This article was originally published in the October 1995 issue of Sport Rider.
The challenge in turbocharging a motorcycle isn’t in making horsepower, but in retaining drivability. Throttle lag and instant-on power make corner exits extremely challenging, but a quick glance at the lap times from HPCC’s test track will show Orient Express’s turbocharged CBR900RR in third spot, not far behind Hyper-Cycle’s GSX-R and Lee’s Cycle Service’s ZX-7/9R. Very impressive.
Every tester loved Orient Express’s turbocharged CBR900RR, ranking it as UFO’s most enjoyable street bike, which speaks volumes for the bike’s inherent ridability. The boosted 900RR engine rides in a full-race chassis complete with Kosman Triple clamps, Fox shock and Lindemann Engineering–tuned forks. The chassis came from Landers Sevier, owner of Cycle Motion Racing, fresh from a season on the national roadracing circuit and the perfect home for the Orient Express 900 after a few parts from customer Pat O’Riley’s CBR were mixed in. The bike began making boost at 4000 rpm, packing a big hit in the middle of the power band, then fading a bit as the engine neared redline. Perfect. We’ve always enjoyed 900RRs, especially those with modified front ends, and as we became accustomed to the turbo with its pulse-quickening power (with only eight pounds of boost), most testers ranked the Orient Express as the best street bike in the group, giving it high marks on the test track as well.
Cycle Motion’s chassis includes a pair of 17-inch Marchesini wheels with Performance Machine brakes and rotors, riding on Metzeler MEZ1 radials. Only the long Luftmeister Triumph was more stable over the 200-mph mark, and on the racetrack the Honda chassis was magic. Underneath the Terry Kizer paint job is AirTech fiberglass with carbon-fiber inserts just for looks; probably the only addition we’d want would be a smaller fuel tank to lower the center of mass and improve the riding position.
Orient Express’s Jack O’Malley flew in on the second day of UFO with an engine under his arm, a gleam in his eye and 200 mph on the brain. O’Malley, Moe Parsons and Terrible Terry Kizer spent the night before top speed removing the basically stock engine in favor of O’Malley’s 1100cc monster complete with Wiseco pistons, Carrillo rods and a full Orient Express cylinder head. How steamy? “About 250 horsepower with 14 pounds of boost,” O’Malley reported, “and it makes 175 foot-pounds of torque with this small Aerodyne 290 cfm turbo.” The engine proved to be evil incarnate, coming on boost hard at only 4500 rpm with a wicked whine that signaled impending acceleration so alarmingly that the rider’s hair would stand on end. The original “slow” engine ran 150.6 mph in the quarter-mile and was difficult enough to launch with only eight pounds of boost. We’re glad O’Malley’s monster mill arrived, even late…wonder what it would run at LACR? Flat out, it tagged the rev limiter at 205 mph with the tallest gearing O’Malley brought. Yeow!
O’Malley is quick to compliment the Mr. Turbo fuel-injection system designed by Rick Marsh and used on the Orient Express Honda. The system uses a single injector per cylinder and has proven amazingly flexible, pulling well from 2500 rpm all the way to 11,500. The idle quality suffers slightly, but ridability only became a problem with top-speed gearing while leaving a stop. As the racetrack numbers and street ranking show, the Orient Express 900RR turbo is taking full advantage of the modified CBR chassis and pushes real-world turbo development forward—at a high rate of speed.
|Orient Express Honda CBR900RR Turbo|
|Top Speed:||205.950 mph|
|Test Track Lap Time:||1:53.72|
|1/4-Mile Time and Speed||9.82 sec. @150.6 mph|
|Feisty, flexible engine with unbelievable midrange||Hard first, second or third gear acceleration will put the bike on top of the rider...and be careful in fourth!|
|Light, rigid, capable chassis|
|Delightfully evil turbo whine|
- Wiseco 1100cc piston kit, 9:1 compression
- Falicon crank
- Carrillo rods, 0.060 in. short
- Aerodyne 290 cfm turbo
- Orient Express undercut tranny, degreed stock cams, ported and polished head, five-angle valve job, heavy-duty clutch springs
- Racing-prepped chassis from Cycle Motion with one-inch over swingarm
- Marchesini wheels
- Fox Racing Shox shock
- Adjustment Tech rear ride-height adjuster
- Lindemann Engineering revalved fork and shock
- Kosman triple clamps
- Metzeler MEZ1 tires
- Performance Machine calipers and rotors
- GMD Computrack chassis alignment
Next week we will flash forward to 1996, and yet another UFO comparison of some awesome machines! Stay tuned.