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Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP (2024) - Review

BikeSocial Web Editor. Content man - reviewer, road tester, video presenter, interviewer, commissioner, organiser. First ride was a 1979 Honda ST70 in the back garden aged 6. Not too shabby on track, loves a sportsbike, worries about helmet hair, occasionally plays golf and squash but enjoys being a father to a 6-year old the most.

Posted:

13.03.2024

2024 Honda CBR1000RRR FireBlade SP Review Details Price Spec_311
2024 Honda CBR1000RRR FireBlade SP Review Details Price Spec_252
2024 Honda CBR1000RRR FireBlade SP Review Details Price Spec_308

Technical Review: Ben Purvis
Track Review: Michael Mann

 

Price: £23,499 | Power: 214.6bhp | Weight: 201kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: 5/5

 

Honda’s racing exploits haven’t lived up to the company’s high standards in recent years and the latest revamp for the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP is squarely aimed at addressing the on-track problems of its racing equivalent and bringing it back to the front of the grid.

While new winglets stylistically give away the 2024 model, the changes are much deeper, including a revamped engine, revised frame, new suspension, and brakes to create a bike that’s a substantial step forward compared to the model it replaces.

First world problems don’t usually include how much power the next generation sportsbike might provide, or how the electronics will allow even the most average of rider (this author included) to come away from a trip or a lap feeling like a pro racer, but the direction in which Honda has taken the 2024 Fireblade should supersede all expectations. From not being able to live up its 2020-based hype in the World and British Superbike championships respectively, the 2024 model addresses many of the apparent weaknesses. On paper and certainly to the naked eye, the updates aren’t hugely obvious, especially when it comes to those who don’t usually worry about how complex and potentially game-changing throttle body actions are, for example.

Off we trot to the Grand Prix circuit of Portimão in Southern Portugal to test how sharpe the latest ‘blade is alongside the Honda UK Racing team of John McGuinness, Tommy Bridewell and Dean Harrison.

 

pros
  • Twin throttle bodies and their impact on braking

  • Latest Öhlins electronic suspension set-up flexibility

  • Outrageous performance but in a controllable manner

  • Flatters any and every rider

  • Gearbox ratio amends make for easier riding

cons
  • Race-oriented updates might not be felt much on the road

  • Honda will only sell c.200 this year, so many riders will miss out

  • Only on track can its potential be discovered, but who takes a £23.5k bike on track

2024 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP – track review

Subtle visual changes hide heavily updated 2024 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP. Michael Mann rides it at Portimão.

 

Review – In Detail

Price & PCP
For and against
Engine & Performance
Handling & Suspension (inc. weight & brakes)
Comfort & Economy
Equipment
Rivals
Verdict
Specification

 

2024 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP Price

Honda kept a lid on the price since unveiling the bike back in November 2023 until the riding launch in early March. Why? Who knows, but the big news is that the price 2024 Honda CBR1000RR-R SP is £23,499 and that's exactly the same as the 2022 model, so no increase in cost whatsoever despite the abundance of upgrades.

There’s also a limited-run ‘Carbon’ variant, restricted to 300 examples in Europe (45 in the UK), that gets a carbon front mudguard, belly pan, mid fairing, winglets, fuel tank front section and rear mudguard, reducing overall weight by 1kg. Its price tag is £26,749.

Bike should be available in UK dealerships in April.

A PCP example for the SP model shows 36 monthly payments of £249 in return for a £5282.30 deposit, whereas the Carbon version ups that to £289 from a £5840.28 deposit.

Honda also announced that with every Fireblade purchase in 2024, the customer will be invited to one of four exclusive Fireblade Trackdays which feature all the Honda Racing UK team including bikes, race trucks and the riders themselves, plus the teams affiliated and supported by Honda Racing UK. Dates and tracks are yet to be confirmed.

 

 

2024 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP Engine & Performance

The Blade’s 1000cc inline four is based on last year’s model and makes the same peak power and torque – 214.6bhp (160kW) and 83.3 lb-ft (113Nm) – but the numbers arrive at different revs, hinting at some of the changes within. Figures like these retain the Fireblade’s number one position as the most powerful inline-four available.

The max power now comes at 14,000rpm rather than 14,500rpm, and peak torque arrives at 12,000rpm rather than 12,500rpm, showing that the engine delivers more performance without needing quite as many revs. In race form, that’s likely to translate to more rideability and higher peak power.

Those internal changes are extensive. The bore and stroke are unaltered at 81mm and 48.5mm, but the compression ratio is upped from 13.4:1 to 13.6:1. The inlet valves are lighter than last year’s, and both intake and exhaust camshafts are reprofiled to alter duration and lift. There are new valve springs, too, and deeper in the engine Honda has changed the crankshaft pin and journal diameters to save 450g of internal mass.

There are also titanium conrods, 20g lighter for 2024, and even the engine block itself is tweaked, with 250g shaved from the mass of the crankcase.

Those mechanical updates are more than matched by improvements to the electronics. Most notably, the throttle-by-wire system is new, with two motors controlling the butterflies rather than one. One motor acts on cylinders one and two, the other on cylinders three and four, and the pairs are individually controlled to maximise response and give finer throttle adjustment. In small throttle openings, cylinders one and two’s throttles are opened first, before those of the other two cylinders, to give more refined control.

Under deceleration the same system allows the level of engine braking to be modulated, leaving the throttles for cylinders three and four open while those for cylinders one and two close.

As on the outgoing generation, there’s a vast array of rider assists on offer to keep things as calm, controlled or loose as the rider prefers including nine traction control settings, five power modes, three engine braking levels, and three wheelie control settings. All of them have been refined for the 2024 model. There’s also a launch control, with a variety of settings, and tweaks to a now three-level quickshifter.

Two 20-minute sessions at Portimão - that was just about dry enough for slick tyres - wasn’t going to offer too much time to experience or familiarise myself with the volume of settings, modes, and other electronic options. So, I flicked it into Mode 1 aka ‘Track’ (Power 1/5, Engine Brake 1/5, Wheelie Control 2/3, HSTC 4/9 but had Suspension in A2 – just so I could then run A1 with personalised preload in the second session), and off I trundled down pitlane. “Mind the damp patches at the apex of T1,” TT legend John McGuinness had warned us, so I kept an eye out on the run out of the pits because the next time I’d see it, I’m likely to be barrelling in fairly committed on my first hot lap.

Instantly, I could feel the gear ratio difference between the old and new bikes. The three much tighter corners on this MotoGP circuit didn’t necessarily require first gear as they would most definitely have before in order to get the drive out, while the mid-range is sumptuously brain rattling, the way in which momentum, noise and distance travelled all become tricky for the mind to quantify. You're holding on, tucked in, while bravery keeps the throttle turned to the stop. The Honda has a very special way of producing projectile-like speeds while never feeling too out of control. Maybe it misses a raucous V4, and that's a good thing.

First gear on the 2020 model would have been all that was required for the majority of the lap, but for 2024 the Fireblade the rider needs to put the extra work in on the superbly accurate and hyper-fast quickshifter all while staying patient enough to wind the engine up towards its red line. The power keeps coming, easily demonstrated through the final, long, undulating corner – I’d be short-shifting to 4th before turning in then rely on and trust in the electronical grip which allowed me to eke out every last percent of throttle twist while still at lean. Using all the circuit width and before the bike was completely upright, I’d snick into 5th ahead of the crest on the straight focusing on the rev counter pummelling towards the 12-13,000rpm mark once more. When finding 5th on the crest, I did have to push my body weight further forward to counteract a front wheel lift that compromised acceleration, yes it was slightly windy but I found the same over the ‘waterfall’ section of the circuit where the handlebars would be so light that the front end shook a little. A solution was found for the second session – read on below for more.

The Portimão straight is nowhere near as long as in Qatar where Honda launched the 2020 bike. Despite it's 1km+ length I never required 6th gear there – in fact I’m sure the bike would have reached its maximum186mph (300kph) in 4th. In Portugal though, the bike feels like it revs faster, and with the new ratios, you certainly do need 6th.

Exiting the 2nd and 3rd gear corners elsewhere on the track, not only does the bike feel faster with its acceleration enhancements but there’s a reassuring stability courtesy of a smooth, accurate, and linear throttle connection. The opposite is often referred to as ‘snatchy’ but that’s not in Honda’s vocabulary.

 

 

2024 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP Handling & Suspension (inc. Weight & Brakes)

Those engine changes alone would be enough to justify calling the 2024 CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP ‘new’ but Honda’s engineers haven’t stopped there – the chassis has also been heavily improved in an effort to boost the bike’s racing prospects.

You can’t see the changes, but the wall thicknesses of the aluminium beam frame have been tweaked, increasing the ‘thin walled’ area to cut nearly a kilo from the chassis’ weight and tune its rigidity. Another 140g is saved simply by using shorter bolts in the engine hangers, and Honda says the changes reduce lateral stiffness by 17% and torsional rigidity by 15%, changes that will hopefully translate to a chassis that improves rider feedback at the limit.

The CBR1000RR-R SP has long used Öhlins NPX Smart-EC forks, but the latest version has new ‘third generation’ versions, matched to an Öhlins TTX36 S-EC3.0 rear shock. They offer finer adjustment than before, with three individual modes that be stored so you can account for weather, fuel load or tyre wear and switch between them on the fly.

The brakes are new, too, with Brembo Stylema R four-pot calipers at the front, a Brembo radial master cylinder and the same rear Brembo that’s used by the RC213V-S, all controlled via a Bosch six-axis IMU that gives cornering ABS, traction control and even modulates the settings of the Showa electronic steering damper depending on the bike’s attitude and behaviour.

In corners the new front winglets also promise an improvement over the multi-layer design used on the previous model. Honda says the more conventional-looking winglets on the new bike offer the same amount of downforce at speed, but don’t weight the steering as much. They sit on reshaped fairing side panels, and the winglets are further forwards than before to increase their leverage over the bike’s front wheel.

Underneath, there’s a new lower fairing that improves airflow around the rear tyre, and even the fuel tank is new – it’s 0.4 litres bigger than before at 16.5 litres but has a lower top surface to let you tuck in further.

In part, the swanky new 2-motor ‘torque split control’ goes a long way in assisting the engine braking. On more than one occasion I was heading down the steep drop from the start/finish line towards the open, fast, right-hander at turn 1 too quickly to make the apex, or so I thought. Changing down two or three gears (depending on which gear I was testing for T1) would scrub some speed off, as would the impressive Brembo-assisted brakes, coupled with the electronics keeping the rear wheel from lifting. But I’ve been in that situation before on different bikes and different tracks, yet can now categorically say the engine braking on the 'blade is significantly enhanced without conceding any control, allowing me to aim the front-end of this superb chassis at the aforementioned apex. Change of direction seems to have improved too, perhaps the gear ratios in conjunction with frame rigidity have helped. Until we find ourselves on UK roads, or even with more time to play with the electronic rider aids on a UK track, I’ll set my stall out and say the Torque Split Control is a revelation and a revolution at the same time.

Back to the Öhlins Having tried the A2 suspension setting in the first of the two sessions, I opted not only for A1 aka ‘Track mode suspension’ for the second session but I also enlisted the help of Per Svennerbrandt from Öhlins who, despite bike having electronically controlled semi-active suspension, was still armed with tools. One function of this new EC3.0 system is to input the rider’s weight which electronically adjusts damping but also recommends how many turns of preload at the front and rear for an optimal setting. So, once the ahem, 90kg unit was entered (the system only works in increments of 5kg) - no laughing at the back please - Per whipped his twizzle sticks out, disconnected the leads from the top of the forks and added 2.5 turns from its fully soft setting. Then at the rear he poked another took towards the shock absorber and took 5.5 turns out from fully hard, all for optimum sag. Think of it like getting into the back of a canoe – the front is likely to lift up or at least be less controllable when you paddle. With these changes to the bike, the result meant more precision with the front end over waterfall, plus when heading onto the start/finish straight, I could effectively commit to keeping the throttle wide open over the crest without sacrificing any speed. It might be a little rudimentary by having to manually override the sophisticated semi-active system but the gains on track were easy to see, and feel.

 

Two motors control two sets of the throttle body butterfly valves across the four cylinders; input your weight for recommended preload settings; redesigned Akrapovič exhaust is quieter than last year’s

 

2024 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP Comfort & Economy

That new fuel tank also helps boost comfort and control, with sides that are reshaped to improve knee grip in that area, and the rest of the riding position is tweaked with subtle but significant changes to the bars and pegs. The bars are now 19mm higher than before and 23mm closer to the rider, altering the posture triangle, and the footpegs are 16mm lower than they were – a change that should improve comfort a little. The seat remains at 830mm.

Although fuel consumption isn’t likely to be a major concern for anyone buying a 214hp superbike, the Fireblade’s comes in at 42.1mpg, and that slightly larger 2024 fuel tank means the theoretical range rises to around 150 miles (245km).

Despite its track-based tendencies, the marginally added space in the riding position might make it an even more practical bike for the road than you’d think. OK, so it doesn’t have the heated grips or cruise control options of an S 1000 RR, but I’d suggest the Fireblade is still very usable with its mirrors and lights.

On track it’s certainly an easier bike to get tucked in on and to swivel around the tank. It might not be the most roomy superbike but Honda’s R&D department had, I assume, lap times in mind instead of rider comfort, though the changes for 2024 were well received by this six-footer. I was super comfortable too dressed in the new-for-2024 Dainese Misano 3 one-piece leathers. Ok, I only had 2 x 20-minutes to re-familiarise myself with a circuit I’d not ridden in six years as well as check for damp patches, attempt to retain some heat in the tyres, figure out the rider aids, modes suspension settings, and oh yes, come up with enough of a test to write this. Nevertheless, I’ve been on track before where I am gasping for the chequered flag to be waving after several laps – not on the Fireblade though, I was gutted when the sessions came to an end. You’d expect bike capable of such ferocity that you can feel your lunch bouncing around inside to be one where the physicality was punishing enough to make stopping for a breather a pleasure, but I wanted more. And I hope 2024 brings me another opportunity or two to enhance this review.

 

Being chased by Chad, and hard on the brakes into T1

 

2024 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP Equipment

The full colour TFT instruments are carried over from the previous generation, with a 5-inch screen and customisable display, while bar controls give rapid access to the major settings and modes. The switchgear will take a while to get familiar with, it’s not mightily intuitive. Five layouts and six tacho styles are among the options – oh, and it’s available in eight languages!

One slight tweak for 2024 is the introduction of a smart redline for the tach readout. When cold, it puts the redline at just 8,000rpm, and as the coolant temperature rises the maximum revs increase, eventually putting the maximum just past 14,000rpm when the engine is fully up to temperature.

As per the 2020 model, the bike is keyless and, to improve airflow through the bike, the ignition barrel isn’t where you’d expect it. Check the left-side of the headstock if you want to turn the bike on or off.

Optional kit for the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP includes a track-only HRC race kit, with a dedicated ECU, new wiring harness, cylinder head gasket, race exhaust, race clutch and quick-release rear axle. For a more street biased race look, there’s also a ‘Racing Pack’ that adds frame guards, tank pad, Alcantara seat and pillion seat cowl in either red or black to match your bike. It also has a sprocket protector, wheel stripes, a new oil filler cap and high, smoked screen.

Finally, there’s a ‘Comfort Pack’ that includes a USB-C socket, tank bag and tail pack.

 

 

2024 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP Rivals

The Blade’s showroom rivals are the same bikes it faces on track week-in, week-out during the racing season. In other words, it’s head-to-head with the likes of Ducati’s Panigale V4, Kawasaki’s ZX-10RR, BMW’s M1000RR and Yamaha’s R1.

 

Ducati Panigale V4 | Price: £22,995

Power/Torque: 212.6bhp/91.2lb-ft | Weight: 198.5kg (kerb)

 

Kawasaki ZX-10RR | Price: £24,799

Power/Torque: 201.2bhp/82.5lb-ft | Weight: 207kg (kerb)

 

BMW M 1000 RR | Price: £30,940

Power/Torque: 209.2bhp/83.3lb-ft | Weight: 193kg (kerb)

 

 

2024 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP Verdict

If you ever get a chance to try one, do so. You won’t regret it. Your back balance might but the emotion-tracking neurons in your brain will tell you otherwise. Honda’s lack of circuit-based achievements should have no bearing on this creature, for it is sheer refined aggression housed in a magnificently-presented package; eye-bogglingly rapid acceleration, much better gear ratios than before, clever engine-braking, silky smooth gear shifting, the latest state-of-the art suspension that irons out the creases and can be personalised by weight, while the electronics make a mockery of any ham-fistedness, and instead make the rider feel like a pro. Until Tommy Bridewell flashes past.

Compared to the previous model, the Fireblade now feels complete. Like a well-trained hound – obedience hides true, raw, wild animalistic tendencies which are available at the touch of a (starter) button. The 2024 Fireblade is a race-winner in complete showroom spec.

Add into the mix that for such an experience, a PCP package is likely to cost less than £300 per month after a £3k deposit, and all you’ll have to worry about is a) how long can you retain your licence, and b) how gutted might you feel when inevitably it’ll be updated in two years. Thank goodness I’m not the one being charged with making it better.

 

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.

 

TT hero and Bennetts ambassador, John McGuinness, tests the road bike

 

2024 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP - Technical Specification

New price

From £23,499 (Carbon - £26,749)

Capacity

999.9cc

Bore x Stroke

81 x 48.5mm

Engine layout

Inline four

Engine details

16-valve, liquid-cooled, DOHC

Power

214.6bhp (160kW) @ 14,000rpm

Torque

83.3lb-ft (113Nm) @ 12,000rpm

Transmission

6-speed, quickshifter

Average fuel consumption

42.1mpg claimed

Tank size

16.5 litres

Max range to empty

152 miles

Rider aids

IMU-controlled cornering traction control, cornering ABS, wheelie control, launch control, rear wheel lift control, engine braking control

Frame

Aluminium twin-spar

Front suspension

Öhlins 43mm S-EC3.0 NPX USD forks

Front suspension adjustment

Fully adjustable (electronic) preload, compression, rebound

Rear suspension

Öhlins TTX36 S-EC3.0, Pro-Link

Rear suspension adjustment

Fully adjustable (electronic) preload, compression, rebound

Front brake

330mm discs with radial-mount 4-piston Brembo Stylema R calipers

Rear brake

220mm disc with 2-piston Brembo caliper

Front wheel / tyre

120/70-ZR17 M/C (58W) Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 or Bridgestone RS11

Rear wheel / tyre

200/55-ZR17 M/C (78W) Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 or Bridgestone RS11

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2,105mm x 750mm x 1,140mm

Wheelbase

1,455mm

Seat height

830mm

Weight

201kg (kerb) (Carbon model, 200kg)

Warranty

Two-year, unlimited mileage

Servicing

600 miles, then every 8,000 thereafter

MCIA Secured Rating

Not yet rated

Website

www.honda.co.uk

 

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

 

 

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.