2008 Honda CBR 1000

Honda’s 2008 CBR1000RR takes quantum leaps in several arenas; not only does their new bike boast more power, a list of mechanical upgrades too long to mention, and completely re-styled bodywork, it’s also lighter for 2008. While competitors like the Suzuki GSXR-1000 have gained weight with the addition of exhaust components (to cope with tightening emissions restrictions,) the CBR1000RR has moved in the direction of bikes like the Buell 1125R, with its lighter weight and mass centralized fuel tank and exhaust.


The 2008 Honda CBR1000RR’s mechanical improvements include the following:
An all-new 999.8cc inline-4 engine with larger lightweight titanium intake valves, MotoGP-derived twin ram-air design, and a maintenance-free automatic cam chain tensioner
Centrally located fuel tank and exhaust system for mass centralization
A slipper clutch and Honda Electronic Steering Damper
The 2008 Honda CBR1000RR starts at $11,599.

The 2008 Honda CBR1000RR– along with its competition, which includes the Suzuki GSXR-1000, Buell 1125R, and to a lesser extent, the Ducati 1098, is a lot of bike for the street. In fact, though Honda calls the CBR1000RR a street bike, its press introduction was held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

It’s no wonder Honda wants to show off their new CBR1000RR at a track; underneath its slightly updated skin, it bears almost no resemblance to its predecessor.

Though it can appear quite different from its predecessor in photos, the 2008 Honda CBR1000RR doesn’t look so dramatically different in person. Sure, you can get graphics-free bodywork (like this yellow and black combination), but the main changes in the redesigned bike include a stubbier nose, a narrower body with turn signals integrated into the side mirrors (finally!), and twin ram-air intakes underneath the headlights.

The CBR1000RR’s tail is also cleaned up with a smaller, lighter seat and cowl. Honda parts and accessories now offers an eCushion seat which promises to be more comfortable than gel saddles.

The CBR1000RR is available in color schemes ranging from discreet to bold.
More Than a Pretty Face: An Overview of the CBR1000RR’s Tech Innovations

The CBR1000RR’s mass centralized exhaust hides valves that direct air through three chambers.
Photo © Basem Wasef

In order to make the CBR1000RR competitive, Honda knew they had to increase its power output to keep it on par with bikes like the Kawasaki ZX-10R and the Yamaha R1. Though many of its competitors have gained weight in order to cope with more stringent emissions standards, the Honda has lost 17 pounds (wet weight is now 435 lbs), while gaining an unspecified amount of horsepower.

The only thing more effective than weight loss is mass centralization, the practice of moving the weight towards the center of the motorcycle. Honda achieved this by removing the outgoing model’s underseat exhaust and replacing it with a stubbier, mid-mounted canister. The 4-2-1 exhaust hides a pressure-actuated valve that routes air through three chambers in order to maximize performance while staying within legal noise and emissions levels.

The all-new engine is narrower and 5 lbs lighter, and displaces 999.8cc– a touch more than the previous version thanks to a larger bore and slightly reduced stroke. The inline-4’s compression ratio is bumped to 12.3:1, and twin ram-air, revised cams and valves boost power.


A new slipper clutch replaces the old hydraulic unit, and the Honda Electronic Steering Damper has been relocated and lightened for further mass centralization. A new MotoGP-derived Ignition Interrupt Control System is designed to sense driveline lash and reduce it by retarding ignition when necessary between 2,500 and 6,000 rpm, and throttle response is also smoothened by an Idle Air Control Valve.
Riding the 2008 Honda CBR1000RR

The CBR1000RR’s body is noticeably narrower than its predecessor, and the bike feels impressively light at a standstill. The rider sits tall in order to produce the ground clearance necessary for steep lean angles. Riding 2007 and 2008 models back to back, the ’08 rode noticeably smoother, with considerably more power available through a wider spread of the powerband. Handling is also more precise, with the bike communicating a clear sense of exactly what it’s doing and where it’s headed. The clutch engages smoothly, though a certain amount of lever feedback is noticeable during shifts (which is normal for the slipper mechnanism.) Overall, controls (including the shifter) are light and require little input.

Power comes on so strong– especially at higher revs– that my first few laps around Laguna Seca were relatively sedate as I acclimated. Mass centralization helps the CBR change directions more eagerly, and this nimbleness came in especially handy at the famous “Corkscrew.” More of the bike’s abilities were revealed after the second session: higher revs squirted the bike ahead, producing fierce acceleration that put the radially mounted, four-piston 320mm Tokico front brakes to the test. Lap after lap, the CBR inspired greater confidence (and, subsequently greater speeds.) Never did it feel underequipped for the task at hand, especially when compared to the already capable 2007 model.

Handling and braking are strong, but the most impressive feature of the CBR1000RR has to be its speed; on Laguna’s straightaway, third gear wheelies came easily and without much effort.
In Conclusion: Confidence-Inspiring Speed

The CBR1000RR’s performance at Laguna Seca was stellar, but what distinguished it from other liter bikes was how easily it performed at such a lofty level. Unlike sportbikes like the Ducati 1098, which has high performance limits but demands much from the rider, the CBR1000RR handled itself with grace and made the rider feel more expert. Steering wobble was imperceptibly removed thanks the electronic damper, and the bike seemed to want to go exactly where you pointed it.

The handlebars are 6.5mm higher than the 2007 model, improving its ergonomics. Though the riding posture is still somewhat demanding, the CBR is far less extreme than the Ducati (as is its $11,599 price tag, which is only $100 more than the 2007 version.)

Agile, smooth, and outrageously powerful, the 2008 Honda CBR1000RR is a bike for riders interested exploring the outer levels of performance without breaking the bank. While it’s certainly not for everybody (especially those who lack the maturity to handle such extreme levels of performance), the CBR1000RR is an outstanding achievement in both technology and capability– exactly the sorts of qualities riders look for in an all-out performance bike.

Make Model Honda CBR 1000RR Fireblade
Year 2008
Engine
Liquid cooled, four stroke, transverse four cylinder, DOHC, 4 valve per cylinder.
Capacity 998
Bore x Stroke 76 x 55.1 mm
Compression Ratio 12.3:1
Induction Dual Stage Fuel Injection (DSFI)
Ignition / Starting Computer-controlled digital transistorized with three-dimensional mapping / electric
Max Power 175 hp @ 12000 rpm
Max Torque 84lb ft @ 8500 rpm
Transmission / Drive 6 Speed / chain
Front Suspension 43mm inverted HMAS cartridge fork with spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability; 119mm wheel travel
Rear Suspension Unit Pro-Link HMAS single shock with spring pre-load, rebound and compression damping adjustability; 137mm wheel travel
Front Brakes 2x 20mm discs 4 piston calipers
Rear Brakes Single 220mm disc
Front Tyre 120/70ZR-17
Rear Tyre 190/50ZR-17
Seat Height 820 mm
Dry-Weight 179 kg
Fuel Capacity 17.8 Litres

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