedback.
Second generation HESD Honda Electronic Steering Damper: Conventional hydraulic steering dampers increase high-speed stability but bring unfavourably heavy steering at low speeds. The CBR1000RR’s HESD system monitors the bike’s speed and tailors the damping force accordingly. It enhances stability at speed by minimising sudden steering angle changes while also leaving the steering light and uncorrupted at low speed.
Unrivalled braking power: Since 2009 the CBR1000RR has been offered with optional electronically-controlled “Combined ABS” (C-ABS), a high performance antilock braking system which has been specifically developed for Super Sport machines. This revolutionary system does away with the pulsating effect associated with conventional motorcycle ABS technology, leaving the rider free to enjoy safe and powerful braking without the risk of locking a wheel, even on a racetrack. At the same time the Combined Braking System also continually optimises the front/rear distribution of the braking effort being applied.
Exhaustive testing on both road and track has shown that the C-ABS system allows the full use of the available braking power without wheel locking or pitching. Modifications to the amount of front braking activated when first applying the rear brake on the 2012 model create an even more stable braking performance.
The powerful front brakes comprise a pair of radially-mounted four-piston calipers and a pair of floating 320mm discs. To reduce weight and ensure optimal rigidity, the monoblock calipers are machined from a single piece of aluminium.
Full LCD Instrumentation: The new CBR1000RR uses multi-function LCD instruments to communicate everything from gear position to coolant temperature and speed. The cockpit display is dominated by a digital bar-type linear tachometer that scrolls from left to right as the 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. At the bottom of the display are lights for such functions as headlight high beam, neutral and indicator function.
Customisable tachometer: Clear and easy to read in all light conditions, the tachometer has four display modes: Conventional, which uses black LCD segments to show current rpm; Reverse, which uses black LCD segments to show remaining rpm; Peak Hold, which indicates rpm in the conventional way and also leaves a telltale segment showing the peak rpm achieved; and Single Segment, which uses a single segment to show current engine speed. In addition, the odometer may be switched to display engine rpm numerically.
Lap timer: Four modes are available on the lap timer, an important tool for circuit riding. As well as the lap timer itself, the display can show fuel consumption, average fuel efficiency, travelled distance 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.
5-level shift indicator: To maximise performance and ensure gear shifting at the optimum engine rpm, the 5-level shift indicator display uses highly visible white LEDs, adjustable for brightness. The LEDs illuminate sequentially as the engine rpm rises, finally blinking at a chosen preset rpm (default is 13,000rpm but this can be set between 4,000rpm and 13,000rpm). The interval between sequential illumination can also be set at 0, 200 or 400rpm.
Compact, powerful and lightweight liquid-cooled DOHC inline 4-cylinder: The Fireblade has always used an inline 4-cylinder engine combining a high specific power output with the low weight and compact dimensions required for a compact, agile chassis. The engine is designed to achieve high engine speeds, with a bore of 76mm, a stroke of 55.1mm – giving a total displacement of 999cm3 – and a nickel-silicon carbide (Ni-SiC) surface treatment on the cylinder walls to reduce friction and ensure complete reliability, even in competition use. Lightweight engine internals contribute both to engine performance and handling, by helping reduce the machine’s overall weight.
Precise control: The race-bred Programmed Dual Sequential Fuel Injection system (PGM-DSFI) has revised settings for 2012 to ensure even more precise fuelling and a usable power delivery at all times. Particular attention has been paid to the PGM-DSFI settings at small throttle openings.
The CBR1000RR engineers focused on the engine’s response at low speeds so that when riding winding country roads or when cornering at low speeds, the response will be delicate, predictable and progressive. By analysing throttle inputs and engine response in these conditions, the 2012 CBR1000RR achieves an improved level of control at throttle openings of up to 25%. At such openings the fuel injection has been set to deliver small changes in power and torque output. Then, as the throttle opening becomes larger, these changes in output become progressively greater. The result is an engine that responds with greater accuracy to the rider’s inputs, giving a greater road-holding feel from the rear tyre, enhanced manoeuvrability, even on demanding sections of road or racetrack, and highly usable, linear acceleration.
Smooth, accessible performance: Despite its prodigious levels of power and torque, every effort has been made to ensure the engine functions as an integrated part of a balanced Super Sport riding experience. In 2010 the alternator flywheels were made bigger and crankshaft rigidity increased accordingly. These changes increased the inertial mass of the crankshaft by 6.87%, ensuring a smoother and more consistent power delivery together with improved throttle control. Refinements such as a move to an aluminium cylinder head sealing bolt, a thin-walled flange section for the exhaust pipe and a smaller fan motor were made at the same time to avoid an increase in overall weight.
Exhaust emissions: The exhaust system has been made to reduce the emission of harmful exhaust gases. A high-absorption catalyser material has been adopted within the exhaust, which together with the oxygen sensor, constantly tailors the fuelling for the most efficient combustion mixture ensures full EURO-3 compliance.
Assisted slipper clutch: The CBR1000RR is fitted with a slipper clutch of the same type as that used in the 800cc RC212V MotoGP racer. The design ensures full power transmission together with ultra-smooth gear shifting and a light lever feel. In the critical corner-entry phase, when the rider must brake, judge their cornering line and shift down the gearbox simultaneously, the slipper clutch decreases the burden by reducing the torque passed from the engine to the rear wheel, reducing the chance of rear tyre losing traction and therefore increasing stability and ensuring smooth clutch operation.