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Find my brake – Honda CBR900RR

August 1, 2022 Tips & how-to guides
Honda CBR 1

We look at the evolution of the Honda CBR900RR model range from 1992 to 2003 and what braking system parts Bendix supplies for these motorcycles.

The Honda CB900RR has gone down in the history books as the motorcycle that changed the direction of sports motorcycle design. Also known as the FireBlade, the CBR900RR set a new standard for the superbike segment of the market, not by being more powerful but by being lighter. Its rivals, when it was launched in 1993, were all well over 200kg, whereas the CBR900RR weighed in at just 185kg - a stunning 41kg lighter than the nearest competitor.

As was the case around the world, the CBR900RR was also an immediate hit with Australians who appreciated the ‘Blade’s agility on the road, backed by its superb build quality. And as the CB900RR’s displacement grew to 929 cc and then to 954 cc so too did its following down under.

One venue where the CBR had a rough time finding a home was in top-level racing. Superbike rules limited displacement to 750cc for four-cylinders, thus the 900, developed as a street bike first and foremost, was not the ideal superbike platform. Still, the CBR900RR left its mark in AMA competition with three GTO Endurance championships and Formula Xtreme championships from ‘97 to ‘99. It was only when the rules changed to allow 1,000 cc four-cylinder machines to compete that the CBR900RR’s successor – the CBR1000RR – in the hands of Australian rider Chris Vermeulen got to showcase the ‘bike on race tracks around the world.

Honda CBR900RR 1992 to 2003

Honda CBR 18

The Honda CBR900RR was introduced in 1992 with an 893 cc inline four-cylinder engine. Based on a research model known internally as the CBR750RR, the first generation 900RR Fireblade managed to put out 91 kW while weighing only 1.8 kg more than its smaller sibling, the CBR600F2. In its quest to save weight Honda even reverted to an ‘old-school’ 16-inch front wheel and conventional front fork design, whilst wrapping the liquid-cooled four-cylinder in a lightweight twin-spar aluminum frame.

Even though the 900 was not stunningly powerful when measured against its rivals of the day, it did produce usable power that made it a favorite for real-world riding. Because it was originally intended to be a 750 and then enlarged to 893cc by lengthening the stroke, the motor produced strong midrange power, that, when combined with the bike’s feathery weight, left most of the heavyweight competition reeling. In terms of real-world acceleration at real-world speeds, the hard-charging CBR900RR had few equals.

Whilst most of the changes brought about in an early update in 1994 were minor and beneath the skin, the Fireblade’s appearance took on a more aggressive stance, even exchanging the original ‘bug-eye’ headlights for a set of ‘tiger eyes’.

In 1996, Honda upped the engine’s displacement to 918 cc by increasing the bore by 1 mm, which also bumped the power to 97 kW. To optimize the chassis rigidity the CBR’s frame was put together with larger, thinner-walled extrusions as was the swingarm that also had its pivot raised by 5 mm. Other revisions included a smaller alternator, the addition of a throttle position sensor, extra clutch plates, and a larger exhaust.

By the turn of the century the Fireblade, although still towards the front end of the segment, had the rest of the superbike pack snapping at its heels, so for 2000 Honda revamped the CBR900RR extensively. It received a completely new 929 cc engine, that was more oversquare with lighter internals. The engine also featured PGM-FI fuel injection and larger valves set at a narrower angle, with exhaust gases exiting via a new all-titanium exhaust system equipped with HTEV. The swingarm mounting was also attached to the engine, supported by bracing under the engine. Larger 330 mm front disk rotors were also fitted and the wheel diameter was increased from 16 inches to 17 inches. And finally, Honda blessed the ‘Blade with an upside-down front fork. And to show the world the new CBR900RR meant business Honda shaved more than 6 kg off the weight.

Taking heed of the old American saying, “You can never have too many cubes,” Honda again punched out the bore in 2002 – this time by another 1 mm, to 75 mm. This bumped the displacement up to 954 cc, and together with higher compression, hotter camshafts, and larger throttle bodies, increased horsepower to just over 101 kW.

In this final iteration of Honda’s CBR900RR, the frame and swingarm were beefed up in some areas but weakened in others to create what many riders believed was one of the sharpest, most maneuverable rocketships to ever hit the road.

Even though the Honda CBR900RR weighs less than 200kg the high speeds the ‘bike is capable of, calls for brake pads that will not only bring the Fireblade to stop when required but do it over and over, without fade. For this reason, Bendix has developed the Bendix Moto line of brake pads that covers a wide range of bikes and riding applications.

Bendix Brake Pads For The Honda CBR900RR

Honda CBR 11

As Australia’s largest automotive friction material manufacturer, Bendix have been at the leading edge of braking technology for close to 70 years and have now taken that expertise to the world of motorcycles.

Bendix Moto currently offers two brake pad types – Ultimate+ and Street Road Track. Each pad type covers the needs of a range of motorcycles and how they’re used, whether it be putting around on the daily commute, to full-blown track use. Bendix Moto’s extensive catalogue also covers an enormous range of different motorcycle types including high-performance superbikes such as the Honda CBR900RR.

For daily riding Bendix’s Moto Ultimate+ Brake Pads that have been developed for bikes that see a lot of hard work or time on the road day-to-day, are ideal. They offer exceptional stopping power, low dust, and low noise, whilst offering high resistance to brake fade at higher temperatures thanks to a high friction ceramic formulation.

Whilst Bendix Moto Ultimate+ Brake Pads are built to handle the stresses of stop-start traffic they also offer high braking performance for when the weekend comes and it’s time to hit the open road. And if you’re itching to get the Fireblade out on the track Bendix have developed the Bendix Moto Street Road Track Brake Pads.

Bendix Moto Street Road Track Brake Pads take things to the next level, offering the kind of braking performance required for high-speed riding applications, such as encountered on track days. Designed to give the rider confidence under hard braking, Bendix Moto Street Road Track Brake Pads deliver consistent braking performance, with low fade, low wear, and high friction under a wide range of demanding conditions.

So whether your Honda CBR900RR is only used for high-speed riding over the weekend or on track days, or used for fun every day of the week, Bendix Moto Ultimate+ and Street Road Track Brake Pads make sure you’re in control, no matter what the conditions.

Never get caught out by brakes that aren’t quite up to the job. Fitting a set of Bendix Moto Ultimate+ or Street Road Track Brake Pads to your Honda CBR900RR means you can brake with confidence - anywhere, anytime, in all conditions.