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I do not own this bike and have never done so, so my review is very subjectivly based on the few i have ridden over the last 6 years. A ruff 1999, 2002, very well kept 2003 and a showroom 2005. about 25 hours riding time in total.
I have to say in terms of running costs,top end per pound, and reliability these bikes are super, but thats just what i have been told by the owners. What I would like to say is how good they are to ride, they handle very well, the 2005 bike is truly great, well balanced, and predictable. UP TO A POINT. but my life is worth a lot to me and I would say to anyone thinking of buyingthis bike, if you ever ride this bike fast, even just once you shoukd think carfully, on the limit this bike is very japanesse, tame untill it gets a little out of shape and then it can bite you back, and spit you into te armco. there is a "tremendus" lack of feel when going very fast compaired to some other bikes, I found the front a little skitish over ANY IMPERFECTIONS of sufrace and reverse camber upset the bike in fast corners in a very sudden and unpridictable way starting with the back wheel going light and then either falling in as if it had lost some traction or bitting at the frount and giving you the feeling it was about to change lanes on you, the geometery was desinesd by a computer and performes like a playstation game untill you really push it... then it can get out of shape in a blink, with no almost way to save it except to do nothing and pray... most of the time things do sort themselves out but the cracks in the makeup are huge, try somthing like an MV Augusta and the difference will shock you, you will suddenly realise that the cbr is what it is: very cheep componets-very well balaced together by a computer, but if you take it in to the crazy zone, it suddenly "cannot compute" and the thing becomes unperdictable and the lack of information scary. no big warnings just bang and you are off or not, game over. most riding is not fast so 99% of the time it will not matter, so why spend more money on quality that yo will never need.
In my opinion (and my mate jeff with the 2002 bike, you can sort it out with about £3k-£5K of decent quality mods and make a much better bike, but as you change bits you ruin the delicate balance of these poor components and the whole bike suffers as the problem gets shifted around, one good mod showing up other probs, soon you will have a £35 000 bike and it will only have CBR on the side.
I feel the extra you would spend on a MV or a Ducati will bring you a bike that is much more exciting to ride and often much faster in the real world, because you can feel so much more and the level of trust in the bike is ten times higher. I guess that is what i am tring to say. going fast on the cbr is a matter of blind faith, ride an MV strait after and the difference will seem like £50 000. the CBR is great bike but built by "computers" and lack real "feel" fast though, and on a track were a fall is just expensive and not as life threataning it is easier to give it a head, the limit is just so hairy that it is no fun at all. this bike is like a palystation game, tons of fun, but I WOULD NOT PLAY FOR MY LIFE. how much is yours worth? It is not the biggest difference, but it will be the difference that counts.
if you are going to ride faster that you can jump off safely, buy the very best bike you can get your hands on for some people that will have to be the CBR but for me I would sell the car, the watch and the telly and get something I could trust, it will be worth it.