Honda unveiled its CBR1000RR SP and SP2 models on October 4, which will finally give Honda a fighting chance against its highly competitive, high-tech, litre-class rivals. The SP version of the 1000RR is actually a slightly higher-spec, limited edition, street-legal version of the standard model. Honda says it plans to announce the standard edition sometime in November. The SP2 version on the other hand is also a limited-edition model that is homologated squarely for racing purposes. Honda says its design focus for the 2017 models is centred on “Total Control”.
The CBR1000RR SP has been completely redesigned and given some serious performance and electronic upgrades. The frame on the 2017 CBR1000RR SP has been made lighter by 300gm by thinning sidewalls and further optimising material-mass allocation. This allows for different chassis flex characteristics to give the rider a better feel, and control; especially at the limit.The same was done to the sub-frame and swing-arm, along with increasing the rear axle diameter. The aluminium wheels are switched from a six-spoke Y-shape design to a five-spoke Y, which Honda claims is 450gm lighter and also improves aerodynamic performance.
Honda’s focus in the styling department was for a more aggressive, yet minimalistic design. Therefore, more of the engine components are visible when viewing the bike from a side profile. The front of the upper fairing is now 24mm narrower than before, while the front of the middle fairing is 18mm slimmer. The headlight design now appears to have more in common with the CBR600RR; albeit a whole lot chunkier. The new 2017 1000RR SP saves massively on weight, thanks to the use of a titanium fuel tank; the first time this has been done in a mass-produced motorcycle. Honda says the new tank is now 1.30kg lighter than before and is 30mm narrower at the seat/tank junction.
The outgoing CBR was criticised for its lack of sensors and electronics, which made it one of the few litre-class machines to be left behind. But that ends with the 2017 model – the rider-aid package includes gyro-assisted ABS, asix-axis IMU, nine-level traction control, slide control, wheelie control, rear-wheel lift control, three-level engine braking, three-level quick shifter. Honda has even thrown in a Throttle-By-Wire system that allows for torque control using Honda’s Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) feature, which isbuilt into the twist-grip mechanism. The electronically-adjustable Ohlins suspension, and instrument panel that uses a TFT display, is similar to that on the RCV213-S. The 43mm NIX EC front forks are mated to a TTX EC rear shock, which is electronically controlled by the Ohlins S-EC system, located just under the passenger seat section.
A significant amount of weight is also saved with the redesigned motor in the 2017 CBR1000RR SP; all while increasing power output by 10hp. Although the bore and stroke measurements remain the same, the compression ratio is up to 13.0:0 from 12.3:1. The engine’s rev-ceiling has also increased to 13,000rpm from 12,250. Exhaust gases are now channelled through a titanium exhaust system and muffler that is 2.8kg lighter than before.Another large chunk of the weight savings comes from the powertrain, which is 1.9kglighter; thanks to the new slip-assist clutch system. Even the battery was optimised by going with a lithium-ion design, saving about a kilo. Overall; this 2017 SP model is a massive 15kg lighter than the previous model.
A homologated version of the SP, the CBR1000RR SP2 receives 1mm larger intake valves, 1.5mm larger exhaust valves, and a change in included valve angle to 10 degrees on the intake side and 12 degrees on the exhaust, versus 11 degrees on both sides for the standard SP model. The SP2 will also sport forged aluminium Marchesini wheels.
HRC race-parts and support will also be made available to SP2 owners. However, it will be reserved only for those utilising the bikes on professional race teams. This is an attempt to unlock the advantages of the new motor’s top-end (through ECU flash, camshafts, etc.) while keeping these non-EPA-approved modifications off of the street.
When Honda released the RC213V-S, it was never intended to be a great street motorcycle, but instead a very capable platform from which to build a serious race bike. However, due to its exorbitant price-tag and disappointing power figures, the programme ultimately suffered. The CBR1000RR SP2 programme has a new pricing strategy to avoid this distraction and focus on racing.
It is predicted that at least 500 SP2 units are to be built and sold globally over two years. The CBR1000RR SP2 motorcycle will first be offered for sale to race-teams, before being available to the general public.