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The evolution of the Honda Fireblade

By James Keen -

First rides & tests

 13 March 2009 09:52

Since it's arrival in 1992, the flagship Honda Fireblade has continued to re-invent itself and stay at the forefront of sportsbike development.

In 1992, the original Fireblade moved the goal posts by focusing on weight rather than horsepower. The competition were claiming more bhps, but the blade's 185kg weight undercut them all by at least 15kg and changed things forever.

Fast forward to 2009 and the Fireblade is still pushing the boundaries, this time with it's revolutionary combined ABS braking system. Not only does that make it the first supersports bike to come with anti-lock brakes, Honda have made it work effectively without taking any of the enjoyment out of riding.

Here's how the Fireblade has changed in the 17 years since its conception:

 

Honda CBR900RR Fireblade (1992-1999)

1992-1999 Honda CBR900RR Fireblade
"The motorcycle that changed how sports motorcycles were built. The Honda CBR900RR Fireblade wiped the floor with its competitor motorcycles not by being more powerful (it wasn’t) but by being lighter. Rivals were all well over 200kg, the first Honda CBR900RR FireBlade was just 185kg which made it perform superbly. It’s still a wild ride and a surprisingly practical motorcycle too."

 

Honda CBR900RR Fireblade (2000-2001)

2000-2001 Honda CBR900RR Fireblade
"The Honda CBR900RR Fireblade’s big revamp came in 2000 and it wasn’t exactly what fans were expecting. New fuel injection was thirsty and made smooth riding harder. The 17” wheel tamed the Honda CBR900RR Fireblade’s lively nature. More importantly the raucous, powerful Yamaha YZF-R1 was on the scene and the Suzuki GSX-R1000 was on the horizon – both better than the blade."

 

Honda CBR900RR FireBlade (2002-2003)

2002-2003 Honda CBR900RR Fireblade
"The last Honda CBR900RR Fireblade by Tadao Baba is the most exciting to ride and lighter than its successors. Later Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades are faster but heavier and less involving. Like any Honda CBR900RR Fireblade this one is incredibly fast, surprisingly reliable, amazingly comfortable and well built too. A stunning motorcycle that looks extra tasty in white."

 

Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (2004-2005)

2004-2005 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade
"Cold, calm and supremely effective – the 04-05 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is like The Terminator. It is an exceptional sports bike that’s blisteringly fast on the road or track. It is bristling with MotoGP technology. Compared to the previous motorcycles the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is manic and faster, but heavier and arguably less exciting too."

 

Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (2006-2007)

2006-2007 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade
"Every once in a while a sportster comes along that is just right. The 2006 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is one of those machines. It delivers polished, glitch-free 180mph potency with almost no effort and yet blends this not just with the expected Honda build quality and class, but also a fat wheelie-pulling midrange that makes it more sheer fun than any since the 92 original. Quite simply a class act."

 

Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (2008)

2008 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade
"What the 08 Blade has is a chassis so balanced and easy to throw around you could say it's essentially a 600 supersport with the guts of a 1000cc machine. The 2008 FireBlade comes with attitude from its rev-happy engine, race-like steering (quick, responsive), stability and supremely balance chassis. Forget its blunted looks, this Blade will cut it."

 

Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (2009)

2009 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade
"The big news for the 09 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is it's revolutionary Combined ABS system. This makes the Honda Fireblade the world’s first ever ABS-equipped superbike. This system takes none of the enjoyment out of riding this incredible superbike, even on the track. This is a landmark motorcycle and surely the shape of things to come. Why would you ever want a bike without it?"

 

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