2006 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade-Blade keeps on rolling
Leaner and meaner are words you’d use to describe a boxer in his prime. Sharper and more focused than ever are words for the 2006 ‘Blade. And the Fireblade has been sharpened indeed, but is the blade sharp enough to tackle a battle with ninjas and Gixxers?
Words: Tor Sagen/Photography: Claire McHugh
As it happens I got the chance to ride the new Fireblade back-to-back with the new Suzuki GSX-R750 and not too long ago I also had the K6 GSX-R1000 on test. Suzuki is the arch enemy in 2006 and can the improved CBR1000RR do any damage to the hegemony of the Gixxers?
The 998cc in-line four engine has received a big update in a new cylinder head porting and combustion chamber shape. All to improve mid to high rpm power output. The intake valve is new and the engine is now helped by double intake valve springs for better performance in the upper rev range. All this has allowed Honda to rise the redline to 12.250rpm. The clutch and gearbox have also been improved along with redesigned ram-air and lighter exhaust. The 2006 Blade also got new larger 320mm front brake discs, all new bodywork and revised suspension. So not far from being a brand new bike when you look at all the changes.
The new dry weight is a claimed 176 kilo, still a hefty 10kg heavier than GSX-R1000 and 13kg heavier than GSX-R750. This is what I noticed first and the Fireblade is also physically larger than the Gixxers. The seat and handlebars are surprisingly comfortable for such a motorcycle. It is difficult to say whether the new foam in the seat makes any improvements over the old Fireblade, but after 200miles in the seat I still felt fresh. The big Honda also allowed me another 20-30 miles of fast motorway miles before the fuel light came on than any of the Suzuki GSX-Rs. Stability is top class and particularly when leaning the bike at high speeds. Instant confidence is something the Fireblade does better than anyone else and Honda deserves praise particularly in that area. The throttle is light as is preferred for racing, but at slow speed in town you don’t get that precise feeling as you would with a heavier throttle wheel. Fuel injection is superb as fuel consumption also proves. CBR1000RR still features one of the best midranges in the litre class and is only 2Nm short of the big Gixxer thousand. With 170bhp on tap the Fireblade surge forward and accelerates hard from rpms low in the midrange. With even more punch from the midrange and top-end the 2006 RR wheelies even easier than before. The new 42 tooth rear sprocket is undoubtedly a help here too. The electronic progressive steering damper keeps everything in shape with no drama at all. The Fireblade swingarm looks more serious than most swingarms and is a major advantage for track usage. Suspension has been improved with different settings and a new linkage at the rear. The Fireblade already handled better than most motorcycles, and with the suspension improvements this continues into 2006. Only excerpts of the full article.