HONDA CBR1000RR FIREBLADE SP2 (2017-on) Review

Published: 20 September 2017

Peel away the preconceptions and you’ll discover the SP2 is a superb superbike

HONDA CBR1000RR FIREBLADE SP2  (2017-on)

Peel away the preconceptions and you’ll discover the SP2 is a superb superbike

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

Honda’s homologation special Blade SP2 (only 500 have been made) was drenched in road racing controversy and maligned by many before it even turned a wheel, but peel away those preconceptions and you’ll discover a superb superbike. Admittedly, road-biased rider aids aren’t the best on track, but the SP2 more than makes up for it by being ridiculously light, fast, smooth and has quality running through it like an HRC flavoured stick of rock. Wheels, minor engine mods and exclusivity aside, it’s not a lot different to the Blade SP, but that’s not a bad place to start.

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

Frame, swingarm and Ohlins semi-active suspension is identical to the SP, but the lightweight forged aluminium Marchesini wheels make all the difference to agility and steering lightness on the road and track. The SP2 goes and stops like it should, doesn’t miss gears, goes like stink and handles like Blades always have. It’s pointy, but stable and has more than a feel of RCV DNA coursing through its veins. The low screen and high pegs take their toll on a tall rider s eventually, but the SP2 is so refined, smooth and light the cockpit is an easy place to be for hours on end.

Engine 5 out of 5

The 189bhp, 999cc inline four-cylinder motor is based on the SP and base model and has the same power, but the motor’s top end is more robust, ready for tuning. It has stronger pistons, more room in the cylinder head for high-lift cams (à la ZX-0RR), revised shape and angle intake valves (1mm bigger) and exhaust valves (1.5mm bigger), elongated spark plugs and like the RCV213V MotoGP machine, a new water jacket wraps itself around the reshaped combustion chambers.

Free-revving and packed with lots of usable grunt and power the SP2 may not have headline-grabbing bhp figures, but its power-to-weight ratio is formidable. But a loud standard exhaust means you’ll only be welcome on the noisiest of trackdays.

Road bikes are completely different to competition machines, of course, so some of the problems plagued by Honda’s high-profile racers at the beginning of their development don’t live here. Gear changes are crisp and throttle response consistent and predictable.

Honda’s ‘Torque Control’, fitted to the whole Blade range, trims power when you slide or wheelie on the road. It activates once and then releases its electronic grip, assuming the rider would have let off too. That’s fine for the road, but means on the track you can’t ‘lean’ on the electronics like you can with the best traction and wheelie control systems.

You get around this by fitting sticky tyres, so you don’t set the electronics off in the first place, or turn the Torque Control right down, or off.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

Build quality and attention to detail is flawless, as you’d expect from a flagship Honda sportsbike and it’s all topped-off with that classy HRC paintjob. The Blade has been around long enough now for mechanical problems to have been ironed out, so don’t expect any nasty surprises.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

The exclusive SP2 only costs two grand more than the standard SP, but it could arguably be more special, in the spirit of the homologation superbike specials of the late 80s and 90s. But Honda have thrown the kitchen sink at it anyway, so what more could you actually want?

Insurance group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Lightweight wheels aside the SP2 has the same generous level of equipment as the SP, so there’s Ohlins, Brembo, torque, traction and engine braking control, an up/down quickshifter and riding modes. 

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Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2017
Year discontinued -
New price £22,225
Used price -
Warranty term two years
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 189 bhp
Max torque 84 ft-lb
Top speed 186 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption -
Tank range -
Specification
Engine size 999cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 16v, inline four
Frame type Cast ali monocoque
Fuel capacity 16 litres
Seat height 834mm
Bike weight 195kg
Front suspension 43mm Ohlins forks semi-active
Rear suspension Single Ohlins rear shock semi-active
Front brake 2 x 320mm discs with Brembo four-piston monobloc radial caliper. ABS
Rear brake 220mm single disc with twin-piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2017: SP2 introduced – Honda’s first ever ‘homologation special’ Blade since its inception in 1992. 

Other versions

CBR1000RR Fireblade Standard model has the same motor, chassis and electronics as the SP and SP2, but has conventional Showa suspension and doesn’t have an up/down autoblipper. 

CBR1000RR Fireblade SP Full production SP has semi-active Ohlins suspension and up/down autoblipper. 

CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 Limited run homologation special is based on SP with minor top end engine mods, carbon-effect blue graphics and lightweight Marchesisni wheels.

Photo Gallery

  • HONDA CBR1000RR FIREBLADE SP2  (2017-on)
  • HONDA CBR1000RR FIREBLADE SP2  (2017-on)
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