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