2021 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP MC Commute Second Review
In this episode of MC Commute, we cut the 2021 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP loose on the daily grind to the Motorcyclist offices.
The modern-day superbike segment has become increasingly track focused within recent years. Nearly every manufacturer with skin in the game has created a homologation-special model built to push the envelope of production-level performance on the racetrack. The 2021 CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP is Honda’s latest entry into the category.
But while built to conquer World Superbike competition, each of these machines are deemed road legal and available to purchase by the average consumer. And we’ve got a commute to the Motorcyclist offices to do. So why not let the Fireblade loose on public roads?
Editor’s note: We’ve covered the Fireblade SP’s racetrack performance in the and special edition at Thunderhill Raceway Park. This article describes our experience of the Honda on the day-to-day street grind.
Thumbing the starter button on the right-side handlebar brings the Fireblade SP to life, barking out an exciting inline-four growl from the OE-equipped Akrapovič exhaust. Honda’s deep-rooted racing heritage is obvious while settling into the cockpit. The rider triangle is tight and aggressive, as you’d expect on a racetrack-focused machine. Footpeg position is placed up and back resulting in an aggressive lower-body stance, while the clip-on handlebars are pushed forward into a flat, wide position that’s awkward for our 5-foot-7-inch tester. It’s a tiresome position for the daily commute, but a favorable stance to hustle the CBR through the backroads or around the racetrack.
At the heart of the Fireblade SP is a 999cc inline-four engine with serious inspiration from Honda’s RC213V-S MotoGP replica racer, right down to the bore and stroke configuration and finger-follower valve train. Prior to real-world testing, we first ran the CBR on our in-house Dynojet 250i Motorcyclist dyno, recording horsepower and torque measurements. The Fireblade recorded a peak 165.4 hp at 12,000 rpm and 74.6 pound-feet of torque at 10,600 rpm, with an incredibly linear power delivery from 7,000 to 12,000 rpm before reaching its 14,200 rpm redline.
The high-revving race tune of the CBR is addicting, if you can keep it spinning above 7,000 rpm. A strong hit of power lifts the front wheel off the tarmac, while the three-level wheelie control system keeps it in low-flight trajectory as the CBR accelerates away from a stop or curve. The bidirectional quickshifter makes for near-seamless gear changes through the Fireblade’s six-speed gearbox. It’s a remarkable experience that keeps the daily commute so entertaining.
Handling is delightfully neutral for being a superbike too. The Fireblade tips the Motorcyclist scales at a ready-to-ride 445 pounds. Little body language is required to flick the Honda to its side, but remains composed in every case. It’s sharp, and quickly carves corners. The semi-active Öhlins NPX fork and TTX 36 shock do a superb job of finding a balance between supple small-bump compliance for county road imperfections and big-hit support for the G-out sections of twisties. Three settings are available for semi-active damping changes—Track, Sport, and Rain—with each targeted for specific riding situations. Manual settings, which freeze damping changes and act as conventional suspension, are also available. Brembo Stylema brake calipers and radial master cylinder bring the Fireblade to a quick halt with excellent feel.
Perched behind the handlebars is a 5-inch TFT dashboard, displaying all vital riding information and access to the Fireblade’s electronic rider-aid suite, including the aforementioned wheelie control and suspension settings, as well as adjustable traction control, engine power, and ABS functions. A larger display would be appreciated, while an easier menu navigation would reduce headache. The fairing offers sufficient wind protection in a relaxed riding position and a calm pocket of air while tucked in.
The Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP undeniably belongs to the racetrack. Sharp handling, strong power delivery, the latest electronic rider aids combine for ultimate superbike potential. But that’s not to say the Honda won’t offer a ripper of a commuter machine. You might just hope that the commute ends at the nearest race circuit.
- Helmet: Shoei RF-SR
- Jacket: Alpinestars Newman Overshirt
- Pants: Alpinestars Victory Denim
- Boots: Alpinestars Faster-3 Rideknit
2021 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP Specifications
|Engine:||999cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-four|
|Bore x Stroke:||81.0 x 48.5mm|
|Motorcyclist Measured Horsepower:||165.4 hp @ 12,000 rpm|
|Motorcyclist Measured Torque:||74.6 lb.-ft. @ 10,600 rpm|
|Fuel System:||Fuel injection w/ 52mm throttle bodies, 12-hole injectors|
|Clutch:||Wet, multiplate slipper clutch|
|Frame:||Aluminum twin spar|
|Front Suspension:||Öhlins NPX Smart EC fork w/ electronically controlled preload, compression and rebound damping; 4.3 in. travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Öhlins TTX 36 Smart EC shock w/ electronically controlled preload, compression and rebound damping; 5.6 in. travel|
|Front Brake:||Brembo Stylema radial-mount 4-piston calipers, 330mm discs|
|Rear Brake:||1-piston caliper, 220mm disc|
|Wheels, Front/Rear:||17 x 3.5 in. / 17 x 6.0 in.|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3; 120/70-17 / 200/55-17|
|Seat Height:||32.6 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||4.3 gal.|
|Motorcyclist Measured Wet Weight:||445 lb.|