On a sporty touring bike there are several demands. Mostly that it must transport driver, passenger and packing comfortable for long distances and at good speed.
The sport tourer must also have good highway qualities and cannot be lost when the road gets twisted.
1987 the Honda CBR1000F was shown before the world-press in Japan and it was clear that Honda has built a machine firstly for the quick highway rides in a time when the competitors followed the racing trend.
A machine just as made for sporttouring.
Honda CBR 1000F follows the same recipe as the little brother CBR 600F. That means that the bike is totally enclosed in plastics. Hondas enclosure is, according to the technicians, not only for the air resistance but also a compromise where good comfort for the rider and passenger is as important as a good Cw value.
The riding position is relatively upright and relaxed, at least if the rider is of normal length. Riders over 180 cm find the riding position a little more strenuous at long trips in highway speed.
At normal riding position the rider looks over the windshield. In high speeds he easily gets down behind the windshield that gives good sight. The fairing keeps the worst airflow from the hands, body and legs. Even the feet are well hidden behind the low part of the fairing. The seat is wide, but a little to hard.
In high speeds the Honda works without complains. In testing amazing 258 km/h in real speed was noticed. In fact it is hard to find roads i Europe where that speed can be used. An empty highway in Germany early in the morning maybee.
That the Honda can fight against the FZR 1000 and GSX R 1100 have not least Peter Lindéns fine rides in SuperbikeCup this year shown. But the Honda is too heavy and inert to be able to fight the sportier competitors.
But for it's task it works excellent. And the task is touring, sporty touring. Even with packing and passenger the Honda works excellent. The test riders praised the engine, a totally new water-cooled inline four with impressive 133 bhp in original performance. In Sweden it is sold with 100 bhp, limited on the intake side.
Honda has many years experience in building inline fours, but with the both CBR engines built their first water-cooled inline four.
The goal was to get a compact and lightweight machine. Therefore the cylinders are as close as they can be. The water-cooling keeps the critical temperatures under control. The generator and starter engine is of course placed behind the cylinders.
Big 24 mm intake valves and 21 mm exhaust valves are driven by double camshafts and by sleds. Just as on the VFR750 they are using a single sled at each valve.
Four Keihin 38mm carburetors are traditionally placed behind the cylinders, and gets air from a big 8 litre air filter can. The air intake to the air filter can is by an opening in each side in the fairing where a vacuum is told to get the cold air in.
The engine vibrations is reduced to a minimum by a little balaceshaft driven by the same gear that gets the power to the clutch and the 6 speed gearbox.
The chassie is built by two steel beams that gets straight from the handle-bar to the swing arm. Bent around the cylinder heads. The spring system is a progressive one damper system. The CBR 1000F has 17" wheels both in front and rear.
The speed of the machine sets high demands on the breaking ability, and Hondas double 270 mm discs is effectively stopped by double piston callipers-the front wheel can easily be locked up.
The result is a machine that you easily can use for serious touring missions. It doesn't matter if it is heavy daytrips or fast highways, or if the mountain roads is just around the corner. Because sporttouring is Honda CBR 1000F:s strong side. The best in that genre in 1987.
Are you tired of the north and needs a machine that fast as a lightning takes you down to the Riviera? Then you should take a look at the winner of the sporttouring class, Honda CBR 1000F. A high class Autobahn eater. It goes mile after mile of highway at a furious pace. You just crawl down behind the fairing and turn the throttle. The CBR 1000 takes you wherever you want. And fast.
It is between this kinds of machines the selection for the best sporttourer 1988 stands. Big, sporty touringbikes with the capacity for passenger and packing, but with higher demands on fast and comfortable transportation than on the traditional tourer.
At a first glance the CBR1000 looks like a grown CBR 600, which it almost is. The plastic enclosure is the same, Honda have tried to give the CBR 1000 a good aerodynamic combination with good driver environment. The low air resistance makes the bike terribly fast. We have measured almost 260 km/h, in real speed! The Europe´s highways is beginning to feel weak...
Under the shell the bigger of Hondas for CBR 1000 new constructed water-cooled four valve inline four is hiding. But unlike in the CBR 600 the cylinder row is tilted forward. The carburators is as usual behind the cylinders. A pair of air intakes in each side panel provides the carburators with cool intake air.
Especially the engine is one of the CBR 1000 best assets. It is incredible strong. Pulls like a horse from the bottom, up through the rpm´s and have extra power at the top rpm´s. The backside is that it is not entirely free from vibrations, and the fuel consumption is not so low.
The frame of steel profiles is steady and the steering is neutral. Qualities that is prioritised when the speed comes over 200 km/h. Then you want to trust your bike to give the riding 100% concentration, something that is difficult if you are wobbling in an unstable chassis.
When the roads are twisting we notice that the bike is long. The rear wheel feels far away and not in perfect harmony with the front wheel. We would like the bike to be more balanced.
But that the bike works even when the roads get twisting Peter Lindéns nice rides in Motul Superbike Cup shows, where he actually were fighting the heavy competition from Suzuki and Yamaha.
The stock tyres should however be replaced for harder riding since they get overheated under pressure. And it is the tyres that sets the limit for how fast the machine stops at optimal breaking. The CBR 1000 has breaking capacity enough. The front breaks have a wonderful grip and with better tyres the breaking distance should be as short as possible with a big heavy 1000 cc bike.
The suspension is not entirely satisfying, but on which bike is it? Here we notice that the rear shock has too much damping on the rebound which can result in that the suspension gets packed up when riding over a series of bumps.
But this is small notes in the big picture and for the second year in a row Honda CBR 1000 is the strongest card for spotrttouring.
The alternative with a touch of more traditional touring is Yamaha FJ 1200 which for the 1988 model was updated with bigger front wheel, better breaks, bigger fairing and some other things. The strong air-cooled inline four in the steady steel chassis takes the rider and passenger comfortably and quick to the target of the day. They enjoy the high fairing which protects from weather and winds.