The 2017 Honda Fireblade. Even rolling the words around my mouth feels good. It’s been such a long time since we were treated to an all new Fireblade that I think I can be forgiven for getting a little excited at the notion of riding the new RR and SP versions this weekend at Portimao. The SP2 version will follow later in the year, in an initial batch of 500. For now at least, the two models I’ve just ridden have given me more than enough to think about.
The full review will follow later in the week, once I’ve had some time to fully digest exactly which way my senses have been pushed and pulled around Portimao. If you’ve only ever seen that place on the TV, you’re missing out on one of the most demanding circuits Europe has to offer. Initial thoughts of the RR on the standard fitment S21 Bridgestone tyres and the SP on V02 slicks are all good. Better than good, in fact…
Looking through my notes I’m seeing the words ‘delicate, precise and tiny’. The levels of electronic assistance that Honda has developed for the new Fireblade is, to be honest, mind-boggling. The way they work on track, complimenting your riding wherever they can and keeping things in check when they get out of hand is typically Honda. Those that have seen me on track will know that delicate is not a word that you would ever associate with my fast group point and squirt, unpolished and often off line style. Thanks to the new Fireblade, I was circulating with delicacy. You probably had to be there to believe it but trust me, these systems are no gimmick.
Weight has been shaved from everywhere; from the fairing panels to the engine case bolts and the net result on paper is 15kilos shed. The ready to ride weight for the RR is 196kilos, only one more than the SP model. This reduction in size and weight is something that previous generation Fireblade fans will feel the second they jump on. It still feels like a Blade, it still sounds like a Blade and it still looks like a Blade. But this new one has been to boot camp. It got lean, it got ripped and it picked up a degree in software programming at the same time. I’m off to lay down for a bit, give this smile a chance to fade from my face before I write anything other than gushing praise. To be fair to the new bikes, I think it’ll take a while.
You can check out the full specs here and you can read the full review with video in a few days. If you can’t wait that long, go and buy one right now, you won’t regret a thing.