I'd first seen the earlier '87-'88 models, and remember one that stopped for fuel in Newcastle (Australia). The thing that struck me was it idled so smooth. Later when the bodywork was revised, I had to have one.
I eventually bought one cash for $8200 - 05 Jan 2004. My very own CBR1000FL, '90. It was red all over with silver underside, gunmetal trim and white wheels. The acceleration was huge compared to the '96 ex-police BMW K100RT I still had (and still have). However, the idle was far from smooth. Tuning and balancing the carburettors was an act in itself, but helped. I discovered the previous owner (idiot) tried to gain more power by running it without an air cleaner, wearing out the carbies and engine in the process.
Time went on and I eventually had it painted black with blue fleck, retaining the silver underside. Wheels same as bodywork, but outer rims aluminium colour. The original white wheels were just too difficult to keep clean.
I eventually changed the carbies to '94 model, necessitating changing the airbox and intakes to '94 as well. This was a huge advance. 10% more power with fuel economy going from 15k's/l to 17+. The poor thing pings on 91 octane in hot weather as it always did, but fine on 95 without change in economy. 98 octane burns too slow and reduces my economy by heaps.
Handling is great with the right tyres. Feels a bit nose heavy, but running Avon Azaro 180/55/ZR17 rear and 120/70/ZR17 front at pressures 42 and 38 psi respectively works best. The older Dunlop K700 radial tyres were fantastic. They gave plenty of feel and drift/warning before letting go. Michelin were awful.
This machine requires at least 20 weight fork oil or it'll chew out the front tyre on the edges.
At one stage the cooling fan wore out its centre, and the fan blades were just rattling round the spindle. I removed the entire fan assembly. If the temp climbs a bit in hot traffic, I can just switch it off while I wait for the lights. I reckon that fan is, well, pointless. The system works.
The bodywork is still very modern. All enclosed, surprisingly large amount of protection from the elements in the leg department. In normal rain, 180k's/hr is required to stay relatively dry. Light rain 120 is OK.
Fair amount of weight on the hands and arms at normal speeds. Lots of air hits the helmet and travels down the chest. Made a spoiler for the windscreen to reduce this by a large extent.
With standard sprockets, acceleration is very good. Have since increased front sprocket by many teeth to reduce revs at speed. Improves economy and reduces wear too. Acceleration still excellent reducing left foot shuffle.
Passengers are easily catered for due to the wider than sport seat, providing they remain within 70kg.
Fuel splash in-tank when flip-flopping creates a minor stability hurdle, due to the tank being rather wide and squat. Built-in baffles would help.
Don't get me wrong, this bike has a traditional steel frame, and is around 20kg heavier than it could be, but still handles very well providing tyre pressures and damping are tuned. It's solely responsible for 99% of my speeding fines (99% remain unpaid and will always!). It feels more solid than heavy, but goes when you want. I've had it on the Phillip Island racetrack with 50 other bikes. The ZZR1100 would take me on the straights (prior to the change in carbies), but I'd catch him in the corners. A CBR600RR with slicks would melt his tyres, but I'd be hanging onto him (barely) without melting mine.
I plan to move to a fuel injected Blackbird sometime, with tears naturally. Honda called the CBR1000F a sport/tourer for a reason. It handles both very well, and still turns heads, if not surprises many. The CBR1000FL has taken me round its clock and continues to do so.