It’s the worst kept secret in the motorcycle industry right now, Honda is finally updating its superbike offering for the 2017 model year – replacing the now extremely long-in-the-tooth Honda CBR1000RR.
The interesting part of that news of course is whether that new superbike will go by the name CBR or RVF, as there is a bit of a debate regarding what kind of engine will power the Honda.
Despite whether it is an inline-four machine like the CBR1000RR, or a V4-powered beast like Honda’s MotoGP bike, the new superbike will have big shoes to fill.
Honda is the last Japanese brand to offer an update to its liter-bike platform, with Suzuki bringing a new GSX-R1000 later this year as a 2017 model, the Yamaha YZF-R1 now fully a year old, and even the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R saw a strong update for the 2016 season.
Traction control and a bevy of other electronic gizmos will be a given for the new Honda superbike, of course. Near 200hp will be a pre-requistite as well, and we can expect the Japanese OEM to bring some other goodies to market, as they tend to do.
The ultimate test of course will be on the race track, as the new model is surely a large components to Nicky Hayden signing a two-year contract with the factory-backed Honda race team in the World Superbike Championship.
In MotoGP, 2016 is already looking to be a tough season for HRC riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, with Honda seemingly falling for the same trap as they did in 2015, too powerful of an engine.
With the electronics in MotoGP to move to the unified software, the Repsol Honda team will have an even harder time taming its four-cylindered beast. This will leave WSBK to carry the Honda banner for global two-wheeled dominance.
Will that effort mean a two-pronged approach though? With a homologation-special street bike for the race team’s purposes, and a more cost-effective street bike for the general riding population? That will be an interesting thing to watch, though we would expect it to be the trend from manufacturers going forward.
The 2016 riding season has barely started for most of the United States, and here we are, already thinking of 2017.
Photo: Honda TT Legends