CBR1000RR First Ride
Well, the bike has been sitting in the garage since January.
Today is March 29, it was the first day this year with temperatures in
the 60's. I'm thinking OK, how do I get out of work so I can
bring nearly three months of anticipation to a end. But of course
I couldn't, leave early that is, so the next best thing was to leave at
a reasonable time, which meant when 4:30 rolled around I was headed out
This is not just a first ride on the CBR1000RR. It's also the
first ride of the spring, first ride on a full bore sport bike, and
first ride on a Honda in over 20 years, and it's the break-in.
I got home, said hello to the kids and wife (hug hug, kiss kiss), got
changed, jumped on the internet and checked the weather (still in the
60's, overcast, but only 20% chance of rain), SWEEEEEEET...
Dinner? Forget dinner. I pulled the helmet and gloves out of the
closet (crud look at all that dust), went in the kitchen, got some wet
paper towels, wiped the helmet off, wiped it dry, go to the other
closet, pull out the leather jacket, put it on (still fits good, like a
glove), shoes... "You going riding now?"... "Yup."... "OK, Love You,
have fun..." (my wife understands me)... "OK, Love You, bye."... Out to
What the heck, who moved the dirt bike, trailer, snow blower... that
David, I'm going to ring his neck... Put his dirt bike back... move the
trailer... move the snow blower back... uncover the bike... disconnect
the battery charger... put the helmet and gloves on the trash can for
now... insert key, turn... everything lights up... turn key
off... maneuver bike back and forth to get it turned around and on the
driveway... turn key back on... clutch in... neutral (check)... punch
the starter... crankcrankcrak... Wroooom... IT's ALIVE!!!!
First impression is that it was running kind of rough. But, after
sitting three months, what could I expect. Plus it only has .5
miles on it, so it's not like it's broken in. While it warmed up
I quickly got my helmet on, gloves, zip, buckle jacket around
Sit on the bike... position... clutch in... side stand up... shift
down... CLUNK! Geeeezzzzzz... you'd think a Honda would engage a
little smoother... hmmmm... maybe because it's still idling kind
of high... warming up. I eased out the clutch and went down
the drive way. Hmmmmm impressive... it didn't rip my arms
out of the sockets (well, that's all you hear about these liter
bikes)... look both ways (no cars)... go left... revs rising... clutch
in... shift... clutch out....JERK... LERCH.... LASH... what the
The first thing that was obvious is that the bike has no flywheel... at
least none to speak of, because the revs drop like a rock between
shifts... That's where the JERK... LERCH... came from. I was
expecting them to drop relatively slowly. But this thing revs
down as fast as it revs up. It took me a bit of time to
recalibrate my shifting to the point where I was reasonably
smooth. I was also use to short shifting like on the BMW, but
this thing wants to be revved.
Next impression was that it really doesn't have a lot of torque, at
least it didn't feel much torquier than the BMW. It felt like a
I tooled around the side streets for a while just to get a feel for
it. One thing for sure, it's very light feeling and
balanced. A world of difference from the BMW, which at lower
speeds feels heavy.
I pull out onto a main street and give it some revs, a few clicks, and
holy crap I'm doing 70. OK, you definitely don't feel like you're
going as fast as you are. 3rd gear, not revving much, and it's up
to 70? Time to recalibrate the internal accelerometer! It's
a different world!
Next impression is that there's a lot of wind coming over that fairing
and hitting me in the helmet. I've tried fairings on a couple of
my bikes, but I didn't like them for that reason. They increase
the amount of air hitting my helmet and make more noise. Unless
of course you're looking through the shield, which is annoying in it's
self. Ear plugs may be a good idea.
Hmmmm temperature seems to be kind of hot, running in the 190's... I
checked later and the thermostat is completely open at 194, so I guess
that made sense.
Idles at about 1200, which seemed kind of high, but the book says 1200
+/- 100. So it's right on. Seems fast compared to the BMW,
which idles somewhere around 750... I think. Or, maybe it just
sounds like that cause there's two less cylinders.
Well I made my way through some traffic and got out to Route 83, which
is an open road that runs through the forest preserve. Guess
what? I'm stuck behind a truck... OK time to see how this thing
accelerates. OK, truck plus three cars in front of him... where's
the passing zone. Here it comes... Crank the throttle... I'm
gone... Wow.. 100 just like that. I didn't even downshift... did
I? Slow down... still doing 70... slow down! I don't need a
ticket my first day on the bike. Wow! I've never passed anyone
that fast in my life. But it didn't really feel that fast.
I'm slid all the way up to the tank. I try ot slide back, but
that doesn't work. The seat slopes forward and forward is where
I'm going to stay. Geeeezzzz... I feel like I'm out over the
front of the bike. Hmmmm.. there's a lot of weight on my arms...
I try to grab the tank more with my legs and loosen up on the
bars. I feel like I'm sitting on a postage stamp of a seat.
The other thing that it's really hard for me to get use to is the damn
turn signals. On the BMW to signal right you poke a button by
your right thumb, to signal left you poke a button by your left
thumb. To cancel poke a different button on your right.
Seems strange at first, but it's become very intuitive and I don't have
to think about it. The Honda has the left/right switch on the
left and it's kind of high so it's difficult to reach if you have the
clutch pulled in. I have to keep looking down to find where it
is. Also, the push-in-to-cancel seems kind of awkward. More
distraction then I needed.
When I find myself going one speed for a while I upshift and downshift
to keep the revs varied. Seems no matter what gear I'm in, if I
crank the throttle the bike picks up and goes. Geeezzzz... Every
gear is too fast for the street! What gear am I in... with six of
them it's hard to keep track... I need a gear indicator...
I come up to a road that's a hard left then up a hill then a hard right
then another left. I think it, and the bike just goes around the
corners. I come up to a point where a road T's in and I slow down
to do a turn around. Wow, it's really easy to balance, even with
the handlebars at full lock. Much better than the BMW.
I played around with the brakes a little as I approached stopping
points. That front end dive is going to take some getting use
to. I didn't realize how well the BMW's anti dive front end
really worked. By comparison the Honda feels mushy. Like
I'm going to go flying over the bars if I stop suddenly. One
thing for sure, I don't think you could ever do a stoppy on a BMW, but
I can see how you could do one on a sport bike.
Hmmmm... the bars seem small in my hands, like I need them to be bigger
in diameter... the clutch lever engages a little too close to the bar,
and the brake lever is too close... I'll need to adjust those so
they're further away. But the clutch is much nicer than the
BMW. The hydraulics make a big difference vs cable
actuated. I need to pivot the clutch down a bit if I can...
It would be nice to have the bars a couple inches higher.
I end up near the express way... I55, but I take the frontage road, so
that I can go through the curves that run parallel to the on and off
ramps. I don't really notice a turn-in effort, it just
goes. And mid turn line corrections are no problem. It
seems to steer at higher speeds just as it does at low. I later
played around with counter steering effort and response, and it seems
really good. Much easier than the BMW.
One thing I do notice is that my left wrist is taking some pressure,
and my left knee feels kind of folded up... and dang this seat... It's
definitely not a touring bike, nor is it for tooling around at low
speeds. You need some wind to take some of the pressure off the
Well, I managed to find my way back home... 40 miles later. What
do I think?... I think I need another ride to get used to those
turn signals... I'm going to go out to the garage to just sit on it and
let it soak in...