25 Years of Fireblade Celebrated
2017 denotes the 25th anniversary of Honda’s legendary racer for the road and track - the Fireblade.
Let loose to bikers around the globe in 1992, the performance marque would reach unchartered highs in its class and it would lead the Honda name to near mythological standing.
To celebrate this quarter-of-a-century of Fireblade, Honda UK invited a select group of people, including yours truly, to Rockingham in Northamptonshire recently. I’m talking about being allowed to ride the all-new CBR1000RR Fireblade and the beast-like CBR1000RR Fireblade SP. We also rode them next to a medley of exclusive Fireblades from the last two and a half decades, including an original from 1992.
Without emphasising the point too much, this motorcycle is seriously big news among the sports bike fraternity. Its arrival truly altered the super sport bike landscape forever.
The brainchild of ex-Honda test rider, Tadao Baba, the Fireblade had the potency of a litre bike with the sprightliness of a 600. Progressive thinking from Baba focused on power to weight ratio or, as he termed it, the notion of Total Control – a design mandate that has buttressed every generation of the Honda Fireblade.
Over the last 25 years, each variant of the bike has been manufactured on the spirit of the first Fireblade, providing a tremendously stable package that works unbelievably well on track and, even more significantly, is both thrilling and fulfilling to ride on the road. 2017’s Fireblade takes the Total Control Concept to another level, with a power to weight ratio 65 per cent better than the 1992 original Baba ushered in.
David Hodgetts is the managing director at Honda UK. He said: “The last quarter of a century has seen real change, technologically, environmentally and socially. Social media didn’t exist in 1992. The internet was in its embryonic stage. Global warming was starting to rear its head. And Ebeneezer Goode was at the top of the pop charts, courtesy of The Shamen!
“The past 25 years has seen over 12 different versions of the Fireblade. The next two and a half decades look ready to be just as breath-taking. With Honda’s electrification stratagem, the future is wide open, but enormously bright – and very fast.”
Fireblade Fast Facts:
- Tadao Baba had stepped down by 2004. As a mark of respect, the capital letter ‘B’ in the name ‘FireBlade’ was axed from this point, except for a special edition revival of the Urban Tiger paint-scheme in 2014.
- The planet’s first titanium fuel tank on a mass-production motorbike is attached to 2017’s Fireblade SP. It saves 1kg over the regular tank.
- Just 500 of the road-authorised homologation special 2017 Fireblade SP2’s will be manufactured.
- Honda is the manufacturer with the most Isle of Man TT race successes, boasting more than 250 conquests to date. The latest was the closing battle of the 2015 Isle of Man TT Races with John McGuinness.
- Price-tags on the 2017 Honda Fireblade all end in ‘25’, in tribute to the bike’s 25th birthday.
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