The Honda CBR 929RR Fireblade was a redesign of the 900 RR, a Honda fan fav. The idea was to reclaim the title Yamaha stole with their R1. With its suspension upgrades, frame modifications, and fuel injection, the 929RR Fireblade was a whole new animal. Nothing’s perfect, but what exactly are the most common problems with the Honda CBR 929RR Fireblade? Scroll down to find out!
For every two road-rippers praising Honda for their reliability, there’s a moto-maniac who can’t wait to talk about their Regulator/Rectifiers (R/R) and how they burn out early. Unfortunately, the curmudgeon isn’t wrong about that. The Regulator/Rectifier seems to be something that Honda didn’t upgrade to launch the 929RR Fireblade, and this was the most common complaint we encountered. Moto-maniacs debate the cause of Honda’s R/R’s early death, but there’s one theory I like enough to share. It pertains to Honda’s world-class engine. Every light casts a shadow, they say, and although Honda’s unique engineering births motors that run forever, they generate quite a bit of internal heat. Some mechanics I’ve talked to think that, until recently, Honda hadn’t developed an R/R that could withstand the heat. Again, this is a theory that’s gone primarily unaddressed by Honda, but they have updated the R/R design on more recent bikes.
What Is a Regulator/Rectifier?
Let’s take the philosophical route here and use the Regulator/Rectifier’s function to define it. Like most bikes, the 929RR Fireblade uses batteries that charge via electric systems, and that system almost always includes a Regulator/Rectifier (R/R). The R/R regulates and rectifies voltage by converting AC power into DC power and holding the DC power under 14.5 volts before routing it to charge the Battery.
Why Do R/Rs Fail Early on Honda Fireblades?
To be clear, like any moto-component, all Regulator/Rectifiers fail, eventually. The complaint is that a Fireblade’s R/R risks dying early. Cool story, but why? One of the primary causes of R/R failure is heat. Honda’s famously robust in-line 4-cylinder engine design employed by many bikes, including the 929RR Fireblade, is liquid-cooled for a reason. The engine gets hot. Until recently, Honda’s R/Rs couldn’t take the heat, and the proximity of the R/R to the Fireblade’s motor made it susceptible to early failure.
How to Know If My CBR 929RR Fireblade’s Regulator/Rectifier Is Failing?
There are two primary ways that the regulator rectifier can fail. 1. Diode burnout can cause the battery to drain. Signs of this include:
- Poor starts,
- Fluctuating meter readings,
- Dimming or flickering headlights.
2. Shunt regulator burnout means the R/R can’t govern the voltage levels. This causes the battery to overcharge and, in some cases, explode. I saw it happen on an old Harley once. A small explosion shot out the side of the bike right before my eyes. This one is harder to diagnose, but signs include:
- The voltmeter reads over 17 volts, indicating that the regulator rectifier is failing to convert excess power.
- Your Fireblade’s headlight brightens before blowing out.
Note: Examine the condition of the components in your bike’s electrical circuitry. This step is fundamental to concluding whether your CBR 929RR Fireblade is failing. Please also read our article about 3 common problems of the Honda CBR 250R.
How to Test Your 929RR’s Regulator/Rectifier for Failure
Follow these steps to test the integrity of your 929RR’s regulator/rectifier:
- To check the Rectifier, disconnect the wires in your 929RR and set the multimeter to the diode function.
- Inspect the positive diode by attaching the positive lead to the Fireblade’s positive diode.
- Connect your negative lead to the stator. Your meter shouldn’t be reading.
- Connect the positive diode to the stator’s negative lead.
- Connect the positive to all stator inputs. The meter should give you a reading, but the reading doesn’t matter yet.
- Connect the positive lead to the negative diode and connect the stator inputs and negative lead.
- The meter shouldn’t read at all when you connect the positive lead and stator inputs.
- To check the regulator, click the meter leads to your Fireblade’s battery while the bike is running. Your reading should be lower than 13.5 volts. If the reading is higher than 14.5, your CBR’s battery is overcharged, indicating a faulty R/R.
How Do You Fix a Failing Regulator/Rectifier on a Honda CBR 929RR Fireblade?
The only way to fix a failing R/R on any bike is to replace it with a new one. Aftermarket options handle heat better than the stock R/Rs Honda slaps on the Fireblade, though, so do a little research and make the best of a bad situation. The good news? Regulator/Rectifiers for your 929RR are relatively inexpensive, and it’s a quick and easy job for any Honda-literate mechanic.
Cam Chain Tensioner Wears Early and Rattles
Another common complaint Honda CBR 929RR owners express is the rapid wear-and-tear of the Cam Chain Tensioner.
What a Cam Chain Tensioner Does
Your Fireblade’s timing chain unites its engine crankshaft and its camshafts, so they rotate in a powerful unison with one another, balancing the timing between the pistons and valves, so the motor functions in harmony. If the cam chain tensioner goes, though, it won’t tighten the chain automatically like it’s supposed to. The loosened chain slaps around, giving it the potential to cause some damage to components in its proximity and causing an obnoxious rattle in the process. Make sure to also read our article about common problems of the Honda CBR 1100XX Blackbird.
Replacing the Cam Chain Tensioner on a Honda CBR 929RR Fireblade
Any Honda literate mechanic is familiar enough with this job to knock it out with relative ease. That doesn’t mean it’s a simple job for everyone, though. But if you’re a fan of trying new things, here’s a quick guide to replacing the part yourself:
- Take the fairings off.
- Remove the engine cover.
- Put a jack underneath your Fireblade and remove the motor mounts in the top part of the engine.
- Using the jack, lower the motor.
- Remove the top bolt. If you can’t get to it, remove the socket from the extension and use a flathead screwdriver to pry down onto the block below the right side motor mount to give you a little more area to work.
- Remove the one long bolt. You may want to ask a friend to help by holding a socket on the nut while you turn the other side of the bolt.
- Loosen the bolt. It won’t unscrew completely, so stick a tap into the hole and hammer the bolt out.
- Remove the tensioner.
- Install the new tensioner with the tensioner bolt out about 3/4’s of the way.
- Pull the nut and the rubber washer 3/4’s the way up the tensioner bolt.
- Tighten the tensioner to hand tight plus one turn on the bike and start it up. Note: Keep hold of the bolt before and while running the bike so the bolt doesn’t rattle out.
- If your CBR isn’t making its typical cam-chain-click sound, slowly pull out the tensioner until it clicks and clatters like normal.
- Now, turn the tensioner back until you don’t hear the sound, plus half a crank.
- Kill the engine.
- Push down the rubber washer and tighten the lock nut, minding the tight space.
- Start your 929RR back up and put your fingers on the tensioner but don’t turn it. Rev that Fireblade a few times and make sure the cam chain isn’t backing out.
- Jack the engine back up.
- Reinstall the engine mounts.
- Slap the fairings back on.
- And take her for a test ride!
Engine Heat Can Fry Stator
To be fair, this happens on all hikes, eventually. The complaints about the 929RR, and of other Hondas at the time, were that it happened too soon. One of the complaints we encountered about the 929RR Fireblade is that the Fireblade’s engine heat can cause premature death to the bike’s stator. A stator charges your CBR 929RR’s battery the way an alternator charges your car battery. If the stator doesn’t produce enough energy, the battery power will diminish.
How To Troubleshoot Your 929RR’s Stator
Here is how to troubleshoot your bike’s stator: Unplug the connector that runs to the motor from your Fireblade’s stator before you test for either resistance and voltage.
- Switch your multimeter to Ohms. Test the resistance of the tabs by checking A to B, B to C, and then A to C. The multimeter should register less than 1 Ohm across the board on these. If it passes 1.5, you’ve got a lousy stator on your hands.
- Clamp the black lead to the negative battery terminal, and the red lead to the positive. There should be no reading, as ideally, this is an open circuit. If it gives you a reading, your Fireblade has a bad stator.
- Set your multimeter to AC voltage. You’ll have to fire your CBR up and crank it to 2000 rpm for a voltage test. Test A to B, B to C, and then A to C. If the readings for each tab are comparable, you’re good, but if not, your Fireblade’s stator is faulty.
If your 929RR’s stator is faulty, you’ll have to replace it. There’s not much to do for a bad stator, but it’s a cheap and easy fix for any Honda literate mechanic. As with any faulty electrical component, it best to swap out your faulty stator ASAP. Also read our article about 4 common problems of the Honda Shadow 750.
What Are the Pros and Cons of a Honda CBR 929RR Fireblade?
Here are the merits and demerits of the CBR 929RR:
- The Fireblade is a simple little ripper that packs a punch on the track or road, equipping upside-down forks for a hoppy front end.
- Its disk brakes make for solid braking.
- It uses a Variable Intake/Exhaust Management System (HVIX) to sustain consistent airflow velocity to the FI system.
- The CBR 929RR marked the introduction of the Honda Titanium Exhaust Valve (HTEV).
- An exhaust valve acts as a 360-degree exhaust accumulator, increasing low- and mid-range power at the 7,500RPM range.
- Cam Chain Tensioner Wears Early and Rattles
- Engine Heat Can Fry Stator
- Unreliable Regulator/Rectifiers
What Do the Reviews Say?
The whole package is suspended by fully adjustable Showa units, both front, and rear. The rear mono-shock utilizes Honda’s Pro Link® linkage with a revised ratio. The shock body now features a piggy-back reservoir that weighs 12.5-ounces less than the previous remote-reservoir unit. Inverted telescopic front forks are a first for an open-class Honda street bike. The rear shock supplies 135mm of up and down wheel travel and mates with the 110mm of travel provided by the new forks. Inverted front forks — the first on a Honda open-class sportbike. The new 43mm Shows weight 2.6 pounds less than the 900RR’s. Even better, a 17-inch wheel is found in between. With so many performance-oriented changes, I don’t think Honda left the 929 looking plain-wrapped, either. The all-new bodywork features a three-headlight, side-by-side design, a narrow-profile fuel tank (still retaining a 4.8-gallon capacity), and a one-piece tail section wrapped around a removable rear subframe. Source: motorcycle.com
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