Ah, a new Honda literbike. Lighter, of course. Faster, too. And with a bit more than 110 horsepower making its way to the rear wheel, this CBR is a rocket!
"Huh? Dude, the 2008 CBR1000RR better have more power than that!"
Indeed it does, but I was flashing back a decade to the first press launch of my motojournalist career. The changes made to the 1998 CBR900RR made it the best big CBR ever, and I was awed by how fast yet controllable that new scalpel was.
Now, a little more than 10 years later, Iím again in the seat of the best literbike Honda has yet crafted. Compared to the RR I rode in '98, it weighs less and has nearly 50 additional horses.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was the estimable location this time around, and my day lapping the historic NorCal circuit proved this clean-sheet-design double-R performs at a level beyond its two-year-old predecessor, never mind the seemingly docile 10-year-old one. I came into this sessions already thrilled with the stellar new ZX-10R Kawasaki I rode last month in Qatar. To even rank in that league, the CBR needed to be something special. It is.
A phalanx of CBRs with tire warmers sit on stands, resplendent in five different color combinations, greeted us sitting in the same pit stalls the MotoGP teams use each July. This '08 model, dubbed internally as MFL (previously the MEL), has a countenance that polarizes opinions. Gone are most of the sharp creases of the MEL, replaced with arching curves that suggest a more organic bent. Some dig it; some donít.
More: 2008 Honda CBR1000RR Review