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Honda's scorching new Fireblade

2008-02-06 08:10

Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade

Redesigned from the ground up, Honda promises its new CBR1000RR Fireblade will re-ignite the performance bike sector. Lighter and more compact than before, expect blitzing performance and lightning-quick responses.

Arguably Honda's most advanced road bike to date, the new Fireblade employs race-derived, cutting-edge technology.

Compared with its predecessor, the 2008 Fireblade is slimmer and more compact. It benefits from the use of lightweight components and innovative developments such as the underslung exhaust and assisted slipper clutch, which makes its debut on this Fireblade.

This slipper clutch uses a second set of undercut cams to force the pressure plates back together and re-engage the clutch once power is reapplied. This reduces the clutch's disengagement time, allowing for quicker re-engagement and a lighter clutch action.

The centrally mounted, 17,7-litre fuel tank is mounted low in the frame, allowing a lower, more forward seating position.

The new Fireblade's seat and tail are much shorter and lighter, thanks to the redesigned exhaust system which has been placed directly beneath the engine to further centralise mass.

A performance-enhancing ram air intake features new dual intake ports that direct air to the airbox via electronically controlled valves to maximise low-to-midrange performance and efficient combustion.

Key components were reconsidered and redesigned to reduce mass, improve strength and increase operating efficiency.

An all-new 999 cc four-cylinder engine uses twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder to delivers increased output across a wider power band. The greater power-to-weight ratio also ensures a machine that is more responsive off the line and through its mid-range.

Engine highlights include titanium valves, lightweight pistons with a molybdenum coating and a removable cylinder block.

With a compression ratio of 12.3:1, the unit produces 131 kW at 12 000 r/min and a peak torque figure of 114 Nm at 8 500 r/min.

Fireblade's suspension has been revised too, and is optimised for balance, reduced weight and greater rigidity.

The twin-spar, aluminium composite frame has been reduced to four main castings for a significant weight reduction, while the new frame is stronger, too.

While the 43 mm inverted HMAS cartridge-type front fork and Unit Pro-Link rear suspension are virtually unchanged, the system's shape has been altered somewhat.

The radial-mount front disc brakes are equipped with new, four-piston front calipers. New, too, are aluminium brake pistons, narrower brake lines and a modified brake lever ratio.

Fireblade boasts the same, second-generation HESD steering damper as seen on the 2007 CBR600RR, which is actuated by handlebar movement to provide effective resistance against sudden movement of the front fork and handlebars.

A revised engine starter ratio and starter motor reduce current draw and has also allowed the use of a smaller battery. This battery maintains the same number of repeat starts and improves start times, but is more than 1 kg lighter.

The new 2008 CBR1000RR Fireblade is offered in three dramatic new colour schemes - Graphite Black (with Candy Glory Red), Winning Red (with Graphite Black) and Graphite Black.

It is available at Honda Wing dealerships countrywide at a recommended retail price of R119 999. Accessories are available at additional cost.

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