Posted: 01 Nov 2012
There have been more Fireblade models than you shake a tyre lever at, which is good. Over the 20 years of Fireblade production it has grown from being a lightweight machine that redefined the superbike class to a motorcycle that has grown up to be refined, devastatingly quick, easy to ride fast and safely, and be something to admire and ‘love’ in equal measure.
In a world where high-tech electronics are seen as a must have necessary, the Fireblade is a breath of fresh air. No traction control, launch control or power-mode controls feature on the Fireblade. It is, for want of a better explanation, a modern superbike in its simplest form. The most modern technical feature of the Fireblade is the ABS system – and this is so good, so unobtrusive, you wouldn’t know it was on the bike unless you’d read or heard about it and well worth the £500 on top of a standard Fireblade price.
Actually there’s a lot more tech involved in the Fireblade but because it’s simply long-standing development we don’t notice it. Take, for example, the engine; a standard 16-valve inline four-cylinder lump – it’s not the most powerful out there but it is tractable, produces instant fault-free drive, responsive to every touch of wrist movement and makes the lightweight Fireblade take off like a mad thing when it is required.
Couple this responsive engine to an equally responsive chassis and experienced riders will rightly ask why systems like traction and wheelie control came about? Everything the Fireblade does is felt through the chassis or throttle tube. Because of this the rider is instantly aware of what is happening around and under the wheels. It’s not quite like plugging into the mainframe, Matrix-style, but it’s not far off. Suspension, clip-on bars, footpegs and seat all relate road and chassis info in minute detail.
Quality is everything and everywhere on the Fireblade. From the position of the switchgear to the easy to read and use LCD dash. Panels all fit perfectly with each other and line-up to fastener/mounting points like Swiss watch gears. Honda should also get an award for designing suspension and an electronic steering damper that works simply but oh so effectively.
It goes without saying the Fireblade looks stunning; comfortable too. What else would you expect from what is arguably the easiest road-going superbike out there?
+ points – it’s a Honda with 20 years of development, sublime 1000cc road-going sportsbike
- points – no point of sale techno gadgetry (but who really cares when talking VFM?)
Power: 175.7bhp, 82.7ft lbs
Kerb weight: 210kg (ABS)
Seat height: 820mm
Colours: red/white/blue, black, Repsol livery
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