Sanjiv is our local GAS Superbike contributor. He has been riding and racing bikes since he was ten years old and is a mechanical engineer by training. He is currently racing a Kawasaki ZX10R in the Masters Cup and riding a KTM RC390 in the Inland Championship. In between races he can be found falling off his dirt-bike at the Springfield Moto-X track or pottering around town on a dog-slow 1700cc V-twin.
It’s the Christmas Edition of GAS Superbike and your letter to Santa should have the word,“Fireblade” in it. Read on and you will see why.
Japanese army knife
In the real world most of us only get to own a single bike. We have to choose from a swathe of options and spend our hard earned money on a carefully selected model that will meet our sporting, financial and practical needs. The process of test riding, researching and comparing different motorcycles can be a joy, but is often a game of trade-offs and compromise. Until you meet the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.
It is the bike that does everything. Need to get from A to B? The Honda is comfortable to sit on, sports light controls, offers easy ergonomics and a boasts a tractable but strong engine that delivers smoothly from low rpm. And trust me, you will never be late for work. But, just in case you don’t believe me, have a careful look at the dash-cam photo taken during a short squirt up the M19 which, in any case, was too busy to fully stretch the Honda’s legs. This is the Chuck Norris of commuters.
To ride the Honda CBR1000RR is to experience mechanical euphoria. Since Honda’s Tadao Baba re-defined the Superbike with his amazing design ethos of the first CBR900RR Fireblade back in 1992 the bike has slowly evolved, never deviating from its essence, and has become a motorcycle so refined that it neither sprouts nor requires any modern electronic rider aids. It is pure. The feeling of connectedness to the tarmac, the engine and even the air you move through is uninterrupted by flashing lights and other gizmos. You can snick through the ‘box without a clutch but it requires the old-school technique of releasing the drive on the cogs for a split second as you do so. The heel-toe of motorcycling. It always was, and still remains, the riders’ bike. And boy, does this thing love corners! I managed to attack a local twisty and as you can see this bike can go to really fun lean angles even on stock rubber. It will leave you satisfied.
The Fireblade also looks and sounds absolutely amazing. The test bike had an Arrow slip-on which unleashed the Honda’s hair-raising 13,500 rpm concerto.
Is there a sweeter sound than a straight firing in-line four at the limiter in all of motoring?
The styling on the black and white ‘Blade is elegant and sharp. It reflects the iterative chipping away towards perfection that has happened under the skin. This motorcycle is a completely finished and masterfully orchestrated piece. It is a beautiful work of art.
Fantasising about exotic collectors pieces with ridiculous performance figures, Nkandla like price tags, non-existent dealer support, paper performance tests and heaps of meaningless but flattering e-jargon is puerile. When it is time for real bikers to pay real cash for a new bike that will be ridden in the real world and he or she wants to reap the rewards that only riding a pure Superbike delivers, then there is no other choice.
A Fireblade please, Santa… and I’ll try to be a good boy, next year, maybe.
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