This is the kind of thing that dreams are made of. I grew up as a car lover, obsessing over the latest and greatest in the automotive industry. My cousin, twenty years older and already a seasoned motorcyclist by the time I learned how to read, was addicted to bikes and everything about them. As I approached the legal age to operate motorized vehicles, I began to learn from my cousin and get more and more into bikes. I’m a huge motorsport buff and was always fascinated by the Repsol livery on certain Honda motorcycles.
The first bike that had me floored was an older CBR with Repsol livery – I remember watching it go by my house as I played outside. I never forgot those colours and what they stood for. You can imagine, then, how I felt when I learned I would be spending a week with the 2015 Honda CBR1000RR SP, complete with the legendary Repsol livery that sealed the deal for me to get my bike license many years ago. This CBR1000RR has the same colours and logos as the RC213-S that Marc Marquez used in the MotoGP championship in 2014.
Other than the unique decals and paint scheme, the Repsol Edition bears the same roots, qualities, and characteristics of the CBR1000RR, a superbike that fans regularly drool over. The design is the same, featuring the sexy lines, fairings, and bubble-shaped windscreen that the CBR is known for. The windshield actually helps considerably with wind resistance and allows for a superbly comfortable highway riding experience. The layered fairings make it look mean and ready to pounce, a track bike that can be ridden on the street without too much fuss.
Under the rider is the 999cc liquid-cooled inline 4-cylinder from the CBR1000RR. Honda’s stats say it’s good for 171 horsepower and just over 78 lb-ft of torque. What’s truly impressive here is the 0-100 time of 2.6 seconds, a number that track day junkies will surely make the most of. Throttle response is ridiculously sharp, and the Repsol just wants to run. If anything, the throttle is a bit too twitchy in first and second gears, meaning smooth starts take a little bit of getting used to and the novice rider should stay far away until gaining some experience. The clutch is lighter than that of the GSX-R1000 and the six-speed close-ratio transmission shifts smoothly and effortlessly.
The chassis on the CBR1000RR is specially made, unique in the sense that it must be robust enough to endure hours of track life as well as being reliable for those who want to ride it daily. There’s a new Big Piston Fork front suspension to ensure there’s tons of feedback in the front, as well as a TTX36 rear shock. Ride quality is sharp and firm, not letting you forget for one minute that you’re riding one of the most powerful superbikes in the world. Those zipping around the city daily might want to choose something a little bit softer, but I’m more than willing to endure a little bit of harshness in exchange for the incredible riding experience this bike provides.
The instrument cluster is easy to read and features all pertinent information from operating temperature to trip computer as well as a tachometer and digital speedo. What I would have liked to see is a proper fuel gauge rather than just the reserve warning light, as it would help in estimating distance to empty. Running on exclusively premium-grade fuel, we averaged 6.9L/100km over two combined cycles on the CBR100RR, not too far off from other litre-bikes we have evaluated in the past
Honda has implemented a special subframe that’s been lightened as well as engine bits that have been optimized for weight reduction as well as balance. The CBR1000RR SP weighs just below 441 pounds wet with a full tank of fuel, and its relatively light weight is evident when pushing it through those twisties. Of course, pushing it is a relative term, because 90% of riders won’t even take this bike halfway to its full potential. It’s just so responsive though, making decisions before I can even make up my mind. The handling is incredible, and it feels genuinely uncompromised, something that really shouldn’t be taken for granted in the age of technology and electronic nannies.
What’s not to like about the Honda CBR1000RR SP? Well, it’s almost as if each of this motorcycle’s flaws are relative, and that some may not even find a reason to complain. It lacks ABS, which is fine because it’s made for the track and being lightweight is more important than the balance sacrifice of an additional electronic module. There’s a cowl on the rear instead of a passenger seat, which wouldn’t be a big deal to someone such as myself who never carries passengers while on two wheels. Lastly, the riding position is typical to that of all supersports – crouched over the gas tank. I’m completely fine with this at the age of 26, when I don’t have back problems and actually enjoy sport bikes.
At 6’1, I’m able to flat foot the CBR1000RR SP perfectly, with its reasonable seat height of 32.2 inches. This is a bike that fits me well, though I’d have the 600RR and GSX-R600’s smaller size purely out of preference. Even still, living with the 2015 Honda CBR1000RR SP Repsol Edition is a dream come true. The sheer amount of attention it gets is unmatched by any other motorcycle our team has ever reviewed – it’s impossible to ride down the highway or a street in downtown Toronto without having both kids and adults photographing you with their phones. This is a bike that’s a celebrity on its own, and the $19,999 price tag is easy to swallow for the rewarding experience it delivers.
2015 Honda CBR1000RR SP Gallery