The current state of the World Superbike Championship rules entirely encourage the adoption once again of “homologation specials” – production bikes whose sole purpose is to be used on the race track.
While none of the manufacturers have adopted a radical approach with their homologation special designs, this year’s INTERMOT show has already seen several such machines introduced, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR, the Suzuki GSX-R1000R, and the Honda CBR1000RR SP2.
For Honda, the differences between the SP and SP2 aren’t terribly radical, but they are more purposeful.
The 2017 Honda CBR1000RR SP2 does come with several visual cues that are different from the CBR1000RR SP model: carbon insert panels, gold striping on the tri-color paint scheme, and the more obvious Marchesini wheels.
The real differences though are under the hood, and in the two race kits that will be available from Honda.
The Honda CBR1000RR SP2 shares the same 76mm bore at the SP model, but CBR1000RR SP2 cylinder head runs intake valves that are 1mm larger (31.5mm), with the exhaust valves also being larger by 1.5mm (25.5mm) in diameter.
The valve angles have also been changed to 10°/12°, from 11°/11°. The valve pitches are identical, thus maintaining the cylinder head width.
Honda says that the pistons have also been changed, with the Honda CBR1000RR SP2 using an exclusive crown design, along with a heat treatment that strengthens the area around the piston boss. This too has been modified, with a piston pin that is 2.5mm shorter, which is thus 8 grams lighter.
The inline-four engine on the SP2 is ready for high-lift camshafts, says Honda, while the total height and thickness have been reduced to save weight.
While both the SP and SP2 run the same 13.0:1 compression ratio, the different valve setup makes the SP2’s combustion chamber more efficient. Throw into that mix longer spark plugs, along with a water jacket around the cylinders to improve cooling, and you have a machine that’s ready for some hot-rod tuning.
Though the electronics packages are the same for both the 2017 Honda CBR1000RR SP and 2017 Honda CBR1000RR SP2, the SP2 has exclusive settings. Modifications can be furthered with two kits: one for dedicated racers, and the other for track enthusiasts.
Expect to see the Honda CBR1000RR SP2 available mid-2017-ish, with a price tag under $25,000. Expect to see Nicky Hayden on one much sooner than that though.
Note: we kept the photos on this page at their original ridiculously large size, so you can open them up and see all the nuanced details on the SP2. Enjoy!