2011 Honda CB1000R | Doin' Time

Wrist: Joe Neric
MSRP (2011): $10,999
Miles: 6564
MPG: 30
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!

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!

Gangsta dual-port exhaust? Check. Wicked panty-wetting sound? Check. Scuff mark from Ari Henning testing the CB’s cornering clearance? Check. Stupid hippie! The S2 Concept windscreen is the only one on the market that complements the CB’s futuristic look, but be prepared to pay an arm and a leg for it. The quickest way to improve a motorcycle’s handling is to upgrade its tires. Bridgestone’s BT-016 Pro Hypersports are super-confidence-inspiring.
Gangsta dual-port exhaust? Check. Wicked panty-wetting sound? Check. Scuff mark from Ari Henning testing the CB’s cornering clearance? Check. Stupid hippie!
The S2 Concept windscreen is the only one on the market that complements the CB’s futuristic look, but be prepared to pay an arm and a leg for it.
The quickest way to improve a motorcycle’s handling is to upgrade its tires. Bridgestone’s BT-016 Pro Hypersports are super-confidence-inspiring.