3.8 quarts required for an oil change
As fun as it was to run around town on a decades old stocker, the luster was wearing off. The massive mudflap, oversized signals and most importantly, the all too frequent headshake had to be fixed. The first CBR954RR was notorious for tank slappers and when left untreated the question is not if, but when, the bars are going to start dancing like Shakira. Complaints of headshake are well documented in print after the 954 launched. Part of it was due to moto-journos unfamiliar with a newfound midrange that floated the front out of corners with more fervor than the previous 929 and 900, which led to a death grip and too much input into the bars.
But it wasn’t just the rider; the 2002’s quick-turn geometry increased the likelihood of sketchy moments too. A lack of trail and steep head angle helped the already light front end get wonky if you weren’t careful. It snapped back on us on more than one occasion during the daily commute—once during hard acceleration around road debris, another time after dropping a wheelie and then there was the nervous chatter felt around a bumpy freeway sweeper. First, we had to address this problem.
Scotts Performance (see pg. 41 for a stabilizer breakdown) came to the rescue with a complete stabilizer kit that installed quickly, looked trick and did its job in more ways than one. Fully adjustable, the amount of resistance placed on the bars by the stabilizer is totally up to the rider. We set the valve controls to a low-resistance setting and adjusted the sweep control so damping force was not applied turning tight and slow at parking lot speeds. That way it didn’t feel like pushing through quicksand when rolling through parking lots but still squashed out major shakes.
The gigantic ambers are almost...
The gigantic ambers are almost large enough to be seen in space.
The previous owner claimed...
The previous owner claimed to have changed the oil just before purchase but when we dumped it the dark mocha shade said otherwise.
The next no-brainer mod was a tank pad. Scratching a naked tank with a jacket or pant zipper will ruin your day and scar mint paint. Immortal Graphix has the tank pad game on lock. Thousands of designs, custom options and affordability led us to a reserved jet-black tank protector in the OG design. Stuck on in seconds, the glossy black addition was a nice touch of color to a spotless silver tank.
The first two mods on every...
The first two mods on every stock bike should be sliders and a tank pad. The 954 has a big tank that could easily be scratched by a zipper.
Next up was the plastic plow hanging off the rear. Cops may approve of the “can’t miss it” design but it’s ugly. A Hotbodies Racing undertail solved that after the entire undertray was removed and chopped to accept the much lighter addition. It took some patience and a few Dremel discs to get the cut just right but the sweat was worth it. This is not a job worth rushing. Holes for a simple two-bracket license plate holder were then drilled into place just behind the signals. Integrated into the ABS plastic are LED turn signals that continue the stealth look.
You can’t run flush out back without tending to the front so the quality of Gregg’s Customs was enlisted. Not cheap but well worth the coin, the CNC-machined aluminum LED flushmounts came in a gloss black and matched the fairings perfectly. We found out that resistors are necessary somewhere within the blinker circuit when running LEDs on the 954. We decided to wire them into the rears since the trunk is large and loaded with free space. Before buttoning the side plastics back into place one last task remained. Clocking 1,500 miles since purchase without any record to exactly when the previous owner changed the oil was reason to grab a K&N 204 oil filter and Maxima oil. The fresh gold went in and we were done.
Taking a step back, our classic commuter looked svelte, not to mention tank slap scares were all but forgotten. There was one bloated visual still staring us in the face. Yep, we are talking about the oversized Tootsie Roll of an exhaust pipe. Stay tuned for the results of a free breathing setup that not only adds big power but trims the fat.