Stripped-back Blade on the way?

Published: 19 September 2017

Honda's crazy drag-race Fireblade SP might just point the way for a new naked thriller

Until very recently you might have been forgiven for saying that Honda are a sensible brand and perhaps you could even say they’ve been risk-averse. Then they released the X-Adv and suddenly no-one knew what to think anymore. Looking to next year, we know there’s a naked Blade coming to replace the aging CB1000R and now Honda have showed us this and it’s got us thinking: what if?

Speed machine

Glemseck 101 is a motorcycle festival that features a series of sprint races called the Sprint International. This year, Honda asked Freddie Spencer to race and they sent a very special bike for him to do it on.

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The base bike is a Fireblade SP but it’s been sharpened up and stripped back. The rear subframe is now aluminium and based on the World Superbike Blade. The fuel tank is also aluminium, as is the specially lengthened swingarm, both of which are derived from Honda’s endurance racing programme. There are other features too such as a short final drive for a bit more get up and go, as well as bespoke crankcase covers and a full titanium Akrapovic system. To complete the package, there’s a carbon half fairing and a carbon wrap on the frame itself. Could this be the new naked Blade, hidden in plain sight?

Err… no, or at least it’s very unlikely. While that half fairing does look sharp, it’s actually just the road racing fairing and it’s very hastily bodged on (the bracketry doesn’t quite line up for a start) but it does leave a couple of unanswered questions, such as why bother putting the lights in? That carbon fibre wrap on the frame is impressive too, perhaps a little too impressive for a one-off.

There is one thing that is a definite though: it looks fantastic. With a pair of flat handlebars on it, it would be an absolute weapon. The front end doesn’t look half bad either, with more than a hint of Aprilia Tuono.

There’s also an outside chance that Honda might just surprise us and unveil something really radical at the Milan Motorcycle Show in November - the new Blade engine and electronics in a super-light chassis with bad ass looks to boot? Bring it on.

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