Tonight and last weekend as well I had the opportunity to test the
performance potential of my bone-stock 1998 CBR1100XX with 16,000+ miles. If
you are interested, read on.
(Before you read this, please note I was completely geared up with
dead cow skin money can buy, as well as carbon-fiber, Kevlar, steel, and cLc
fiberglass. I am fully aware of the dangers involved in extreme speed.
Texas Motor Speedway has a billiard-smooth 6-lane access
road that circles then entire complex. One long straight is used by me and
other like-minded individuals for drag racing, speed runs, and impromptu
The straight is long enough to get the XX into 6th gear and very
redline and before hard braking is necessary to take the turn at the end,
which can be safely negotiated at 100 miles an hour or more.
I started around the turn at the beginning of the straight, short
into second, and leaning hard enough to drag my toe slider. As I exited the
turn and stood it up at full throttle, I would toe in third at redline, which
is 115 or so (I wasn't looking, but I think that's about right). The bars
gave a good waggle into 3rd, and the rear tire was working hard. Fourth came
along right around a small hump in the road, and the front picked up a few
inches. The speedo wasn't climbing as fast now, but 5th gear registered 175
or so around redline. After the XX was into sixth, the speedo would creep
Several runs were required in the interest of science. Improving
out of the turn was helpful, but aerodynamics really came into play. My best
run was achieved by scooting my arse back almost on the passenger seat, and
I tucked my elbows in front of my knees (I'm a lanky 6'4"). I put my chin
against the tank so only the very top of my Arai poked out above the
Most runs were in the 180-190 mph indicated range, with a best run
195-200 on the speedo. On the fastest run I arched my back a little into the
windstream to smooth out the flow. I could feel my back protector being
lifted by the flow.
At the end of the straight, I was braking extremely hard on the fast
hard enough that I was told sparks were flying off the front and rear pads
and the rotors were visibly glowing (it was after midnight). The front tire
chattered and the back waggled before I would enter the turn at the end
comfortably around 90-100 with room and traction to spare. In any case, if I
dumped it there was a nice soft overgrown field to explore with no barriers
or curbs guarding it. My Honda OEM F/R brake pads and my BT57G tires are
(were) recently new.
Now, for some observations.
This was the fastest I've ever had the XX, or any other bike.
I know the
magazines only brushed 180 mph if they were lucky, so I assume my runs were
in the 175+ range. I am sure I didn't hit 180. This means the speedo was
optimistic by at least 20 mph on top. The bike was very stable at extreme
speed. The front felt a wee bit light, though not disconcerting. The bike
never got above halfway on the temperature gauge. The brake lever got
somewhat mushy after 10 runs and hard stops, though the brakes didn't fade
enough to worry me. The rotors did not warp, though they are a nice
blue-brown color now. The front brake lever does in fact come back towards
the bar at speed, so I held it away with my pinkie and ring finger- it felt
like about 3/4 inch of wind-induced travel. The LBS works. I was shifting
without the clutch through all gears at (or occasionally above) redline.
The XX is an awesome machine. I know the GSX1300R Eyeabuser
is faster, but I
love my XX. I have an unlimited mileage warranty until 2002 (by which time I
should have well over 100,000 miles), so if anything goes bang I'm covered.
One minute I was going almost 3 miles a minute, the next I was idling quietly
enough to hold a conversation.
Now for the preemptive disclaimer. None of this occurred on
This all occurred on private property. I know the owners probably don't
condone such antics, but they are into motorsports, so maybe they would
understand if they had knowledge. I took as many precautions as possible. I
scoped out the straight as well as the turns for any hazards. There are
lights along the entire run, and I had the XX's highbeam on. Bystanders were
aware of what I was doing, so I had no worries of anyone pulling out in front
of me. My bike is in top-notch condition, with recently new tires and brake
pads. I was absolutely sober. I made numerous runs to work out acceleration
and braking markers.
If you own the (second) fastest bike in the world, you just gotta use it.