First Pics: 2008 Honda CB1000R (Not a Hornet, mind)

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As an ex-CB900F2 owner I figure I’m allowed to get excited about this: after years of plaintive wheedling from Hornet 900-lovers around the world, Honda have finally decided to slot a recent-generation 1000cc Fireblade engine into a naked frame.

The 2007 ‘Blade donates the engine, which has been “retuned for mid-range performance” - but the R on the end of the model number hints that the original donk might not be neutered all the way down to below 100hp like the CB9 was.

The Hornet 900 was such an exceptionally easy all-rounder to ride that all I really wanted from a CB1000 was more of everything. More power, better brakes, better suspension (including some adjustability), and a slightly stiffer frame to stop the uncertain feeling the earlier bike had at peg-down scratching speeds.

Looking at the specs, the CB1000R delivers all that and more. While we don’t have horsepower figures yet, the 1000cc engine makes close to 180hp in its CBR-RR tune, so a 120-130hp naked doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch. The USD, fully-adjustable forks and radial front brakes are lifted straight from the Fireblade too, so they’ll be the real deal - last time I rode an 06 Blade the brakes nearly sucked the eyeballs out of my head. The rear shock is a lower-spec unit featuring preload and rebound adjustments only. The single backbone frame is all-new, so we’d expect it to be up to the challenges laid down by the engine and brakes.

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Styling-wise, it’s as if they’ve imagined what HALO’s Master Chief would look like if he was a transformer, mounting his bonce as the headlight unit. Honda have followed the path laid out by the latest model Hornet 600, with underslung stubby exhaust, angular lines and a thin tail unit that hangs in empty space above the rear wheel like the 2008 Fireblade’s does and like all good streetfighters should. Of course, all good streetfighters have no pillion seat - and the tiny pad on the back of the CB1000R is a major step away from the practical, broad passenger accommodation on the CB900.

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The stunning 4-swept-spoke ninja-star rear wheel is mounted on a single sided swingarm, which will make chain adjustment easier from a practical standpoint, but also looks plain hot. If the bike was mine I’d yank off the Flash Gordon zig-zag radiator guards, they’re a bit of a naff touch on an otherwise good-looking motorcycle.

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The dash, as you can see, is now all-digital, and the bike retains the handy H.I.S.S. security system, which locks the ECU and makes the bike pretty much unusable without the coded key.

As usual, Honda are last onto the bandwagon, which is now getting a little crowded with sporty performance nakeds like the Tuono, Super Duke, Speed Triple, Z1000, FZ1N, Corsaro and Brutale. The Hornet 900 was an excellent (if soft) all-rounder at a criminally low price, and the CB1000R looks to be a leap forward in all performance criteria. Less of a “parts-bin special,” it’ll probably have a significantly higher pricetag, but such is life

There’s an option to have ABS and the annoying Honda Combined Braking system fitted, but thankfully they’re not forcing it upon CB1000R owners like they do on the VFR and Blackbird.

Sadly, Honda have officially announced that it’s categorically NOT to be called a Hornet, presumably because it’s now an “R” bike. Bollocks to that! We salute the new CB1000R Super Hornet! Full details at Honda’s CB1000R Super Hornet webpage.

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4 Responses to “First Pics: 2008 Honda CB1000R (Not a Hornet, mind)”

  1. Anthony Says:

    The Italian Honda website is quoting a power figure of 94 kW at 10,000rpm which translates to 126hp. They also quote 97.5Nm torque at 8,000rpm so both are up on the 900s 109hp at 9,000rpm and 92Nm at 6,500rpm.

    Can’t wait!

  2. Loz Says:

    Cheers Anthony - so what we’re looking at is a genuine competitor to the Kawasaki Z1000 (even in the future-man looks department) - and only five years after the Kwaka hit the showrooms…

    Honda are so conservative their marketing team still wear onions on their belts. Their new litre-class V4/V5 has been one of the most anticipated bikes on the market for the last few years, and they tell me it’s *still* 2-3 years off. Meanwhile, Aprilia’s going to have a balltearing V4 ready much earlier (http://gizmag.com/go/8129/), thus beating the past masters of the V4 to the punch.

  3. Dave Mcewen Says:

    Have had one for a week ..brilliant bike …crap mirrors ..ride position pushing forward….digital gauges difficult to see day time…the rest excellant

  4. kapil Says:

    holla….what a sexy bike… love 2 ride dis 1 for sure!

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