2011 Honda CB1000R | Doin' Time

Staffers’ Rides

Photography by Joe Neric, Kevin Wing

Wrist: Joe Neric
MSRP (2011): $10,999
Miles: 10,133
MPG: 30
Mods: Michelin Power One tires, K&N oil filter, Maxima Extra 4 oil

The day I have been dreading has finally come: It’s time to say goodbye to “my” long-term Honda. This, I hadn’t intended to do—I was planning to buy the bike at the end of its tenure as a testbike. I even got rid of the home gym to make space for it in my garage! Unfortunately, my wife’s recent career change means we won’t be able to afford Speed TV anymore, let alone a “toy” like the CB1000R. But enough of my sob story, let’s talk about the bike...

As it turned out, the Honda’s expiration date came after our “Class of 2012” sportbike comparison, which let me do something I’ve been itching to do for a while: Take the CB1000R to the track! So while the rest of the staff took a breather between sessions at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, I snuck out to see what that “R” suffix was all about.

To equip the Honda for the occasion, I had shop czar Michael Candreia lever on a set of Michelin Power One tires ($244.95 front, $363.95 rear; www.michelinmotorcycle.com). The Bridgestone BT-016s I had on it would have been up to the task when new, but after 3500 mostly highway miles the wear bars where nearing the surface. The Michelins’ pointy profiles quickened the CB’s steering, bringing it a bit closer to that of a proper sportbike. I said it when I put on the Bridgestones and I’ll say it again now: Good tires are the best modification for the CB1000R. There is that Yoshimura pipe, though, which sounds wicked!

The week before our track date the Honda clicked over 8000 miles, and with all that high-revving fun in its future, an oil change was in order. One of the advantages of working on a naked bike is the relative ease of maintenance, which is so much quicker and easier than on a fully faired sportbike. With my previous long-term CBR600RR, I had to peel off three body panels just to access the drain plug and oil filter. But with the CB1000R, everything is out in the open. I drained the old lube and replaced it with Maxima Extra 4 10W-40 oil ($15.99 per liter; www.maximausa.com) and wrenched on a K&N oil filter ($13.99; www.knfilters.com). The K&N filter promises better filtration than the OE unit, but installing it posed a minor problem as the handy 17mm nut atop the filter made it taller than the stocker, so I couldn’t put the plastic modesty cover back on.

Ripping around the track was a blast, and the guys said the Yosh pipe sounded great from the pits. The bike’s wide bars make it feel a bit nervous at speed, but it sure did turn-in quickly. It wasn’t quite as awesome at the track as my CBR, but it did just fine and kept me smiling the whole time. Considering how comfortably it gets me to work and how it rails in the canyons, the fact that it worked that well on the track just reinforces my opinion that this is one of the best all-around bikes out there. The coolest part about flogging the CB on the track? Getting to ride around Los Angeles with rubber boogers hanging off my tires afterward! Talk about street cred…

I do have one suggestion, if Honda is listening: Offer ABS as an option like on the CBRs. A naked bike like this is bound to spend most of its time on the street, and that’s where ABS matters most.

At the end of this long-term test, I am heartbroken to see the Honda go back. Not once did I get bored on this bike or itch for something else to ride. I lent it out to friends and co-workers several times, and it was great to hear Ari, Aaron and Zack all come back praising the CB, with the suggestion that I buy it if at all possible. Sadly, that’s not in the cards. C’est la vie, mon amour—we’ll always have Chuckwalla. I just hope my next long-termer proves to be as capable and fun.


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