Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP (2022) - Review

2022 Honda FireBlade SP 30th anniversary Review Details Price Spec_03

The power: weight ratio of an F1 car with 8000-mile service intervals, and two-year warranty for less than the price of a 20-year-old camper van. That’s what we call a mid-life moment.


Price: £23,999 | Power: 214bhp | Weight: 201kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: 5/5


Honda’s last major revamp of the Fireblade in 2020 was its most significant for ten years. The 2020 bike made 25bhp more than the previous one and that’s not the kind of power increase you find under a bucket. Where you do find that kind of power increase is by adding rpm and moving power further up the rev range. All of that made the 2020 Blade a much more track-focused bike than its predecessor, built to win races and keep up with the BMWs, Yamahas and Ducatis on a track day (which is where the small volumes of these bikes generally get used these days).

The 2020 Blade also had a new chassis, state of the art electronics and semi active suspension (on the SP model). It was a weapon on the track, but not easy to get the best from on the road.

So, for 2022 Honda made some simple tweaks to help on the road without affecting track performance. Most notably (and most simply) they went up 3 teeth on the rear sprocket which makes the bike much faster accelerating off the line and quicker to get into the power.

2022 was also the 30th anniversary of the original CBR900RR FireBlade and as a nod to that bike the 2022 SP version has an updated version of that bike’s paint scheme.  


Pros & Cons

  • Fast as you like or easy as you need to be in one package
  • Surprisingly comfortable for a bike so focused
  • So beautifully put together
  • There’s no road in the UK where you can use half of what it can do
  • Keyless ignition is a gimmick I can live without
  • A lot of money for such a single-minded bike
2022 Honda FireBlade SP 30th anniversary Review Details Price Spec_01


Review – In Detail

For and against
Engine & Performance
Handling & Suspension (inc. weight & brakes)
Comfort & Economy


2022 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP Price

The 2023 CBR1000RR-R SP Fireblade costs £23,999 and you can have one in the garage for £289 a month for three years on PCP with a £3624 deposit and £14,362 final payment if you want to keep it at the end.

The non-SP version (which has non-electronic Showa suspension and doesn’t have a quick shifter) costs £19,999 or £259 a month with a £3k deposit. If you can afford the difference the SP is worth the money.

Yamaha’s similarly-spec’d R1-M is priced from £24,460. BMW’s S1000RR Sport has a starting price around £18k, but as with all BMWs, by the time you’ve added all the options you’ll have a bottom line similar to the Honda. Kawasaki’s ZX-10RR is £24,999 and Ducati’s Panigale V4S starts at £27k.

All of which sounds like a lot of money for a focused machine that’s difficult to enjoy more than 40 per cent of on the road and isn’t as practical as an adventure bike. Please read on though, because this review is going to answer some of those questions in a way that might make you think twice about whether your sports bike days are really over.


2022 Honda FireBlade SP 30th anniversary Review Details Price Spec_10

200bhp when you need (want) it, one of the slickest quick shifters around and placid enough to commute through traffic without fuss.


2022 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP Engine & Performance

Honda’s Fireblade has always been a useable engine, but in recent years that’s cost it dearly on the racetrack. So, 2020’s revamp saw a much bigger bore and equally shorter stroke. A shorter stroke means lower piston speeds for the same rpm which means rpm can be increased. Power equals torque (the efficiency of an engine) times revs and a shorter stroke means more revs which means more power.

The downside was that the ‘more’ bit of more power came at much higher rpm than previous Fireblades making the 2020 bike less flexible and less suited to the road. Full fat sports bikes are supposed to be easy to get the best of and the Fireblade lagged behind its rivals despite everything that modern fuel injection and ignition systems could throw at it.

For 2022 Honda made some subtle revisions to the airbox and cylinder head design and tweaked the throttle settings too, but the biggest difference in Fireblade usability comes from adding three teeth to the final drive sprocket which helps make the bike accelerate quicker from lower rpm. Normally when you do this it clips a few mph off a bike’s top speed, but there’s a restrictor at 186mph anyway that limits how fast the bike will go.

Claimed power is 214bhp at the crank which is a genuine 200bhp at the rear wheel. The 2022 Fireblade will easily do more than 100mph in first gear and hits an indicated 142mph in second gear if your track day venue has a long enough straight. On the road that means most of us could do a year’s riding in just the first two gears and still be banned by April.

The performance is bonkers when you choose to use it. On the road it has the kind of acceleration that makes your eyes hurt, but it is also very controllable and predictable, even in first gear. The quick shifter works up and down and works beautifully at all speeds. If you get into trouble on this bike, you only have yourself to blame.


2022 Honda FireBlade SP 30th anniversary Review Details Price Spec_12

State-of-the-art electronically controlled suspension is sublime on the road and more capable than you or me on track too.


2022 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP Handling & Suspension (inc. Weight & Brakes)

This was a road test, not a track review and so any comments about handling are based on circumstances where the Fireblade’s chassis is being challenged to about 20 per cent of its actual potential.

However, what does matter here is how the bike steers, how it reacts to bumps mid-corner or accelerating out of a turn, or how the suspension dives and rebounds on a mixture of worn-out road surfaces…in the wet…on cold tyres. It’s also about finesse. Justifying the price of a focused top-flight sports bike is about the little things it allows you to do. Sophisticated suspension that works with the challenges of high-speed bumpy roads but also allows the most subtle transition from full brakes to some brakes to no brakes entering a corner at the same time as you steer the bike.

The 2022 Fireblade weighs 5kg less than the original 1992 bike (which itself had a reputation for being a lightweight, almost-too-nimble challenge on twisty roads) and makes almost double the power at the rear wheel. It should be an unrideable handful down a British bumpy B-road, but the opposite is true. The riding position gives easy control of the transition from ‘arms-locked-heavy-braking’ to ‘elbows-bent-positive-steering’ and the suspension does a hell of a job in keeping the bike stable on a road surface with 30 years of loose chippings piled on more loose chippings.

The unsung hero of this transition in handling is the additional 50mm wheelbase that Fireblades have had since the early noughties. Changes in engine design (which began with Yamaha’s 1998 YZF-R1) made the motor more compact, allowing bikes to have a longer swing-arm in a relatively short wheelbase, which in turn gave chassis designers many more options regarding weight distribution to build bikes that steered quickly but were also stable at speed.

The 2022 Blade has Öhlins electronic suspension which can either run semi-actively via preset settings for road, track or wet conditions, but also has plenty of adjustment available, accessed through a relatively simple and user-friendly interface. If it were mine, I’d be tempted to set the bike up for my weight and riding preference because I prefer that consistency to the ever-adjusting changes of the semi-active settings where you never quite know how much dive or rebound is coming.

You might want something different and that’s fine because this generation of sports bikes makes it easier than ever to find a setting, but you still need to know what you want and to be able to interpret what the bike is telling you. If that’s not you, stick it in semi-active sports mode and leave it there.


2022 Honda FireBlade SP 30th anniversary Review Details Price Spec_17

Sorry I’m early I came by bike…etc. You’ll be surprised by how practical and useable a 214bhp superbike can be.


2022 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP comfort and fuel economy

Back when we all rode sports bikes, questions like ‘How long can I ride it before my mid-life muscles give in?’ Or ‘Can I commute on this £20k+ motorcycle to help justify it to myself and my family rather than it being an ornament that’s ridden for 18 Sundays a year?’ didn’t matter. These days, those things are becoming a lot more important.

The answer to the one about creaky old muscles is ‘a lot longer than you think.’ The Blade feels smaller than my old VFR400R. In reality it has a whopping 90mm more wheelbase and is 20kg heavier with very similar dimensions to its current 1000cc rivals. Crawling down a geeky rabbit warren reveals that all the latest superbikes have 50mm longer wheelbase and 20kg more weight than Suzuki’s 2005 GSX-R1000K5 (which was almost exactly the same dimensions as a VFR400R and made three times the bhp).

The current crop of superbikes make 20bhp more than the 2005 Suzuki but they also weigh 20kg more meaning their power: weight ratio is roughly the same as the ‘almost-a-classic’ GSX-R.

The extra weight of the modern bikes is emissions – Euro 5 horses are a lot heavier than the Suzuki’s Euro 3 ponies.

Back to the Blade. Finding the footrest for the first time takes three goes; lift foot, lift it again and then lift it higher than you thought possible for someone of your age and… there it is. Convinced this is going to be massively uncomfortable I resign myself to a lot of stops for stretching on the way home.

I’m wrong. Once on the move you lean forward into the bike and discover that Honda’s ergonomics team can’t help but build a riding position that works. 100 miles later I jump off the bike for a fuel stop and my back is fine, shoulders don’t ache, neck is good, even my knees and thighs manage the walk to the kiosk like a normal human being. I haven’t ridden a sports bike for 20 months and this feels fine. The next two weeks with the Fireblade are no different. Fuel tank range means I never do more than 150 miles between stops. It takes 90 minutes for my backside to start aching and on long motorway runs the vibration through the handlebars at almost-constant rpm numbs my fingers and is far more distracting than anything muscular.

Sports bikes aren’t meant to be ridden at constant revs and the extra weight on your wrists makes the vibration more pronounced. The Fireblade doesn’t suffer the vibes through the fuel tank that afflict BMW’s S1000RR on long runs, but the BMW has (optional) cruise control to relieve your tingling fingers.

And so, to question two. Can you commute on a 2023 superbike built specifically to win TTs, world endurance and short circuit races? Again, the answer is yes and with more enjoyment than you’d think. Sports bikes are great for commuting. Small enough to get through any gap, sharp bursts of acceleration and full electronic assistance. The world-class semi-active suspension adapts to the bumps and the best brakes in the business with sophisticated lean-sensitive ABS prevent intimacy with distracted pedestrians. In a world where you need to be in a gap as soon as you see it, using razor sharp steering, pinpoint braking and the width and weight of a whippet, a sports bike makes a lot of sense.

Being a Honda, the Fireblade has mirrors that work better than you’d expect, a light clutch when you need it, a very slick quick shifter, perfect low-speed fuelling and smart management of engine heat so your legs don’t fry like a Ducati V4.

Filtering through miles of queuing traffic is surprisingly easy and simple-to-use switchgear means you can indicate and honk without having 15 buttons in close proximity like an Africa Twin.

As for economy, no one in the history of motorcycling ever chose their 214bhp superbike based on fuel consumption, but I’m a sad former road tester who understands that sometimes you end up 30 miles from a petrol station having done four afternoon sessions on a track day and no idea if you’ll make it or not.

Or you’re 175 miles from home, late already and know that a fuel stop means going to Clackett Lane on the M25 which is an experience anyone with breath in their body should (must) avoid. So, I did some fuel economy tests too.

Honda claims an average of 45mpg in mixed road use meaning a range to empty of 160 miles. On a mixture of fast A-roads, twisty B-roads and dual carriageways that’s pretty much what I got too. The fuel light comes on with 3.7 litres remaining (about 35 miles).

The best I saw was 52mpg on a long motorway run keeping the speed to an indicated 80-ish mph when appropriate.

The worst fuel figure I saw was an early evening thrash though Sussex on the Wednesday in summer 2023 that it didn’t rain. 39mpg is a number I am not proud of, but I did it for you, darlings and I hope you appreciate the sacrifice.

Service intervals on the current Fireblade are 8000 miles apart which for a bike making 214bhp is astonishing. Going back to our earlier reference point of the 2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000, if you’d have taken your GSX-R to your local engine tuner and asked for him to find 214bhp with 8000-mile service intervals and a two-year warranty you’d have left the premises sporting a full-body Yoshi with both hands still free. 


2022 Honda FireBlade SP 30th anniversary Review Details Price Spec_08

Everything can be configured and adjusted via the TFT dash and simple LHS switchgear


2022 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP equipment

All the gadgets and electronic gizmos you’d expect on a modern sports bike. Programmable traction control, engine braking, anti-wheelie, ABS intervention and some very detailed suspension adjustments. All are accessed via menus and relatively simple controls on the LHS switchgear. On the road much of this tech is unnecessary because you aren’t going from zero-to-full-throttle and back again and that old cliché about your right hand being your own traction control does have some relevance when the throttle response and fuelling are as good as this. But on track modern motorcycle electronics allow average riders to explore lean and grip in a way that would have ended in disaster just ten years ago. You’d be a strange person to spend £23k on a racetrack refugee and not take it on track, so take the time to understand what the tech does and use your track day sessions to experiment instead of just trying to get your elbow down.

The Fireblade also has keyless ignition, mostly because removing the ignition barrel allowed better airflow through the centrally-mounted ram-air duct. The system works really well but it doesn’t include the petrol filler cap, so you still need to have the key unit handy.



2022 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP Rivals


BMW S1000RR, 2023 | Price: from £17,153

Power/Torque: 206bhp/83lb-ft | Weight: 197kg

Revamped for 2023 with even more aero, tweaked electronics and probably the Blade’s most likely rival for road users. Starting price is a lot cheaper than the Honda but by the time you’ve configured a similar spec you’ll have paid a similar price. Heated grips and cruise controls are a useful option


Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2023 | Price: £21,800

Power/Torque: 214bhp/90lb-ft | Weight: 202kg

Everyone who rides one thinks the Aprilia is awesome and have been saying so since 2009. Somehow this doesn’t translate into sales. Depreciation is higher than its rivals making an RSV4 a good used purchase.


Ducati Panigale V4S, 2023 | Price: £27,495

Power/Torque: 215bhp/91lb-ft | Weight: 198.5kg

Fast, emotional and likely to be winning most of the superbike races you watch on tv. Expensive though in similar spec to the Fireblade SP and much less practical on the road. Your legs will be too hot from the exhaust and mirror pods have the fragility of a snowflake in a chip shop.


2022 Honda FireBlade SP 30th anniversary Review Details Price Spec_13

Attention to detail, equipment and build quality makes it easy to justify the price tag.


2022 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP Verdict

Let’s put all this in perspective. This bike has the same power: weight ratio as an F1 race car with state-of-the-art electronics and Öhlins semi active suspension. It has dominated superstock racing, won this year’s superbike TT and none of us outside a BSB paddock will ever come close to finding its limits on road or track. It does 50mpg when needed, is more comfortable than you’d imagine, comes with a two-year unlimited mileage warranty, 8000-mile service intervals and is put together in that sumptuous way that only a top-of-the-range Honda can ever be. The Fireblade costs £23,499 and you can have one in the garage for £289 a month for three years on PCP with a £3624 deposit.

I’ll leave that thought with you…


If you’d like to chat about this article or anything else biking related, join us and thousands of other riders at the Bennetts BikeSocial Facebook page.


2022 Honda FireBlade SP 30th anniversary Review Details Price Spec_16

You have to really want one to justify the cost, but if you can afford it then buy one, enjoy it for a few years and buy yourself a campervan to recover from the experience.


2022 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP - Technical Specification

New price

From £23,499 (£23,999 in 30th anniversary colours)



Bore x Stroke

81mm x 48.5mm

Engine layout

Inline four-cylinder

Engine details

4-valve, liquid-cooled DOHC, fuel-injected


214bhp (160KW) @ 14,500rpm


83lb-ft (113Nm) @ 12,500rpm


6 speed, chain final drive

Average fuel consumption

45mpg (claimed), 46mpg (tested)

Tank size

16.1 litres

Max range to empty

161 miles

Rider aids

Programmable TC, ABS (lean angle sensitive), rider modes, engine braking, anti-wheelie and quick shifter. Fully adjustable electronically controlled suspension


Alloy twin tube

Front suspension

Öhlins NPX S-EC 43mm USD forks

Front suspension adjustment

High and low speed compression damping, preload and rebound controlled electronically (semi-active) or manually via on-screen menus

Rear suspension

Öhlins TTX 36 S-EC shock absorber

Rear suspension adjustment

High and low speed compression damping, preload and rebound controlled electronically (semi-active) or manually via on-screen menus

Front brake

330mm discs with radial mount Brembo 4-piston caliper Lean sensitive ABS

Rear brake

220mm disc, Brembo 2-piston caliper

Front wheel / tyre

3.5x17in 120/70-ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP

Rear wheel / tyre

6.0x17in 200/55-ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2099mm x 762mm x 1136mm (LxWxH)



Seat height



201kg (kerb)


2 years/ unlimited Miles etc


8000 miles

MCIA Secured Rating

Not yet rated



Looking for motorcycle insurance? Get a quote for this motorbike with Bennetts bike insurance


2022 Honda FireBlade SP 30th anniversary Review Details Price Spec_07


What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars (three stars for bikes of 125cc or less), based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.