Wrist: Joe Neric
MSRP (2011): $10,999
Mods: Bazzaz fuel-injection tuner, Bridgestone tires, S2 Concept windscreen, Yoshimura R-77D exhaust
After logging more than 6500 miles on the Honda CB1000R, I can definitively say this is my favorite motorcycle I’ve ever ridden. I know that’s a tall statement, but this naked bike just fits me well. By fit, I’m referring to the total package: The futuristic styling fits my eye. The seat height fits my 30-inch inseam. The power fits my experience level. And as an added bonus, the bike responds well to bolt-on parts.
The stock tires started to square-off around 4000 miles, and probably would have lasted another thousand, but picking up a drywall screw prompted picking up a new set of buns. I opted for Bridgestone’s new BT-016 Pro Hypersports ($168.53 front, $225.51 rear; www.bridgestone.com). The Honda handled well before, but these tires show what it can really do! Dry cornering grip is fantastic and fully capable of track days, but I noticed a huge improvement in the wet compared to the stock BT-015s.
Changing the rear tire did bring up one minor annoyance: The single-sided swingarm looks trick, but balancing the rear tire calls for a special cone that isn’t common at bike shops. We had to drop off the rear wheel at American Honda to have it balanced. That was a few months ago, however, so hopefully by now dealers will have the necessary tool.
If I had to pick one single part of the CB that needed the most aesthetic improvement, it was the exhaust system. Scouring the Internet yielded a few options, but none more attractive than Yoshimura’s R-77D. The stainless-steel version runs just $509, but I went with the ultra-pimp-daddy carbon-fiber canister with dual-port exhaust ($629; www.yoshimura-rd.com).
With the Yosh pipe installed, the exhaust note is diabolical—like Janis Joplin belting out “Cry Baby”! (Google it...) I found myself looking for tunnels and freeway underpasses just to hear the bike scream. And did I mention that replacing the stock exhaust with the Yosh slip-on dropped 17 lbs.? The bike already felt light in the corners; now with that weight loss and the sticky tires, this thing rails!
Gangsta dual-port exhaust? Check. Wicked panty-wetting sound? Check. Scuff mark from Ari H
The S2 Concept windscreen is the only one on the market that complements the CB’s futurist
The quickest way to improve a motorcycle’s handling is to upgrade its tires. Bridgestone’s
There was a little gurgling and backfiring when I rolled off the throttle, so tuning the fuel-injection was next on the list. A Bazzaz Z-Fi fuel-injection tuner ($379.95; www.bazzaz.net) solved those issues while adding 2 horsepower in the midrange. Matching revs when downshifting also proved much easier and crisper. However, the motor lost 2 bhp up top, and returned 3 fewer mpg. You win some, you lose some…
When I first started riding the Honda, I thought that installing a windshield would be the quickest way to ruin its looks. I changed my mind after a month commuting on the freeway in 40-degree temperatures. The problem is there aren’t many companies making screens for the CB. Let me rephrase that: There’s only one worth considering. S2 Concepts in France makes a screen that looks like it came stock on the bike, but it ain’t cheap ($264; www.s2concept.fr). You have to tuck-in to get the full benefit, but it eliminates the wind that wants to rip your helmet off.
Soon it will be time to wrap-up this long-term test, and if this bike isn’t stabled in my garage permanently, it will be a sad day!