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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

2002 Honda CBR954RR Preview: A 929 With a Big-Bore Kit? Hardly

When the first reports appeared about Honda’s 2002 CBR954RR (known as the Fireblade in Europe), the focus was a one millimeter over-bore of last year’s 929cc engine. So, is this simply a 929 with a big-bore kit? Not at all.

Honda has taken an excellent machine, only two years old, and substantially refined and revised it. Numerous, significant changes are aimed at increased performance and decreased weight.

Beginning with the engine, the increase in bore by one millimeter is not the only story. While engine capacity was increased to 954cc with the over-bore, compression was also increased to 11.5-to-1. Friction and the weight of reciprocating engine parts were also substantially reduced.

Take a look at the “larger” piston for 2002 (it is the shorter one in the picture). Despite being one millimeter larger in bore size, each piston is six percent lighter, and is held by new piston pins (also lighter, of course).

New Piston on Left

New, single exhaust valve springs replace double springs, reducing valve train weight and allowing the engine to rev more quickly. Fuel is delivered through the intake valves by new fuel injector throttle bodies (increased in diameter by two millimeters, now 42 millimeters), and each new fuel injector has twelve laser-drilled jet holes for finer fuel atomization. According to Honda, this results in smoother, more responsive throttle performance and faster, more efficient combustion. This is coupled with new fuel injection mapping and a “sophisticated throttle sensor” that works in conjunction with the fuel injection system.

Honda didn’t stop with all of these engine changes. A new starter motor, new titanium muffler, and new wheels shave roughly 2-1/2 pounds in weight (the 929 already had very light wheels — each new wheel is roughly six ounces lighter). More than one-half a pound lighter is the new swingarm which, despite the weight loss, is stronger and stiffer. Even the spring on the rear shock lost seven ounces.

The awesome 929 brakes were improved for the 954. Brake fluid system pressure is increased ten percent, and high tech coatings on the brake pistons and rollback seals “enhance braking feel under repeated hard use”, according to Honda. Remember, the 929 (and now, the 954) has massive, 330 mm discs up front (the largest discs on a stock sportbike).

The new bodywork includes a new gas tank that allows the rider to get closer to the bars (by ten millimeters), new headlight (with three beams), and new LED taillight. The instrument panel is also new

So, the next time someone tells you that the CBR954RR is a “big-bore 929”, tell them you know better

The 2002 CBR954RR will be in dealers next February at a U.S. MSRP of $10,599.

New Swingarm on Left
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