‘As the years pro­gressed it just got bet­ter and bet­ter’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Comment -

We’ve been us­ing the Fire­blades since we started the race school 20 years ago. We’ve been through all the mod­els, right the way through to the latest one.

It’s such a friendly bike and so nice with its power, whether you’re in sixth or first gear. The con­nec­tion to the road is re­ally good and as the years pro­gressed the Blade just got bet­ter and bet­ter.

The big­gest leap for­ward for us was when Honda fit­ted the Blade with ABS. Ev­ery­one used to think: ‘ABS – old man’s bike’, but the Blade’s elec­tron­ics sys­tem was so much more ad­vanced than that. It was nearly at rac­ing level.

When we started the school we used to get quite a lot of crashes. The Blades had a pow­er­ful front brake and the clients some­times pulled it too hard. You’d al­ways have to tell peo­ple to be care­ful with it and not to use it too ag­gres­sively.

ABS rev­o­lu­tion

When the ABS came out, it was in­cred­i­ble and al­lowed us to take com­pletely the op­po­site ap­proach. We went from telling peo­ple not to touch it to: ‘If you’re in trou­ble and even if you’re on your knee in the mid­dle of a corner, pull it as hard as you can!’ It was a weird state­ment at first and fright­en­ing for me to do, let alone any­one else.

ABS trans­formed ev­ery­thing. It let us show peo­ple how hard they could brake and feel the stop­ping power. A lot of rid­ers could brake 90% harder with the con­fi­dence from ABS and that was a mas­sively key point.

We’ve had the cur­rent Blade since it came out in 2012. It’s more pow­er­ful, lighter and the sus­pen­sion is bet­ter all round.

For a bike to ride at track­days, you can’t get much bet­ter, and it does ev­ery­thing you re­ally want. At the school I do pil­lion rides; the bike I use is com­pletely stan­dard and I don’t touch a clicker on it. We get peo­ple on the back to see what the bike can do and they’re amazed.

This is a stan­dard road bike you can buy from a dealer and it’s in­cred­i­ble how quickly you can go on it.

2017 Blade

I can’t wait for it. We’re get­ting the SP ver­sion at the school and it’s lighter, more pow­er­ful and has trac­tion con­trol, as well as ABS. So, not only can we tell peo­ple to pull the brake as hard as they can, we can also tell them to twist the throt­tle, which in a school en­vi­ron­ment is in­cred­i­ble.

I’ve still got to test it my­self to see how far it goes, like I’ve done in the past with the ABS. I al­ways make sure what we tell peo­ple is true. I’m in­ter­ested to test the trac­tion con­trol side of it to see what level we can teach peo­ple to.

‘It’s such a friendly bike and the con­nec­tion to the road is re­ally good’ RON HASLAM

ABS al­lows brak­ing when on its ear

Ron uses 2012 Blades at Don­ing­ton

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