Senior Road Tester, Michael Neeves is in Qatar testing the new ABS Honda Fireblade...
The electronically-controlled ‘brake-by-wire’ system on the new Fireblade is revolutionary, totally unique on a motorcycle and very, very clever. It will save your skin in an emergency and give maximum braking power and complete stability for anyone, whenever you need it.
Most importantly it won’t detract from the pant-wetting experience that riding a 180mph superbike gives you.
Honda has squeezed the 10kg Combined ABS system into the Blade’s already compact chassis, and it follows the same ethos as a ‘fly-by-wire’ throttle system.
For normal riding the brakes work in the conventional way with a direct link between brake levers and brake calipers, but in an emergency the computer takes over and sorts out the braking for you.
Front and rear brakes work together to keep the FireBlade flat and completely stable. It won’t stoppie, ‘back in’ or lock its wheels. All this is done in a split second, with a sophisticated smoothness that defies belief.
Even with the Combined ABS working flat-out you get the sense that you’re still in control and you can’t feel anything strange and untoward through the brake levers. The system’s performance is breathtaking and gives you extra confidence on top of what is an unbelievably easy to manage, but still devastatingly fast superbike.
We rode the new Combined ABS Blade around the Losail circuit at Qatar and performed braking tests in the paddock in the dry, wet and even in sand! In a straight line on the brakes it’s all but un-crashable. The impressive thing is that it feels like a normal Blade, all the way until you’re faced with an emergency situation.
To find out more about how it performs, how it works and if we actually need an ABS superbike, read our full road test in this week’s MCN.
This could change the way we think about sportsbike forever.