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Behind the Scenes Developing the CBR1000RR-R Paper Craft

Have you seen the paper craft CBR1000RR-R Tricolor and CBR1000RR-R White models released in August yet? If you haven’t, or even if you have, learn about the stories and the passion that went into designing the models.

The all-out CBR1000RR-R effort

ーーMeet the two Honda motorcycle developers Hisao Tomimoto and Shogo Nishida who made the paper craft CBR1000RR-R. Why make a paper craft version?

Tomimoto As everyone began staying home around the world because of COVID-19, we, as motorcycle developers, were thinking about what we could do. Someone came up with the idea of making a paper craft CBR1000RR-R, so we just had to do it.

Hisao Tomimoto Hisao Tomimoto

Nishida We made a paper craft Super Cub a while back, and it became well-known through social media. With COVID-19 this year, it became popular again! So, we decided to make another one. Making the Super Cub version was a great experience, so I was excited to work on the CBR1000RR-R.

Shogo Nishida Shogo Nishida

ーーThis time, it’s the CBR1000RR-R, Honda’s flagship supersports bike which was completely revamped for the first time in two decades. What makes it so special?

Tomimoto I used to ride a CBR1000RR, but the all-new model has been totally revamped into a truly powerful machine. I haven’t had the chance to ride it yet, so I’m looking forward to experiencing its power.

Nishida It’s pretty aggressive. The CBR1000RR concept to date, “Total Control,” focused on how well it performed on winding roads, but the CBR1000RR-R’s concept is “Total Control for the Track.” It’s street-legal of course, but it’s definitely a track-focused machine. It’s an aggressive concept, aiming to be the fastest production bike on the race track.

The real CBR1000RR-R The paper craft version

The real CBR1000RR-R (left) and the paper craft version (right)

Tomimoto It looks the best on the track, right in line with its concept.

Nishida You’re right. The tricolored factory bike racing in the Superbike World Championship looks just like the production bike, so if you like the color scheme, you have to see the real thing. The CBR1000RR-R was planned to race in the Suzuka 8 Hours, which is more of a carnival than a race, and well-known for its pre-race parades and post-race meets with the riders, but the whole event was canceled this year because of COVID-19.

Tomimoto It’s disappointing, but it can’t be helped. Our goal is to provide something fun to do, even during these hard times.

As good-looking as the real thing

ーーThe CBR1000RR-R is highly anticipated not only as a street bike, but also as a racing machine. What did you take most care of when you designed the paper craft version?

Tomimoto It’s not just a high-performance bike, but it looks cool as well, so Nishida and I decided to make the paper craft version look just as good as the real thing.

Nishida We took most care designing the front cowl, including the winglet. I personally think it’s the CBR1000RR-R’s most distinguishing feature, so we tried to make it as real as possible, yet easy enough to assemble. We sketched and modeled repeatedly until we struck the right balance.

The front cowl: Nishida’s masterpiece The front cowl: Nishida’s masterpiece

Nishida We spent a lot of time getting the colors right, too. My usual work involves designing and modeling real bikes, and not coloring data, so, it took a long time. We volunteered to make the paper craft version, so we had to do everything, including tasks outside our expertise, on our own. But, when we assembled the first prototype, it was all worth it because the tricolor scheme looked much better than we expected. We’d really love for you to assemble it, but there’s also a white version, which you can have fun by coloring it any way you want.

Tomimoto We also want you to know that you can assemble either the race version, or the road version. The road version is closer to the real thing, but by taking a few small part off, it turns into the race version. Actually, the race version is easier to assemble, so maybe you can start there. In fact, the real CBR1000RR-R is the same: by taking a few components off, you can take it onto the track! That’s why we made the paper craft version the same way.

The road version features realistic rearview mirrors and rear fender The road version features realistic rearview mirrors and rear fender

Nishida There’s a lot of other bits we wouldn’t compromise on and had difficulties with, but we had a lot of help because the developers of the real bike were close by. We had the real bike to look at, and we had detailed plans. Did I mention the real developers were close by? This is whole point, and the greatest advantage, of Honda associates making Honda paper craft models. We can ask the developers whatever we want, and not only gain experience in making paper craft models, but learn lessons that we can use in our own work.

ーーIt’s obvious how much passion went into the paper craft CBR1000RR-R, but what hints can you give us in assembling it?

Tomimoto I’d say, assemble it with care and patience.

Nishida That doesn’t sound like much of a hint.

Tomimoto No, seriously. You only have paper and glue to work with, so the assembled model really reflects the person who puts it together. If you don’t take much care, that shows. If you take care, and are patient, and assemble it with lots of love, that will undoubtedly show in the finished bike. I think the paper craft CBR1000RR-R is a bit easier to assemble than the Super Cub, which was aimed at a 10-year-old. So I think that even younger kids, with patience, can make a really cool CBR1000RR-R.

Nishida If you’re having problems making it alone, ask your family and friends to join in the fun. Of course I wish you’ll take care of the finished model, but the experience of the whole family participating is far more precious.

Easy enough for a 10-year-old

ーーTwo years ago, the two of you were involved in producing the paper craft Super Cub (also know as the Paper Cub). This model has received a lot of interest on social media, and still does today.

Tomimoto The Paper Cub began as a kid-focused internship we planned as part of the NH club* activities. The internship aimed a showing kids how attractive motorcycles are, so we considered what would be a meaningful activity for the kids. The five of us were brainstorming, when Nishida came up with the idea of making a paper craft model.

*A Honda associates’ club formed in 1973.
The club consists of volunteer Honda associates, and its main aim is to solve everyday problems and try new methods. “N” stands for now, or next, or new, and “H” stands for Honda.

Nishida Until that time, I didn’t actually have any preferences for paper craft. It was, of course, the first time I designed a paper craft model. I usually design motorcycles, so maybe that’s what gave me the idea. Paper craft is easy to make, and it doesn’t cost much. Once made, you can admire your model any time. And now, all we have to do is put the data up on our website for everyone around the world to enjoy. Paper craft was a really great idea.

Members of “ASAKA2.0,” an NH club,These members are motorcycle engineers. Members of “ASAKA2.0,” an NH club
These members are motorcycle engineers.

ーーSo began designing a paper craft model for kids. And you chose the Super Cub.

Tomimoto It’s a motorcycle loved by everybody. We decided on the Super Cub in no time.

Nishida The only problem was, we all had strong feelings about the Super Cub. I was in charge of designing the seat, so that’s what I was most concerned with. Since the 2017 model, the Super Cub’s headlights became round, from square. With a paper craft model it’s easier to design, or make, a square headlight, but we wanted it to look authentic, so round headlights it was. The paper craft model is only as big as your hand, but it’s full of all of our passions.

Super Cub C110 Paper Cub

Super Cub C110 (left) and Paper Cub (right)

Tomimoto Our main audience was the 10-year-old, because I read in a book that experiences around this age have the most effect on what occupation the kid will go into later in life. If that’s the case, we’d want kids to love motorcycles, and hope that making the paper model will be a great memory for the rest of their lives. That’s why we aimed for the 10-year-old. The real problem was deciding how complex the model would be. Nishida did a great jobe there.

Nishida We aimed to make it just simple enough for a 10-year-old. It’s no good if it’s too difficult, but it won’t be much of an experience if it’s too easy to assemble. We went through 20 versions before we finally found the Paper Cub just easy enough. One of our aims was for kids to understand the structure on motorcycles, so with both the Paper Cub and CBR1000RR-R, the separate parts are as close as possible to the component blocks of a real bike.

Experience of a lifetime

Tomimoto Before the internship, we had to make sure kids would come, because there’s no point if nobody’s there, no matter how good the material is. So with the help of one of our company designers, we made posters advertising the event and had them up on school and station walls, and we even went around inviting people. We were sort of sales staff, really out of our comfort zone.

Tomimoto represents the team for the awards. The Paper Cub activity was praised throughout the company. Tomimoto represents the team for the awards.
The Paper Cub activity was praised throughout the company.

Nishida But, thanks to our sales activities, a lot of kids turned up. We had Super Cub quiz sessions during the internship to interest the kids. We didn’t know how to make quizzes, so we enlisted the help of friends who were primary school teachers. It was a lot to arrange, but it was all worth it was the kids were really enjoying themselves.

Tomimoto It was great being up close seeing their happy faces when they completed the model, but it was also an experience watching kids showing their frustration when they couldn’t get something right. Either way, that meant the difficulty was just about right. We endeavored to give the kids a great experience, but at the same time, we also had the experience of a lifetime.

The internship.Kids were having fun, but were also serious while making their models. The internship.
Kids were having fun, but were also serious while making their models.

Nishida In the questionnaire afterwards, one kid said she wanted to become a motorcycle engineer.

Tomimoto I was that too! It made me so happy. The internship was great, but I hope we can do more to show them our work in a way that will inspire them.

ーーA message to everyone around the world during this hard time?

Nishida We designed the paper craft CBR1000RR-R as the world was reeling from COVID-19. But we hope you don’t just stay home, but enjoy it. That’s why we made the paper craft model. We designed it so that you can enjoy assembling the model the same way we design real motorcycles. Have fun making our paper craft model with your family and friends.

Tomimoto I think that two years ago, when we designed the Paper Cub, and now, with the CBR1000RR-R, are the result of us wanting to be helpful, outside the scope of work as motorcycle developers. We’re lucky to be at Honda, a company that encourages us to do so. I’ll be pursuing more and more of anything I can do to contribute to enriching our customers’ lifestyles and the future of our kids.

Although our lives continue to be disrupted by COVID-19, we hope our paper craft CBR1000RR-R and Super Cub models, made with passion by young Honda engineers for you, will help enrich the time you spend at home.

Don’t forget to post photos of your completed models on social media with hashtag #MyHonda !