THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… Making up for lost time.
For the best part of a month my Blade was out of action, causing me to luck out on the remainder of 2017’s kinder weather. Winter’s a crap time of year. You probably don’t need me to tell you that, but I’m going to anyway. If it’s not raining it’s freezing, and if neither of the aforementioned pests are doing their best to blight your ride, chances are it’s bloody dark!
You really can’t win, though at least the Blade’s got some decent headlights on it. I’ve come to depend on them extensively these past few weeks, because every journey’s dabbled with a bit of night time riding at some point or other. I’m genuinely impressed by the SP’s main beam, and I’ve known far worse performances than this bike’s dipped beam offering. Lights can make or break a bike in the winter months, but the Honda’s well equipped for the job. The auto-switching dash face is another neat feature, which automatically changes to a blackbacked display with white characters when sensors pick up that it’s dark – it does the same for tunnels etc. This means you’re never dazzled by the light of the dash, which is pretty important if you’re getting a lick-on. Yep, the weather might be crap and the nights pitch dark, but that’s not stopped me giving the Honda a good thrashing on a regular basis. It’s the bike that makes me do it; it’s just so fun and easy to ride hard on the roads. I trust it implicitly and it now feels so intuitive to me, as if I’ve been riding it for the last few years. In truth, I’ve only clocked a fraction of the miles I had planned this season, but they’ve all been good ones. In that time I’ve come to learn how to get the best from the bike’s setup, so I mostly ride everywhere with a custom suspension setup at all times – though the Auto functions (A1, A2, A3) are good to switch to when certain roads demand different damping to what I normally run with. That’s the beauty of the Blade; it’s versatile, and effortlessly so. Don’t get me wrong, that’s what you’re paying for in its £19k price tag, but at least it delivers on its promise.
Something else to praise is the Dunlop GP Racer D212 tyres I’ve been running. They’re past their best now, being a little squared off and haggard on the tyre edges, but they’re still warming up quick and complementing the Honda through the twisties. What’s impressed me more so is how well they grip in the wet considering how little tread they have; they’ve definitely been a welcome addition to the package. I think my other favourite bolt-on is the Scorpion RP-1 GP Exhaust. Man, that thing’s loud. Even with the baffle in it makes the Honda sound so good, and look so much better also. I only wish I’d put it on sooner, but the games not up just yet. I’ve got the Blade for another month, so I’ll keep clocking up the miles and associated smiles.
I just hope the road salt doesn’t get to the bike. I’ve been on a mission to wash it down after every ride, and so far there’s no sign of furring or suchlike. Still, it’s a ball-ache having to be so active with the Fairy Liquid and sponge, but leaving the bike to corrode simply isn’t an option. Last but not least, I finally got round to fitting the Evotech Performance radiator guard to the bike, so hopefully there’ll be no chance of another duff rad before it’s time to wave the Honda off. It was a quick and easy item to fit, and a damn sight cheaper than buying a new radiator. Whatever you run, you should get one fitted.
The leaves might be gone, but the Honda’s throttle’s still getting pinned.
Winter’s crap. Almost as crap as having to wash your bike after every ride.
Fitting Evotech's rad guard sooner would’ve saved a lot of pain.
Dunlop D212GPs have been great tyres for the Blade.