Fast Bikes - - TECH -

Dan­ger­ous cherry picked the Blade SP for his ter­mer this sea­son, which comes equipped with Öh­lins elec­tronic sus­pen­sion. Here’s what he makes of it… So what’s it like liv­ing day to day with an elec­tron­i­cally sus­pended sports­bike?

Well, if my Blade SP’s any­thing to go by, pretty fan­tas­tic. For me its USP is the ease of ad­just­ment. On the roads, where sur­face con­di­tions change con­stantly, hav­ing the lux­ury of tweak­ing your setup on the fly is noth­ing short of ge­nius. Bumpy roads can be smoothed out and like­wise, blis­ter­ingly fast bends can be op­ti­mized with a few presses on the switchgear, gift­ing you with a much more ver­sa­tile and ap­pro­pri­ate weapon at any given time. It’s also takes all the think­ing out of the equa­tion, negat­ing any need to know what com­pres­sion even means, or where you’d lo­cate the re­bound ad­juster. It’s an ef­fort­less and ef­fec­tive tool to have on any bike, be it a fo­cused sports ma­chine or laden tourer with your pots and pans on board. The ear­lier sys­tems were eas­ier to crit­i­cise, but the spec of tech fit­ted to my Honda is hard to fault; it just knows what to do and when to do it. I’ve rinsed the thing on tracks and roads alike, and never felt frus­trated by the elec­tronic sus­pen­sion be­ing there.

I’m not so sure it’s made me faster on track, but it’s made the bike a lot more man­age­able on the roads, which in­her­ently means I’ve ridden faster, and with less ef­fort needed. There are loads of fea­tures to play with in the Blade’s ar­se­nal, but I sel­dom al­ter any­thing other than the sus­pen­sion, sim­ply be­cause it’s the thing that makes the big­gest and most in­stant dif­fer­ence to the bike. If you’re pre­dom­i­nantly a road rider, or even a pacey track­day reg­u­lar, I’d rec­om­mend that you em­brace elec­tronic sus­pen­sion. Es­pe­cially if it’s the Öh­lins Gen2 stuff that’s fit­ted to the Fire­blade, which is noth­ing short of ge­nius.

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