Carving through the sinuous earthen trails linking flowered meadows with sun-drenched Garnacha vineyards, I notice that the breeze is carrying my dust away from the delicate fruit, inspiring a feeling of divine interconnectedness with nature and machine.
Launched in 2004, the Honda CBR1000RR was a revelation to me; it was incredibly fast and confidence-inspiring. In 2006, Honda offered an improved, lighter version—a logical evolution of an already remarkable bike. What Honda did not reveal, was that the company was simultaneously designing this all-new 2008 version.
The unusually long four-year development period was time well spent.
Although two-wheel-drive motorcycles are nothing new—Rokon has been offering its Trail-Breaker go-anywhere machine for decades—a high-performance motorcycle with two driven wheels has until now been an unattainable Holy Grail. Yamaha tried it recently, but its hydraulic system’s performance was more theoretical than practical. The bike disappeared quickly, never making it to the United States.