Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Honda CBR900RR

Fri, February 19th, 2010

1992-95 Honda CBR900RR
The CBR900RR (aka 'Fireblade,' a name officially used only outside the USA) was tractable, linear and strong. Though not quite on a par with liter-plus bikes in terms of max horsepower, the original had a ferocious delivery and an unmatched power-to-weight ratio.
It weighed little more than a CBR600, and was even stiffer, with better components. The only drawback was a 16-inch front wheel, which robbed stability in high-speed sweepers.
From its unique, drag-reducing perforations to the artfully sculpted tailpiece, the original 900 version clearly set itself apart from the usual blandness of cookie-cutter fully-faired race replicas. My personal favorite is the original '92 U.S. model (pictured), with round headlights and red-white-and-blue graphics that were dramatic without being gimmicky.
It was built to handle the stock power with the least weight, so it doesn't have the reserve strength to be excessively hot-rodded. But there are very few issues when kept stock and ridden sanely.
The thin seat and low bars are painfully uncomfortable on the street, and the power-to-weight ratio and compact wheelbase mean it can easily overwhelm anyone but an experienced racer.
The 900 was a game-changing bike with a great backstory. Unfortunately, it's conceptual and visual purity was watered down with each successive redesign.
I'm not a big fan of 'crotch rockets,' and I'll probably never spend my hard-earned money for one, but this one is pretty special.