MCN Fleet: My standard Blade SP's too loud. How weird is that?
Talk about a slow burner. As the miles slip by, this Blade SP inexorably grows bigger in my life – to the point where my attitude towards it has progressed from one of indifference and Guy Martin and John McGuinness-fuelled suspicion to one of desire. But, as you may have heard, there is a problem.
Quality is everywhere and, at £19k, so it should be. This is a Honda in the purest sense of the word: a beautifully packaged object that lights up the garage. I wouldn’t want to service it – imagine trying to extract a spark plug or just remove all the smoothing, stretched-tight bodywork, come to that – but I do love to clean it. Individual components like the minimalist TFT dash are perfectly judged.
I love its accuracy, too. Whether it’s holding an inch-perfect line at 164mph in Spa’s fearsome Blanchimont corner or nipping between two lorries on a clogged A14, its throttle response, its brakes, its steering are all… accurate. And every time I wheel it out of the garage it feels as blissfully compact and light as any 600 I’ve owned.
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The early Blades were, above all, great road bikes, with track considerations secondary — and the new SP has an old-school regard for the road, too. Unlike many litre sportsbikes, virtually no engine heat reaches the rider. And how about a 150-mile cruising range? Or a riding position that spreads bodyweight just-so, allowing me to ride all day without pain.
The problem? This is a very loud bike; at high revs it blows most ride-by noise meters into the grass and has got me thrown off two expensive trackdays. Honda UK say they are working on a solution. Meanwhile, I’m urgently looking for an aftermarket can to make the Blade quieter – how weird is that?