The 2004 Honda Fireblade

Published: 21 January 2003

The latest image of the replacement for the Honda Fireblade is in Motor Cycle News, out now.

The RCB1000 will use a completely new engine and chassis, with hybrid RCV-CBR600RR styling. The bike will carry the hopes of Honda in World Superbikes in 2004, when the firm will return to make the most of new rules which will be more favourable to four-cylinder 1000s.

The RCB has been developed over the last two years, but the lastest design shows changes to the syling, including changes to the ram-air intakes and the shape of the tank.

Not only can you see the bike Honda hopes will replace the legendary Blade, but for the first time ever, you can see the original Blade prototype, the CBR750RR. It’s never been seen by anyone outside Honda, but you can see it exclusively in MCN.

You can also find out about the latest price cuts announced by Honda, with savings of up to £1000 on some of the most popular sportsbikes in the world. MCN has a complete list of all the price changes from Honda, Ducati, Kawaskai, Triumph and BMW, giving you an idea of where the best deal can be found.

We’ve also got pictures of the wildest specials from the Padova tuning show. Four pages of the most desirable Italian exotica, made even more special. You can see the Febur Ducati 999, which has already cost around £45,000 to modify. You can also see the Febur Ducati Monster, and the MV Agusta Brutale that belongs to MV boss Claudio Castiglioni. We’ve also got some of the stranger bikes, including a Honda Valkryie, Yamaha V-Max, and even a Honda NTV650.

We test the LSI Triumph Bonneville Ace Replica, probably the best combination of heritage and handling you can get your hands on. Then we test two of the best Suzukis on the planet. Crescent Suzuki have built two Kevin Schwantz specials. The Crescent/Hyside Schwantz Hayabusa is a £20,500, one-off, which makes more power than Schwantz’s GP bikes. The Crescent Schwantz GSX-R750, meanwhile, is available to buy, with prices going from £8499, up to £25,000. There’s only 34 being made, in honour of Kevin’s race number, so you’d better get MCN pretty quick to see if the Schwantz replica is the bike for you. Both of the specials get tested in the British winter, so you can find out exactly what they’d be like to live with. Plus we speak to Kevin Schwantz himself about his tribute bikes and his career.

This week’s long term test is the Harley-Davidson V-Rod. Editor Adam Duckworth finds out what difference some tuning can make. Speaking of tuning, there’s the A-Z of tuning, so you’ll never be fooled by idle boasts down the pub. We ask the UK’s top tuners the best way to spend £1000 on an engine, and they give us their answers, plus our guide to the best and most popular tuning tweaks. By the time you’ve finished the tuning section, you’ll know the best ways to improve your bike, without breaking the bank.

Be an expert on the Harley XLH883 Sportster. If you fancy something different, find out what to look for on a second-hand bike, and what the Harley would be like to live with.

In the product section, we unveil Arlen Ness’s new range of race-style leathers, plus we round up the best thermal kit, so you won’t be freezing waiting for Spring.

The What’s On section gives you the countries best events in the palm of your hand, with Supermoto racing, Bike Meets and Trials around the country. Even Minimoto is represented, and if you’ve ever fancied trying a drag race, there are details of the " Run What Ya Brung " event at Santa Pod.

There’s an eight-page guide to what to see at the MCN Road Racing and Superbike Show, because with so much to see, you’ll need to plan your visit carefully.

The race bikes at the show include Jeremy McWilliams KR3 Proton Triple, classics including Barry Sheene’s Suzuki RG500, Kenny Roberts Yamaha OW48 and John Kocinski’s Cagiva, and factory-level BSB bikes on display. Plus big-name stars will be there, including Carl Fogarty, James Haydon, Neil Hodgson, Chris Walker, James Toseland, Carlos Checa, Marco melandri, Steve Plater, Sean Emmett, Michael Rutter and Steve Hislop.

We’ve also picked out the 2003 bikes to see from Benelli, Kawasaki, Triumph, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Ducati, and the models to look out for in the MCN Brolly Babes Competition, with heats taking place every day and the final on Sunday

Plus, there’s a chance to win tickets to the show for free, as well as a competition to win one of ten pairs of Alpinestars gloves.

On top of all that, there’s the exclusive pictures of the new Suzuki MotoGP bike, which even shocked the riders with it’s radical changes.

Pics of Kenny Roberts new V5, and updates on the progress of Team Roberts. The Rizla Suzuki team show us how to get 185bhp from a new GSX-R. There’s an update on the progress of the Foggy FP1, and we see how Hodgson and Walker are doing in testing.

In the new Off-Road section, we get riding advice from Neil Prince, who dominated the NEC round of the British Supercross series. We look at Yamaha’s 2WD WR450Fs, and we go in depth into the European firms making off-road tackle. Know you Husabergs from your Husqvarnas, your TM from your Gas Gas, and your Vor from your Vertemati.

Finally become an expert on the Honda XR250R, one of the best bikes to start off-roading on.

All this and more is waiting for you in the latest copy of Motor Cycle News, out now.