Sunday, November 20, 2011

Honda CBR1000RR 2012


Now four years later, the CBR1000RR gets several revisions but stops short of a full overhaul. New bodywork enhances styling, but it’s the suspension that received most of the R&D work. 

The rear suspension is still of the Unit Pro-Link architecture, but a new shock body promises big improvements in responsiveness. The old single-tube shock gets tossed in favor of what Honda calls a Balance-Free damper which incorporates a double-tube design. Instead of the damper piston using integral valves, the damping oil is forced through a separate damping component. The Balance-Free shock uses just a single circuit rather than main and secondary valves like most shocks. Honda says this allows better control via a larger body of oil, resulting in smoother and more responsive damping action, especially through the transition from compression to rebound. Damping adjusters are easily reached at the top of the shock body. 


The front suspension also receives an upgrade, now using a 43mm inverted Showa fork with Big Piston Fork technology seen on some Kawasaki Ninjas and Suzuki GSX-Rs. Its larger damping volume reduces hydraulic pressure, resulting in more precise action during its initial stroke and less pitching during hard braking. 

New bodywork is the most obvious change to the CBR. It follows the layered fairing concept to improve aerodynamic flow, helping create a large pocket of still air around the rider while also drawing in more air through the cooling system. Also new is an integrated chin spoiler above the front wheel that is claimed to reduce aerodynamic lift at speed.


Also new is the instrumentation. The LCD digital gauge pack now includes a five-level shift indicator, lap timer and gear-position indicator. The digital bar-type linear tachometer offers four selectable modes for style of readout.

The CBR’s midrange-strong motor is basically unchanged, but it did receive new EFI settings that provide response that is more linear and has smoother response at smaller throttle openings.  

Also new are the CBR’s 12-spoke cast-aluminum wheels replacing the old three-spoke hoops. These thin-spoke wheels are said to offer more rigidity, which we presume also makes them lighter.
The CBR’s Combined ABS system receives a minor revision for 2012. This sport-oriented ABS features “a modified front-brake effect better suited to sport riding.” Honda states it reduces front-brake application when the rear brake is actuated, followed by more-progressive front-brake application as brake pedal pressure increases.

The new CBR1000RR is scheduled to hit dealers in December, starting out at $13,800 for the base model. The C-ABS version costs an extra $1000. They’re available in a new Red color to join the existing Black choice, plus a sweet Pearl White/Blue/Red combo that looks HRC-inspired. The C-ABS model is available only in Red. Also, HRC is offering a power-up kit, but it’s intended only for track use.

  

Although the changes to the new CBR aren’t exactly earth shaking, Honda promises its new suspension is quite revelatory and very noticeable. On the 20th anniversary of the debut of the iconic CBR900RR, this new 1000RR will surely again contest for liter-class supremacy.

Says Honda: “In the end, the CBR1000RR imparts an uncanny connection between rider and motorcycle thanks to its extraordinary balance, all-around performance and remarkably integrated feel. For 2012, Honda's engineers have further honed and sharpened these characteristics, offering riders the opportunity to step up and open the next chapter to the motorcycle that's become a living legend among sportbikes.”


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