In 2003, Honda dropped the CBR 1000RR, a liquid-cooled, inline four-cylinder street-fighter of a superbike engineered by Honda’s MotoGP team.
With a Pro racing rear suspension, an extended swing arm, and a Dual Stage Fuel Injection System, the CBR 1000RR Fireblade is a road roaster.
It may bay be pro racer status, but you don’t have your own pit crew.
In this article, we’ll look at the most common problems CBR 1000RR owners have reported, and we’ll look at the steps they took to solve them.
Table of Contents
Engine Burns Oil on the 2008 Honda CBR1000RR (5 Examples)
The 2008 CBR 1000RR is notorious among CBR enthusiasts for burning oil. This problem only exists for the 2008 year model.
It didn’t affect most of the ’08’s, but it affected enough to be a viral conversation, though.
In an attempt to enlighten readers in the market for a 2008 CBR 1000RR, we’ve decided to share some real-life examples of Fireblade 1000RR owners who went through the experience of their four-cylinder monster burning up oil and overheating.
1. One Honda enthusiast I encountered purchased an ’08 CBR 1000RR in 2012. He only tagged about 2k miles on her before having to add four full liters of oil. The Fireblade rider claims that at 7,000 RPMs, it blows smoke out of the exhaust.
Unfortunately, Honda mechanics told this rider that they’d never heard of the issue, even though the online community makes it sound like a common complaint.
2. Another rider reported that they’ve owned 3 CBR 1000RRs and that only the ’08 has this problem. The rider says it burns about a quart of oil every thousand miles and that that number seems to be increasing.
He notes that his other CBR 1000RRs are reliable and have been issue-free for tens of thousands of miles. This rider is concerned about the extra strain on the engine due to this high oil consumption and worries about overheating.
3. Another 2008 Honda CBR 1000RR motorcycle owner stated that engine oil had to be added to the vehicle every 700-1000 miles. This rider reported that Honda told him that that rate of oil consumption was typical.
4. A rider I encountered in Texas reported soot and smoke coming out of the exhaust on a regular basis. Their oil light flicks on more often than not, and when it happens, they check their dipstick and find their oil level is over a quart lower than it should be.
The rider expressed the same frustration as the previous 1000cc Fireblade owner, reporting that they contacted a Honda dealership in the area. They told the Fireblade owner that a quart of oil per 1000 miles is standard.
Second-opinion-mechanics told this CBR cruiser that the amount of soot residue in the exhaust is indicative of a bike that’s burning an unhealthy amount of oil. They speculated the culprit to be either his valve seals or piston rings, but the rider didn’t want to foot the bill of tearing the thing apart for what they saw s a factory issue.
5. Finally, a fifth rider confirmed our suspicion. This mechanically inclined CBR 1000RR owner took his bike apart and claimed that the valve seals were the problem. However, I’ve yet to confirm this fact with information from Honda.
Fortunately, Honda corrected whatever the problem was in 2009, and burning oil is not a concern among riders of CBR 1000RRs of subsequent years.
Defective Con-Rods (Solved via Recall)
As recent as 2020, Honda issued a recall on the redesigned CBR 1000RR-R as a precautionary measure to secure a potential issue with the connecting rods in the bike’s inline-four motor.
The bike had been out of commission for over a decade. Honda fans were bummed by the news, as the 2020 re-release of the modern answer to the 1000cc Fireblade was one of the most anticipated bikes of the past two years.
That said, the recall only affected about 10% of the motorcycles in the European market, something like 300 bikes.
To reiterate, Honda only issued this recall as a precautionary measure. It’s not uncommon for brands to find more secure ways of engineering something on a fresh design a few months after a launch; for better or worse, it happens all the time.
But what was the specific issue that rained on the CBR1000RR-R’s launch parade?
The con-rods in its inline engine had a metallurgical defect.
Word on the street was that Honda wasn’t making the part in-house and that their Con-Rod supplier sent them a faulty batch. Honda was swift on the recall, though, bringing their defective models back home before 2020 Fireblade owners had reported any Con-Rod failure.
The company wasn’t about to let a parts supplier slur the name of one of the most juiced up and anticipated superbikes of 2020.
Honda did their best to dodge the blow to the reputation of the most technologically powerful Fireblade in the moto-history of one of the most celebrated Japanese brands.
I’m giving the brand my faith on this one. Honda had no reason to knowingly short-change a bike with one of the highest gradient performance packages to come from an inline four-cylinder motor, complete with pro-level suspension and race-grade brake and exhaust system.
Failing Coolant Hose Clamps (Solved via Recall)
In 2009, Honda recalled 12,894 1000cc Fireblade units for another issue isolated to the 2008 CBR 1000RR.
What was the problem?
Multiple riders had reported breakage on their coolant hose clamp located on the water pump cover.
What was happening was that friction and vibration generated by the high revving beast of a motor was wearing out the clamp, especially at high engine speeds.
Most riders found the issue before they got hurt, but this is a potential hazard. If the coolant hose clamp breaks, the hot coolant could spray out the side of the bike’s motor. The stuff gets hot and could scorch the riders’ legs.
Luckily, Honda took accountability and instructed their dealership mechanics to upgrade the 12,000 plus affected models with a new coolant hose clamp, free of charge.
It’s important to note that not all 2008’s have this issue, and while Honda mechanics fixed many during the recall, some ’08 CBR 1000RR owners may have missed the memo.
If you’re in the market for a used 2008 CBR 1000RR, inquire into its service history.
If the previous owner was unaware of the issue, check the clamp before riding. Then, run the VIN at your local Honda mechanic to see if it’s an affected model and whether or not it still needs to be upgraded.
Make sure to also read our article about how long Honda CBR 250Rs last.
Rear Cushion Connecting Plate Breakage
Honda issued a Recall on the 2021 CBR 1000RR-R Fireblade concerning the inadequate installation of the rear cushions connecting plates.
Each 2021 Fireblade has two of these plates on them, and on some models, the Honda factory may have installed one of the plates upside down. On other 2021 CBR1000RR-Rs, both plates could be upside down.
Upside down plates have the potential to snap without notice.
A sudden breakage causes an immediate dip in the seat’s height, startling the rider and risking a collision.
It comes down to an unaligned link rear suspension. If a bolt head is screwed down in reverse, the link could break, and the rear suspension could collapse.
Even a drunk Buddha wouldn’t be caught off guard slamming down on your chair at high speeds on a bike as power-packed as the CBR 1000RR-R.
The recall didn’t hit too hard; only about 89 bikes were involved, estimated to be less than one percent of the total of motorcycles launched in 2021.
Still, Honda did issue a halt on sales until they could inspect, and, if applicable, re-install the upside down connecting plates, complete with fresh seals.
The rear cushion connecting plate assembly now includes visual references for both factory and dealership installation.
Honda also created a checkmark system for the visual inspection of their 2021 superbikes.
Please also read our article about common problems with the Honda CBR 1100XX Blackbird.
Fuel System Recall
Here’s another Header for the used market. In 2007, Honda issued a recall on CBR 1000RRs of the same year regarding an incorrectly welded vent pipe in the bottom of the fuel tank.
The 1000cc Fireblade is a superbike intended to rev high and shred pavement; vibrations could cause the faulty weld to crack and leak fuel.
I don’t think I need to spell out the potential fire hazard involved with a fuel leak in the vicinity of ignition.
Dealers were instructed to inspect and replace the fuel tank of any of the affected ’07 Fireblades free of charge.
Still, you’ll want to peep into the service history of an ’07 before purchasing to see:
- Whether ot not it was affected by poor welding, or
- If a Honda mechanic has already upgraded its tank.
Hit the dealership with the VIN of your ’07 or the ’07 you intend to buy, and see if it’s still in need of a fresh tank. Make sure you get it on the house!
Also read our article about how long Honda CBR 929RRs last.
General Pros and Cons of the Honda CBR 1000RR Fireblade
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the Honda CBR 1000RR:
Since Honda dropped the CBR RR (Fireblade) Series, it’s been one of the most consistent Superbime lines on the market.
Historically, the CBR 1000RR is known as one of the more receptive superbikes on the market, welcoming riders with reliability, relative comfort, and a high-revving power in a package that’s down to earth and manageable.
The 1000RR packs a street-fighter punch but harmonizes its city-street efficiency well with its potential to terrorize the track.
The 2021 CBR 1000RR-R launches out of 175.3 horsepower at 11,900 RPM, crunching 78.3 lb-ft of torque at 11,100 RPM. These are big numbers, and unlike some of the track-oriented competition, Honda’s 1000cc superbike is actually at its best on the street.
- Engine Burns Oil on the 2008 Honda CBR1000RR
- Defective Con-Rods (2020 Models)
- Failing Coolant Hose Clamps (2009 Models)
- Rear Cushion Connecting Plate Breakage (2021 Models)
- Fuel System Recall (2007 Models)
What Do the Reviews Say?
The CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP was developed with one uncompromising goal — win at all costs. It follows in the footsteps of Honda’s other road-legal homologated racebikes like the legendary VFR750R RC30 and RVF750R RC45, machines bred specifically for the World Superbike Championship. And for sportbike enthusiasts, the new triple-R — known as the “pirate” bike in some circles because of all those Rs — is not only supreme wish fulfillment, it represents a fundamental shift in design philosophy, abandoning the longstanding road-bike first, track-bike second approach the CBR is known for.
The new ’Blade is sharper in every conceivable way, a point made crystal clear when you take to its saddle. Compared to the previous-gen CBR1000RR, the seat height has been raised, the rear sets are higher and further back for more ground clearance, and the clip-on handlebars are lower and wider, making it feel like a racebike right off the showroom floor. The reasonable seat-to-peg ratio of the past is, well, a thing of the past. Even the fuel tank is whittled down, allowing riders to tuck in behind the shallow bubble. I get the message: head down, elbows out, go!
What’s the Resale Value on a Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade?
|2018||1,600 (under warranty)||$14,000|
ⓘ The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.