So, what’s it all about?
Honda has released details of two new versions of the Fireblade – the SP1 and an even higher specced SP2 aimed primarily at racers (being a homologation special and apparently limited to 500 units). Honda is yet to confirm the existence of a standard version but this is expected to be announced soon as it’s already been spotted being tested at a racetrack in Croatia and everyone knows that Honda’s aim with the Fireblade is to provide the best road-oriented superbike. It would be very bizarre of them to drop the base model from the range in favour of two new special editions.
Honda has been lagging behind rivals for years now in terms of power and electronic wizardry on the Fireblade and the 2017 version will be the first serious redesign since 2008. The main changes include:
- 195kg wet weight – a massive 15kg weight saving (mostly from the massive, 10kg C-ABS system which has been replaced with a much sleeker, 3.5kg version from Bosch)
- 192bhp (claimed) – a 13bhp increase in power
- semi-active Ohlins suspension including the latest TTX rear shock
- lots more electronics – Bosch’s IMU will allow traction control, wheelie control, intelligent leaning ABS, engine braking control, various riding modes, etc…
Will it be enough?
Despite the major changes, it’s still going to be down on power on current class-leaders. Honda’s aim has never really been class-leading power – it’s more about creating a great bike which works well in all situations and is very easy to ride. This is undoubtedly what the new Blades are going to be – very easy to ride very quickly and with enough gizmos and gadgets to compete with the other players. Honda will always have a very loyal following but whether they’ve done enough to tempt back people who’ve moved over to arguably more appealing and exciting models in recent years is yet to be seen…
There can be no doubt that Honda have really pulled out the stops to produce a range of Fireblades to cater for all tastes, from a standard road bike to a fully tricked out racer. Knowing Honda, they will all be fantastic and easy to ride with the emphasis on balance and handling more than outright power. Anyone who buys one of these bikes will undoubtedly be delighted with their purchase as this is the biggest evolution of the CBR1000RR in nine long years but it will be interesting to see if they have the wow factor of the Aprilia and acceleration to match the S1000RR. The 2017 Blades are the most exciting bikes to come out of Honda in long while and everyone’s now waiting for the test-rides to see how they stack up. There will be a test-ride review on Superbike Freaks in the early spring so feel free to connect with our page or website to stay in touch!