News 2012 Honda CBR 1000 RR | Preview

2012 Honda CBR 1000 RR | Preview

2012 Honda Superbike

The staple liter-bike in Honda’s sportbike lineup, the CBR 1000 RR, celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2012. During those 20 years, the bike transformed from the original CBR900RR, to the CBR929RR in 2000, the CBR954RR in 2003, and finally the CBR1000RR in 2004.

The CBR1000RR hasn’t received many upgrades since becoming a 1000cc machine, but that all changed for the 2012 model; the most notable update to the 2012 CBR 1000 RR directly relates to better handling.

Honda says: “Changes to the CBR1000RR for 2012 focus on sharpening what is arguably the most critical component in a motorcycle designed for sporting use: chassis performance. Granted, big-time horsepower always holds its own attractions and the CBR1000RR pours out huge quantities of horsepower and torque right in the midrange where literbike aficionados want it to be-after all, what’s the point of having a peaky big-bore bike? However, it’s the ultra-responsive middleweight-style handling that truly allows this large-displacement sportbike to shine.”

To enhance the chassis performance, such as traction and braking, Honda has added a patented Balance-Free Rear Shock, Big Piston Fork and new 12-spoke aluminum wheels.

The Balance-Free Rear Shock is what will make the 2012 CBR 1000 RR truly unique; this is the first time a production motorcycle has used one.

Honda explains: “In place of the conventional single-tube shock configuration, the Balance-Free Rear Shock design incorporates a double-tube design featuring a damper case plus an internal cylinder. The damper piston does not feature any valves; instead, the damping force is generated as displaced oil passes through a separate damping component.

“In conventional rear shocks the damping force is generated in two places, the main and sub damping valves. In the Balance-Free Rear Shock, however, this action is handled in one circuit, allowing pressure changes to be controlled more smoothly by a larger body of oil. The net result is more responsive damping and a smoother, better-controlled damping action, particularly during the transition from compression to rebound.

“As a result, the Balance-Free Rear Shock delivers more consistent damping over the duration of a ride, track session or race, improved shock absorption and greater traction since contact is more consistently maintained between the rear tire and the road or track surface. In addition, the adjusters for compression and rebound damping settings are placed prominently on the top of the shock body for quick and easy access.”

For further chassis performance, Honda paired the Balance-Free Rear Shock with inverted, 43mm telescopic fork that features Showa’s Big Piston Fork technology. The fork uses a larger damping volume to effectively reduce the hydraulic pressure generated as the fork legs compress and extend.

Honda says: “The result is more precise action during the initial stroke and smoother damping action, which the rider perceives as improved handling, enhanced front-end feedback and a more solid feel during hard braking.”

The chassis was revamped to completely utilize all the mid-range horsepower and gobs of torque from the 999.8cc engine, which has revised fuel-injection settings for a more linear response.

Honda has also added a layered fairing concept which assists in the aerodynamics of the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR. The redesigned fairing concept creates “a large still-air pocket around the rider while also helping draw air through the cooling system.” The ’12 CBR1000RR also features an integrated chin spoiler which not only adds an aggressive look, but also reduces aerodynamic lift at high speeds.

Regarding the LCD instruments also got some upgrades; the 2012 Honda CBR 1000 RR features a lap timer and five-level shift indicator.

Also, CBR buyers can opt for Honda’s Combined ABS braking system. But for 2012, the C-ABS was upgraded for sport riding; now when the rear brake pedal is actuated, there’s less initial braking application from the front brake compared to the previous-generation setup, followed by more-progressive front-brake application as brake pedal pressure increases.

Following are the highlights, specs, color options and MSRP for the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR.

2012 Honda CBR 1000 RR Highlights:

  • Unit Pro-Link rear suspension features a new, patented Balance-Free Rear Shock from Showa that incorporates a unique double-tube design featuring a damper case plus an internal cylinder for more responsive damping and a smoother, better-controlled damping action.
  • The new 43mm fork incorporates Showa’s latest Big Piston Fork technology with a larger damping volume to effectively reduce the hydraulic pressure generated as the fork legs compress and extend. The result is more precise action during the initial stroke and smoother damping action, for improved handling, enhanced front-end feedback and a more solid feel during hard braking.
  • New 12-spoke cast aluminum wheels provide more consistent rigidity. Together with the new suspension, these wheels offer improved feedback for the rider.
  • New layered fairing design creates a large pocket of calm air around the rider to improve comfort while also helping draw air through the cooling system. An integrated chin spoiler in the nose also reduces aerodynamic lift to improve handling.
  • Multi-function LCD instruments communicate all important information plus the option of four readout modes for tachometer display, lap timer, five-level shift indicator, gear position indicator and more.
  • New revised fuel injection settings give the CBR1000RR a more linear response, particularly at smaller throttle openings.
  • Revisions to the optional electronic Combined ABS create a new bias toward sporting/track riding conditions during rear brake application.

Honda Genuine Accessories

  • Color-Matched Passenger Seat Cowl, Carbon-Fiber Accents, Carbon Fiber License Plate Frame, Outdoor Cycle Cover, “E-Cushion” Seat for greater comfort, Rear Tire Hugger, HRC Power-Up Kit for Racing (Track Use Only)
  • WARRANTY: Because we’re so confident in the quality of each of our Honda Genuine accessories, we’re pleased to offer one of the best warranties in the industry. One-year warranty begins on the day accessories are purchased by the customer.

2012 Honda CBR 1000 RR Specs:

  • Model: CBR1000RR / CBR1000RR C-ABS
  • Engine Type: 999cc liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder
  • Bore and Stroke: 76mm x 55.1mm
  • Compression ratio: 12.3:1
  • Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder
  • Induction: Dual Stage Fuel Injection (DSFI)
  • Ignition: Computer-controlled digital transistorized with 3-D mapping
  • Transmission: Close-ratio six-speed
  • Final Drive: #530 O-ring-sealed chain
  • Suspension Front: 43mm inverted Big Piston Fork with spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability
  • Rear: Unit Pro-Link Balance-Free Rear Shock with spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability
  • Brakes Front: Dual radial-mounted four-piston calipers with full-floating 320mm discs
  • Rear: Single 220mm disc;
  • Optional Honda Electronic Combined ABS (CBR1000RR C-ABS)
  • Tires Front: 120/70ZR-17 radial
  • Rear: 190/50ZR-17 radial
  • Wheelbase: 55.5 inches
  • Rake (Caster Angle): 23° 3′
  • Trail: 96.0mm (3.8 inches)
  • Seat Height: 32.3 inches
  • Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gallons, including 1.06-gallon reserve
  • Estimated Fuel Economy: TBD
  • Curb Weight: 441 pounds (CBR1000RR) / 467 pounds (CBR1000RR C-ABS)

2012 Honda CBR 1000 RR Color Options/MSRP:

  • Red / $13,800
  • Black / $13,800
  • Pearl White/Blue/Red / $13,800
  • Red / $14,800 C-ABS model (only available in red)

Availability: December 2011

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling.

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