The Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird was a display of might. Honda wanted the high speed crown, and in 1996 the Blackbird delivered it. 142 horsepower and 116Nm torque were stunning figures for the day, so too the genuine 282km/h top speed. It was even considered to be quite sporty. Of course, a lot has happened since then and the biggest of the CBRs has a lot less to offer a speed junkie in today's market.
For starters it's barely quicker than a modern 600 until you get to seriously dangerous speeds. The respectable power is neutralized by the 11 stone it carries over and above a Honda CBR600RR. The Honda Blackbird still feels quick because of all that weight but in reality it won't win any drag races. When it can't live with younger machines of the same like such as the Suzuki Hayabusa, let alone a modern sportsbike. Time waits for no one.
However, for once the ravages of time have actually done a machine a favor, and now the Honda Blackbird almost perfectly fits the bill of a long distance tourer. The fuel injection engine fuels pretty well considering some of Honda's fuel-injection efforts and the delivery couldn't be much smoother. It has a creamy quality, perfect for wafting along for hours on Thai motorways... Plus you get a 23 liter fuel tank. The large fairing offer plenty of protection from that tiring wind blast and other elements, while the considerable mass gives it a solid and stable quality at speed. This all adds up to far greater comfort than a sportsbike and a great deal less stress over longer journeys. Thankfully impeccable steering makes changing direction as equally uneventful and it helps to disguise some of that weight. Obviously if you get too frisky with it that comfortable suspension will struggle to keep the pegs and cans off the floor. In fact, ground clearance is a serious issue if you intend to do a lot of two up touring, but set-up can help.
If you can afford it, and if lucky enough to find one, go for a 2005 Honda Blackbird or younger. There's very little mechanical difference but the styling updates add a good chunk of ownership appeal. Obviously stick to the usual rules when buying used, but if you find a clean one rest safe in the knowledge that virtually nothing ever goes wrong with a Honda Blackbird. Some CBR1100XX Blackbirds have done 160,000 kilometers, with no issues at all.