62 high-res images of the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR

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Bad cell phone shots of the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR leaked last month. But, here’s the real deal; 62 high-res studio shots of the lightly updated model. “Lightly updated,” you ask? Same frame, same engine (it’s supposedly a bit smoother now) and similar styling from the new fairing. The big differences appear to be in the wheels, which are now a more rigid 12-spoke design, and the suspension, which adopts Showa Big Piston Forks at the front and an all-new rear setup Honda’s calling “Balance Free Rear Cushion.” Supposed to increase damping ability and improve traction, we’ll take a deeper look at that in a few minutes. The big news is more what the new CBR doesn’t have: it doesn’t have more power than its rivals, it doesn’t weigh less and it doesn’t use any electronic performance aids such as traction control.

Click here to see how the CBR stacks up to superbike rivals like the Ducati 1199.

Update: two videos added.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

That lack of TC is indicative of how hard this new Honda is going to find it to compete in the swollen liter bike market. The BMW S1000RR, Aprilia RSV4, MV Agusta F4, Kawasaki ZX-10R and Ducati 1199 all use it, effectively making it the liter bike equivalent of those “you have to be this tall to ride this ride” signs. All those bikes also make substantially more power than the 175bhp Honda. Most notably, the ZX-10R, which is priced at $1 cheaper than the new Honda, makes 197bhp and weighs 26lbs less than the ‘Blade.

In the absence of headline grabbing power, unprecedented light weight or even a similar TC system to its competitors, we struggle to see what unique selling point this new CBR hopes to capitalize on. It’s not as if Honda can still fall back on its traditional ease-of-use and perceived quality as it did in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, the S1000RR already has that accessibility and perception sewn up.

Availability: December 2011; MSRP: $13,800 (standard model), $14,800 (C-ABS model).

  • tomwito

    I wonder if we’ll get the white, red and blue? Or just the black one?

    • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

      Honda USA lists black, red, and the HRC color schemes on their website. So we may actually see that color in the states. Aaaand I’m done being a comment-whore.

      • tomwito

        I LOVE the HRC color scheme. Needs gold wheels though.

  • vic06

    Is it so difficult to remove the swingarm and tank stickers for the photoshoot?

    • Gene

      Holy crap. No kidding. I was like “what’s he complain… oh jeez!”

  • tomwito

    I guess they have an accessory store like Triumph does now?

  • Roman

    So they made it more attractive, smoothed out the engine and upgraded the suspension. Add the best looking paint job out of all the liter bikes (WRB) and probably the lowest price…I guess it makes me an apologist, but I really dig what Honda’s doing here.

    • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

      Looks like they are finally making the HRC color scheme available in the states. This is good news. As for the engine, IMO it didn’t need smoothing. It’s just marketing noise, like their ‘lightweight flywheel’ from 2011. At least the forks should be an improvement.

  • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

    It’s such a fantastic bike. In 2008. And even 2009. But 2012? I don’t see it. It’s good that they added the big forks (a couple years after Suzuki and Kawasaki) but no traction control and no power upgrade doesn’t seem competitive to me.

    I’m particularly disappointed in the absence of traction control. I think the power numbers for all modern sportbikes are just ego stroking – such a small percentage of people take advantage of it that it’s irrelevant except for bike night wank offs.

    However, traction control is something that may be useful to anyone that rides the bike at the track, gets caught out in inclement weather, or gets a bit throttle happy on the freeway on ramp during their commute. In other words, it’s a great aid for a majority of riders. (Full disclosure: I ride and love my 09 cbr1kRR.)

    • Dan

      It wasn’t quite so fantastic when I picked up an ’08 with the oil burning issue. I think they fixed it in ’09.

  • Derek

    I still think it’s a great looking bike, particularly in that HRC scheme. If it’s priced in a lower bracket than the competition (because on paper it’s not competitive) I could see this being a nice “budget” liter available at the showroom.

    • Jon B.

      That is a neat idea, much like Honda and Yamaha did with their outgoing 600s when their “game changers” debuted.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

    Meh. That’s all.

  • squirrelgonzo

    I’m surprised that Honda hasn’t incorporated traction control on their liter bikes yet.

    This bike looks cool!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld adeysworld

    Nothing to rave about on paper as usual with Honda. But I’m sure track lap times against the competition will raise a few eyebrows.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Lap times don’t sell liter bikes. Peak horsepower figures do.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld adeysworld

        Yeh yeh it’s a shame so many people are swayed by the paper-shootout. You and I know better…

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Speaking of which, we need to go riding. Got a new toy I want to show off.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld adeysworld

            Weekend after next for sure. I’ll have thurs and fri free then as well till end of year. So lets get back on track with projects.

            • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

              Cool. Weekday rides > weekends.

              • Skank NYCF

                You never wanted to come riding with us!!

                • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

                  Riding in NY sucks.

  • dux

    “Honda has no pulse”

  • David

    For a split second when the front page loaded I thought I saw the new CBR600F and hoped that it would be news that it was being brought in to North America. :-(

  • Duncan

    If I was Johhny Rea i’d be preparing myself for another depressing 2012 on the basis of this ‘update’

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld adeysworld

      That’s what I was thinking until he made provisional pole at Imola for this weekend’s SBK race. All because they incorporated a new ride-by-wire system. Not sure if the road bike uses it. Wes..this is where you chime in…

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        Nope, no ride by wire.

  • JMS

    Hopefully they took the R&D time/money that they didn’t put into this revision into a secret closet project for next year.

    We can all hope, right? RIGHT?!

    • robotribe

      Hey, the last time the words “secret closet project” were used at Honda, the world was soon after blessed with the DN-01.

      Be careful what you wish for.

  • robotribe

    So Ducati is going with the strategy of “lose on Sunday–sell what promises to be a competitive new street bike on Monday”. For Honda, it seems theirs is “win on Sunday–bore potential customers for a year more”.

    Interesting.

    • dux

      True, and quite strange. Throw millions at a race team and ignore your r&d department for your street models.

  • http://bloodfalcons.blogspot.com motoguru

    booooooooooooooooooooooooring.

  • RT Moto

    Those videos are as terrible as the updates on this bike. Other than the wheels it’s a big MEH. We’ll have to wait and see if they have something up their sleeves for next year. (Being an optimist)

  • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

    Cool pictures bro.

  • Archer

    This bike will sell to those of us who don’t like 7500 mile valve check intervals, blown engines, and “lifestyle” brands (yes I mean YOU, Ducati).

    You know, actual riders who don’t think twice about a 12,000 mile season with not much more than an oil change, fresh donuts and a bunch of chain lube. Honda riders.

    • Liquidogged

      Supposedly the reliability of Ducati has gone up quite a bit in recent years, but the basic premise holds true. There are folks out there who aren’t swayed by raw numbers but on a peace of mind factor. There is the perception that Hondas are the most practical way to go really fast, and it’s a very defensible argument.

  • Liquidogged

    Further thoughts:

    - The video is lame. The new tech bits all sound gimmicky. The spokesdroids seem listless and bored, like they’d rather be watching the Honda MotoGP team do fun stuff.
    - Is TC really the new “MUST HAVE” feature? I know people do research when they buy $14k bikes, but how much of a deal-breaker is it not to have TC?
    - The CBR1000RR in black really does look fantastic, so much better than an R1, probably better than the equivalent suzook and kawi as well.
    - This is Honda. One year where they don’t have the hottest literbike on the block is not that significant in the chess game they are playing.
    - And anyways, if that “win on sunday” crap actually works, Honda and their porky superbike will be laughing all the way to the bank.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      TC is a big deal. It’s helping people win races and making too-powerful liter bikes exploitable. It’s the new peak power figure.

      • Liquidogged

        Not disagreeing with that, but I am wondering how much that knowledge has trickled down to the general buying public. As in, how many people interested in a CBR1000RR are going to find out it doesn’t have TC and not buy it because of that, then go off and buy an RSV4? My theory is that for people who feel TC is important on their next bike, they’re not looking at the Honda anyways since it’s already not competitive with the other liters on other fronts – weight, power etc. Be interesting to see the next gen CBR1000RR though – I’m sure it will include some kind of TC.

  • wwalkersd

    Some points on S1000RR vs CBR1000RR that haven’t been mentioned:

    Points to BMW:
    1) You can likely test ride one before buying.
    2) You can buy from a salesman who knows the product and treats you like an adult, instead of one of the horde of no-nothing kids at the big box multibrand shop (yeah, I’m an old guy, who’s been ignored by a whole gaggle of young “salesmen” at the big box).

    Point to Honda:
    1) Reliability. Dunno if the S1000RR is immune, but I have a friend who got BMW to buy back both a K1300GT and an F800GS due to repeated, unsolvable issues.

    • Myles

      know-nothing?

      • wwalkersd

        Whatta ya got? No? Nothing? :)

        Misfire between brain and fingers.

  • Johndo

    Looks great in black.

  • Jay

    Come late July of 2012 Big Red will have polled dealer and warehouse inventories then decided to give dealers $2,500 and subsidized financing from Honda Credit.
    October 2012 will bring another $1,200 in dealer incentives coupled with $800 in Genuine Honda Accessories customer allowances on top of 4 % for 60 months [take that YamaKaSuki/HSBC/Sheffield Financial !] and … Honda will motor off with the liter bikes Sales Crown. And all the mags Print Mags will have raved about ergos, smoothnees and track-day Fluidity.
    Marque my woids, Ollie [pun on "Mark" is intentional].