New Honda Fireblade & Fireblade SP launch incoming!

Published: 20 January 2017

MCN’s Senior Road tester Adam Child is the lucky one flying to Portugal to ride the new Honda Fireblade and Fireblade SP on track at Portimao this weekend. And also on test will be Dan Linfoot, Jason O’Halloran and TT legend John McGuinness. No pressure then.

The Fireblade SP was first unveiled to the public at the Cologne show in October last year, and was followed by the standard model at he Milan show one month later. There is also a Fireblade SP2 homologation special, developed specifically for superbike racing, and which we will be testing later in the year.

The standard bike is, say Honda, 90% new this 2017. It’s 15kg lighter and has gained 10.7bhp, meaning power-to-weight ratio has improved by 14%. Honda also claim to have tuned the chassis flex to improve stability while also delivering greater flickability.

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The 2016 Fireblade lacked any rider aids, even in SP form, but Honda have rectified this with a full compliment of electronics to help riders get the most from their bike on road and track. Just like many other models on the market, the system’s information is gathered from the new five-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which measures every parameter from wheel speed to angle of lean and degree of slip. The IMU works in partnership with the new 9-level Honda Selectable Torque Control traction control (HSTC) that precisely manages rear wheel traction via the FI-ECU and Throttle By Wire (TBW). The new Bosch ABS braking (also managed by the IMU) offers Rear Lift Control (RLC) and Wheelie Control. On paper this is an impressive array of rider aids, but there’s more: there are three rider modes, five levels of power delivery, three levels of wheelie control and three levels of engine braking – it’s a good job we are going to have plenty of track time.

The standard bike is suspended by conventional fully adjustable Showa units front and rear, while the SP gets semi active Öhlins S-EC suspension front and rear, using a NIX30 fork and TTX36 shock.

The Suspension Control Unit (SCU) processes roll rate, yaw rate and lean angle information from the same Bosch MM5.10 IMU gyro located close to the machine’s centre of gravity. It also gathers wheel speed, engine rpm, brake input and throttle angle from the FI-ECU and – depending on the suspension mode selected by the rider – delivers optimal compression and damping force during normal riding, plus hard acceleration, braking and cornering.

This level of electronic assistance and spec is a first for Honda, and we can’t wait to find out how the new bike performs around the demanding Portimao race track. Check back soon for more updates over the weekend and read the full report, plus John McGuinness’ views in MCN on Wednesday.

The Facts

Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, £15,225 

Power: 189bhp @ 13,000rpm

Torque 85.6ftlb @ 11,000rpm

Engine: 999cc Liquid cooled, 16-valve, DOHC inline four  

Suspension: Showa 43mm BPF fork, fully adjustable, single Showa rear shock fully adjustable.

Seat height: 832mm

Weight: 196kg (kerb)

 

Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP £19,125 

Power: 189bhp @ 13,000rpm

Torque 85.6ftlb @ 11,000rpm

Engine: 999cc Liquid cooled, 16 valve, DOHC in-line four 

Suspension: Semi-active Öhlins 43mm fork, semi-active single Öhlins rear shock.

Seat height: 834mm

Weight: 195kg (kerb)

 

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