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2010 Honda CBR1000RR Comparison Street

Monday, May 17, 2010
2010 Honda CBR1000RR Street Smackdown

Youll be hard pressed to find a bike with a better cockpit layout than the versatile 2010 Honda CBR1000RR.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a bike with a better cockpit layout than the versatile 2010 Honda CBR1000RR.
After annihilating the competition for the last two years the Honda CBR1000RR returns to Superbike Smackdown for another title defense. Introduced as a clean sheet design in ’08 (read about it in the 2008 Honda CBR1000RR First Ride) the CBR finally receives its first update in the form of a larger engine flywheel said to increase top end engine performance without sacrificing power elsewhere. The rest of the changes are cosmetic and include two new colorways. Was the lone engine update enough to allow it to keep pace with the onslaught of competition? Let’s find out.
 
ENGINE

The heart of the CBR is its liquid-cooled 999cc Inline Four. It sports a 76.0 x 55.1mm bore/stroke which is barely larger than the Kawi and the most oversquare of the four cylinders with exception of the BMW. However, compression ratio is the lowest of the group and only rated at 12.3:1. A 16-valve cylinder head, double overhead camshafts and twin fuel-injectors per cylinder are used.
 
Right off the bottom the Honda delivers a soft spread of power. It feels similar to the Kawasaki and makes it easy to get on and ride even if you don’t have a lot of experience piloting liter-class sportbikes. Engine vibration is muted but not to the level of the ultra-smooth level of the Yamaha or even the Kawasaki.
 
Right around 5000 rpm the engine morphs and 1000 rpm later it’s cranking out more torque than any of the four cylinders. Although the engine gains momentum at a slower pace it still feels like its cranking out some serious midrange power. Torque finally plateaus alongside the Suzuki with 77.63 lb-ft available at 9200 revs. This positions the CBR toward the front of the four-cylinder group in measured peak torque but it’s still bested by the BMW’s 80.31 ft-lb at 10,700 rpm.
 
Although the zenith of its horsepower production comes on relatively low in the rev range (10,300) it’s still some seven horsepower down on the Suzuki, nine down on the Kawi and nearly 29 down on the BMW. With 3000 revs remaining before redline the Honda offers respectable over-rev with horsepower staying in the mid-to-low 150s before the rev-limiter cuts in.

“The Honda has great midrange,” observed Atlas. “It’s kind of tame of the bottom but by the time you get the rpm to six or seven grand it gets with the program. But then up top it kind of peters out. It felt better than last year’s but still compared to the BMW the Honda feels slower. Still for the street it’s hard to knock the Honda’s motor. It works really well.”
2010 Honda CBR1000RR gauges: Simple and to the point. Though it could use a gear position indicator.
The Honda serves up plenty of mid-corner stability.
Bottom-exit exhaust lowers the Hondas CG.
The 2010 Honda CBR1000RR has the strongest midrange of all the four-cylinders including the mighty BMW S1000RR.

Even with its monster midrange engine performance we still netted the highest MPG figure observing an average of 33.8 miles-per-gallon which was just 0.4 better than the Suzuki. The CBR also benefited from having the second-largest fuel capacity (4.7-gallons) which gave us a range of nearly 160 miles between fill ups.

As expected, throttle response is excellent but overall the engine is a bit short on personality. True, it does make some racy noises but there isn’t any intake roar or anything else playful that really makes your heart race other than the digital speedo readout jumping from 54 mph, 67 mph , 78 mph… well you get the idea. During the non-points-weighted sound test the CBR equaled the BMW’s decibel rating at both idle (82) and at half maximum engine speed (100). This is surprising because the Honda actually sounds quieter than its numbers would lead you to believe. 
 
DRIVETRAIN

The clutch, transmission and final drive gearing received unanimous praise from test riders, actually ranking right up with the power-shift equipped BMW. One of the best features of its 6-speed transmission is the low ratio first gear. This not only maximizes the Honda’s copious torque curve but also allows it to access its top end power faster than the other bikes and it showed in the quarter mile acceleration test.
 
Despite being down on peak horsepower the CBR ripped off a 9.706-second quarter mile time at a speed of 141.7 mph. The excellent feel and smooth light action provided by the cable-activated clutch also played a significant part during launch as did its more street-oriented 16/42 final drive gearing.

Zero shifting gremlins were reported over the duration of the test and the gearbox offers a positive engagement every time. It does have slightly more shift lever play as compared to the ultra-precise Yamaha but it works so well that it’s a moot point. The slipper-clutch performance was flawless as well with it feeling nearly identical to the Suzuki.

ERGONOMICS / COMFORT 
 
As usual the CBR impressed everyone with the feel of its cockpit and balanced ergonomics. Swing a leg over it and the seat height feels short even despite what the tape measure read (32.3 in.). This is identical to the Ducati’s seat height and in between the BMW’s (32.0 in) and the Kawi’s (32.7 in.). The Honda ties the BMW as feeling the narrowest between the rider’s legs among the Inline Four group.
 
Even though it lacks adjustment the position of the handlebars worked well for our group. The bars are wide and are positioned fairly high which equate to a relaxed riding position similar to the GSX-R. The foot controls do not offer adjustment but our test riders didn’t seem to mind as they are low enough to allow for an above-average level of sportbike comfort.
The 2010 Honda CBR1000RR has the strongest midrange performance of all the four-cylinders even against the mighty BMW.
The Honda CBR1000RR serves up plenty of mid-corner stability.

At freeway speeds the mirrors work well too. They are large, resist vibrating and offer a good view of what’s happening at the rear. But the front fairing is small and the windscreen is short. Together they don’t do a very good job of shielding the rider from the wind. So if you’re planning on racking up the miles on the freeway you’ll definitely want to invest in a taller windscreen. Our last gripe is with the seat as it made our butts sore faster than some of the other bikes.

HANDLING / SUSPENSION

Whether you’re rolling around the parking lot or riding on your favorite twisty section of tarmac, without question the Honda feels the lightest even though it isn’t so on the scale. With a full tank of fuel the CBR weighed in at 451 lbs. That’s one pound more than the BMW and 10-lbs more than the class-leading Ducati.
 
Out on the road it serves up a level of agility the other bikes can’t match. Corner entry requires the least amount of muscle but it still doesn’t maneuver from side-to-side as quickly as the KTM—it is close though. Once turned in the chassis feels taut and delivers an above average level of road feel. Standing the bike up and driving off the corner isn’t a problem either even on bumpy pavement as the chassis is well-sorted. Although the Honda rolls on a different spec Bridgestone tire (BT-015) they felt similar in grip and feel to the BT-016s on the Kawi and Suzuki.
 
“The neatest thing about the Honda is how easy it is to ride,” remarked Atlas. “It just does everything really well. It turns into a corner nicely, it’s planted, and it’s easy to pick it up and drive off the corner. Plus the chassis is balanced and the suspension is totally dialed.”
 
As Atlas so eloquently put the suspension is great in stock trim. It provides a near perfect balance between sport riding and everyday comfort. It’s feels plush absorbing bumps but then it also works fine when you’re bombing around corners. Suspension action actually feels similar to the Suzuki, but the Honda’s greater level of agility at no cost of stability gives it that extra boost making it the better overall bike in terms of outright handling.
A Showa fork and 4-piston radial-mount calipers highlight the front end of the Honda.
A Showa fork and 4-piston radial-mount calipers highlight the front end of the Honda.

BRAKING

Braking performance was yet another category in which the Honda ranked high. The braking system is highlighted by a set of smallish-looking Tokico radial-mount 4-piston calipers powered by a radial master cylinder. The calipers grab a pair of 310mm diameter discs. The rear brake is comprised of a solo 220mm disc actuated by a twin-piston caliper. Brake fluid is pushed through rubber lines front and back.
 
Even during prolonged aggressive use in the canyons the brakes were 100% fade-free. Initial brake bite is high but just a hair less than the BMW. Perhaps our favorite feature of the brakes is the ridiculous amount of feel they deliver through the lever which allow you to use them aggressively right up to the point of lock-up.

Just look at the results of the braking performance test. The Honda stopped from 60 mph in just 126 feet and if it had Honda’s optional C-ABS system we presume an even shorter stopping distance would have been achieved.

INSTRUMENTATION / ELECTRONICS

This is one of the few categories that the Honda came up short in. It’s not that we don’t value its clear and legible instrument display, because we do. The only thing missing is a gear position indicator not to mention a larger, brighter shift-light that the Suzuki and Yamaha employ. But our real complaint is that it doesn’t offer any adjustable electronics as used on the Aprilia, Ducati, Yamaha, Suzuki, and BMW.
 
Brakes. The 2010 Honda CBR1000RR has a good set-up.
Brakes. The 2010 Honda CBR1000RR has a good enough set-up to put you on your head.
However it is worth mentioning that you can purchase ABS as a $1000 option. We tested a similar system during the 2009 CBR600RR C-ABS - First Ride and it really impressed us with the added level of confidence and security during braking on wet and slippery road surfaces. The only problem is you can’t turn it off like you can on the BMW.

FINAL THOUGHTS
 
Even though it’s in the third year of its design cycle the $13,399 Honda is still one of the best street bikes money can buy. Sure, top end performance isn’t as robust as some of the other bikes but you simply can’t ignore its smooth street-friendly midrange engine performance. And who can forget its incredibly dialed chassis that somehow manages to be both sporty and comfortable at the same time. In this cut-throat group of Superbikes the veteran CBR mustered-up an impressive runner-up position. If you’re looking for a fun, comfortable and easy to ride liter-bike then take note: The Honda CBR1000RR won’t disappoint.

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2010 Honda CBR1000RR Street Gallery
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2010 Honda CBR1000RR Specs
Hondas CBR1000RR is one of the smallest sized bikes of the group.
Engine: Liquid-cooled 999cc Inline-Four, 16-valves
Bore and Stroke: 76.0 x 55.1mm
Compression Ratio: 12.3:1
Fuel Delivery: Dual Stage Fuel Injection
Clutch: Wet multi-plate slipper clutch; Cable actuation Transmission: 6-speed
Final Drive: Chain 16F/42R
Frame: Twin spar aluminum
Front Suspension: 43mm Showa inverted fork; 3-way adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound; 4.3 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Pro-Link equipped Showa gas-charged shock; 3-way adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound; 5.4 in. travel
Front Brakes: 320mm discs with radial-mount Tokico four-piston calipers
Rear Brake: 220mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Tires: Bridgestone BT-016; 120/70R17, 190/55R17
Curb Weight: 451 lbs
Wheelbase: 55.4 in.
Rake: 23.3 deg. Trail: 3.7 in.
Seat Height: 32.3 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gallons Average MPG: 33.7
MSRP: $13,399; ABS $14,399
Colors: Black; Pearl White/Light Silver Metallic
Warranty: One year unlimited mileage
Recent Honda Sportbike Reviews
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After a multi-year hiatus from Honda's US line-up, the VFR Interceptor returns to the American market with notable revisions in 2014. See how the new iteration fares on road in this First Ride.
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We invigorate more thrills into our long-term Honda CBR600RR by fitting a slip-on exhaust and fresh set of motorcycle tires.
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2013 Honda CBR600RR Street Comparison
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2010 Honda CBR1000RR Highs & Lows
Highs
  • Easy to ride
  • Powerful engine, excellent midrange performance
  • Comfortable ergos
Lows
  • Needs more top end
  • No rider adjustable electronics
  • Small front fairing and windscreen
Honda Sportbike Dealer Locator
2010 Superbike Smackdown Fuel
2010 Superbike Smackdown Fuel Specs

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Comments
Casey Cotton -CBR1000RR  November 11, 2010 12:45 PM
This model of CBR1000RR is the best out there. I personally own a red/black 08 model.. I've got to say, this thing is amazing. They're right, it's so easy to ride, and the bike just gives confidence away like it's donating to a charity. Very amazing bike! I don't plan on getting a new one any time soon, unless they come out with a V-4 :)
E-Dawg -edawgdesigns.com  October 6, 2010 11:20 AM
Looks like a guillotine chopped the nose right off of it. Honda needs to redesign that.
Ken -the best still  May 30, 2010 06:37 PM
this bike i think still ranks as the best even if its 3 years old now...so many mags here in the states and europe hails this the best. now everyone lieks the performance of that new bimmer. i still think that bimmer is the ugliest thing out there. this honda is only ugly on its sides, but i saw a Repsol liveried one the other day, now i want to get one......
shane4000 -cbr1000rr  May 21, 2010 06:27 PM
you know I got myself that z-bomb for my 2008 cbr1000rr and i got way more top end power then when it was stock the bike pulls hard for days as i grab a handful of gas in six gear and onces it hit 8,000 rpm the rear end kicked down and the bike tock off like a rocket
T Dawg -I guess it grows on you  May 19, 2010 05:46 PM
Remember when the new Honda came out for '08. Everybody thought it was but ugly. As far as I know they haven't chaged the bodywork since, but nobody comments on its looks now. I guess it just grows on you. I happen to like it. Also the Kawi, to me, looks sweet. The GSXr does look a little old by comparison. Just my .02 sense :)
doc -pfff  May 18, 2010 12:31 AM
so the suzuki is ugly and chessy looking...and the honda isn't :)))) Look at it and tell me it doesn't look like a chinese toy
Jeffery Brothers -CBR 1000 RR  May 17, 2010 05:16 PM
This Bike Is Sweet Looking.