Aaron Frank's Honda CBR1000RR - Doin' Time Staffers' Rides

Honda CBR1000RR
Ringleader: Aaron Frank
MSRP (2008): $11,599
Miles: 4153-4239
Average Fuel Mileage: 47 mpg
Accessories & Modifications: Bazzaz Z-Fi TC Fuel Control Unit and Z-BOMB timing retard eliminator, FMF Racing Apex slip-on exhaust.

One-hundred-fifty-seven horsepower might be fine for most people. Not me. Especially after I found out there were another 10 ponies lurking inside my long-term Honda CBR1000RR, just waiting to be electronically unleashed. You might recall American Honda's post-release admission that its U.S.-spec RRs had been digitally detuned to satisfy noise regulations--a restriction that was costing American buyers 10 bhp compared to their European counterparts. A double-digit horsepower deficit is not to be dismissed, so when Bazzaz Performance sent me one of its first Z-BOMB timing retard eliminators ($149.95), with the promise that it would reveal that missing horsepower, I didn't waste any time installing it.

Bazzaz also delivered its full-boat Z-Fi TC fuel-injection module ($999.95), a plug-and-play fuel-control unit that incorporates a quick shifter and traction control. Designed to piggyback onto the stock ECU using OEM-style connectors, the Z-Fi (which is also available as a standalone unit for $399.95), comes pre-programmed for either the stock exhaust or a freer-flowing aftermarket replacement. It includes Z-Fi Mapper computer software that lets experienced tuners design custom maps or make instant air/fuel adjustments.

The final piece of my Stage One performance puzzle is the gorgeous FMF Racing Apex slip-on exhaust ($549.95). Handmade in America from titanium with a carbon-fiber canister, the Apex cuts 12 pounds compared to the stock exhaust. A clever, S-shaped collector combines the performance benefits of a full-length mid-pipe with the mass-centralizing properties of an under-bike system, and the unique diamond-shaped canister looks trick and maximizes cornering clearance, too.

First things first: Strapped to the Dynojet 250 at Moon's Super Cycle in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the stock, 4200-mile RR laid down a healthy, 157.07-bhp baseline measurement. Peak power arrived early at 10,700 rpm, flat-lined to 12,000, then plunged to 145.55 bhp at the 13,250-rpm redline--textbook characteristics of the neutered U.S. state of tune.

Our second session on the dyno, with all the performance parts installed, revealed significant improvements. With one of Greg Moon's meticulous custom fuel maps uploaded to the Z-Fi, max power jumped to 169.05 bhp--an 11.98-bhp increase. More to the point, the Z-BOMB blew the upper rev range wide-open, as promised. Instead of shutting down at 10,700 rpm, the motor now builds steam right up to 11,500, and maintains more power to the rev limiter where it makes an additional 10 bhp. The net result is not only more peak power, but also better over-rev characteristics that will no doubt be appreciated at the racetrack.

Downsides? Midrange torque suffered slightly, likely due to the deletion of the exhaust valve buried deep inside the stock pipe. Even so, torque production remains so strong (in excess of 70 lb.-ft. from 6500 to 10,500 rpm) that you don't notice the difference from the saddle--especially now that the bike is 12 pounds lighter, too.

The end result is almost 170 smooth and stone-reliable horsepower from a little over a grand's worth of parts and an afternoon in the shop. Who can't help but be pleased with results like that? Next time, I'll turn my attention toward dialing in the quick-shifter and traction-control functions to take advantage of all this extra power where it matters most--at the racetrack.

Twisted like a pretzel, the FMF Apex tucks a full-length midpipe under the bike.
Bazzaz's Z-BOMB timing retard eliminator is the cheapest and easiest 10 horsepower you can buy.
The CBR doesn't offer much under-seat space--just enough for the Z-Fi module.