The First 90 Miles on the CBR1000RR

Well, I wrote earlier  about  what it was like to take my '04 CBR1000RR on a first ride.  A few rides later and my impressions are getting strong.

Let's talk ergonomics.  The bars are too low, the seat is too hard, and you better protect the family jewels; not necessarily listed in order of importance...  This is probably as much a commentary on sport bike ergonomics in general as it is on the CBR1000. Yeah, I understand, the bike is not a touring bike, but I really don't see the necessity of mounting the clipons as low as they are.  Raise them up a couple inches and it would make a world of difference to comfort, give you a little more leverage to turn the bike, and really balance out the weight on the feet, back, and arms.  It's not like a couple extra inches of bar height would prevent you from tucking into the bike. Let's face it... most people, like myself, will be riding the bike on the street to some extent if not mostly. And, they will be in pain...

The bars are too far forward and low, which forces you to sit forward on the seat so you can reach them, and there's all sorts of things wrong with that.  First, there's a lot of weight on the arms and wrists, and considering that when you brake there's even more weight on the arms, it doesn't take long before you're hoping for a stoplight so you can get some relief.  Also, it's not like the wind is going to take some of the pressure off, because the fairing does a good job of keeping all the wind off your chest, so you loose that balancing force.

Secondly, sitting all the way forward you end up on the front part of the seat.  The seat isn't that comfortable as it is, and sitting on the front, read narrow, portion sure doesn't help.  I've tried sliding my self back, to get a little more acreage under me, but then the reach to the bars is ridiculous; talk about getting more weight on your arms. And even if you wanted to, you can't stay back on the seat because it slopes forward; every time you brake you slide forward, unless of course you go through extra effort to keep your self from doing that, which just puts more weight on the arms.  I'm just under 6' 4" so I've got arms, and a long torso, if I'm having problems reaching I can't imagine what it's like for someone that's in the five foot range. 

And then there's the family jewels.  I'm talking gahones (spelling?) here.  When you're slid all the way forward, smack up against the back of the tank, first good bump and you'll be singing soprano. I've taken to grabbing the tank with my legs to take some of the weight off the arms and to keep myself from sliding forward during braking.  That's probably not all bad because it transfers less weight to the front wheel, but I'd prefer that this be an optional technique, not a required one.

Well, bottom line on this subject is that if I keep the bike after this season, one of the first things I'm going to do next year is get some Helibars and probably a Corbin seat.  You know what Corbin says on their web site regarding their CBR1000RR seat... "...the rider's seating position has been neutralized to reduce the tendency to slide towards the tank under braking..."  Yup, I know what they're talking about..

Now, the engine.  I mentioned before that is has no flywheel.  My impression hasn't changed.  Unless you're gunning it, at least up around 7k, the second you pull in the clutch the revs drop like a rock.  You're forced to play this game where you give it a little throttle so that you don't undershoot the revs for the next gear. Normally I just like to time my shift with the dropping revs to get a smooth engagement.  So what you say?  Just keep the revs up.  Well, that would be nice but we're talking about a 1000cc machine.  You get the revs up in any gear and you're in all sorts of legal trouble.  Ok, well maybe this is the price you pay for decreased rotating parts inertia, and it will probably be great on the track, but geeeeeesss, I need to ride the thing on the street too.  Clicking through the gears is easy, but smooth shifts are a challenge.

The clutch.  I'm not quite sure about that yet.  It's nice and light, which is a welcome relief from the stiff clutch on the BMW.  But, I think there's a certain loss of feel that comes from the hydraulics.  At one point when I was pulling away from a light I let the revs come up a little high and although I felt I was letting out the clutch a little more to compensate, it didn't seem like it responded as it should have.  Jury's still out on that one, but no major complaints there.

The things that are still undiscovered are the true handling and power.  There is just no way you can evaluate that on the street, but the impressions are there, and they're definitely positive.  Changing directions and braking into an apex come really naturally and it just feels stable no matter what.  I'm definitely looking forward to the first track day.