Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

So you’re thinking about buying a Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird, huh? Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve spent years studying bikes, and I’m here to give you the lowdown on this mean machine.

In this article, we’ll delve deep into the world of the Blackbird. We’ll cover everything from its performance and specs to its pros and cons.

Performance and Specs

Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird is a beast when it comes to performance. It’s powered by an 1137cc, inline four-cylinder engine, pumping out a whopping 164 horsepower and 91 pounds of torque. Now that’s exciting!

This powerful performance is complemented by fuel injection which ensures smooth throttle response, offering adventure at every turn.

As for speed lovers, you’re in for a treat! The Blackbird has been clocked at a top speed of 178.5 mph. It simply flies on the road, true to its name.

Key Specs

  • Engine: 1137cc, inline four-cylinder
  • Power: 164 horsepower, 91-pound-feet of torque
  • Top Speed: 178.5 mph
  • Fuel injection: Yes

But this gem is not all about power and speed. It’s meticulously designed with optimal balance and ergonomics that make it a joy to ride even for longer journeys. The seat is comfortable and the suspension system, with its 43mm cartridge-type fork upfront and Pro-link mono-shock at the rear, eases the bumps on the road.

Equally significant are its Dual Combined Brakes. They provide impressive braking power, enhancing the bike’s safety.

Whilst powerful, the Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird respects the environment too. It’s equipped with a Three-way catalytic converter, reducing harmful emissions.

There’s more to discover. So stay tuned as we steer our way into the advantages and disadvantages of owning a Blackbird next.

Pros of the Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird

As we delve into the advantages of owning a Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird, it’s important to start with one of the most appealing attributes – its potent engine. The Blackbird’s powertrain delivers an impressive performance that is hard to match. I’ve always appreciated its smooth acceleration and exceptional throttle response. This makes it not only exciting to ride but also dependable for all types of roads.

The bike’s top speed adds to its allure. Few motorcycles can compete with the Blackbird’s top speed of 178.5 mph. This superior pace doesn’t come at the expense of control. The Blackbird ensures an agreeable balance between speed and stability making it a joy to ride at high speeds.

Another significant advantage is the bike’s comfort. The special attention Honda gave to the seat design and suspension system pays off for both short trips and longer journeys. The comfortable seating position and high-quality suspension system work together to provide a supremely comfortable ride that has been praised by many riders over the years.

The Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird also stands out in terms of safety. The unique Dual Combined Brakes offer an enhanced sense of security. By distributing braking force between the front and rear brakes, it provides effective and predictable stopping power.

Moreover, this bike shows Honda’s commitment to the environment. The Blackbird features a three-way catalytic converter which reduces harmful emissions. This makes it a great choice for eco-conscious riders.

In the next section will delve deeper into the bike’s specifics and discuss some of the challenges that come with owning a Blackbird.

Cons of the Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird

As much as we’ve discussed strengths of the Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird, we must take a balanced view and consider its potential downsides as well. This way, potential buyers get a comprehensive picture.

Weight and Size

For starters, the size of the bike could pose a hurdle to some. The Blackbird is a heavy machine, weighing in at about 223 kg. This makes it quite a challenge for smaller riders or those with less physical strength.

Fuel Economy

The bike’s impressive performance comes at the cost of fuel economy. With its 1,137cc engine, you might find that trips to the gas station are more frequent than you’d prefer.


Regular maintenance can prove costly due to the use of high-quality parts. Honda recommends changing the spark plugs every 16,000 miles, which runs at a considerable cost due to the bike’s four-cylinder engine.

Part Availability

Earlier models of the Blackbird were manufactured for over ten years. Finding parts for these older bikes may prove difficult, both in terms of time and cost.

These are all worth considering before making the plunge into Blackbird ownership. However, many find these cons to be minor compared to the overall riding experience and performance of the bike. This motorcycle has earned its spot in the motorbike hall of fame. We’ll move onto some practical advice in our next section, further guiding potential buyers.

Common Issues to Look Out For

Despite the Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird’s stellar performance and high-speed capabilities, no bike is without its fair share of issues. Let me share some of the common problems you might encounter while owning this beast.

First off, corroded relay problems. The Blackbird is known to have corroding starter relays. This can lead to difficulties in starting the engine, affecting the overall ride quality. Regular checks and maintenance can help you avoid this problem.

Secondly, the Regulator/Rectifier issue. The regulator/rectifier, a significant component for charging the battery, has a tendency to fail. As a result, the bike’s battery can get undercharged or overcharged, leading to potential battery failure.

Next, keep an eye out for wear and tear in tires. Since the Blackbird is a high-speed powerhouse, it has a strain on tires, causing quicker wear and tear. Regular inspection of your tires can help in detecting any potential tire damage and can save you from an unpleasant situation.

Lastly, we have fuel sensor failure. It’s a common issue in older Blackbird models. This sensor measures the amount of fuel left in the tank. Its failure can lead to inaccurate fuel readings, which might leave you stranded, so proactive checks are recommended.

For a smooth and worry-free riding experience, regular maintenance and checks can ensure that these issues don’t ruin your Blackbird experience. It’s important to keep these points in mind when considering a purchase, ensuring the Blackbird you buy is in its best form.

In the next section, we’ll delve into some practical tips for maintaining your Blackbird so you can continue to enjoy everything it has to offer.

Maintenance Tips for the Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird

Regular maintenance is the key to keep your Blackbird soaring. Since we’ve mentioned issues such as corroded relays to sensor failures earlier, it’s crucial to understand the significance of timely checks and service.

First and Foremost: Weekly Checks

Weekly checks are your first line of defense against potential issues. Your weekly routine should include:

  • Checking tire pressure: Always maintain the recommended pressure (36psi front and 42psi rear). Irregularities can cause the tires to wear faster.
  • Looking into the oil level: Make sure it’s always between the ‘Low’ and ‘Full’ markers on the dipstick.
  • Examining brake fluid levels: If it’s below the ‘Low’ point, you need to top it up.

Next – The Monthly Regime

These tasks should be performed every month:

  • Cleaning and lubricating the chain: This helps prevent rapid wear and tear.
  • Cleaning the air filter: A clean filter improves the fuel-air mixture, leading to better performance.
  • Checking coolant levels: Low coolant levels can lead to overheating, which could cause engine damage.

Finally – Yearly Endeavors

Each year, show your Blackbird some love by:

  • Changing the engine oil and filter.
  • Replacing coolant: Some bikers recommend doing this every two years. It’s best to do what suits your riding habits.

Follow the service schedule provided in your Blackbird manual and ensure it gets checked by a professional frequently. While it’s easy to forget or postpone regular checks, taking care of your bike will reward you with smooth rides and fewer issues in the long run.

Remember: prevention is always better than cure. Stay attentive to any abnormalities, such as loss of power, flickering lights, or abnormal sounds. It could mean there’s a problem with your Blackbird- timely detection is of essence!

With some dedication, patience and practical knowledge, maintain your Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird to its top-notch condition and enjoy the thrill it offers, mile after mile.


The Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird’s allure lies in its power, performance, and reliability. Yet, it’s not without potential pitfalls such as corroded relays and tire wear. Owning this beast requires vigilance, with regular checks on tire pressure, oil level, and brake fluid levels. Monthly tasks like chain cleaning and coolant level checks are equally crucial. And let’s not forget the yearly tasks of changing the engine oil and filter. Following the service schedule to the letter and staying alert to abnormalities is key to enjoying a seamless ride. So, if you’re eyeing the Blackbird, know that it’s a worthy investment. But remember, it demands your attention and care in return.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the advantages of the Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird?

A: The Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird offers a powerful engine, excellent handling, and a comfortable riding position. It is known for its smooth and stable ride, making it ideal for long-distance touring.

Q: What are the potential downsides of owning a Blackbird?

A: Some potential downsides include its weight, which can make maneuvering in tight spaces challenging, and its fuel consumption, which may be higher compared to other sport touring motorcycles. Additionally, the Blackbird may require more maintenance due to its advanced features.

Q: What are the common issues to look out for when owning a Blackbird?

A: Common issues include corroded relays, regulator/rectifier issues that can lead to charging problems, tire wear and tear, and fuel sensor failure. It is important to address these issues promptly to ensure a reliable and safe riding experience.

Q: What are some maintenance tips for the Blackbird?

A: Weekly checks should include tire pressure, oil level, and brake fluid levels. Monthly tasks involve cleaning and lubricating the chain and checking coolant levels. Yearly tasks consist of changing the engine oil and filter. It is crucial to follow the recommended service schedule and stay attentive to any abnormalities to maintain the bike’s performance and longevity.

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