I did end up getting the filter about 1 week ago. Since then I have ridden about 100 to 200 miles and here is what I ahve noticed;
1) All-out acceleration seems a bit healthier. No dramatic
increase (definitely no decrease)
2)Partial throttle acceleration (out of turn, etc.) is improved
3) More low-end grunt
4) NO MORE RUNNING RICH!!
As I said int he original post,
I live in Reno, NV where the elevation is around 4500 ft.
I used to get a lot of popping from the exhaust when I
would let off of the gas...this no longer happens unless I
ride through Lake Tahoe (about 6500 to 8500 ft) or any
place with a similarly high elevation. NOTE:if you are
running lean as it is, this filter will not help, and may
actually hurt performance.
The fact that my bike no longer runs rich tells me that these filters DO allow more airflow than the stock filter (at least on the F3) as I just ahd the service done less than 200 miles ago and they installed a BRAND NEW stock filter while they had it apart. Even with the brand new stock filter, I had the popping and black buildup on the exhaust. As I said, the popping is gone, but I have yet to clean the exhaust, although I am sure the buildup problem is gone too just by the way the bike is running.
So there it is. If you are looking for more airflow (at least on the F3, and probably the earlier CBR models) I would go give the K&N a try. Be warned though...if you are at sea level or close to it, you may have a problem with leaning the bike out unless it is already running rich. Just my .02.....thanks to everyone who responded to my original post!!!