It’s safe to say MCN road tester and ex-world endurance racer Dave Hill is impressed by Extreme Performance’s 2000 Blade. He blurts: " This is excellent. Effin’ lovely. It handles, it turns in nicely, it inspires confidence and it’s got a fair bit of poke. "
Extreme Performance boss Hag Hughes has been building specials and preparing race bikes since the early 1980s and, on the evidence of this stunning creation, he’s just getting better and better.
He says: " It’s difficult to make modern bikes faster, but it’s relatively easy to get them handling better. My favourite modification on our FireBlade is the adjustable yokes that allow us to set the steering geometry at whatever we want. "
When combined with lightweight Marvic Penta wheels and top-quality Ohlins suspension, the Blade’s handling has been sharpened – but Hughes didn’t want to go too far. He says: " The focus of the FireBlade has totally changed since it was launched. It used to be bought by hooligans, but now my customers want a bike they can tour on, take to the Nurburgring and do a few track days. They don’t want an out-and-out track bike. Nothing can compete with the GSX-R1000 for top-end rush, but with the mods we’ve made the FireBlade is a better road bike than the Suzuki. "
This particular bike has an unusual ram-air induction system that feeds pressurised cold air to the airbox, rather than directing it past the engine where it’s warmed before reaching the airbox. The carbon-fibre intake ducts are positioned either side of the headlight. It took a fully remapped ignition, Dynojet Power Commander and a whole day on PDQ’s dyno to set it up correctly, but Hughes believes it was worth the effort. He says: " You can really feel the difference at 100mph. "
But for a man who makes a living selling exotic parts to personalise and improve the hottest bikes on the market, the first modification Hughes would advise anyone to make is a simple one.
He says: " Every bike is overgeared, so the first change I’d do is to swop the front sprocket. It only costs £18 and it transforms the bike. "
The last word on the subject goes to Hill, who sums up the Extreme Blade perfectly when he says: " It turns well, but it’s still very stable and is set up fantastically. It feels like a race bike and it looks gorgeous. "
Bike: Extreme Performance FireBlade
Owner: Extreme Performance
Time spent building: Three weeks
Engine: 929cc, K&N air filter, Akrapovic titanium exhaust system with Extreme silencer, Extreme ram-air induction system, Dynojet Power Commander set up by PDQ
Brakes (front): Standard with Motoflex lines.
Brakes (rear): Extreme mini brake kit
Chassis: Standard aluminium beam frame and swingarm
Suspension: FireBlade front forks with Ohlins internals held by Extreme adjustable yokes, Ohlins adjustable rear shock
Other modifications: Extreme carbon-fibre components including exhaust can hanger, ram-air ducts recessed into fairing, front mudguard, rear hugger, chainguard, front sprocket guard, fairing inner trim panels and NSR-style seat unit, seat unit undertray. Marvic Penta wheels
For sale: £9500. Call Extreme Performance on: 01932-866071