BRUCE HONDA CBR1000RR SP
THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… “Blitzing along back roads.”
Like an addict that’s been gagging for his next fix, these past few months have not been easy. It was way back in January that I first cocked a leg over Honda’s new Fireblade, and it had me hooked there and then. The power, the handling, the tech; I loved what I found and after promising the world in the most pathetically grovelling tone, Honda gave in and said I could run an SP as a long termer. Result! The only caveat was an expected delay in its availability.
Four months to be precise. But hey, just like Christmas, that day eventually came round and just 48 hours ago a spanking new Blade found itself a home in my garage. It had just 19.9 miles on the clock, was clean enough to eat your dinner off and was ripe for some ragging – 7,000rpm style ragging, that is. I’m not a fan of running bikes in. It’s tedious, mind numbing and feels the equivalent of getting a strip tease from the fittest bird you’ve ever met and having to keep your eyes closed. That being the case, just like having to clean the bathroom when you’ve got guests stopping over, it was a chore I couldn’t get out of.
The Honda’s first service is at 600 miles. After that it’s game on, so the incentive to get those early miles smashed hung over me like a can of Stella would to Gazza. A plan was hatched; wake up early, get dressed, ride bike for 600 miles. Genius. And to make the experience even more stomachable, I planned to do it all on my favourite roads.
I’m now back from that trip, having blitzed through five different counties and drained four tanks of fuel. It’s 8pm. It took me 12 hours precisely, and I’m absolutely buzzing from one of the best days of riding I can recount in a long time. Why? Well, the sun was out for starters. But it was mostly down to the Blade being an absolute hoot.
When I rode it at Portimao I had no idea how it would cut it on the roads. Sure, it was a weapon around the track, but that didn’t guarantee it’d have skills aplenty for Blighty’s best B-roads. But now I know the truth, and this is no one trick pony. While at no point today did I get the motor singing like a good ’un, its torquey demeanour meant I never needed to. At 4,000rpm you’re doing 60mph in sixth, and if you wind that throttle back a tad further, you’ll find this beauty will pull an effortless ton at just 7,000rpm. To put that in perspective, you’ve still got another 6,000rpm to go before you’re even brushing the redline. Madness, but of the very best kind! The motor’s a stonker, but there’s so much more to the Blade. They’ve always been great handling bikes, but the electronic Ohlins suspension has taken things to a whole new level. It’s something I want to explore the potential of when times permits, but as debuts go, it really impressed me with its absorbent and precise nature. Whatever came our way, the Honda just sucked it up and never once got all slappy. I’m running out of space now, but the other thing you should know is that the bike’s comfy.
My back’s fine, my legs don’t ache and my wrists are good for ten rounds with Tyson. Well, maybe eight. Yes, that screen is small. Yes, those pegs are sportily placed. But the actual riding position is pleasantly upright. Don’t get me wrong, I was ready to stop, but if needs must I reckon I could’ve done a good few hundred miles more. Besides, there’s scope to make the bike even comfier. A screen’s got to be up the top of that list; a big one at that. But that’ll have to wait until after SBOTY, because this bike’s being loaded onto a lorry tomorrow. Next stop, Portugal.
Crappy surfaced roads couldn’t spoil the fun of the SP.
She’s a sexy little thing.
You can get around 160 miles from a tank before the low fuel light comes on.
Supercorsas grip like the proverbial.
Fancy electronic suspension is awesome on the roads.