Honda doesn’t think it’s gotten everything it can out of its existing
platform so for 2014 it’s building a high-spec SP version, The iconic CBR literbike is designed to go head-to-head with the more premium offerings from Europe.
Engineers started by blueprinting the top end of the CBR’s 999cc Inline Four fitting “hand-picked” pistons and connecting rods. This should help extort maximum combustion efficiency from the engine. A new cylinder head with modified intake and exhaust porting was also installed to boost power, however, the compression ratio remains unaltered at 12.3:1. The CBR has never lacked in terms of mid-range power, but has had a considerable top-end power deficiency compared to the latest literbikes from Europe so it will be interesting if it gains any ponies at high rpm.
While the CBR1000RR has never lacked in the handling department the SP model is prepared to up the ante with its three-way adjustable Ohlins inverted fork held within an updated top clamp. An equally adjustable TTX-generation gas charged shock also from the Swedish suspension house controls the movement of the rear wheel.
More up-spec goodies come in the form of Brembo monobloc calipers that continue to pinch 320mm cross-drilled rotors at the front. Surprisingly, anti-lock functionality won’t be available on the U.S. versions.
As before, the CBR continues to employ its nifty and un-invasive HPSD steering damper. Another big change is the fitment of Pirelli’s fantastic and track-capable Diablo Supercrosa SP tires along with a lighter subframe.
The way in which the rider interacts with the motorcycle was also modified. The position of the clip-ons and footpegs were moved giving the CBR a more aggressive track stance. It also gets a taller windscreen that does a more effective job of flowing turbulent air over the rider’s head. Though it won’t make the Honda go any faster, the SP comes equipped with a removable plastic cowl instead of the passenger seat and gets a special red/white and two shades of blue paint scheme along with gold-painted 12-spoke wheels. Curiously, according to the spec chart the SP actually loses 0.3-gallons of fuel capacity but still weighs roughly the same as the bike it replaces at 440 pounds.
Honda has yet to announce pricing but expect at least a thousand dollar jump over its current asking price of $13,800 (not including $310 destination charge). The SP will arrive at U.S. dealerships this spring.