Do you long for the days when each and every year it seemed as though a few grams were shaved off your favourite sportbike? A lighter muffler here, a couple of shorter bolts there, a few strategic carbon fibre bits all over. If it all added up to a few pounds it was big news, a major selling point that really had nothing to do with the real world. But it gave a few guys bragging rights. Add that to colour schemes that looked like a clown threw up his last meal of neon crayolas …. ahhhh, those where the days. For the past few years however the focus has been on big power and conservative paint – two items that probably should go together. Honda has just bucked part of that trend as weight loss has taken centre stage with the new 2017 CBR1000RR SP. This svelte new model comes in at a whopping 15 kgs lighter than last year’s SP which no-one would have called portly. And another 10 hp just to make things a little more interesting. As with most Honda products – with the possible exception of the monkey bikes – the new CBR is all about getting the job done without an excess of flash – because ultimately engineering does trump flash.
For the engineering nitty gritty, let’s turn it over to Honda:
CBR1000RR SP – Next Stage Total Control
Three factors are key to the essence of the new CBR1000RR SP; less weight, more power and electronics to help the rider wherever and however they’re riding.
The new electronic control system provides constant, selectable and fine-tunable rider support. Central to the system is the 5-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which measures exactly what the machine is doing, in every plane. It works the Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) that precisely manages rear wheel traction via the FI-ECU and Throttle By Wire (TBW). The new ABS (also managed by the
IMU) offers Rear Lift Control (RLC) and the ability for hard, safe trail braking into corners. Any difference measured between the front and rear wheel speeds engages Wheelie Control, depending on settings.
It also works with the Öhlins Objective Based Tuning Interface to adjust both the compression and rebound damping force of the semi-active Öhlins Electronic Control
(S-EC) front fork and rear shock. For the rider this means access to a whole new level of handling ability, with suspension reaction—whether working through pre-sets 2017 CBR1000RR SP or manual input—that delivers exactly the right amount of control in every situation. It
functions as well on the road as it does the track, and for Honda a new era begins.
At the same time as the S-EC is working the suspension, the Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) is precisely managing rear wheel traction through the IMU, FI-ECU and Throttle By Wire (TBW). It also delivers a Wheelie Control function.
Three standard display modes—Street, Circuit and Mechanic—provide all the information required for the rider relevant to the type of riding. The information displayed can be fine-tuned and adjusted while riding by using the left-hand switch gear and TFT liquid crystal display, just as on the RC213V-S, Honda’s road going version of its RC213V MotoGP machine.
While the electronic control is very much a new departure for the CBR1000RR SP, the combination of the other two factors draws faithfully on the philosophy of the original 1992 machine: the optimal balance of power and weight. The engine revs harder and higher, with a much higher compression ratio and revised cam timing, and uses the TBW (a first for an inline four-cylinder Honda) and Acceleration Position Sensor (APS) which have been inspired by the technology developed for the RC213V-S.
Bottom-end torque and power are improved, with a significant increase in top-end power—up 10 hp—and 3 modes of engine output character can be chosen from. A Quickshifter is fitted as standard, as is Downshift Assist (with auto-blipper) and new assist slipper clutch.
Thanks to the use of magnesium and careful assessment and lightening of individual parts, the engine also carries 4.4 lbs. less. The new titanium exhaust muffler saves further weight and aids mass centralization, as does the titanium petrol tank. Overall the CBR1000RR SP is 33 lbs. lighter than the outgoing model.
The twin-spar aluminum frame’s rigidity balance has been finely adjusted, and the swingarm is stiffer to match. A new rear subframe is lighter as are the redesigned wheels, while Brembo monobloc four-piston front brake calipers use highperformance track-ready brake pads.
The CBR1000RR SP ’s bodywork outlines an aggressive, functional minimalism, and the machine is slimmer and much more compact with a single seat unit fitted as standard. All lighting is LED and the stunning Tri-Color paintwork—on a red base— harks back to Honda racing history.
• Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)
• Öhlins Electronic Control (S-EC) suspension
• Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC)
• New ABS
• Riding Mode Select System (RMSS)
The CBR1000RR SP is the first Honda motorcycle to be equipped with Öhlins S-EC
suspension front and rear: a 43mm NIX 30 fork and TTX 36 shock.
2017 CBR1000RR SP
The Suspension Control Unit (SCU) receives roll rate, yaw rate and lean angle
information from a 40g 5-axis (3-axis acceleration and 2-axis angular velocity) Bosch
MM5.10 IMU gyro located close to the machine’s center of gravity. It also gathers
wheel speed, engine rpm, brake input and throttle angle from the FI-ECU and,
depending on the suspension mode selected by the rider delivers optimal
compression and damping force (adjusted via each step motor) during normal riding,
plus hard acceleration, braking and cornering.
There are three Active modes and three Manual modes for the rider to choose from.
When set in Active, damping force is controlled and optimized to suit the riding
conditions: A1 (“Fast”), A2 (“Enjoy”) and A3 (“Safety”). Within the Active Modes the
rider can make finer adjustments. The Manual M1, M2 and M3 Modes allow any
required adjustments to be made.
Within the electronic control system are a multitude of active features that many
riders will find useful. The new ABS allows extremely hard braking while maintaining
rear wheel contact with the ground, stopping the tendency for the rear of the machine
to elevate or “back in” around the front. It uses the 2-axis acceleration information
from the IMU and calculates the acceleration of the machine’s center of gravity in the
lift direction and acceleration perpendicular to that, using the front wheel as a
ABS delivers smooth, effective braking into a corner. With information from the IMU,
plus front and rear wheel speed sensors, the ABS Modulator controls braking force
according to lean angle, even when panic braking. But it also allows for hard trail
braking by using two parameters (deceleration derived from wheel speed and
front/rear slip rates) plus lean angle to vary the threshold for ABS decompression.
ABS delivers an extra sense of security when braking hard on the road, and offers a
performance edge in certain conditions on the racetrack.
In isolation all the functions of the EBC—plus the HSTC’s wheelie control—perform
specific, individual tasks. When tied together, however and working seamlessly as
one they provide technological rider support that elevates the super sports
experience, without turning the rider into the passenger. Next Stage Total Control,
Like the RC213V-S, the CBR1000RR SP uses a full-color TFT liquid crystal dash
that clearly communicates information to the rider. It automatically adjusts to ambient
light, with a backlight of up to 1000 cd/m2 luminescence and features 3 modes;
Street, Circuit and Mechanic, each displaying information most relevant for usage.
Street displays riding modes (1-3 and USER 1-2) plus the settings for each
parameter P (Power), T (HSTC), EB (Selectable Engine Brake) and S (Suspension).
Circuit adds in addition to Street mode the lap time, number of laps and difference
from the best lap. Mechanic displays the digital tachometer, gear position, grip angle,
coolant temperature and battery voltage.
Riding mode 1 (FAST) gives full power, with linear throttle response, low HSTC and
EB intervention and high damping force. Mode 2 (FUN) controls output through first
to third gear, with fairly moderate power increase, medium HSTC, strong EB and
medium damping force. Mode 3 (SAFE) controls output through first to fourth gear,
with moderate power increase, high HSTC, strong EB and low damping force.
2017 CBR1000RR SP
In the 2 USER modes all parameters can be combined and adjusted freely; riding
modes, HSTC and suspension settings can be changed while riding from the
up/down switch on the left switchgear.
The Shift-Up indicator is a horizontal line of 5 white LEDs located at the top; when
engine speeds exceed user presets they go from solid to flashing. Displays include
speedometer, tachometer, gear position, quickshifter, coolant temperature, riding
distance and twin trip meters.
The onboard computer calculates instantaneous and average fuel economy, trip fuel
consumption, average speed and time after last ignition plus remaining fuel after
RES light and distance to empty (when selected). This information is shown on the
bottom right of the screen. In the upper display, middle right the rider can choose to
see the Shift-Up indicator setting speed, grip angle, battery voltage, calendar, or
Switching between modes is controlled by a mode switch on the right of the left-hand
switchgear. Just above it is an up/down switch that manages and changes the
information displayed within the mode.
• Adjusted rigidity balance for the frame
• Stiffer swingarm
• Lighter subframe
• Titanium fuel tank
• Brembo four-piston radial mount monobloc brake calipers
• Redesigned wheels
• Minimal and aggressively styled bodywork
As a machine now a full 33 lbs. lighter and with a 10 horsepower power boost, the
CBR1000RR SP’s physical handling has also been transformed. Rake and trail
remain 23° 3’/96mm but the hollow die-cast twin-spar aluminum frame’s rigidity
balance has been significantly adjusted to give even sweeter handling with
outstanding steering response, feel and stability.
Thinned frame walls save 300 grams. While transverse rigidity is unchanged, the
frame is 10% more flexible in the torsional plane, which works to deliver a fasterreacting
chassis. Yaw moment of inertia has been reduced by 15%; roll moment of
inertia by 10%. The Honda Electronic Steering Damper (HESD) unobtrusively
maintains stability. To complement the frame changes the aluminum Unit Pro-Link®
swingarm’s hybrid structure has had the thickness of each section adjusted, saving
approximately 100 grams while maintaining transverse rigidity and increasing
The die-cast aluminum subframe too has been redesigned and its thinner
construction is at the same time highly rigid and 800 grams lighter—contributing to
the concentration of mass and thus neutral handling feel with improved agility.
Wheelbase is 55.3 in.; seat height is 32.3 in.
Positioned high, the weight of the fuel tank (and fuel) plays a significant part in a
motorcycle’s handling. In another first for mass production, Honda has developed a
compact 4.23 gal. titanium fuel tank for the CBR1000RR SP. Manufactured by an
ultra-deep drawing process, it’s 2.86 lbs. lighter than an equivalent steel design and
contributes to the concentration of mass and reduction in the moment of inertia.
2017 CBR1000RR SP
Brembo four-piston monobloc radial mount brake calipers use newly developed highmu
(coefficient of friction) brake pads—these have a greater performance parameter
at higher temperatures than standard pads, and suit aggressive riding. The aluminum
wheels are a new five Y-shape spoke design, saving approximately 100 grams. Tire
sizes are 120/70 R17 front and 190/50 R17 rear.
Minimal and dynamic are two words used to best describe the CBR1000RR SP ’s
new styling. The design team wanted to create tightly compact proportions and the
upper and middle fairing surfaces have been reduced in size as far as possible.
Forward tilting character lines inject an aggressive attitude, with a focus on
mechanical functionality, detail and quality of finish.
24mm in width has been squeezed from the upper fairing. Airflow control from the
flow surfaces of the fairing, to the surface angle of the headlights and the contouring
of their side slits supports stability at speed. In a racing crouch the rider is tucked well
out of the airstream. In normal riding situations air pressure is evenly distributed on
the rider’s shoulders, back and sides.
18mm has been saved across the middle fairing and its “knuckles” double as RAD
intake structures that pass discharged air around the outside, and underneath, the
rider’s legs. The knee grip area is 15mm per side slimmer, with the interface between
tank cover and the single seat unit athletically accentuated.
All lighting is crisp LED, with the twin front headlights offering high/low beam on both
sides. Crowned with a sharply angled new logo, the CBR1000RR SP will be
available in a Tri-Color paint option that uses red as its base (rather than white) and
pays homage to Honda’s racing tradition and history. Wing-motif patterns underpin
the machine’s exclusivity.
A 2.2 lb. Lithium-Ion battery saves weight (a lead-acid unit of similar output would
weigh 4.4 lbs.) and provides reliable and consistent electrical charge.
• Throttle By Wire (TBW)
• Acceleration Position Sensor (APS)
• Power Selector
• Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)
• 9 level Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC)
• Wheelie Control
• Selectable Engine Brake (SEB)
• Downshift Assist
• Riding Mode Select System (RMSS)
The 2017 CBR1000RR SP is the first inline four-cylinder engine from Honda to use
Throttle by Wire (TBW) control. Derived and developed from the system used by the
RC213V-S, its job is to put precise throttle control—and a very natural feel—in the
rider’s right hand.
Heart of the system is a newly developed throttle grip Acceleration Position Sensor
(APS) integrated into the right handlebar switchgear, which itself neatly mounts the
engine start/stop switch—nothing more. APS converts movement of the grip into an
electrical signal sent to the ECU, that then transmits it as an actuator signal to the
TBW motor, achieving ideal throttle control relative to grip angle.
The return spring and other mechanisms inside the APS reproduce the initial play
and natural feel of a cable, with throttle load set specifically for the CBR1000RR SP.
Working in conjunction with the APS, throttle bore is increased 2mm to 48mm
(without increasing exterior width) and careful shaping of the intake funnels adds to
the linear throttle response.
The Power Selector can be accessed through the Riding Mode Select System
(RMSS). It offers 5 levels of output character: Level 1 give peak output in all six
gears; Level 2 output is controlled in each gear to achieve smooth throttle feel under
acceleration or deceleration; Level 5 has the strongest output control for most
moderate throttle response. All levels have the same throttle response on initial
Riding Mode (1) uses Level 1 as its preset, drawing out the full performance of the
engine. Mode (2) uses Level 2, and is suitable for twisty roads, while Mode (3) goes
to Level 5 for maximum security. Individual rider preferences can also be input
manually through the USER 1 and 2 interface.
The CBR1000RR SP employs an enhanced version of the Honda Selectable Torque
Control (HSTC) used on the RC213V-S. It controls engine torque via two sensing
methods—the first uses wheel-speed sensors to measure and compare front and
rear wheel speeds. When the FI-ECU detects rear wheel acceleration (and front
wheel deceleration) it reduces the TBW throttle position, and thus output, keeping the
front wheel on the ground. Maximum application of the throttle is thus possible
without fear of wheelies, with the support of Wheelie Control.
The second sensing function detects machine roll angle. The IMU located under the
seat detects rotational speed in the chassis’ roll and yaw directions, and acceleration
in the longitudinal, lateral and vertical directions. It then calculates roll angle to
2017 control engine torque, maintaining rear wheel traction at the required level. The body
roll calculation logic used by the ECU uses the same attitude detection technologies
developed for Honda’s ASIMO humanoid robot, enabling the most precise calculation
Nine intervention levels (plus off) are offered by HSTC to suit rider preferences, and
the Riding Modes USER 1 and 2 enable individual changes to be made while
There is also a Selectable Engine Brake (SEB) system to change engine-braking
character to match rider preference and a range of conditions. Level 1 offers the
highest braking force, Level 3 the lowest. The preset Modes 1, 2 and 3 use
recommended settings, but through USER 1 and 2 can be set individually.
A Quickshifter is fitted as standard for clutchless upshifts and works through fuel
injection cut and ignition retard. It has 3 settings plus off. Downshift Assist allows
clutchless downshifts, and also works via fuel injection cut and ignition retard with
TBW autoblipping. It too has 3 settings plus off.
• 10 hp increase
• Revised valve lift and cam timing
• Magnesium covers and detail redesign saves 4.4 lbs.
• 4-2-1 exhaust with titanium muffler
• Redesigned downshift assist
• New assist slipper clutch
Honda’s engineers exhaustively re-examined the CBR1000RR SP’s 999.8cc inline
four-cylinder engine to make it as light and powerful as possible. The result of the
work is an extra 10 hp, the loss of 4.4 lbs. and raised rev ceiling of 13,000 rpm.
Bore and stroke remain 76 x 55.1mm but compression ratio is up from 12.3:1 to 13:1.
This is an engine in a very high state of tune and the crankshaft, valve train and
transmission all use higher specification materials than the previous design.
The pistons feature an optimized wall thickness and a new crown design to raise the
compression; the surface finishing of the piston-ring grooves has also been modified
to improve sealing performance and efficiency. Valve lift and cam timing has been
revised to match the higher rpm and greater engine performance.
Power up is just one part of the CBR1000RR SP ’s story—reduced weight is another.
So every part of the engine was scrutinized to see if it could be made lighter. All the
engine covers are redesigned (clutch cover is aluminum; the ignition cover
magnesium) and the length of the bolts, water hose and water hose bands have
With a revised, rounded shape the radiator is 30mm narrower in overall width and
100g lighter (including a 30cc reduction in water capacity). Using a new high-density
core it achieves identical heat dissipation and contributes to the slimmer frontal area
of the fairing cowls.
The assist slipper clutch is completely revised with a single die-cast pressure plate
and clutch center, and offers reduced load at the lever. For downshifts the slipper
functionality remains the same as before but aluminum cam parts (instead of steel)
save weight. The gap between the accelerating and decelerating cams has also
been optimized, again improving lever feel when changing gear. All of the
transmission gears have been pared down to save weight.
The titanium irregular cross-section muffler is 6.17 lbs. lighter and minimizes the
center of gravity change; it also creates an unmistakable sound tone from the
exhaust on an open throttle. The exhaust supplier to the Repsol Honda MotoGP
team was asked to develop the prototype and produced an exquisite design with the
4-2-1 double-skinned downpipes incorporating the exhaust valve within the first main