Honda Blackbird CBR1100XX (aka Super Blackbird)

Honda Blackbird – Specifications and History: Finally after many years I’ve decided to add the specifications of the Honda  Blackbird CBR1100XX for comparative purposes with the 1st generation Suzuki Hayabusa. I didn’t put this up before because I didn’t think there was a need to. However as the years roll on there becomes less and less information available so I though better put it up before everyone forgets all together about this great motorcycle.

For those who came late: The Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird was the official title and it was named after the SR-71 Blackbird, which is still the fastest jet plane on the planet. It was not named after the feathered variety. The XX suffix was to signify that it was a really fast motorcycle. CBR is of course the generic Honda designation for its bikes. What CBR means? I don’t know.

The Honda Blackbird was released back in 1996 as the world’s fastest bike. It’s only competitor at the time was the Kawasaki ZZR1100 or ZX-11. The problem was that Honda claimed the prior CBR1000 was the baddest bike several years earlier which proved to be a bit of a let down. So Honda had to make good its threat to the Kawasaki. And it did, the Blackbird was in every way better than the ZX-11, except for I believe some character.

The overall design and shape was seemed a derivative of the ZZR but clearly an up to date version. A few touches such as integrated turn signals in the wing mirrors I believe as first? (Feel free to correct me) The quality of materials was great and a stacked head light unique at the time. Remember that all headlights till about the mid-nineties where still made of glass. Plastic and lens technology only reached mass production about this time !

Believe it or not the Blackbird came out with CDI controlled carburettors just like its only compeitior at the time the ZZR1100 Ninja other with known as the ZX1100! But remember it was 1996 and EFI motocycles where still very rare! The Blackbird gained EFI in 1999. The 2nd generation models were much better eliminating the flats spots.

Furthermore it had linked brakes DCBS a ‘first’ in the motorcycle technology. (1st Gen fitted to the CBR1000 way back in 1993) This caused such a fuss in the community (including myself) many claiming it was unsafe etc.. because the weight distribution during hard braking and the you don’t want the front to skid. The system is only now only seen in ‘touring bikes’ and the system its self has been modified further to a very mild version. This was probably part of the reason why the Blackbird sidelined as a fast touring bike rather than the sports bike. I remember my first CBR1000 ride and boy those brakes reminded me now of the abrupt servo action in brakes of cars today. Update 2012: I now also own a DN-01 with all the above features and while they do work great on the daily ride not on a track though.

From my point of view the Blackbird never had the aura as the original Kawasaki ZZR or ZX-11. After all I was going to get the last of the ZX-11s but that never happened. Also remember the ZX-11 lived on in the ZZR1200 until 2005.

Ignoring the big performance and publicity that it entailed, the Blackbird was indeed a typical Honda of the day. It had fuss free handling, carry pillions and rider in comfort and lots of luggage – so forth. In all honesty the Blackbird is a great pillion carrying bike. I’ve had may emails from ex-Blackbird owners claiming superior comfort! This all rounder nature made it a popular choice for many and another feather in Honda’s cap.

So cut to 1999 Suzuki decides its got something even better – the Hayabusa. It claims huge specs including a standard rear tyre that wasn’t generally available. It had outrageous looks design to surpass the 300kph barrier and to hit 321kph. It’s specs beat all comers hands down. Eg. EFI, USD forks, 190 spec rear, groovy instruments, power, torque.

However as history has shown the Hayabusa had it beat and thus the king of the heap since its release. The Hayabusa has been Guinness Book-ed compared countless times to others and was part of the reason why 300kph+ or 200mph+ motorcycles can no longer be purchased off the showroom.

The Honda Blackbird has quietly disappeared of the Honda’s model lists in May 2006 so one would expect an all new one to be ready pretty shortly. (The Blackbird was still available but only as an 06 spec model until late 2008) Or have they given up? – which I think is highly unlikely!  If you’re in Australia you can still get the last remaining Blackbirds. Interestingly Suzuki has an all new Hayabusa waiting in the wings! (Pun intended) 2007/2008 is going to be a fun year. Update 2012: Honda has not released a replacement to date which is a disappointing but understandable – not just because of the GFC but the lack of interest in the big bore end of the motorcycle market.

Despite all that, just remember the Blackbird is still one of the fastest motorcycles in the world and still is a joy to ride – more than enough power and speed for all but hard core to enjoy. It’s also a Honda so you can be assured that it’ll last the distance.

Specifications for the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird

Engine : 
Bore :
Stroke :
Displacement :
Compression ratio :
Air Cleaner :
Starter :
Lubrication :
Fuelling :
Overall length :
Overall Width :
Height :
Wheel base :
Ground clearance :
Seat height :
Dry weight :
GMV : 

In-line 4 cylinder 4 stroke DOHC
79.0 mm
58.0 mm
1137 cc
11.0 : 1

Wet sump
1997 CDI Carburettors / 1999 – Electronic Fuel Injection
2160 mm
720 mm
1170 mm
1490 mm
810 mm
223 kg

Gearbox :

6 speed constant mesh
Wet multi-plate hydraulic clutch
Secondary reduction ratio 2.352
Drive chain ???
Gear ratios :
          1 – ???
          2 – ???
          3 – ???
          4 – ???
          5 – ???
          6 – ???

Suspension  (front) :

Conventional telescopic,
43mm cartridge type,
coil sprung, oil damped,
120mm travel

Suspension  (rear) :

Link type, coil spring,
gas/oil damped monoshock,
stepless rebound damping,
adjustable spring pre-load

Caster :
Trail :
Steering angle :
Turning circle :


Suspension Settings :
(Front fork settings and Rear damper settings) 


Brakes / Tyres / Tyre Pressures:

With D-CBS (2nd and 3rd Generation)
Front – Twin Nissin 3 piston callipers
Back – Single 3 piston callipers.
What is DCBS mean ? (Dual – Combine Braking System)
Means that when the only front is activated  brakes are applied 1 piston on the rear is applied,  If only rears are applied then 1 piston on the front is activated.
Since everyone knows how critical baking and weight transfer effects the bike capability this actually reduces it.  In my opinion ABS would be a better solution.

Front 120/70 ZR17 Bridgestone BT 57
Rear 180/55 ZR17 Bridgestone BT 57

Fuel tank :

22 Litres includes 4 reserve
Engine oil – 4.6 litres
24 litres in 1999

Fuel consumption :

Est. 7lt per 100kms

Exhaust :

4 into 2 into 2 (standard)

Colours :




Ignition type :
Spark plug :
Battery :
Generator :
Headlight :
Headlight :
turn signal :
Brake light tail light :
License plate light :
Dash lighs all :
Battery Type :


1st Gear :
2nd Gear :
3rd Gear :
4th Gear :
5th Gear :
6th Gear :


Power :
Torque :

(Claimed) 164ps @ 10000 (same for Carb or EFI)
(Claimed) 12.7kg-m @ 7250

Notes :

2 main versions to date Original Carburettored update to EFI in 1999 along with ram air.
Claimed top speed 1999 update 290kph.
Ram-air – EFI – Gearbox update – 3rd Gen DCBS added in 1999.
Update instrument cluster 2001.
Screen larger – 2001.
Catalytic converters – 2001 in some parts of the world.
Center stand – stand equipment.