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2012 Honda CBR1000RR First Look

Friday, September 23, 2011
2012 Honda CBR1000RR
Instead of overhauling Big Red's potent CBR1000RR for the new year, Honda opted for modest upgrades to its liter bike.
Over the years the latest generation CBR1000RR has proven to be one of the best liter bikes we have tested at MotorcycleUSA.com, but knowing this is the 20th Anniversary of the original CBR900RR we were a little disappointed not to see more significant upgrades on Honda’s flagship sportbike. In our 2011 Superbike Smackdown the 1000RR finished runner-up to only the mighty BMW S1000R. It held off the challenge from Kawasaki, Suzuki, KTM and Yamaha with one of the oldest designs in the class and a 150-horsepower engine with no traction control or variable engine mapping. Sure, it handles great, is very rider friendly and looks decent enough, if not a little subdued.
So, it would seem that addressing the dearth of power or technological gadgets might be on the table for the anniversary edition; instead, Honda opted to simply sharpen the tip of its spear. In these tough economic times, who can blame Big Red for taking the conservative approach? Instead of bitching about what we didn’t get, let’s take a look at what we did get.
Starting with the chassis, the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR now utilizes Big Piston Fork technology, complemented by Honda’s “Balance-Free Rear Shock.” Exactly what the new configuration brings to the table is being kept under wraps
2012 Honda CBR1000RR
Most of the CBR's revisions are targeted toward its chassis with Big Piston Fork technology being added along with Honda's newly configured Balance-Free rear shock. 
until the upcoming press introduction of the new model. Stay tuned for a technical explanation of Balance-Free in the coming months. The CBR1000RR was never in contention for the class horsepower title, but the motorcycle has always been strong in the real world and is rider-friendly on the track thanks to its strong bottom-end and midrange-biased power delivery.
It doesn’t appear anything was done to the engine so we expect the new CBR to still churn out somewhere in the neighborhood of 153-horsepower and 78 lb-ft. of torque which keeps it right in the middle of the pack. What Honda has done historically is used an excellent chassis, confidence-inspiring handling and light weight to its advantage on both the street the track.
In our 2011 track test, the CBR1000RR won the coveted Superpole during our timed and controlled on-track session at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. AMA Superbike racer Steve Rapp edged out the BMW and Kawasaki to give the Honda top billing and the right to retain the coveted Superpole Cup for the third-consecutive year. Now, with revised suspension components we have to expect the CBR will handle even better, which will make it a more formidable opponent come testing time.
2012 Honda CBR1000RR
The 2012 CBR includes styling updates to give it a more aggressive look, particularly around the headlamps.
Where the most conspicuous changes to the 2012 CBR1000RR come into play is in the styling department. New, aggressive bodywork - particularly the front cowling, combined with new 12-spoke wheels, gives the Honda a sporty facelift. The front fairing, especially around the headlamps, has been received with mixed reviews from the public when the bike first broke cover in Japan. You cannot argue that the new look gives the CBR an anime-quality that some riders seem to love or hate. The side panels leave much more of the engine cases exposed and have a distinct teardrop look that helps distinguish this model form the previous version. The dash appears to be revised as well, with a new multi-function racing-style LCD dash that replaces the more traditional unit found on the ’11 model.
The CBR1000RR continues to be offered as a C-ABS version, but significant upgrades like traction control, which now BMW, Kawasaki and Yamaha all offer, eluded the Honda this time around. With a base MSRP of $13,800 or $14,800 for the C-ABS model, the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR is only $400 more than last year’s bike. Plus, the Pearl White/Blue/Red version really stands out compared to the basic red or black schemes.

Check out the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR Specifications in our Buyer's Buide.

2012 Honda CBR1000RR Photo Gallery
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2012 Honda CBR1000RR Photo Gallery
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2012 Honda CBR600RR First Look
2012 Honda CBR600RR
Back again with new colors and no major refinements, the 2012 Honda CBR600RR hopes its combination of light weight, midrange power and excellent handling will be enough to entertain consumers for another year.

There isn’t a whole lot to report from the Honda camp regarding the 2012 Honda CBR600RR. While we really enjoy this motorcycle and it has proven to be a solid performer in our annual Supersport Shootout (it finished runner-up in 2011), the motorcycle hasn’t seen many significant upgrades in recent years. The status quo remains for 2012 as the biggest news surrounding the CBR600RR is a new Red/White color way ($150 extra) that features white wheels. This is a throwback of sorts to the popular CBR600F2 which always seemed to sport the white-wheeled look in its heyday.

The 2012 Honda CBR600RR will be available in dealerships in December, 2011 with an MSRP of $11,540 for the black base model, $11,690 for the red/white base model and $12,540 for the C-ABS equipped version.
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fujkami78   September 30, 2011 07:17 AM
First of all the 600 is just way too expensive. How are younger riders going to afford that? They should market and sell the F version like that have in Europe. We don't need race replicas for the street nor even track days and IT IS UGLY. That round tank. Hideous! The 1000 is also overkill for the street. I get the excitement of the true race replica, but I see three brand new '11's sitting on the sales floor at a local dealer and a boatload of Gixxers. I would buy the CB1100F if we got it here and I may even buy a CBR250R at age 51. I also like the '08 design, particularly in black. If they never made another change, that is a classic looking bike!
rogase   September 29, 2011 03:19 PM
In MOTOUSA own shootout each of the two riders did their best time on the CBR, beating both the higher HP bikes in the Kawi and the BMW, each with traction control. I think that just shows the chasis, power delivery and balance are more important for putting down quick times than electronic intervention. Similarly the drag strip times the TC systems dont seem to help in getting power down any better. Maybe where they would really help is saving your from a highside in a sudden loss of traction. That has got to be worth something.
leward18   September 29, 2011 04:58 AM
I like it, but I'd rather jump on the deals that are sure to come for a brand new 2010 or 2011 model.
cyclemart   September 28, 2011 09:54 PM
The 2012 will be my fifth CBR. I buy CBRs as much for their user-friendly rideability, build quality and reliability, as I do for their outright speed. I think the new bike is beautiful and the suspension improvements are welcome. Frankly, 30 additional hp on top would do nothing for me.
rogase   September 27, 2011 05:07 PM
Disappointing effort from Honda. Yamaha managed to get TC onto its face lifted model, assuming the system is a good one. Surely they could have got electronics in and got some more HP on top of what is already a class leading chasis. The new suspension sounds promising though and I like the face lift cosmetically. Looks like we will be with this one for at least 2 years though.
Honduh   September 27, 2011 03:41 AM
Piglet2010 September 24, 2011 06:37 PM
Honduh - Would you rather have the fastest bike on the track, or the most spec sheet bragging points at the coffee shop for your money?

First, the CBR is not going to be the quickest bike on all tracks just the tighter more technical ones. Second, I don't brag and don't patronize coffee shops but a 30 hp defecit? Third, after four years of an essentially unchanged platform I would like something new. Fourth, with all of the engineering know-how that Honda can bring to bear where's the V-4 with class leading electronics?

I'll being keeping my '08 CBR1000RR for at least another year.
GhostRider11   September 26, 2011 12:12 PM
With the state of affairs in Japan currently, in respect to HRC and the other Japanese brands, it's nice to see that Honda did something at all! Time is needed to recoup over there for sure. HRC is most likely still developing their electronic package(s) and dual-clutch/gearbox/transmission designs for the V4 that's supposedly coming in the future. The face-lift aside, I give Honda credit for not ruining the awesome platform they created back in 2008. The CBR1000rr is only missing the top-end punch to challenge the s1000r. With the new suspension and new wheels, the CBR1krr should still be at the sharp point of liter-class battles! The styling will grow on us with time just like the previous models. Whatever fly-by-wire system Rea is using now... HRC needs to copy it and bring it to the production bikes as well. I have a couple Hondas ('05 repsol/'09 white cbr1krr) in my stable now... I'll take another one... just not paying list for it!
Superlight   September 25, 2011 05:21 AM
This Honda has gone from a generic-looking Japanese superbike to something bizarre, especially in the front fairing design. Too many Transformer movies, perhaps? I'll stay with the Europeans, who seem to better understand good design.
nieseba   September 24, 2011 06:40 PM
Honda has spent so much on MotoGP this year and this is the best they can do? Honda needs to follow the lead of other companies (Ducati,Kawasaki,Yamaha) who are slimming down their racing budgets in order to improve products that are going to consumers. I currently ride a 2007 600rr. My next bike will almost certainly not be a Honda though. I'm tired of being disappointed every year when they fail to come out with anything remotely exciting.
Piglet2010   September 24, 2011 06:37 PM
Honduh - Would you rather have the fastest bike on the track, or the most spec sheet bragging points at the coffee shop for your money?
Cappibara Racing   September 24, 2011 07:31 AM
Their liter bike is still one of the best, however, the 600 is way tired and needs a major overhaul.
Honduh   September 23, 2011 03:35 PM
:yawn: Looks as if Honda is returning to the days of being an also ran in the liter bike segment.