2008 Honda CBR1000RR First Look

September 28, 2007
Adam Waheed
By Adam Waheed
Road Test Editor|Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

His insatiable thirst for life is only surpassed by his monthly fuel bill. Whether rocketing on land, flying through the air, or jumping the seas, our Road Test Editor does it all and has the scars to prove it.

2008 Honda CBR1000RR - Limited Edition
Honda Motorcycle Division Press Manager Jon Row: “The CBR1000RR represents the ultimate in Honda’s sportbike technology, with innovations that will establish new performance standards in all aspects of the open class.”

If only Honda’s new Superbike came out 12 months prior.Things might have been radically different here in the U.S. Superbike scene. That’s the optimistic vibe buzzing at Big Red anyway. Alas, woulda, coulda, shoulda doesn’t get you anywhere but the new flagship Honda 1000 definitely looks like it will get you everywhere fast!

MotorcycleUSA was graciously invited out to the sprawling 100-acre Honda HQ in Torrance, California for a long-awaited first hand look during a touchy-feely session with the West’s finest scribes and the all-new 999cc CBR. There has been much speculation into what the new CBR1000RR was going to be about. Will it be a V-4 a V-5 a mind-bending In-Line? Well, it’s still an In-Line Four and despite early summer rumors of a bike looking like an RCV211 MotoGP replica – as you can see, that isn’t the case at all. This bike has an identity all its own. In early September a sideshot of the new machine found its way online and it really got people riled up. Some were critical of the new styling, while others seemed to be fond of the sleek new flat-nosed shaped machine.

Well, after seeing it in person I can tell you this: Pictures do not do this bike justice. If you don’t believe me check out the video and have a look for yourself.

Honda is always trying to find the right balance between outright track performance and real world street-ability. It’s worked on occasion in the past and Honda faithful are hoping this new 1000RR will provide that delicate balance after coming oh so close with the previous generation machine.

2008 Honda CBR1000RR
Will the ’08 Honda CBR1000RR have the same impact in the literbike class as its CBR600RR sibling did to the supersport field? Superbike Smackdown V will give us peek but it will be up to Miguel Duhamel and Neil Hodgson in AMA Superbike.

At the heart of the CBR is an all-new 999cc engine, up one tiny cc from the ’07 model. Honda has reverted to a more oversquare bore/stroke combo with the new engine now utilizing 76mm x 55.1mm bore/stroke versus last year’s 75mm x 56.5mm arrangement. It sports eight new lightweight 30.5mm titanium intake valves and a slightly higher 12.3:1 compression. A slightly bigger bore and a shorter stroke motor, has the potential to be a ripper on paper. What everyone is hoping for is some serious wheel-in-the-sky performance that makes the open class bikes so much fun. Unfortunately, this was look only, no playing at this point. In the past the knock on the CBR was that it didn’t have the bite to back up the bark. Then a funny thing happened, the competition sacrificed a bit of streetability for a top-end heavy, track-focused approach and suddenly the Honda had closed the gap. I guess the 2007 CBR1000RR just aged well. Now the question is: Has Honda followed the top-end biased trend or its own recipe for success that delivered us the ‘do-it-all good’ approach of the 2007 CBR600RR? In three months, we’ll all know.

A new dual stage fuel injection system (DSFI) incorporates 46mm throttle bodies featuring a pair of 12-hole Denso injectors per cylinder. Powering the new FI system is a smaller ECU that provides two separate fuel injection and ignition maps for each of the four cylinders. Dispersing the unexploded fuel/air remnants is a new MotoGP styled mid-muffler exhaust system that is tucked low and away which help keep mass centralized down low. It appears the writing is on the wall for the underseat exhaust in this class now that Honda has abandoned that theory for this peculiar-looking set-up.

We griped and we moaned and at long last, even the mighty Honda has conformed! Behold the CBR1000RR features a cable actuated slipper clutch which will bridge the gap between the engine and the close-ratio six-speed transmission. Clutch lever pull felt light and smooth, which is definitely going to be a big plus around town but we cant wait to check out this slipper set-up when track time comes.

2008 Honda CBR1000RR
At $11,599 the 2008 Honda CBR1000RR can be had for only $100 bucks more than the 2007 version.

The new liter-class Honda also has an all-new twin-spar aluminum frame that utilizes hollow fine die-cast manufacturing process. The unique manufacturing method has been employed by Honda since 2003 and the art was refined over the years, culminating in a reduction in overall frame parts on the 2007 CBR600RR. That experience has led to a similar fate for the 2008 CBR1000RR. With wall thicknesses measuring to as thin as a scant 2.5mm, Honda engineers have designed frame members to attain specific rigidities in particular pieces. As a result, the ’08 frame has been reduced to just four castings compared to the ’07 frame which utilized 11 welded sections. This all equates to a stronger, lighter frame which, if Honda got it right, might put his bike on par with its supersport sibling.

The frame wasn’t the only spot where Honda engineers aimed to reduce weight. The new machine sports lighter aluminum-alloy hollow-spoke wheels and a lighter, more compact battery. Even the front brake hoses and kickstand have been slimmed down. All those tasteless Jenny Craig analogies might have hit a little close to home last year?

Comparing the rake and trail figures of the new open classer with last year’s inspirational 600RR and we get our next clue to where the engineers are going with this design

Rake & Trail
07 600RR: 23.7 x 96.3mm
08 1000RR: 23.3 x 96.2mm
07 1000RR: 23.45 x 100mm

Braking components received a bit of an upgrade in the form of a new monoblock-style radial mount four-piston front brake calipers and highly-perforated dual 320mm floating discs. The 43mm HMAS inverted fork makes a return vidit as well as the Unit Pro-Link rear suspension. This year the swingarm looks quite different as it accommodates the new Moto-GP-inspired exhaust.

2008 Honda CBR1000RR
The 2008 CBR1000RR has the almighty slipper clutch to go along with its top down redesign.

Hopping aboard the new bike reveals a much more compact, slimmer feeling CBR. Seat height seemed to be lower even though the specs still say 32.3 inches. Whether it’s a narrow seat/tank junction or what facilitates this exactly, but it felt like more like the rider is a part of the machine somehow. The new bike feels slimmer between the legs and when rocked from side-to-side, it felt as if the weight has been lowered too. Reach to the bars seemed to be a little closer than last year’s model and bar height seemed to be a little bit higher-which is a may be a happy medium for track and street use.

Fit and finish seemed to be typical Honda with all of the pieces fitting together making the bike look virtually seamless as if it was carved from one solid piece. The 2008 CBR1000RR will be offered in four colors: Red/Black, Black/Metallic Silver, Pearl Yellow/Black, Candy Dark Red/Metallic Silver and one stunning, limited edition Black/Metallic Grey version in which only 500 units will be available for sale. Weight and performance figures are all hush-hush right now but we should have our hands on the machine in late January next year so we’ll be able to provide you will all the figures at that time.

The new CBR1000RR will find its way into your local dealer by late-March 2008 and will have a price of $11,599 – yes, that’s just $100 more than this year’s model.

For all of the racers who have been interested in racing Red, your wish has come true. A full line of genuine HRC components including cams, transmission kit, wiring harness, exhaust system, throttle kit, suspension, air intake kit, and oversized radiator will all be available for purchase circa spring 2008. 


Engine Type: 999cc liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder
Bore & Stroke: 76mm x 55.1mm
Comp Ratio: 12.3:1
Valve: DOHC 4 valve per cylinder
Induction: DSFI
Ignition: Computer-controlled digital transistorized w/ 3-D mapping
Transmission: Close ratio 6-speed
Final Drive: 530 O-ring chain


Front: 43mm inverted HMAS cartridge fork with spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability; 4.7 inches travel

Rear: Unit Pro-Link HMAS single shock with spring pre-load, rebound and compression damping adjustability; 5.4 inches travel

2008 Honda CBR1000RR
The 2008 CBR1000RR cockpit features a tiny multi-function dash with a large analog tach and a small LCD display for speedo and other vital data.


Front: Dual radial-mounted four-piston calipers with full-floating 320mm disc
Rear: Single 220mm disc
Wheelbase: 55.4 inches
Rake & Trail: 23.3mm degrees x 96.2mm
Seat Height: 32.2 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gallons, 1.06 gallon reserve

2008 Highlights:

All-new 999cc inline four-cylinder engine.
Lightweight titanium intake valves.
New thinner high-strength pistons featuring molybdenum coating.
New removable cylinder block with Nikasil-coated cylinders.
Idle-air control valve (IACV) and Ignition Interrupt Control for idle stability and smoother on/off throttle response.
Unique slipper clutch features cam mechanism to reduce clutch lever pull.
New mid-muffler exhaust system design incorporates exhaust valve and catalyst.
New-generation Honda Electronic Steering Damper (HESD) (see Technology Section).
New lighter-weight front brake hoses with lighter front brake rotors.
New monoblock front brake calipers with chromium-plated aluminum pistons.
Lightweight aluminum sidestand.
New four-piece Hollow Fine Die-Cast Frame (see Technology Section).
New aluminum swingarm design.
New twin-tunnel ram-air induction.
New line-beam headlights.
Front turn signals integrated into mirrors.
New compact instrumentation.
New lighter-weight wheels.
New lightweight compact battery.
New improved ergonomics.
Iconic new Honda Wing tank badge.
Exciting new colors include Red/Black, Black/Metallic Silver, Pearl Yellow/Black, Candy Dark Red/Metallic Silver.
Black/Metallic Grey (2008 special color*).

Unique Features

Exclusive, MotoGP-derived Unit Pro-Linkr Rear Suspension (see Technology Section).
Mid-muffler exhaust system design.
Specially designed slipper clutch.
Dual Stage Fuel Injection (DSFI) system features two injectors per cylinder (see Technology Section).
Centrally located fuel tank increases mass centralization and allows more compact frame design.
Line-beam headlights feature two-piece reflector design.


Liquid-cooled DOHC 16-valve 999cc four-stroke inline four-cylinder engine features bore and stroke dimensions of 76mm x 55.1mm.
Sixteen-valve cylinder head features 30.5mm intake and 24mm exhaust valves with a 12.3:1 compression ratio for efficient combustion and high horsepower.
Larger titanium intake valves create a lighter valve train for higher rpm.
Intake valves feature double-spring design for optimum performance at high rpm.
Intake ports use new shot-peening technology that improves power and torque characteristics.

2008 Honda CBR1000RR
This is the limited edition $11,799 Black/Metallic Grey color scheme for 2008. No more than 500 examples will be produced

Cam-pulser location between the middle cylinders allows a narrower cylinder head and frame.
Direct shim-under-bucket valve actuation system ensures high-rpm durability and allows 16,000-mile valve maintenance intervals.
Forged-aluminum pistons with molybdenum coating for reduced friction.
Lightweight nutless connecting rods.
Iridium-tip spark plugs improve fuel combustion and performance.
Dual Stage Fuel Injection (DSFI) (see Technology Section).
46mm throttle bodies feature Denso injectors with lightweight valving for faster reaction time and 12 holes per injector to optimize mixture atomization, combustion efficiency and power.
Auto-enriching system is integrated into programmed fuel injection (PGM-FI) module, eliminating the need for a manual choke.
New idle-air control valve (IACV) minimizes torque reaction and smoothes response to small throttle changes through gradual reductions of air and fuel intake when the throttle is opened and closed.
New Ignition Interrupt Control system works with IACV and FI mapping to enhance driveability.
Smaller and lighter ECU provides two 3-D fuel-injection maps for each cylinder and two 3-D ignition maps for cylinder pairs, creating ideal fuel-mixture and spark-advance settings for superb rideability.
MotoGP-derived twin ram-air system allows high volume of cooler air to the 9.7-liter airbox for linear power delivery and incredible engine performance.
Butterfly valves inside the ram-air ducts open and close depending on throttle opening and engine rpm for optimum performance.
High-capacity radiator incorporates twin cooling fans and allows a more compact cowl for reduced drag coefficient.
Maintenance-free automatic cam-chain tensioner.
Starter gears located on the right side to produce narrow engine and increased lean angle.

Unique slipper-clutch design uses a center-cam-assist mechanism for easier actuation. Unlike an ordinary slipper clutch where the pressure plate moves side to side, the Honda clutch moves both the center cam assist and the pressure plate to provide additional slipper effect.

Nine-plate clutch is compact and tough, featuring durable friction- plate material.
New extremely compact exhaust system incorporates a catalyzer and control valve in mid-muffler design that reduces rear bodywork size and significantly improves mass centralization, reducing roll and yaw inertia.
Durable #530 O-ring – sealed drive chain.


Lightweight Hollow Fine Die-Cast twin-spar aluminum frame utilizes MotoGP technology (see Technology Section).
New aluminum subframe is lightweight and easily removed for ease of maintenance.
MotoGP-derived Honda Electronic Steering Damper (HESD) (see Technology Section).
43mm inverted aluminum-slider Honda Multi-Action System (HMAS) cartridge front fork features spring preload and rebound and compression damping adjustability, and offers precise action and unparalleled rigidity (see Technology Section). Exclusive, MotoGP-derived Unit Pro-Link Rear Suspension (see Technology Section).
Front brake system features radial-mounted four-piston calipers and 320mm floating discs, and rear brake system uses a 220mm disc with a single-piston caliper for exceptional stopping power.
Front discs with 72 holes of four different diameters for lighter weight and improved feel.
Super-light aluminum-alloy hollow-spoke wheels feature race-spec 3.5 x 17-inch front and 6.0 x 17-inch rear dimensions.
Centrally mounted 4.7-gallon fuel tank is positioned low in the frame, increasing mass centralization and allowing a more compact design. This design positions the rider farther forward for optimum handling.

Additional Features

New ergonomic triangle lets rider sit 10mm farther forward and 10mm lower than previous-generation CBR1000RR. Handlebars are 6.5mm higher and 2mm forward. High-capacity 400-watt AC generator.
High-tech instrument display features tachometer, plus LCD readouts for speedometer, coolant temperature, odometer, two tripmeters and a clock, mpg and average fuel consumption. A low-fuel LED light and shift-indicator light are located above the LCD.
Line-beam headlight features two-piece reflector design utilizing two H7 bulbs for optimum light distribution and unique compact design.
LED taillights for lighter weight and improved appearance.
Plastic tank shell cover protects tank and airbox.
Convenient ignition switch/fork lock for added security.

2008 Honda CBR1000RR
This new GP-style exhaust may or may not be your cup of tea, but it is environmentally friendly and keeps the weight low in the design.

Folding aerodynamic mirrors.
Convenient push-to-cancel turn-signal switch.
New maintenance-free battery is 2.2 pounds lighter.
Transferable one-year, unlimited-mileage limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.
Purchase of a new, previously unregistered Honda USA-certified unit by an individual retail user in the United States qualifies the owner for a one-year complimentary membership in the Honda Rider’s Club of America (HRCA).

Available Accessories

Color-Matched Passenger Seat Cowl, U-Lock, CBRr Racing Cycle Cover, Carbon-Fiber Accents.
*Limited color run, less than 500

2008 Honda CBR1000RR Pricing
Pearl Yellow/Black
Candy Dark Red/Metallic Silver
Black/Metallic Silver: $11,599
Limited Edition Black/Metallic Grey: $11,799

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