In order to get some feedback on the Honda CBR from an AMA-level race team we talked to Dan Kyle of Kyle Racing (www.kyleusa.com). During the peak of the Honda F2 and F3's life on the track, Dan was at Two Brothers Racing in '91 and '92 as a crew chief, and then he moved to Erion Racing in '93. Kyle was right in the middle of AMA 600 Supersport racing for several years and had a lot of good things to say about the bike. "Both the F2 and F3 bikes were very reliable on and off the track," said Kyle, including one story that was a testament to the Honda's reliability. "In 1996 we were at the track and had a brand new F3 engine in a bike and Doug Toland was riding it. After a few laps we noted that it started to smoke and it didn't let up so we brought him in off the track. After looking over the bike we realized that the entire cooling system was dry. It had been on the track circulating for several laps at race pace yet it never gave up. I later opened up the engine assuming it was toast but it wasn't. The cylinders were slightly out of round from the excessive heat but I simply rebuilt it anyway. After reassembly it made more power on the dyno than any other F3 we had built."
Dan reports that Supersport bikes of that era were making horsepower in the upper 90s with surprisingly close to stock preparation, other than building them at the high end of the tolerances to minimize friction losses and maximize power. Dan also revealed that the front suspension only required shim stack and spring changes, while the rear shock was usually a Fox or Öhlins unit.
The advent of the CBR-F3 model...
The advent of the CBR-F3 model also saw the debut of ram-air induction on a Honda sportbike. The F3's airbox drew intake air from this duct located above the radiator.
The CBR-F3's dash was even...
The CBR-F3's dash was even cleaner than the F2, with repositioned warning lights, cleaner tach/speedo dials, and nicely finished top triple clamp. Fork tubes gained rebound damping adjustment.
As you can see the Honda CBR F2-F3 was a dominant bike and it can still offer you a great ride provided you find a good one on the used market. We checked the used values on NADA but since they don't publish data pre-1994 models, we have to start with the 1995s which are showing a retail of $2065. If you can find a mint 1996 expect to pay $2350 and the 1997-1998s are going for $2465-$2605. As exciting as the new sportbikes are today, this is proof that you don't have to spend $10K to have a good sportbike. The roots of today's bikes trace directly back to these great bikes of the past and though you will not see one on the podium, they can still serve duty for you as a reliable streetbike.