Whether you’re talking about something with two wheels or four, we all know ‘R’ stands for race. Honda’s CBR-1000RR Fireblade superbike, then, is keen for the world to know just how racy it is, by packing three Rs into its name.
This seems to have left Honda with something of a dilemma. Its new version of the Fireblade features even more track-friendly bits, culminating in what the Japanese manufacturer refers to as “an unwavering focus on circuit riding”. Clearly, there was no option but to add another R.
Who cares if saying “CBR1000RR-R” will make it sound like you’ve caught a chill? The new Fireblade has done plenty to justify that extra R, mostly by pinching bits from the RC213V-S MotoGP replica.
The RR-R’s inline-four has the same bore and stroke as the V4 from the £150,000 hyperbike, and takes inspiration from its “combustion efficiency and low-friction technologies”.
The engine - which has titanium con-rods and forged pistons - develops 215bhp at 14,500rpm, and has only 201kg (wet) of bike to propel. Without factoring in a rider, that makes for a power-to-weight ratio in excess of 1000bhp/tonne.
The CB1000RR-R also has a longer swingarm modelled on the part used for the RC213V-S, plus winglets derived from the design used on Honda’s current MotoGP machine. Get ready to channel your inner Marc Marquez.
There’s an all-new, more rigid aluminium frame, and revised geometry that’s improved weight distribution and lowered the centre of gravity. Up front, there’s a 43mm Showa Big Piston Fork, while the rear is propped up by a Balance Free Rear Cushion Light damper from the same company. The front discs are slightly larger, and the four-piston Nissin calipers that squeeze them are new.
On the subject of the brakes, it’s worth pointing out that you can fiddle with the ABS to make sure it behaves to your liking during track riding. The adjustable ABS system is part of a full suite of clever electronics, most of which are controlled via the six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit.
There’s Wheelie Control to help keep the front tyre planted on the tarmac, Selectable Torque Control which quells wheelspin, various riding modes, and - our favourite bit - ‘Start Mode’. This lets the rider set the rev limit at either 6000, 7000, 8000 or 9000rpm, “letting the rider focus on clutch release (and lights) alone,” Honda says.
All of this sounds lovely, but if you want an even snazzier superbike and are happy with Honda liberating more money from your bank account, there is also a CBR1000RR-R SP. This switches out the Showa suspension for Ohlins, and swaps the Nissin brakes for Brembo stoppers.
Both bikes will be on display this week at the EICMA bike show in Milan.