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2009 Honda CBR600RR and CBR1000RR Preview


by Pascal Bastien ,

In the high-tech sportbike world, if a model does not improve from year-to-year, it is quickly left behind by the competition, technologically as well as physically. All manufacturers of sport bikes are thus forced to constantly update their machines, and both Honda models for 2009 are a happy result of this constant pressure, with the arrival of an all-electronic braking system, dubbed Combined-ABS (C-ABS). The optional system is the first implementation of true "Brake by wire" technology, after having seen electronically controlled steering dampers, traction control, throttle, intake and exhaust geometry, and more basic ABS on motorcycles from all major manufacturers over the past 10 years.

2009 Honda CBR1000RR Repsol

The new system from Honda is completely controlled by the on-board ECU, which translates the messages from the brake lever and pedal into signals to two electric motors, that in turn provide the actual hydraulic pressure to the front and rear calipers.

ABS and high performance riding have not worked well in previous iterations, as the older systems acted well before traction limits were attained, thereby reducing performance in braking or cornering. According to Honda, this C-ABS is a horse of another colour. The reaction time has been shortened and smoothed out, as C-ABS moves braking into another level of efficiency and intelligent reactions.

For example, braking effort to the front wheel is managed by the system to take into account the increased traction as weight is transferred there from the back - no more near lock up when panic braking on slippery surfaces - while rear braking is softened as it loses weight and traction. This is much like normal ABS, but it gets better: if the rear brake is applied, the system will activate the front brakes on its own as the rear approaches lock up.

As a security measure, the braking system goes back to normal when the ignition is turned off or when the system malfunctions. The C-ABS cannot be turned off by the rider, but both the 600RR and the 1000RR are still available for 2009 without the all-singing, all-dancing braking system, for high performance riders who fell they are above computer. or racers!

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