Sporty – Honda CBR1000RR 2012 test: the crisis of the twenties … – The 2012 CBR1000RR is not lacking in spring!

2012 Honda CBR1000RR Review: The Twenties Crisis…

Sporty - Honda CBR1000RR 2012 test: the crisis of the twenties ... - The 2012 CBR1000RR is not lacking in spring!

Unchanged since 2008, the Honda CBR1000RR should have evolved significantly to meet the competition. Especially since 2012, the Fireblade saga celebrates its 20th anniversary! Unfortunately, the crisis requires, Honda renews its Hypersport almost as it is… Test.

The 2012 CBR1000RR does not lack a spring !

Discovered with its settings and its “production” Bridgestone S20s on the Portimao track (Portugal), the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR showed its usual good manners. Perfectly balanced, this bike with its devilish precision nose gear can be moved from one point of rope to another effortlessly.

In terms of agility, the Honda has always set the benchmark thanks to its mass contained and intelligently distributed along its 1407 mm of wheelbase. However, despite the additional kilo admitted by this new Fireblade – caused in large part by the heavier rims and suspensions – the full weight is only 200 kg (211 with ABS): 2012 therefore marks no change in the matter.

Better still: the cohesion and efficiency of its cycle part are still improving thanks to the adoption of some of the most sophisticated suspensions in the Showa catalog. 43mm inverted fork adopts the system Big Piston discovered on the GSX-R 1000 in 2009, while the shock absorber connected to the large banana-type swingarm by connecting rods Unit Pro-Link showcase technology Balance Free Rear Cushion.

Used successfully at the Suzuka 8 Hours, the body of this rear shock absorber carries two separate tubes (instead of one), as well as a piston without valves. Solutions which allow more finely to separate the functions of expansion and compression, thanks to a more precise management of variations in oil pressures. And end of the day: the settings gain in ease of use.

This last point takes on significant importance because in the original configuration, the suspension limits quickly appear on the Algarve circuit. With vertical drop worthy of a roller coaster and special "big heart" curves (like the last straight where you dive blind and from which you emerge at more than 220 km / h!), Portimao calls on its maximizes the capabilities of the excellent aluminum perimeter chassis and peripherals !

Therefore, despite the appreciable presence of a second-generation electronic steering damper (whose action increases with speed), the 2012 CBR1000RR can not restrain a few movements when passing bumps. Not sufficiently braked, the fork plunges noticeably at the start of heavy braking, while traction ends up failing. Nothing abnormal, insofar as the basic settings are defined with the objective of preserving a certain form of comfort in road use.

Moreover, once the preload of the springs has been increased and their hydraulics have been firmed up, the CBR1000RR shows a completely different face, much sharper and more efficient: a sensitivity and responsiveness to the settings which generally distinguish very good quality suspensions from the "all- from".

Aided by the sharper profile and superior grip of the racing tires (Bridgestone R10s) adopted in recent sessions, the 2012 Fireblade melts with more serenity. Especially on the bumpy, where the less pronounced trim transfers now allow you to keep the brakes to the rope without sweating.

More stable and still as precise, it wedges much more frankly on its downforce at the exit of a curve, even if the limits of the grip of the rear tire end up being found. And whatever Honda thinks, traction control would not be superfluous as the powerful and constant breath requires constant attention when exiting tight curves..

Willing to mid-range and perfectly supported by a fast and precise gearbox, the 4-cylinder ends the straight line at more than 280 km / h in a metallic sound skilfully increased tenfold by the opening of the valve to the exhaust in the towers . Linear, the acceleration is certainly less sustained than on the explosive S1000RR and the revivals less "hairy" than on the sensational RSV4, but the efficiency is there !

Easy to keep in line on heavy braking thanks to its very effective anti-dribble clutch, the Hypersport Honda especially makes use of all the mastery of its sound when gripping the right lever.

Fully combined, this slightly reworked ABS for 2012 (the action of the single right pedal causes less forward swing than before) only showcases the bite, power and endurance of the Tokiko radial calipers.

The only faults of this optional equipment: its weight (10 kg) and its cost (1000 €). Here is which begins to "weigh" against the competition: also expensive to buy, the Race-ABS of the S1000RR and the ZX-10R 2011 only weigh down the BMW and the Kawasaki by respectively 2.5 kg and 3 kg !

Assessment: while waiting for a complete change ?

Originally designed as a near replica of the most efficient Honda racing cars, the CBR1000RR timidly blows out its 20 candles. Scalded by the collapse of sports sales around the world, Honda preferred a discreet evolution to a costly revolution of its flagship Hypersport

A bit disappointing, this assumed choice does not make this twelfth generation of Fireblade an obsolete motorcycle. If it does not give in to the sirens of "electronization" (even though Honda is the only manufacturer to develop its own electronic power stations in Grand Prix), the 2012 CBR1000RR remains a formidable tool on the circuit. And there is no doubt that the improvement of its links to the ground will only improve road behavior which is already very satisfactory in current use..

Finally, if it is not the most sophisticated and the most radical, the Fireblade can nevertheless claim the title of the most accessible sportswoman in the category: marketed at a price of € 13,290 (without C-ABS) up to at the end of March 2012 (€ 14,490 thereafter), the CBR1000RR even brakes sports cars with smaller displacement such as the Suzuki GSX-R 750 (€ 13,499) and the Ducati 848 Evo (€ 13,750).

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