More power, less weight: it’s a clear mission statement. In fact it’s the same mission statement that Honda issued when it debuted the Honda CBR 900 RR in 1992. The idea behind that motorcycle was a to build a bike the size of a middleweight with the power of an open-class superbike. The original was a success, in part because it was an unprecedented blend of small stature and big power. Then came every generation of Fireblade since—from 929, to 954, to 1000. That’s 25 years of production and 470,000 ‘Blades sold, according to Honda. So, more to the point, it was a clear mission statement and a successful one, by any company’s standards. It will come as no surprise, then, that for 2017 Honda is reaching back those 25 years to revive the same concept: more power, less weight.
The new Honda CBR 1000 RR will come in three versions: base model, SP, and SP2. We didn’t ride an SP2 and we probably won’t—it’s made for racing homologation and Honda only plans to make 500 of them, selling for about $25,000 each. The SP will be widely available, and comes with a titanium fuel tank, lithium-ion battery, Brembo brakes, a standard quickshifter, as well as electronically adjustable Öhlins suspension and different paint—all for a base price of $19,999. The base bike will be available in two versions in the US, non-ABS for $16,499 and with ABS for $16,799. Both will use steel gas tanks, lead-acid batteries, and Tokico brake calipers.