Super Blackbird

My CBR1100XX

The 1997 Super Blackbird

In 1997 I traded my Honda CBR 1000F in for the new Honda CBR 1100 XX Super Blackbird. This was a logical upgrade for me. I just liked the CBR1000F very much. It was a very good sportstourer and the Blackbird seems to have all too and a lot more. More power, better handling, less weight etc. On the very first kilometers I could feel that the Super Blackbird would not disappoint me.

My personal experience with the Blackbird in a few paragraphs.

  • the breaking-in period
  • everyday riding
  • online road tests
  • accessoiries
  • the '99 Blackbird

The breaking-in period.

After the breaking in period I have the following impression of the Honda. The riding position is a bit sportier comparing to the CBR 1000F. The handling of the Blackbird is very easy and light, it feels like a 750 with al lot of (horse) power. The brakes are good and I can say they are better than the ones on the CBR 1000F's I've owned. The way the Blackbird delivered the power on low revs reminds me on the GSX 1100F I have owned a few years ago: just brute force in every gear you are riding. The CBR 1000F was smoother and needed more revolutions. The Blackbird does have both: always enough and smooth power in every gear. The Bridgestone BT 57 tires are good. It is comfortable for daily commuting and long distances. Wind protection could be better, but is not a problem because I'm not so tall.

Everyday riding

Everyday riding

After riding the Blackbird for about 36000 km. in nearly 2 years it is not possible to be disappointed in the bike though it is not a perfect one. A point what is not as good as it should be is the gearbox. Switching gears is not smooth at all, especially the first three. Switching gears (first to second) at lower rev's without noise is most of the time a matter of luck. I have spoken to other Blackbird owners and they have the same experience with the gearbox. The average fuel consumption and wind protection could be better too. But over all it is a very good bike, suitable for daily commuting, touring in the weekends and long trips in the holidays. You may say that it is almost a perfect Grant Tourismo Machine. Very stable at high speeds (more then 200 kmh) and even slow corners e.g. narrow hairpins are not a problem.

The acceleration is really sensational. Always enough power, but when you're twisting the throttle at 4000 rpm in sixth gear the bike reacts a bit slow and when the needle past the7000 rpm mark you are going like a rocket. The OEM Bridgestone BT 57 tires are excellent on dry and wet roads. The DCBS brakes are good, braking very hard is not difficult. The performance of the brakes is even better then on the DCBS CBR 1000F's I have owned before. I have not been riding on a racetrack so I can not tell you about the behavior of the brakes under track conditions.

I've been to Norway in the summer of '97 with my brother on the buddy seat. Riding for 600 km on a day delivered no problems. Ergonomics for rider and passenger are very good. The Blackbird is a very comfortable all round sports tourer. Even loaded with two 46 liter Givi's, a seesack on top of the rack, a 40 liter tankbag, rider and passenger the handling is still very good.

During the last weeks of November '97 we had few days with very stormy weather. Even under those circumstances (strong side winds) the Blackbird is stable. The last week the temperature was about 6 degrees below zero. And though the bike sleeps outside (under a cover) it's start very well in the morning. In the last week of November '97 I stall the bike at night in the garage. I don't have a garage next door, it's about 2 km away from where I live. (5 minutes on the bicycle).

On 22 November '97 the Blackbird has been to the dealer for the the 18000 km service. At 6000 km, just a few days before my vacation, the tires where replaced by new ones, because I didn't knew how much I was going to ride during the vacation. Now the rear tire was replaced by the one that was changed at 6000 km. With this rear tire I can ride at least 2000 km. In the period from end November '97 till the first week of march '98.

I only ride my bird when the streets are free of salt. In march '98 I started to ride the Blackbird again for commuting, touring etc. under all kinds of weather conditions. From that day until November '98 the Blackbird works fine and except for the regular inspections the Bird did not need any extra service at the dealer. On the InterMot in Munich Honda introduced the '99 Blackbird with fuel-injection, a Ram-Air system and other improvements. On the Motorshow MotoRai In Amsterdam I saw the '99 Blackbird in new blue color. A week later I went to the dealer to make an appointment for the 36000 km service. We talked also about the '99 Blackbird and the result was that I traded my '97 Bird in for a blue '99. I received a fair price for my '97 so it was not hard to make a decision. Why a Blackbird again? Well the Blackbird has everything what I am looking for in a motorcycle. No problems. The improvements of the '99 Blackbird will make it for me a better bike than it already is. At the end of February I hope to ride my new '99 Blackbird.


The Blackbird is an all-round sports tourer. Equipped with well chosen accessories the Honda CBR 1100XX Super Blackbird transforms into a (very) fast Gran Tourismo machine. I have bought the following accessoiries: Red Alert alarm system (demanded by the insurence company) Givi WingRack II and two 46 l. Monokey Cases (type E460) Bagster tankbag 30-40 l. tankcover included rack and cases.

The Bagster tankbag and cover with build in rain cover is one of the best tankbags I have bought. The cover fits the tank excellent and protect it from scratches and little damages. The standard capacity of 30 liters can easily be expanded till 40 liter. On the website of Bagster you can find more information.

The Givi cases are big. Two full face helmets can easily be stored in one case. A Monokey case (type E460) can be used as side case and topcase as well. It is possible to make a second brake light in the case when it is used as a top case. Mounting the rack is easy en every part fits perfect.

You do not have to bore holes in the fairing. And the most important thing: they cases are absolutely waterproof. Even when you're riding all day in heavy rain showers. If you want more info about Givi and where you can find a local dealer, just visit the Givi Homepage.

With tankbag and cases the Blackbird is really a Gran Tourismo machine. If you have any questions don't hesitate and sent me an e-mail. Photo's: Arnold de Graaf

Modifications and accessoiries other Blackbird owners mounted to their Birds just go to the worldwide ownerlists.

narrow at the tail
Wingrack II

The 1999 Blackbird

In March 1999 I purchased my second Blackbird. I received a fair price for the '97 XX, which had 36000 km on the clock when I traded it in. The specifications of the new 1999 Blackbird promised a lot, so it was not a difficult decision to buy another Blackbird.

The fuel injection is really perfect. No dip in the midrange power. Even the brakes are better. Only the fuel consumption is not better compared to the '97 and '98 versions, although Honda claimed that they had improved the consumption. The gearbox has been slightly changed and now changing gears is less noisy and clunky.

Are all the improvements noticeable? Yes they are. At the moment the XX is not the fastest around, but does it matter? In my opinion: NO, it does not. The Honda is still looking good, rides very well, the quality is on a very high level. The engine is smooth, brakes are good and the comfort on long distances is good for two up with a lot of luggage. It is still a perfect and all round motorcycle.