The Bike

Sport Rider - - Front Page -

Honda en­gi­neers went to work to on im­prov­ing the per­for­mance of the Fire­blade’s pow­er­plant while be­ing care­ful to not take away the user-friendly power­band that was so fa­mous on the out­go­ing model. To han­dle an in­creased com­pres­sion ra­tio of 13.0:1, the pis­tons' thick­nesses and crown de­signs have been re­vised, and the crank­shaft and con­nect­ing rods are now made of stronger ma­te­ri­als. New camshafts pro­vide in­creased valve lift and up­dated tim­ing in order to han­dle an in­creased red­line of 13,000 rpm (pre­vi­ously 12,250 rpm) and im­prove top- end per­for­mance. The CBR’S ex­haust also gets re­done with a re­vised 4-into-2-into-1 de­sign with an ex­haust valve and a ti­ta­nium muf­fler to help meet Euro 4 emis­sion stan­dards and boost the bike’s out­put to 189 ponies in the Euro-spec ver­sion.

Fur­ther­more, the CBR’S air­box re­ceives changes to im­prove air­flow, while the throt­tle body di­am­e­ters are in­creased by 2mm to 48mm with­out in­creas­ing the ex­te­rior width; fuel pres­sure at the in­jec­tors is also in­creased 14 per­cent for bet­ter at­om­iza­tion. A new high- den­sity ra­di­a­tor core achieves the same cool­ing while re­duc­ing the ra­di­a­tor's over­all width by 30mm, and a re­vised power-as­sist slip­per clutch de­creases ef­fort at the lever by 17 per­cent while in­creas­ing feel.

To cut weight from the en­gine, a mag­ne­sium oil pan and ig­ni­tion cover were used, trans­mis­sion gears were hol­lowed out, bolt lengths were short­ened, and wa­ter hose and wa­ter hose bands were made smaller in size. Thanks to Honda’s at­ten­tion to de­tail, the com­plete en­gine sheds a whole 4.4 pounds, which con­trib­utes to the to­tal 33-pound weight loss be­tween the new ABS mod­els and 13-pound weight loss be­tween non-abs mod­els.

Elec­tron­ics-wise, the new CBR gets an all-new pack­age that’s heav­ily de­rived from Honda’s RC213V-S replica Motogp bike to help keep the rider in to­tal con­trol. The sys­tem is head­lined by a

nine-level HSTC sys­tem (trac­tion con­trol) that uses in­for­ma­tion based off a Bosch five-axis IMU to open or close the throt­tle plates via the sys­tem’s new ride-by-wire throt­tle in order to mod­u­late power and main­tain trac­tion. Other rider aids in­clude a three­level wheelie con­trol sys­tem that in­ter­est­ingly uses wheel speed in­stead of pitch mea­sure­ments gath­ered by the IMU, a three-level Selectable En­gine Brake (EB) con­trol, and an op­tional quick­shifter for clutch­less up­shifts and down­shifts. ABS is also op­tional equip­ment on the stan­dard CBR and helps mod­u­late brake pres­sure while cor­ner­ing and keeps the rear wheel on the ground un­der brak­ing.

Honda’s chas­sis de­part­ment also had its hands on the new Fire­blade, tweak­ing the dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the frame and swingarm to help re­duce weight with­out neg­a­tively af­fect­ing the han­dling. Por­tions of the frame walls have been thinned out to save 300 grams, with lat­eral rigid­ity re­main­ing the same, but al­low­ing 10 per­cent more tor­sional flex than be­fore for quicker han­dling and more feel on track. Sim­i­larly, the swingarm’s thick­nesses have been al­tered to save an ad­di­tional 100 grams and in­crease tor­sional rigid­ity. The die- cast alu­minum sub­frame has also been re­designed, re­sult­ing in a weight sav­ings of 800 grams.

Aero­dy­nam­ics have been ad­justed as well through new body­work that is sig­nif­i­cantly slim­mer than the out­go­ing model; it is now shrunk in width by 24mm at the top fair­ing and 18mm at the lower fair­ing. A new fuel tank sees smaller di­men­sions too, in­clud­ing a re­duc­tion in ca­pac­ity from 4.5 gal­lons to 4.23 gal­lons and 30mm nar­rower grip at the knee. The six-spoke wheels on the pre­vi­ous model have now been swapped for five-spoke wheels to save weight and op­ti­mize rigid­ity for ag­ile han­dling, and the To­kico front brake calipers have been re­designed and paired with new high-per­for­mance pads.

Sift­ing through and chang­ing set­tings via the TFT dash­board and left han­dle­bar con­trols is easy, and its three dis­play modes (Street, Cir­cuit, and Me­chanic) pro­vide all nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion.

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