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.
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?
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