Can we start a petition for the reintroduction of the Super Blackbird? It appears like a good idea to do so because it is such an awesome sportbike. It has been almost 10 years that the Super Blackbird last rolled out of a Honda factory (its production was stopped in 2007), but this motorcycle still lives in the hearts of everyone who has ridden it.
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Named after the Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” aircraft, the CBR 1100 XX Super Blackbird was the fastest motorcycle in the world when it was launched in 1997 and till 1998. Honda developed the Blackbird to dethrone Kawasaki’s ZZR 1100 which earlier held the unofficial record for the fastest motorcycle in production. And Honda named it so because the Lockheed SR-71 is the fastest manned aircraft… till date.
The Specialness and the Cult
Even today, the Blackbird is known for the excellent balance it strikes between sportiness and long distance comfort. The 1137cc engine is one of the smoothest inline 4 units ever produced and it is still hard to fault. Highly reliable and long-lasting, the CBR 1100 has acquired a cult following in various parts of the world and enjoys a legendary status that rivals and, at times, surpasses the likes of Hayabusa.
Producing around 164 BHP of maximum power and 124 NM of torque, the Blackbird could reach top speeds of up to 290 Km/h. Some unconfirmed tests have reported it to go past 300 km/h as well. Its status as the world’s fastest motorcycle was short-lived, though, as Suzuki came out with a considerably faster Hayabusa 1999 which eventually resulted in all sportbike manufacturers from Japan and Europe coming together to create the memorable Gentlemen’s Agreement.
Honda only upgraded the Blackbird marginally during its lifetime. Most notable of the updates is the fuel injection system that was incorporated in 1999. This resulted in smoother throttle response throughout the rev-range enhancing the riding experience even further.
We Sincerely thank Col. Satya Nidhi Tandon for taking out his time and letting us ride his motorcycle.
Discontinuation and disappointment
There has been a visible disappointment among Blackbird fans on the discontinuation of the Super Blackbird. Most or many of its owners have chosen not to part ways with it. Even though the current Hyper-tourers like the Hayabusa and the ZX-14R, which is possibly the best of the bunch right now, offer more performance and features, the Blackbird continues to enjoy the undying fan following. Among high-speed sport-tourers, it has one of the strongest sentimental values.
Honda could have done so much with the Blackbird and, we believe, it could have clearly been the most iconic in its class. Right now, it is arguable.
We would like to believe that Honda realizes what it had and could have been, only that it isn’t. Though they have the VFR1200, which is the closest to what comes to a hyperbike from the Honda stable, we really don’t think that is meant to be a replacement for this icon.
We only hope that the company has a plan in place to bring it back because that would be one of the most awesome events of the 21st century. Just thinking about it being announced gives us goose bumps! Honda, it is time to relive the classic design.
Last but not the least this bike was my first big bike: Perhaps, I might still find one on OLX and that would literally be like going back in time. What a trip that would be!