2002 Honda CBR 954 RR Fireblade - Ride Review - Page 2
In what would be a welcome improvement for the purchaser who aims to own the bike for the really long-term is the fact that the bigger pistons slide up and down in new cylinder sleeves pressure formed from sintered aluminium powder. The bonus comes down the track, in later years, these new sleeves can be re-bored, to a maximum of 0.25mm oversize, this is becoming increasingly rare these days. Honda also say the material that makes up these new sleeves provides better wear resistance and heat dissipation, I have no science degree so will simply take their word for it. I guess a lot of racers will immediately be doing that overbore to get them from 954 to 960cc as for them every little bit counts.
Both the crankshaft and cases were also reworked and refined to further minimise friction and mass throughout the engine. An oil spray is now directed at the undersides of the pistons to help dissipate heat. No doubt a similar concept to Suzuki's well proven S.A.C.S. system utilised on the GSX-R series right back to before the machines were water cooled.
Fuel injector bodies have grown in diameter from 40mm to 42mm. Their new electronic fuel injectors feature 12 jet holes which are bored by laser for finer atomisation. Perhaps this is why the 954 is much more fuel efficient than the previous model.
It was somewhat rare to stretch the 929ís 18-litre tank to much over 200-220 kilometres but during one touring stretch I got 270 kilometres out of the 954ís 18 litres. Over a mixed city commute and slower highway work I think a range in excess of 300 kilometres could be achieved. The redesigned instruments incorporate a fuel economy LCD which displays constantly updated fuel consumption figures in the kilometres per litre format.
Incorporated into the air cleaner and exhaust system, the Honda Variable Intake/Exhaust Control System (H-VIX), is carried over to the 954 and modulates the volume of air flowing into the air cleaner while its Honda Titanium Exhaust Valve (H-TEV) switches the exhaust configuration from 360-degrees to 180-degrees at higher engine speeds for easier breathing at high rpm. These systems seemed to operate a little smoother through their stages of engagement than on the 929 but the two stage changes can still clearly be felt at around 3,000 and 7,000rpm.
The FireBlade's new 2nd Generation PGM-FI ECU features a larger memory and newly programmed control maps to achieve much faster processing speeds than the current black box it replaces. The FireBlade's titanium exhaust system remains essentially the same as the 929 but the muffler is a new titanium item.
Cooling capacity has also seen a boost with a wider radiator and modified internal cooling tracts while the cooling fan is now controlled by the engine management system rather than a thermostat style operation. Should the temp' sensor for the ECU fail the computer responds by operating the fan continuously. Even with these improvements to the cooling system the Fireblade's temperature rises rapidly in slow city traffic or when idling and seems to warm the thighs a little more than on the 929.
Like the 929 the 954 also has an automatic fast idle system for cold starts, a feature that is so incredibly handy for a slacker such as myself.
Transmission specification remains unchanged but small refinements to individual components have definitely resulted in a slightly smoother and more reliable shift.
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