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Monday, May 04, 2009

World Superbikes : Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird



Finally after 6 years I've decided to add the specs for comparative purposes with the Hayabusa's competitors. I didn't put this up because I didn't think there was a need to. However as the years roll on there becomes less and less information available so I though better put it up before everyone forgets all together about this great motorcycle.

For those who came late:

The Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird was the official title and it was named after the SR-71 Blackbird, which is still the fastest jet plane on the planet. It was not named after the feathered variety. The XX suffix was to signify that it was a really fast motorcycle. CBR is of course the generic Honda designation for its bikes. What CBR means? I don't know.

The Honda Blackbird was released back in 1996 as the world's fastest bike. It's only competitor at the time was the Kawasaki ZZR1100 or ZX-11. The problem was that Honda claimed the prior CBR1000 was the baddest bike several years earlier which proved to be a bit of a let down. So Honda had to make good its threat to the Kawasaki. And it did, the Blackbird was in every way better than the ZX-11, except for I believe some character.The overall design and shape was seemed a derivative of the ZZR but clearly an up to date version. A few touches such as integrated turn signals in the wing mirrors I believe as first ? (Feel free to correct me) The quality of materials was great and a stacked head light unique atthe time. Remember that all headlights till about the mid-nineties where still made of glass. Plastic and lens technology reach mass production abut this time !(Believe it or not the Blackbird came out with CDI controlled carburettors just like the ZZR ! But remember it was 1996 and EFI bikes where very rare ! The Blackbird gained EFI in 1999.)

Furthermore it had linked brakes DCBS a 'first' in the motorcycle technology. (1st Gen fitted to the CBR1000 way back in 1993) This caused such a fuss in the community (including myself) many claiming it was unsafe etc.. because the weight distribution during hard braking and the you don't want the front to skid. The system is only now only seen in 'touring bikes' and the system its self has been modified further to a very mild version. This was probably part of the reason why in the Blackbird sidelined as a fast touring bike rather than the sports bike. I remember my first CBR1000 ride and boy those brakes reminded me now of the abrupt servo action in brakes of today days cars.

From my point of view the Blackbird never had the aura as the original ZZR or ZX-11. I was going to get the last of the ZX-11s but that never happened. Also remember the ZX-11 lived on in the ZZR1200 until 2005.


Ignoring the big performance and publicity that it entails, the Blackbird was indeed a typical Honda of the day. It had fuss free handling, carry pillions and rider in comfort and lots of luggage - so forth. In all honesty the Blackbird is a great pillion carrying bike. I've had may emails from ex-Blackbird owners claiming superior comfort! This all rounder nature made it a popular choice for many and another feather in Honda's cap.

So cut to 1999 Suzuki decides its got something even better - the Hayabusa. It claims huge specs including a standard rear tyre that wasn't generally available. It had outrageous looks design to surpass the 300kph barrier and to hit 321kph. It's specs beat all comers hands down. Eg. EFI, USD forks, 190 spec rear, groovy instruments, power, torque.

And as history has shown the Hayabusa had it beat and thus the king of the heap since its release. The Hayabusa has been Guinness Book-ed compared countless times to others and was part of the reason why 300kph+ or 200mph+ motorcycles can no longer be purchased of the showroom.

The Honda Blackbird has quietly disappeared of the Honda's model lists in May 2006 so one would expect an all new one to be ready pretty shortly. (I been checking up and this statement is incorrect! - The Blackbird is still indeed available but only as an 06 model) Or have they given up? - which I think is highly unlikely! If you're in Australia you can still get the last remaining Blackbirds. Interestingly Suzuki has an all new Hayabusa waiting in the wings! (Pun intended) 2007/2008 is going to be a fun year.

Despite all that just remember the Blackbird is still one of the fastest motorcycles in the world it still a joy to ride - more than enough power and speed for all but hard core to enjoy. It's also a Honda so you can be assured that it'll last the distance.

Honda CBR 1100 XX Super Blackbird
Manufacturer - Make - Model - Year: Honda CBR 1100 XX Super Blackbird
Motorcycle Style: Sport

Engine Type: 1137 cc, 4 Stroke - Liquid Cooled - Inline Four
Engine Bore and Stroke: 79 mm x 58 mm
Compression Ratio: 11:1
Valves DOHC, 4 valves/cylinder
Carburetion: Electronic fuel injection
Ignition System: Computer-controlled digital transistorised with electronic advance
Claimed Horsepower: 152 hp (113.3 kW) @ 9500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 119 Nm (87.8 ft. lbs) @ 7250 rpm

Transmission type: 6 speed
Final Drive: Chain

Suspension - Front: 43mm H.M.A.S. cartridge-type fork, 120 mm travel
Suspension - Rear: Pro-Link with stepless rebound-adjustable gas-charged H.M.A.S. damper, 120 mm travel

Tire - Front: 120/70-17
Tire - Rear: 180/55-17
Brakes - Front: dual 310 mm discs with 3-piston calipers
Brakes - Rear: single 256 mm disc with 3-piston calipers

Overall - Length: 2160 mm (85 inches)
Overall - Width: 720 mm (28.3 inches)
Overall - Height: 1200 mm (47.2 inches)
Seat Height: 810 mm (31.9 inches)
Wheelbase 1490 mm (58.7 inches)
Ground clearance 130 mm (5.1 inches)
Fuel Capacity: 23 l (6.1 Gal)
Dry Weight (without fluids): 223 kg (491.6 pounds)

World Superbikes winner MSMW2012