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Rossi Blade

Published: 23 September 2001

Andy Hacker bought his FireBlade from Carbontek two years ago. The firm had used it as its show bike, but had put everything back to standard except the polished frame and swingarm before selling it on. Not wanting to deprive the Honda of its limelight, Andy set about modifying it so it could make its way back on to the show stands.

He says: " I asked Gee-Tec if they could do a paintjob based on Valentino Rossi’s lid and they said fine, but I don’t think they knew which lid I meant because when I took it in the painter said ‘bloody hell!’ The tank alone took 100 hours!

" When I leave it anywhere people start stroking the tank to feel the stickers. But they’re not stickers. It’s all painted and I end up with fingerprints all over my bike. "

The mods didn’t end there. Andy commissioned Sidekick (01752-202129) to make a twin two-into-one exhaust system that terminates with titanium iridium oval cans. They’re the two-wheeled equivalent of a Versace shirt, flash and a little gaudy, but the bike can definitely carry it off.

One modification that was more than just cosmetic was swopping the wheels for lightweight Dymag three-spokes. This not only reduced the unsprung weight, but also altered the front wheel’s diameter from 16in to 17in and gave him a wider range of tyre choices.

Don’t get the impression Andy’s FireBlade is a pampered show queen. It gets ridden regularly, but the time, money and craftsmanship that has gone into modifying the Honda restrains him. He says: " I went to the Nurburgring on it a couple of times before it was painted and during one visit I dropped it at the first corner. Now I look at the paint and it stops me from riding as hard as I should. "

He adds: " I think people modify FireBlades because there are so many of them and they just want to make theirs a little bit different, " as I stroke the silky-smooth lacquer on the petrol tank, leaving more than my fair share of sticky fingerprints.

Bike: 1997 Rossi Blade

Owner: Andy Hacker

Cost: £6500

Time spent building: One year

Engine: Liquid-cooled, 918cc, K&N filter, Dynojet kit, one-off Sidekick twin two-into-one aluminium and titanium exhaust system

Brakes: Standard calipers and discs front and rear

Chassis: Standard beam frame and swingarm in polished aluminium

Suspension: Standard RWU forks and shock

Other modifications: Rossi replica paintwork by Gee-Tec (01443-838853), lightweight Dymag wheels, DBR adjustable rearsets

For sale: £4500 on 01454-319585

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