2012 Honda CBR1000RR | Doin' Time

Photography by Jim Moy

WRIST: Aaron Frank
MSRP (2012): $13,800
MILES: 3960
MPG: 41
MODS: Bazzaz Z-Fi QS ignition module and quickshifter

The first time I remember being browbeaten with the concept of mass centralization was during the press introduction for the then-new 2008 Honda CBR1000RR. Large Project Leader Kyoichi Yoshii introduced the bike, and he went to great lengths describing how everything from the blunted nose and abbreviated tailsection inward was painstakingly engineered to relocate every last gram nearer the bike's dense core.

I never appreciated how center-dense the CBR is until I installed this Bazzaz Z-Fi QS engine management system and quickshifter (www.bazzaz.net; $819.95). Thanks to piggyback connectors and Scotchloks, attaching the harness is plug-and-play. After removing both seats, the tank cover and mid-mounted fuel tank, securing the Z-Fi module in the tailsection and connecting the main fuel harness took only 30 minutes--despite the fact that, unlike some aftermarket fuel controllers that only manipulate the primary injectors, the Bazzaz unit controls both the primary and secondary injectors and so requires twice as many connections. Full-color, illustrated instructions make it easy to locate the throttle position sensor, crankshaft position sensor, gear position sensor, and other key connection points.

The fun started when it came time to install the coil harness that provides the ignition cut for the quickshifter. This task required removing the airbox and disconnecting wiring and fuel supply for the showerhead-type fuel injectors mounted on the top of that. Then you must gain access to the coils, which, for the #1 and #4 cylinders, are located 6 inches down a dark letter slot strictly limited by the frame spar, ram-air ducting, valve cover, and electronic steering damper. After harvesting all the skin off all my knuckles, I finally fabricated a hook tool from an old bicycle spoke to maneuver then pull the coil leads into place.

Connecting the coil harness was only half the battle; reinstalling the fuel tank proved just as trying. Now I fully appreciate--and absolutely despise--Yoshii-sans significant mass centralization efforts. The CBR's mid-mounted fuel tank fills every last square millimeter behind the engine, over the transmission, and in front of the battery box. The tank hugs the airbox so closely I had to trim the thin sound matting to make room for the Z-Fi's added injector leads, and there wasn't even enough room beneath the tank for the main wire bundle, roughly the same diameter as a cheap cigar. After removing the (full!) tank and rearranging the wires a half-dozen times I finally gave up, put my full weight on the tank to crush the harness into submission, and bolted the tank into place. The entire installation took four hours, including wiring the quickshifter and installing the bike-specific shift rod. Plan accordingly, or don't be surprised if your mechanic quotes a steep labor charge.

A quickshifter, which enables seamless, full-throttle, clutchless upshifts, is one of those things you never knew you needed until you try one, then you cant imagine going without. The performance advantage is obvious; its fun, too. You sound like Casey Stoner leaving every stoplight, and there's an unintended fuel economy benefit because you're always shifting up to sixth gear ASAP.

The Z-Fi comes preloaded with an "enhanced" map for the stock 2012 CBR1000RR, but the end result was essentially the same as before--159.04 horsepower compared to 159.91 (both with the previously installed Z-Bomb timing calibrator intact). The dynos exhaust sniffer revealed that the fuel/air ratios weren't perfect anywhere, too rich at low rpm and too lean above 9500 rpm. As a remedy, I'm going to use Bazzazs Z-AFM self-mapper that collects real-time data and then generates specific map skews to suit. But this requires an exhaust system with a bung for the air/fuel sensor to mount to, so first I've got to shop for an exhaust. I'm hoping that installation will be easier.

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