2017 welcomed one of the most technologically advanced Honda Superbikes – Honda CBR1000RR SP2. The bike’s narrow frame becomes immediately noticeable when the rider sits on it. The overall fairing is narrowed by an inch in the front and by ¾ of an inch in the middle. Unlike the windscreen on the 2016 model, the 2017’s is higher and pointed at the top. In the tech department, CBR1000RR SP2 is complete with a colour display and other data presentation controlled through the left switch cluster (including the brake and engine settings, wheelie and traction control and ABS).
Visually, the Honda CBR1000RR SP2 is a delight to look at. The standard features of SP, SP2 has bigger exhaust and intake valves, cylinder heads and premium Marchesini wheels. Being a road legal homologation special, SP2 uses the Fire blade SP as the base with 141kW top power and 114Nm torque. Additionally, to enhance performance, SP2 comes with an optional Full race or HRC Sport Race Kits. SP2 is lighter than SP and improvement in the engine has boosted the horsepower from the previous model by 10. An increase in the power-to-weight ratio by 14% still maintains the bike’s user-friendly character solely owing to the included electronic packages. Compression ratio is increased to 13:1 from 12.3:1. Pistons have a new design.
ECS offers the rider to vary the ride feel. The core of the ECU is Inertial Measurement Unit gyro, which reports real time behaviour of the engine and its components. ECU can be altered between 5 different mods- three for preset engine power, wheelie control, brake strength, rear-wheel traction and suspension damper control, and two for customized preferences.
Gears can be shifted without pressing down on the clutch. Overall handling of the bike is significantly improved, thanks to the hollow die-cast spar aluminium frame’s rigidity.
Riding down a windy road requiring quick shifts and changing rpms offers the real feel of the bike- it is precise, predictable and smooth. Changing trajectory is easy and so is readjusting a line mid turn. Midrange and linear power of the CBR1000RR SP2 are similar to the powerful SP given the unaltered size of the stroke and bore (55mm and 76mm, respectively). When the engine is revved, the power drop isn’t abrupt on reaching the limiter. Wheel speed data check wheelies- throttle is shut off when the ECU notices that the front wheel is slowing down and the back wheel is speeding. Even on braking abruptly, the back tire remains firmly on the ground and doesn’t lift up. The system is so efficient that even when the wheelies are regulated manually, it still detects a variation in slowing down and shuts down the throttle. Wheelie control is closely controlled by traction control, when one is turned off, the other gets inactivated. Designed to be ridden on roads and not race tracks, the performance of SP2 exudes safety in every aspect, from negotiating turns to sudden braking and sensitive traction control. Sensitivity can neither be switched off nor adjusted. Only the engine braking can be varied between the three levels (with 1 being the highest and 3, the least).
Honda CBR1000RR SP2 is easy to ride, fast and light to handle. The upgrades are evidently noticeable.