2012 Honda CBR1000RR | Doin' Time

Photography by Aaron Frank

Wrist: Aaron Frank
MSRP (2012): $13,800
Miles: 3484
MPG: 35
Mods: Bazzaz Z-BOMB timing calibrator

For reasons we don’t understand—and American Honda won’t explain—U.S.-spec CBR1000RRs are power-restricted. A special ignition timing map cuts power nearly 3000 rpm before redline, at 10,500 rpm, where the dyno graph for my stock RR flat-lines at 155.7 horsepower. The effect is even more pronounced from the saddle. The CBR1000RR’s stupendous torque output (79.2 lb.-ft. peak at 9800 rpm) translates to remarkable acceleration—right up until 10,500 rpm, when the buzz-killing ECU steps in and makes it feel just like you’re standing on the rear brake. This makes the CBR difficult to ride fast, especially at the racetrack. You effectively have to train your brain to short-shift 3000 rpm before redline—yeah, try that—just to stay in the heart of the powerband.

Fortunately, the tuning wizards at Bazzaz have a simple solution. Their Z-BOMB timing calibrator (www.bazzaz.net; $64.95) eliminates the ignition timing retard to deliver unrestricted horsepower just like Honda’s engineers intended. Installation couldn’t be easier: Remove the seat and tank cover, tilt the fuel tank out of the way, insert the plug-and-play Z-BOMB between the wiring harness and the throttle position sensor (TPS), and you’re done.

The results are well worth $65 and 10 minutes of your time. In addition to a modest increase in peak numbers—up to 159.9 bhp and 80.2 lb.-ft.—the Z-BOMB also moves the power peak up to 11,600 rpm and allows the bike to carry even more power closer to redline, gaining 8 bhp at 12,000 rpm. The real-world results are dramatic. You no longer slam into an invisible wall just when acceleration is the strongest, and with more power available on overrev, you can hold gears longer and further without killing forward drive.

Bazzaz warns that the Z-BOMB leans the air/fuel mix slightly (but not dangerously), so the company also supplied us with a Z-Fi EMS module to optimize air/fuel mix. We intend to install that next. In the meantime, Z-BOMB improvements aren’t just for CBR1000RR owners—Bazzaz says CBR600RR and VFR1200F owners will see similar results from adding a Z-BOMB, too.

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