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"

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

49 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.

Review your HONDA CBR1100XX SUPER BLACKBIRD (1997-2005)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.8 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 4.6 out of 5
Equipment 4.2 out of 5
4 out of 5

blackbird - 1st big bike, am i crazy?

30 December 2015 by paul purewal

This is an amazing bike, a pleasure on the motorways and A roads. It is my first big bike and had fun filtering and using as my day to day commute. It is a top quality bike built to last, 13 years old and not a spot of rust or mark on it. Cant say... Read more the same for some other brands after 1 -2 years on the road, It has been given a lot of tlc. My own criticism is that it weighs a ton when moving it around and less then frugal. But I am glad that I got it, but need something a little more frugal for my day to day. Starts on the button with Honda reliability and more power then I will ever need to ask. Just keep giving and bringing a smile to my face.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
spot on
Engine
5 out of 5
doesnt get much better
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
My mechanic is not cheap. But next service i might do myself and looking at 50 pounds all in.
Equipment
4 out of 5
gear indicator might be helpful and a bigger screen.
5 out of 5

21 December 2015 by birdlover

Due to it's power, reliability, and HUGE gas tank I can't find another bike to replace it. Sure there may be bikes that have a higher top end, but nobody leaves a bird in the dust off the line. And those faster bikes??? They can pass everything BUT a... Read more gas station. Thirty-nine mpg with a range of over 225 miles? Why Honda stopped developing this bike is a mystery.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Long rides up to 600 miles are great, after than you need some sleep
Engine
5 out of 5
In 5 years and 60,000 miles not one engine problem.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Solid as a rock.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Typical Honda... brakes, tires, battery, bulbs, one stator/rectifier. From 1999 to 2016? Not too bad.
Equipment
5 out of 5
BIG tank, quiet, great looking
4 out of 5

18 November 2015 by Dave Ross

Fantastic engine, good handling, handles two up and panniers top box with ease. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Don't notice pillion and luggage but need break after 150 mles
Engine
5 out of 5
Like the old saying 'Walk softly but carry a big stick'
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Just press the starter and go!
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
Basic compared to modern bikes, Givi rack and panniers, Michelin Pilot rd3 excellent
Buying experience

Dealer, £6.4k nearly 5 years ago used

5 out of 5

10 November 2015 by boomboom

Unbelievable bike, I'd recommend this bike to anyone who's serious about bikes or touring, pound for pound more smiles per miles than any other bike, awesome bike! Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
Never ending power, smooth, with low down grunt, power house of a engine,
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
exceptionally well built, what you'd expect from Honda, Quality built bike!
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
Service the bike myself...
Equipment
4 out of 5
Love the old style clocks,
Buying experience

Bought mine privately, was stood for 18 months, paid £400.00 including in the price was Givi luggage, "BARGAIN"

5 out of 5

Best Bike Ever Made

21 June 2015 by Paul CBR XX

On my 2nd bird, the 1st was an injection model, my latest is a carby. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Handles her weight extremely well, super planted through corners. Inspires confidence. It's really nonsense of MCN comparing the bird to a fireblade.
Engine
5 out of 5
Storming performance, dead easy to ride and a real pussycat, until you decide to pin the throttle. It then turns into an absolute beast. Be warned though, if you do decide to give it some stick just keep an eye on your speedo. Lovely, silky smooth power delivery. I've found that the carb version seems more raw power than the injection, which is exactly how I like it.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Apart from having to change the CCT, never had a problem. Build quality is second- to-none. My 1998 bike looks like it has just come out of the showroom.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Easy to service, ignore the Haynes manual and just remove the tank & airbox to get at the plugs, the Haynes tells you to remove the radiator and half the front end to get at them. Also, avoid using K&N air filters in the carb version, unless you plan to rejet the carbs. Seafoam fuel treatment is your friend, especially if you store the bike during winter.. Quite good on fuel, depending how you ride obviously.
Equipment
5 out of 5
My preferences are Doube bubble screen, Pilot Road 3 tyres, SBS sintered pads. Some fit bar risers and foot peg lowering kit. Best place for spares and modifications are: Jaws Blackbirds and David Silver Spares.
5 out of 5

The best all rounder i've ever owned!

20 June 2015 by Achmed The Dead Terrorist

After over 30yrs riding bikes, I can honestly say this is the best all rounder i've ever owned and does everything superbly! She's done 48k and doesn't miss a beat. She's an exact replica of the 25th Anniversary bike with the Penske shock,LSL... Read more goodies etc and handles brilliantly for such a heavy bike and the lovely howl from the full Akrapovic?? Oh yeah!! :) Honda...you need to bring out a new model for 2016 if you dare! ...'cause you'll have to go a long way to even equal this!!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Short or long distance, I'm never uncomfortable. If i wanted a bit more padding i could get a new seat, but the standard one is adequate. Bar risers are a must imho and the Penske shock is excellent. Fork oil changed last service and from slow pootling, to balls out lunacy, makes no difference; the 'Bird' takes it all in her stride with ease and never feels out of shape- if only the same could be said for the rider! Lol. Only gripe is that even after a caliper rebuild/fluid and braided hoses the brakes are a little spongy and take a bit to bring the speed down if i'm being 'a bit frisky'. That said, maybe a new master cylinder/discs could well improve things and they're not that bad.
Engine
5 out of 5
If like me you're lazy, just open up the throttle in top gear at low revs and you'll have a more than reasonable amount of grunt to overtake and make progress. However, give her the beans through the rev range and expect your neck muscles to get a good workout, along with whatever else you're hanging on with and if like me you've got an Akrapovic on there,you'll be doing it more often,simply for that beautiful soundtrack! :)
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
So far,apart from regular servicing, (about which,i'm a bit anal, Lol) no issues at all! Just the usual Honda 'grumble' from the clutch basket which makes no difference.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Honda parts are never cheap and if you wanna pay peanuts, you'll get monkeys! My mechanic is reasonable and always does an excellent, thorough job. It's a heavy bike and given my addiction to the exhaust note, fuel consumption is about as good as i can expect - 30-35ish
Equipment
4 out of 5
Had Pirelli Corsa tyres on when i bought it...great tyres, excellent feel and grip,but costly on such a heavy bike and not recommended unless you mind changing tyres regularly. Battlax 020's ok,but tend to square off towards the end. Not tried 023's, currently on Pirelli GT's. Quick to warm up, good grip wet/dry but more pressure sensitive than the others. Not as quick steering as the corsas, but so far so good. Happy with them.
Buying experience

Private...Good price considering all the extras she's got, being an exact replica of the Honda 50th anniversary V&M Bike, of which only 25 originals were made. Only thing she hasn't got is the 'tweaked/bored' V&M engine,but she still gets plenty of attention and of course i tell everyone it's not original. Ahum.... ;)

5 out of 5

Greatest bike ever.

27 May 2015 by Mark Van Crombrugge

With 3 cases it's as comfortable for touring as a BMW at low revs but so much power at high revs it will blow your mind. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
You can ride this bike forever.
Engine
5 out of 5
At high revs it becomes dangerous for a non-experienced rider because of the sheer power.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Standard maintenance and you can put it in your will for future generations.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
A GPS would be welcome.
Buying experience

Bought second hand with 9.000Km for half the price of a new one.

5 out of 5

26 May 2015 by Deek

Good bits: Smooth, fast, comfortable, ultra reliable,and never looks out of place amongst newer bikes despite her being 17 years old . Carry's luggage and a pillion with ease, is easy to service and despite it's weight and power she rides... Read more effortlessly in every gear. A pleasure to own and I cannot see myself owning any other bike. Bad bits: On my third Blackbird now and there are NO bad bits. I changed bikes in the hope of finding something better but nothing came close so always came back to the Blackbird.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The ride is smooth and effortless regardless of which gear you are in. It matters not which road you are on as she can perform and handle in all roads and in all conditions. No complaints from pillion with regards to ride or comfort but an upgraded gel seat are apparently a good investment for long distance touring - will eventually get one when funds permit.
Engine
5 out of 5
Performance is out of this world. Blistering in every gear but my favourite is 2nd to 3rd. Nothing on the road comes close to the acceleration of a BB. She will also sit effortlessly at a decent speed on the motorway and also in town in top gear. A truly wonderful piece of machinery.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Common (Honda in general) problems are regulator rectifier, battery and stator. I have had to replace all three parts at different times but all fixes are relatively cheap and can be fixed at home with little hassle. She is a solid bike that is built to last and will regular oil changes she will last for ever.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Basic servicing can all be done at home and all parts are cheap to source and buy. If going to a dealer for a service it will cost a lot more as you will have your standard labour rates plus parts.
Equipment
5 out of 5
She is a 17 year old bike so not many goodies on offer but what she does have is all working as it should. I have full hard luggage with mine and she still looks amazing when all kitted out. Does significantly add to the weight of the bike but the beauty of this bike is as soon as you move the weight disappears. I would also recommend a double bubble screen, rear hugger and a gel seat (nice but not essential).
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.

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!

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
-
Read all 49 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1997
Year discontinued 2005
Original price £8,650
Used price £1,100 to £6,500
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 16 of 17
Annual road tax £81
Annual service cost £190
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
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