All Tests – With C-ABS, Honda CBRs put the brakes on the competition! – Heavier, more expensive … more efficient!

With C-ABS, Honda CBRs put the brakes on the competition !

All Tests - With C-ABS, Honda CBRs put the brakes on the competition! - Heavier, more expensive ... more efficient!

Resolutely focused on safety, Honda ignores prejudices by equipping its CBR 600 and 1000 sports cars with sophisticated electronic ABS (C-ABS). A daring bet in a category where performance takes precedence but which seems poised to be won… Test !

Heavier, more expensive … more efficient !

The fact remains that if the use of electronics has made it possible to distribute the masses as judiciously as possible (under the tank, under the saddle, behind the exhaust manifold and under and in front of the swingarm), this new device leads to overweight. 10 kg on motorcycles intended to be as light as possible…

In addition, this overweight is accompanied by a tariff inflation logic: an additional 1000 euros will be requested from customers wishing to equip themselves with this C-ABS. Thus, with this electronic ABS, the CBR600RR will be displayed at € 12,990 in concessions and its 1000 cc big sister at € 16,690 (read).

In addition, if the system does not require any particular maintenance and its lifespan is equal to that of motorcycles, the brake fluid change (to be carried out – with or without ABS – every 18,000 km or every 18 months ) requires the trifle of 3 hours of labor against nearly 30 minutes previously, due to the presence of ten bleed screws.

Finally, unlike BMW on its HP2 Sport (read our), Honda did not want to opt for a disconnectable system: a decision that many trackers are likely to quickly point out with the tip of the glove, since the first manufacturer admits that his system, as sophisticated as it is, is not yet able to brake as short – in the dry – as a confirmed pilot.

"We did not offer a disconnectable ABS because we did not want to take the risk that the user forgets to put it back on and thinks they are safe !", justified Kazuhiko Tani, Honda chief engineer, questioned on this point during the discovery of C-ABS in Germany."What is more, Honda will continue to offer the model without ABS for people who are not convinced or who only intend to use Racing. We will then see how the sales ratios between the two models evolve. In Switzerland for example, the 600 and 1000 CBR will only be offered in the ABS version.".

"Currently, the device is actually a little less efficient than a good level pilot, in the dry only.", admits Bruno Skotnicki, head of training at Honda France."But Honda’s competition department (HRC) is studying the issue very closely, in order to equip motorcycles exclusively reserved for racing with a revamped ECU, so that the C-ABS is on par in the dry. !"

In addition, the Honda instructor emphasizes the fact that now almost all electronic components are present on the 2009 CBRs so that it is possible to install effective traction control at the rear wheel! All right, but with anti-lock braking at the front and anti-skidding at the rear, what will remain for the pilot to manage? Piloting of course !

Whether on the road or on the track, Honda wants to offer the most efficient and transparent technology possible to its customers, so that they no longer have to worry about a possible escape from the front or – in a more or less near future – from behind, and that they can fully concentrate on the pitfalls of the road and on the right path to take on the track !

After all, Pedrosa and others do use "Traction Control" in MotoGP … but not ABS! Unless this C-ABS upsets the situation even in the highest motorcycle competition? With an injured Pedrosa (read) and a season starting on April 12 in Qatar, the HRC may however be a little short in terms of testing and development … In all modesty, Site has therefore taken care of rough terrain in various conditions on the handlebars of the 600 and 1000 CBR vintage 2009 !

All jokes aside, Honda is betting big on its new technology: while many manufacturers rely above all on the usual equation "more horses for less pounds" to seduce fans of Super and Hypersportives, the winged brand takes a radically different path. Unbeaten in the World Supersport since 2003 with the Dutch team Ten Kate, the 600 CBR has not seen any major developments this year … except for the C-ABS !

Aesthetically, the Honda ball of nerves is therefore quite similar to that discovered at the end of 2006: the fairing now covers the engine block, the four-cylinder would benefit from a greater torque (+ 3.5%) between 8 and 12,000 rpm, its exhaust receives new collector tubes and the gear ratios are slightly lengthened. But compared to the deep aesthetic change of the last Kawasaki ZX-6R or the still very strong aggressiveness of the Yamaha R6, the CBR is getting a little old..

A feeling reinforced by the austerity of the commodos and the dashboard: as sexy as that fitted to a 205 Diesel, the Honda console now accommodates an orange indicator for ABS and retains a fuel gauge, while being easily readable. Some would no doubt have preferred a gear indicator engaged – to better manage the 120 horsepower at 13,500 rpm and the 66 Nm of torque at 11,250 rpm -, but in the context of more road use than circuit, In the case of the vast majority of buyers, the fuel gauge seems more suitable.

As for the 1000, the changes are even more tenuous: as on the 600, the Hypersport Honda will therefore offer C-ABS, which leads to a modification of its rear loop – reinforced to integrate the elements of the device – and an overweight of 10 kg. On the version without ABS, the CBR1000RR will only stand out for its clear oval-shaped rear indicators and its engine paintwork which now turns black..

Alexandre BARDIN – Photos Stan PEREC and David REYGONDEAU

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