Honda Blackbird CBR1100XX

The CBR1100XX Super Blackbird is still a good looking, very fast, very capable motorcycle and you can pick up a good used one for under R60,000. That's value for money.

The best part is you can drill any high-performance, ultra high priced cage at a fraction of the price.

I have ridden many a Blackbird (the bike, the bike) and as we get better acquainted I find the bike just gets better and better.
First thing to consider is the brief it was designed to. Discreet hyper sports tourer for the discerning motorcyclist... or there abouts in Japanese.

Basically you get the impression that the guy who designed the Super Blackbird, was given the job of bringing it on a little, a sort of grown up VFR. Here are the ingredients v powerful motor, trick braking system, roomy frame and discreet styling. In the Blackbird it's the combination they get to perfection.
In the flesh it is a very imposing and attractive bike. Everything about is designed for top-end speed so take a glace front on and it is very narrow and pointed, almost 250 size. The mirrors house the indicators the radiator is well wrapped and the front wheel quite shrouded. More on this later because it does make the engine run quite hot but donít worry it wont blow up. In short this is one bike that will not give away many kph to wind drag.
Fire her up and itís a subtle experience. Quiet throb from the 1100cc four and you are on the way. Itís a big bike so under 6 foot and you are probably on tiptoes. Underway it is very easy to ride and people who look at the power figures and say "eish, what a beast" would be wrong. It has buckets of power but delivered in a silky linear way with no big power bands cutting in and making it all hectic. The only difference is that the power does not stop and you will quickly find yourself braking the speed-limits if you you're not careful, actually you could break the urban speed limit in second gear quite easily.
Handling wise it is smooth as the long wheel base would suggest. I hear it mentioned that if you want attack mode you can jack up the rear with a 6 mill spacer.
The Bird has a linked braking system which means the front lever will apply half a back brake and half front brake. You will encounter riders who hate the lack of control and point out ďWell, if you're doing some serious scratching you don't want the back brakeĒ, which is true, but then that's not what the Blackbird is all about, there are better 'track bikes' around.
Build quality is excellent as you would expect, and nothing feels flimsy.
Buying wise I would suggest a post 2000 model which is fuel injected with Ram air. Fifty grand will to get you a nice one.

What more do you want, great weather, great bike and some of the best roads on earth?

Every time I look at this photo, I wish I was there, on a CBR1100




Engine Type 

Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 16-valve DOHC inline-4 


Engine Displacement 



Bore & Stroke 

79 x 58mm 


Compression Ratio 

11.0 : 1 



Electronic fuel injection 


Max. Power Output 

150 bhp at 9,500 rpm 


Max. Torque 

119Nm at 7,250 rpm 



Computer-controlled digital transistorised with electronic advance, integral immobiliser 










Final Drive 

'O'-Ring sealed chain 


Dimensions and Weight


Length x Width x Height 

2,160 x 720 x 1,200mm 





Seat Height 



Ground Clearance 



Fuel Capacity 

23 litres (including 4 litre warning light reserve) 


Dry Weight 



Wheels, Suspension and Brakes




Wheels Front 

17 x MT3.50 hollow-section triple-spoke cast aluminium 


Wheels Rear 

17 x MT5.50 hollow-section triple-spoke cast aluminium 


Tyres Front 

120/70 ZR17 (58W) 


Tyres Rear 

180/55 ZR17 (69W) 


Suspension Front 

43mm HMAS cartridge-type telescopic fork, 109mm axle travel 


Suspension Rear 

Pro-link with gas-charged HMAS damper, stepless adjustable rebound damping, 109mm axle trave l 


Brakes Front 

310 x 5mm dual hydraluic disc with Combined 3-piston callipers and sintered metal pads 


Brakes Rear 

256 x 5mm hydraulic disc with Combined 3-piston calliper and sintered metal pads 

The only thing better than a Blackbird is a white bird (I think). I clocked up over a thousand clicks on the bird, without so much as a whimper.

Honda's Blackbird is the best all round bike I've ridden. It will tour, scratch or do a track-day just as easily as it will take you to work and back everyday.


Bike supplied courtesy of Pro-Speed Motorcycles in Roodepoort. Tel: 011 760 2752