‘Hooligan’ for 48 Hours!

It is almost as if I was watching a movie. A spanking red Audi TT comes besides me and accelerates past me howling away to glory, while I am doing three digit speeds myself on an absolutely empty straight stretch of road in the middle of the night. But, then it all changes and how; as the revs climb on that beautifully blue backlit speedo, things around me start to get blurry. A lot blurry. As I pull the creamy 4-cylinder machine on the second gear, the gorgeous digital tacho climbs faster than I could say the words “OMG”, almost as if the tacho itself wanting to drink some blood. As I pass by what seemed like a red dot in the middle of the road, the speedo read 170km/hr. mark if my memory serves me right. Frankly speaking, I should’ve known clearly that there was no other way this would’ve ended. As I pull up ahead for the red light, the TT chap comes around as if nothing had happened, not even looking into my eyes. But, the beauty that I was on knew and was infact witness to what just happened and she burbled at idle as if she was smiling sheepishly knowing exactly what the red ‘dot’ was thinking!

No, I was not dreaming, I was infact riding one of the most sexiest naked bikes that the Japanese stable has ever produced and yes, it was the Honda CB1000R I was riding. I think it’d be wrong of me if I say that the bike that I had for a complete 48 hours is a quick machine; it is insanely fast. Yes, there are people who would say, naked bikes are for sissies and stuff like that, but these very people are the ones who have not really experienced the brutal acceleration of a 4-cylinder naked, less the CB1000R! You see, everybody here in India (atleast) are crazy about faired machines. But, quite frankly speaking each time I get to ride a fully-blown litre class superbike, I completely get humbled by the humoungous power that these machines have, so much so that I have, at times, even felt like I was some sort of a rebel. I have, not even for one second felt the real need for 180 horses under my arse, let alone a 0-200km/hr. time of an eye-blink. Don’t take my words in the wrong way, I absolutely LOVE Superbikes, the same way I love Supercars! I love ’em but I don’t really NEED them, if you can see the slight difference. The real closest thing to owning a Superbike for me personally would be a street naked like the Honda CB1000R minus that extreme seating position!

The major factor which draw me close to these litre nakeds as I ride them more is that how comfortable a bike like the CB is, apart from being completely thrashable and manageable as well. And yes, ofcourse, you still get the rowdy, death-inducing powerplant which pulls like there is no tomorrow right from the word ‘go’ and you also get a proper set of brakes and suspensions which won’t break your back when you go through the pot-holed roads in our country. This then, brings me to the machine in question – the Honda CB1000R. One look at the bike and you are floored. It doesn’t matter what angle you look at it from – the front looks sexy while the rear looks absolutely orgasmic. It is the perfect mix of Italian design and Japanese perfection. It combines a sportsbike’s engine with a very aggressive and sporty chassis, minimal but very nicely designed bodywork and ofcourse an upright seating position which makes sure you don’t need the help of a chiropractor after you are done with every ride. Come to think of it, the CB1000R runs right back at the Honda’s very own CB750 heritage, a bike which coined the word “Superbike” in the first place.

The heart of this awesome machine then, is the liquid cooled 998cc inline four cylinder engine derived straight off a 2007 Honda CBR1000RR, which Honda detuned it to a very respectable 125bhp, and gave it some phenomenal low-end and mid-range power. And all this low and mid-range power that I have just mentioned comes all the more useful while riding around town. The bike not only looks brute but goes like a monster too! Just open the throttle once and you would’ve forgotten every negative stuff that you must have thought about, after hearing that the 1000cc motor produces “just 125 ponies”. Yes, it is extremely fast! The Honda CB1000R is the kind of bike, which after a month of ownership will make sure that you forget that there is also a third color at a traffic signal! All you get to see are the colors red, which then turns amber (before turning green), and you throttle off as the front goes skywards. This is an extremely serious tool which goes like a bullet too. Be it the bottom-end, mid-range, or even the top-end, the CB1000R is one heck of a machine. You really get the sort of a feeling where you know the rear tyre is holding onto the tarmac so tight that there is no way something wrong is going to happen. This naked Honda is extremely confidence inspiring to put it mildly. There is no drama here, no fuss, just pure and simple speed.

Life is not only about straight line speed, and the Japs know it better than almost anyone else or so it seemed with the CB. The machine turns really quick and doesn’t throw tantrums at you even if you want to change directions in the middle of a corner (to correct yourself or to avoid an idiot who decided the middle of the road is the best place to drive!). Infact, I would go on to write that the CB turned a little too quickly for my personal taste, but eventually, I got used to it and even loved the feel that the CB gives while putting it through a corner. And ofcourse, wth that smooth powerplant, there is no cause for concern there; the fueling is almost perfect if you ask me. Another important point I would like to point out is the engine braking; I loved the way the Honda felt less strained and stressed than many of the other big bikes that I have ridden. The amount of engine braking was phenomenal, really. When you let go off the throttle, there is a very nice feeling that the crankshaft is only happy to take back some power that it has been giving out all along. If you ask me, personally, I like the way a engine brakes itself more than it being dependent on me to apply the brakes hard each and everytime I wanted to slow down.

The CB poses alongside another hooligan of a Superbike - the R1!

Some posing with the awesome CB! šŸ™‚

Colleagues posing with the CB!

Knowing what I require from a big machine, I completely felt at home on the CB. All I want is a fast bike that would be a hoot to ride, comfortable to handle and won’t require me to bend down like a dog when I ride it. The CB is one of the very few machines that I have really felt comfortable on; the machine delivers everything that I look for in a bike. To ride the CB1000R is almost a surreal experience in itself, be it the stop-go traffic or open roads, the CB delivers each time you ask it to.

Ā I wish these 48 hours that the machine was with me would never end, but since when did time listen to anyone, let alone me!! I had to return the bike to Honda and I almost had tears in my eyes, and I couldn’t sleep properly for a couple of days after this experience, neither could I concentrate on my work properly. Yes, the CB had left an undeliable mark in my heart. I am completely head-over-heels over the CB1000R, absolutely in love I think. Shhh…I hope my girl is not reading this, for she would feel jealous and perhaps would ask me to get married to the CB instead of her. Now, I wouldn’t want something like that to happen, or would I?


  • Parikshit Bhattacharyya  On January 30, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    So brilliantly narrated…so passionately emoted!!!

    You’re spot on Aryan with everything you’ve mentioned. Bikes like these are the ones which are guaranteed to give you long term joy, keeping in mind practicality, ease of use, and of course the adrenaline rush too:)

    And stupendous photos too! šŸ™‚


    • vulpineshooter  On January 30, 2012 at 11:15 PM

      Thanks Simba for reading and commenting. šŸ™‚ Bikes like the CB1000R is fast turning me into a naked bike freak! šŸ™‚


  • Arpit  On February 1, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Hey vulpineshooter!

    This article definitely left me wanting to own a CB1000R. I too, infact am a naked bike worshiper, and believe me I know what you went through when you were giving the bike back to Honda.

    Beautifully written, very involving. I love the way you write, beautiful as the pictures you shoot. šŸ™‚


  • Meganis  On February 3, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    Nice write-up and pics dude. I really like your style of writing, makes one want to read on and on. Thanks for the review! And a really awesome bike, would tick almost all the boxes for my bike. šŸ™‚


    • vulpineshooter  On February 4, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      Thanks, SKP for the lovely comment. Yes, the CB is an awesome bike, and is almost a perfect bike with regards to daily usage. A 0-100km/hr. timing of a shade over 3 seconds, and with a top whack of 230km/hr., I don’t think you would run out of performance any-time soon! šŸ™‚ Awesome bike. šŸ™‚


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