HONDA CBR1100XX SUPER BLACKBIRD (1997-2005) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Sensible and utterly insane in one nicely presented Honda package"

Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Side view

"Sensible and utterly insane in one nicely presented Honda package"

  • At a glance
  • 1137cc  -  164 bhp
  • 36 mpg  -  180 miles range
  • Insurance group: 16 of 17
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  • Medium seat height (810mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird is a useable, comfortable, tidy handling sports tourer but also a ballistic power-house that used to hold the record as the fastest production motorcycle. The Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird is sensible and utterly insane in one nicely presented Honda package. One of the best all-round motorcycles out there. Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird rivals are plentiful but none match this proven motorcycle.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

Neutral and stable – but there’s no getting away from the fact the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird weighs 223kg. The latest sports bikes come in under 170kg so on tight roads the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird may get left behind a little. Front and rear brakes are linked – it’s an effective system that works well in the wet but experts may dislike it and overhauls are costly.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird's in-line four is a conventional layout but it works well producing acceptable low down power, muscular midrange and a top end rush that gobbles up any straight in seconds. Twin balance shafts mean it’s so smooth it can be rigid mounted making the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird lighter and stiffer overall. Problems with the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird are almost non-existent even at huge mileages. 

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

The Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird's build quality is better than pretty much anything out there on two wheels. Some Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbirds get pressed into service as long distance, year round commuters and show few signs except tatty fork leg lowers. The Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird's reliability is superb too. Cam chain tensioners and regulator rectifiers can fail – like almost every Honda four.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbirds hold their value extremely well – whether that’s good or bad depends how old a model you’re thinking of buying. More glamorous rivals like the Suzuki Hayabusa and Kawasaki ZX-12R fetch little more – the Kawasaki ZZR1200 is cheaper year for year.
Older models can still be priced very high and newer ones represent better value.
Find a Honda Blackbird for sale.

Insurance group: 16 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird was a range topper in its day, meaning it’s reasonably well spec’d up. Comfort’s pretty good although the bars have to be quite low due to the high top speed. Some Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird owners boost low speed comfort with bar risers, lifting them about an inch. Many Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird owners add a double bubble screen too for increased wind protection.

Owners' Reviews

41 owners have reviewed their HONDA CBR1100XX SUPER BLACKBIRD (1997-2005) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.9 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.6 out of 5
Engine 5.0 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.9 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.7 out of 5
Equipment 4.2 out of 5
4 out of 5

2007 model.

06 September 2014 by Supertrev675

I was looking to buy a Triumph Sprint ST1050 or a Daytona 955i. My best mate was trying to part ex his SBB but the dealer offers were too low so I thought about it and he offered it me for £3,500. An Aug 07 year and 33,500 miles with a full... Read more documented (11 service book stamps with invoices) service history and in immaculate condition with heated grips, h/bar risers, scott-oiler and raised tinted screen, taxed until the end January 2015 plus recent tyres and battery and a new MOT and I am well chuffed believe me.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

buy one!

09 May 2014 by wigit1

I've owned my 55 plate blackbird for three years now and it has been awesome. It's so easy to ride. No need to worry about which gear you're in: it will pull from less than 30mph in sixth gear and first will get you to 70 if you have the courage to... Read more look at the speedo. Wind protection is reasonable with a double-bubble screen, although the handlebars were a little exposed, so get heated grips or expect cold fingers in the winter. Don't worry about being made to look a fool on corners: with practice and perhaps some training you'll be able to embarrass your gixxer pals. Two-up you have to be careful with the throttle, but it's comfortable and smooth. Brakes give lots of confidence and are strong and predictable. Reliability is top of the class: nothing at all went wrong with mine. The clutch is light and smooth, but be careful with it on up-shifts in low gears cos it's disturbingly easy to spin the back tyre :-) The gearbox is a gem: no missed changes, no gaps between gears, very little clunk from neutral. It's quite a long bike, but wheelies are there to be had: just use the throttle. Two-up the front wheel likes to glance at the clouds from time to time. Downsides are very few: anyone will tell you the headlights are pretty poor even by the standards of the day, and expect to shred the back of your hand while changing bulbs unless you want to dismantle the front end. That's it. I'm only changing my 'bird because they don't make them any more. Silly Honda! And don't try to tell me a VFR1200 does the job!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Deja Vu

30 December 2013 by hurdyfurdy

I bought a new Bird in 2001 (& took it to France Italy & Spain a few times) but sold it in 2007 to buy a naked bike as I kept wondering why everyone else was going so slowly then realising they weren't. It was too easy to cruise at licence losing... Read more speeds. Replaced it with a 955 speed triple then got a Varadero in 2012 to ride to Barcelona for the MOTO GP. I saw my old bike for sale 2 weeks ago, it had only done 10,000 miles in 6 years & was still immaculate so I bought it back. Nothing else in 35 years on bikes ever came close. I'll keep it now until I'm too old to ride bikes. Planning another Monaco run this summer.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

All Rounder

22 August 2013 by smc1002

The Blackbird is one of those hidden gems, after owning a 2004 model I can truthfully say this machine not on a wolf in sheeps clothing is a well rounded comfortable all day cruiser. Europe Beware!! One niggle is the lack of options to buy lowered... Read more footpegs for both rider and pillion, being 6,2" I find reaching the bars no problem but the footpegs are about 2-4cm to high in my opinion. with that minor complaint you cant buy better. Changed to a GSXR 1000 K6 however still missing the Bird!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Super Blackbird - Super Tourer

04 October 2012 by 2smoke

Take one Super Blackbird 223kg, add two panniers 20kg, one top box 5kg, one girlfriend 65kg and a rider 80kg, fill with fuel 20kg and what do you get??? 413kg of blistering performance that still goes round corners like it's on rails. I can't get... Read more over how well this bike carries weight, in some respects it's actually easier to tip into corners fully loaded because it requires less counter steering to get it over. Plus when the weight is off you can still scratch on the weekends. Honda certainly made this one properly!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great all rounder

11 July 2012 by steveGSX

my 97 model 'bird has 73000 miles on her now and still goes like stink, I've done a trackday on her and she held her own against sportsbikes, just done a 2 week tour to Western France, I've done 2 trips to the South of France on her and each trip is... Read more fully loaded with luggage and pillion sitting around the 85 mph area abroad returns 40mpg which gives me a 200+mile tank range, its very comfy for my pillion and supremly stable at speeds why Honda stopped making them for that ugly, slow, thirsty viffer12 is beyond me

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

what else is there?

12 July 2011 by huskystormk9

i have had 36 road bikes in 19 years of riding ....in this i have had an NSR250 gull arm ..my first proper bike....it stands out...i have had every incarnation of the fireblade except the current tiny model....i have had a Hayabusa and 3... Read more GSXR1000....loved them all K6 is a stand out one but the paint quality was pretty bad...have had 3 R1's...the o6 model was simply beautifull....but at 40 i have worked my way back onto my 2nd Blackbird....they are super smooth and comfortable...i do trackdays on mine and take my son on the back...i have 2 teeth up on the back so it goes like a bullet from the off...its raised 6mm at the rear has an upgraded rear shock and ohlins internals in the front .....ok i know purests maybe wont like this but its my bike and now it does everything fantastically...well maybe not the brakes but its heavy and well i am 6ft 4 and 19 stone so it aint mr hondas fault ....but what else is there?..nothing does the job of this bike as well.....yes there are bikes a lot faster but lets be honest we dont need to be doing more on the road than 176mph really lol....yes there are maybe more comfortable and better kitted....but mine in 2001 with 38000 miles and cost me £2350.....thats what i used to spend each year just to have a new model....so there i love mine and wish Honda hadnt ditched the inline 4 super tourer....i had a 2010 white and black vfr...great bike but its vibey it has very little guts and i had no feel of the front end....so give us a 2013 Blackbird please ....

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Best All rounder

02 July 2011 by AlexStratton164

Great bike, Very very responsive if your riding solo and you hit the power in a roundabout you will find it will be like tokyo drift and if your riding 2 up and you hit the power you do a wheelie, and for just to have a nice ride out they are... Read more brilliant always makes lookers. these bikes are a bike which will always demand respect, THERE MENTAL!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Pillion Friendly

01 March 2011 by DaveReynolds

I passed my direct access test in June 2009 and started riding a 98 CBR600F and loved it. As it turns out so did my wife, although she often said it would be great to get a bike (music to my ears) I didn't think she would be so keen on it. Did about... Read more 8,000 miles on the 600 and for about 90% of these miles she was on the back. After cutting my teeth on the 600 I really wanted a bigger bike but it had to be pillion friendly so my wife enjoyed it as much as I did. We both like sports bike styling and these 2 points put together really narrow the choice. I saw a Blackbird up close for the first time in late 2009 and if I am honest set my heart on one then. Actually got one on my 50th Birthday in May 2010 (best present to myself ever). Since then we have done about 6,000 miles on it. I am not exactly the most experienced rider and therefore don't have a lot to compare it with but I find this bike so smooth and comfortable yet also very exciting when you work the right hand a bit harder. We use it mainly for pleasure anything from local rides to a day trip to Belgium being the longest so far. As only a second bike for me I can't say a bad thing about it and could not think of a bike I would rather have even though mine is over 10 years old. For me it is really the perfect all rounder with excitement on tap and the lengendary Honda reliability.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

'99 Bird vs 2010 Blade

05 February 2011 by roostaSR71

I feel compelled to add to this list of fine reviews because I have to add that it is possible to pick up a £2500 Bird with low miles and it feel better than a £11000 2010 Blade. Now these are just my humble opinions so please no one get upset, and I... Read more do love fireblades, I had a 97 model. I booked a test drive on a 2010 Blade last August and rode the Bird to the dealers. It was a beautiful warm sunny day and I had the Blade for as long as I wanted. I did about 80 miles on fast A and B cornish roads (no speed cameras)I had a great time. Took the Blade back, got on the Bird to ride home on the same roads. The Bird felt better, faster, punchier, more stable and had more room, could still get my knee down and has better tank range. I couldn't contain my delight knowing I was riding the best bike in the world. Tip: The best mod for a Bird is to dump the original exhausts and fit a 4-1 titanium system, this loses 23 kilos overnight, this along with a 6mm riser on the rear shock utterly transforms the Bird and brings it bang up to date.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
Read all 41 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1997
Year discontinued 2005
Original price £8,650
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 16 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 164 bhp
Max torque 88 ft-lb
Top speed 176 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.3 secs
Average fuel consumption 36 mpg
Tank range 180 miles
Specification
Engine size 1137cc
Engine type 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium beam
Fuel capacity 23 litres
Seat height 810mm
Bike weight 223kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 310mm discs
Rear brake 256mm disc
Front tyre size 120/60 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1997: Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird launched.
1998: Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird gets modified cooling system.
1999: Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird gets major re-vamp, including fuel injection, bigger fuel tank, HISS and more.
2001: Catalytic converted added to Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird, new instrument panel, taller screen.

Other versions

1997-99 Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird had carbs, not fuel injection

Photo Gallery

  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird motorcycle review - Riding