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Discussion Starter #1
Reproduced with kind permission from Marc Potter, editor of MotorCycle News (MCN)

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Have the Japanese built a great super naked at last?

Forty years after the first Japanese invasion, Honda has built a bike to take on Europe's best. But can the CB1000R be the best super naked?

Back in the sixties when men had quiffs and woman wore beehives the Japanese bike manufacturers invaded Europe. Their bikes looked strangely like the ones made in the Midlands but they had funny winged logos on the tanks. Another difference was that they worked come rain or shine.

The copycats were laughed off at first, then makes like Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki started landing on our shores in big numbers, at the right price, with the right kit (like electric starters that worked) and engines that didn't leak. They took over the world of motorcycling forever.

It stayed that way for the 40 years until a small manufacturer in Hinckley started making a bike called the Street Triple, essentially creating the super naked category. Having been the first person in the world to ride the prototype, I remember that moment well. Okay, so the Ducati Monster was the original but that didn't have the same kind of sports bike horsepower linked with quality suspension and brakes, and the kind of styling reminiscent of a crashed GSX-R1100 with bug-eye headlamps.

Now the tables have been turned again as the world's biggest bike manufacturer looked down from its ivory tower at a small industrial unit in Leicestershire and decided it was very interested in a bike called the Speed Triple. Combine this with a healthy respect for bikes like the MV Agusta Brutale and the Monster and you'll start to get the measure of Honda's new CB1000R.

Big H won't admit their influences but an off the record chat with a few people confirmed what I just said, and it's not going on sale in Japan because emissions laws are so strict it would have to have an exhaust the size of a small car. This bike is for Europe only and that's where most of the design work and development was done.

Forget that it has the same name as that dinosaur the CB1000 of the early nineties, or that it's a spine framed, Fireblade-engined naked like the now defunct 900 Hornet. This is a whole new bag for Honda. A bike designed with Europe in mind, and one that uses a retuned version of the 2007 Fireblade engine with 2008 Fireblade forks, 2008 Fireblade brakes, a beautiful single-sided swingarm and styling tailored to the decor of the very best designer cafes in Milan. In green it looks purposeful; in white it looks as good as anything on the road.

Then there's the bike's heritage. It was developed by Tetsuya Kudoh, the man who was chief engineer and test rider on such bikes as the VFR400, RC30, NR750, CBR600F and VFR750F, so nothing much good in there then... And as such it's one high-spec piece of kit. The single sided swingarm is one of the things that gives away the fact this isn't your average fat and lazy naked bike.

Then there's the short stubby attitude of the CB1000R; the tiny seat unit designed as a token gesture to attract nubile Italian goddesses who may want to perch on your steed, so to speak. (In reality no-one would want to sit on the back and you'd never get a tail pack on it either, but Honda designed it that way.) It's all about being purposeful, minimal, and saying to everyone watching that you're a no compromise kind of guy who likes to ride fast and look good. The CB1000R weighs in wet at 217kgm which is just 18kg more than the super lightweight 2008 Blade. Most of that extra weight is added by the heavily braced single-sided swingarm.

Check out the swoopy four-spoke rear wheel, the LCD clocks that are claimed to be the most expensive that Honda make, the jagged lines of the bodywork and the aggressive 'ready to attack' stance, and you can tell this is no normal Japanese naked bike. It's designed to give a sporty ride with the stylish looks of a naked, and it more than delivers.

Undoubtedly it's a serious bit of kit that aims to do a totally different job to the old Hornet 900, and it's a bike that I'm slightly afraid of riding when I am handed the keys in the centre of Milan on a wet and slippery Saturday morning.

But fearful is not one of the things that enters your head when you start riding the tiny Honda. Filtering through Milan in convoy behind a mad Welshman intent on showing us his knowledge of Milan's back-streets, the bike is gentle, easy and torquey. The fuelling is perfect, the grunt is huge and I'm already starting to think that for most people, most of the time, this engine would be better in a Fireblade than the super-powerful motor de rigeur of bikes that say you're a real man, even if secretly the amount of horsepower terrifies you. Or is that just me?

The 130bhp may be plenty but it's more about the torque and the way the power is delivered that impresses. It comes on clean and fat to the point where sixth gear will pull at 30mph with no shakes from the transmission, no rattles, just clean drive. Try that on an FZ1 Fazer and you'll be reaching for an asthma inhaler to spray down its air intakes. Hit 8000rpm and there's no noticeable switch in delivery but by then it doesn't ease off until 10,000rpm. The CB uses a different cylinder head (a magnesium one) to the 2007 Blade, different inlet and outlet ports, a different ECU and compression ratio. As an engine it's one of the finest in any production bike and hits way harder than you expect.

As we cut through the Milan traffic towards the twisty roads near Lake Como I realise I never actually checked whether or not I was riding the bike with the combined brakes and ABS or the standard Fireblade braking system. As we pull up to the next lights, I grab a handful of front and lock the front tyre - it's the standard bike then. The CBS/ABS model puts an extra £500 on the price. But as standard the brakes don't feel super sharp like on the Blade; that's because the master cylinder and brake lines are changed to soften it up a little. If Honda had fitted exactly the same kit as the Blade you'd be a world stunt champion, or lying in the road with the bike on top of you.

We head out of town and the CB1000R comes into its own as the road sweeps into fast dual-carriageway corners and you can feel how agile it is when cutting through traffic. It steers quickly yet the team behind the bike have managed to make it stable at motorway speeds, quite a feat when you consider how quickly it turns into a corner. Sit at 80mph and the Honda is surprisingly comfortable. You feel close to the headstock of the bike, yet deep enough in the seat not to feel the full force of the wind.

The pace slows through yet more industrial towns on the outskirts of Milan and we slide our way through roundabouts, dial in the smooth torque and power out the other side. Short shift and you almost forget the clutch as the gearbox is so light and precise on every shift, feeling like a well set-up race bike shift rather than your standard road bike fare.

When the roads open up the CB1000R really comes into its own and it's here where it needs to live. The big Honda is so easy to ride fast that you really don't have to think about what gear and when to get on the throttle. It seems to let you get away with riding the road and not thinking about the bike - if there are any faults with the bike that's one of them.

The motor is amazing but it doesn't howl or really get you excited. It has the looks of something really aggressive but it never really wants to kick off. If it were in a fight, the CB1000R would be the good-looking one talking his way out of it, but knowing secretly that it could handle itself should it need to. Compared to the Speed Triple it's not quite as raw, not quite as bolshy and looks a little softer. But that makes it easier to ride than all of its rivals. Kawasaki's Z1000 is heavier, less torquey and doesn't handle as well. Yamaha's FZ1 has most of its power at the top end and lacks bottom end; that makes it hard to ride on the roads where it wants to be ridden and it's hard to wheelie.

The Honda on the other hand leaps out of corners, pummelling all of its torque into the road and it round the rev-counter before you know it. Shift at 10,000rpm and it feels like it has the perfect blend of power and torque for road riding. The suspension is softer than the Triumph but, for me, it gives the perfect blend of feel and comfort. I don't want a bike that's rock hard, just one that lets me know what the wheels are doing and one that doesn't pitch around under power or braking. The Honda gets it bang on.

The only area the CB1000R can be found lacking is in missing out on that bit of soul and noise that you get with the Brutale and the Speed Triple. That said, for 90% of the time it's a better bike than the others in every respect.

Unfortunately I never got to ride the CB1000R in true dry conditions where you can really sling it around. For that you'll have to wait for our group test in about two weeks time. But in the real world, where cops are hiding in trailers with speed guns, the roads are getting even busier and the surface isn't racetrack smooth, Honda has made a brilliant unfaired bike

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What about the XESS?
And if the stock CB1000R isn't fancy enough for you, how about this? The XESS is a specially 'blinged-up' version of the CB1000R created by Honda to gauge reaction to both the production version of the bike and top show the potential for tuning and fitting accessories to the bike. It was unveiled to an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response at last year's prestigious Milan Show.

Modifications include different wheels, forks, paintscheme, anodised chassis and exhausts. Sadly not all of the accessories shown on the XESS are available to CB1000R buyers yet, but you can get an Alcantara seat, carbon fibre mudguards, different colour bodywork panels, an alarm and a decorative fuel tank cap cover.

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The CB1000R's development
The CB1000R is pretty unique as the original idea to build a streetfighter for Europe stemmed from the offices in Italy, not in Japan.

After heavy market research among customers in Europe the brief was to build a compact bike with a torquey engine and great handling. The final version of the concept was then sketched and approved by R&D Japan and European sales managers.

The styling was created in Europe and fitted the brief for a bike designed to be ridden fast on winding roads.

Project leader Koki Kobayashi and test leader Testuya Kudo (main test rider for RC30, CBR600FM VFR750F, NR750) then worked with Italian engineers to create the first prototypes.

Test riders rode all the bikes rivals. They felt the Fazer 1000 lacked low down power but were big fans of the Triumph Speed Triple
 

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Excellent Ant' :thumbup

Getting a good 'feel' for the bike now after reading a few of these. :clap

Malc'
 

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from "motociclismo" magazine:

max power: 110 hp at 9750 rpm
max torque: 9,08 at 7500 rpm
max speed: 227,6 km/h
0-400 meters 11,036
0-400 meters in upper gear starting from 40km/h 11,946
weight with no petrol 207,2

in the interwiew with the ingenier that worked on the engine he specifies that he concentrated alot of his work in order to have as much as power as possibe in the mid range thats why the 160hp of the blade became 110...but 110 can then be used every day... :clap
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What country is Motociclismo in? That's a lower spec than the one we're expecting.
 

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it's n1 magazine in italy , I don t think is bad they talk about the engine very well they say that this is the way an engine of a naked should be...very good low range, exellent mid range.
the honda engenier worked on that rather then taking the engine of a sport bike and feet it on a naked that is mainly used on road where its almost impossible to use high rpm power. If they worked alot on that rather than keeping 160hp or maybe having 140hp but sacrifizing the mid range there must be a reason..

anyway accelleration can be considered almost the same of z1000, and speedtriple, and just a little worst of a fz1,
accelleration from 40kmh in top gear is the best of all and its the only naked able to go under 12 sec....
weight also is similar to z1000 and speedtripl but 5kg more then fz1..but i think thats the price to pay of having the single swing arm...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah, the Pro Arm isn't light. I think that makes up most of the weight difference for sure. The gearing on the CB is the same as the 2007 Blade from first to third, but then shorter gears for 4th to 5th, plus the final drive is geared with a smaller front and larger rear sprocket than the Blade, so I'd expect the CB to be like poop-off-a-shovel personally. I can't wait! :thumbup
 

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I made an error...the swing arm weights 6kg....just to compare it with the one of the cbr1000rr 2008 weights 8kg...
so that s not the weight problem...anyway its a wonderfull bike and i think the write choices have been done for the engine,,,
I am not sure if I really like the front light , but I have to see it from real to understand it
 

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i know ..I thought the same as you , but that is what i read in the magazine and that's why honda wants to use a simmilar swing arm on the next cbr600rr...
 

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Well, the original MCN review which this thread was based on is a little different to the current one published this week, 18 June. I think it was a disappointing review and in some areas came bottom of the pile of the three bikes it was up against. Glad I didn't put any money down just yet!! I may set my sights on the Super Duke (again)! Has anyone else read that report? What do you think?? This is the danger of 'hyping' a bike so much prior to release. But I still luv it, for all its 'apparant' faults.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Read this for comments on the latest. Very disappointing. Bear in mind that a Super Duke is £1500+ more than the CB1000R though. I'm tempted to lean towards a second hand 990 Super Duke if my CB1000R doesn't make it for launch I must admit
 

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Only got round to reading the review today, have to say it was even worse than I expected from the comments made here.

Bit puzzled by some of the scores though :notme

Top Speed: FZ1
Quickest Standing 1/4: FZ1
0-30: CB1000R
0-60: CB1000R
0-100: FZ1
Top Gear Roll-on: CB1000R
Braking: Speed Triple

Performance scores:
CB1000R: 8
FZ1: 8
Speed Triple: 8
KTM: 9 :notme

Value Scores:
CB1000R (£7071): 7
FZ1 (£7120): 7
Speed Triple (£7999): 8
KTM: (£8545): 8 :notme

The CB dash sounds bloody dire, and the stock suspension pretty awful compared to the others.
 

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Yeah those scores are weird... also the FZ1-N list prices is £6099 but excludes tax and registration... however they are still available on 0% finance and with a further £350 cash back. The ABS FZ1 is £300 more (again with the £350 cashback but also includes a belly pan as standard).

I can't see how a KTM at £1500 can be considered better value than a CB1000R or FZ1. Even performance on the KTM isn't that great from what I can see.... of all the four bikes the KTM would come bottom of my list.
 

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JJON said:
Only got round to reading the review today, have to say it was even worse than I expected from the comments made here.

Bit puzzled by some of the scores though :notme

Top Speed: FZ1
Quickest Standing 1/4: FZ1
0-30: CB1000R
0-60: CB1000R
0-100: FZ1
Top Gear Roll-on: CB1000R
Braking: Speed Triple

Performance scores:
CB1000R: 8
FZ1: 8
Speed Triple: 8
KTM: 9 :notme

Value Scores:
CB1000R (£7071): 7
FZ1 (£7120): 7
Speed Triple (£7999): 8
KTM: (£8545): 8 :notme

The CB dash sounds bloody dire, and the stock suspension pretty awful compared to the others.
Can you post the link of the review?
Thanks.
:book :book :book
 

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in Belgium the price difference between the CB and the duke is €2500; for that amount of money you start thinking Öhlins :potty

I've been looking for fork springs, oil and a rear spring of WP, forr less than €400 it's done

gr T
 
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