Buy­ing and sell­ing

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Comment -

Honda last up­dated the Fire­blade in 2012, giv­ing it a new look and a few per­for­mance up­grades, but stop­ping well short of adding the full elec­tron­ics pack­age its ri­vals boasted.

Along­side a sharper style of fair­ing and lights, the Blade got 12-spoke wheels, a slim­mer tail unit, an LCD dash with a gear in­di­ca­tor, Showa Big Pis­ton Fork and a new Showa Bal­ance Free Rear Cush­ion shock.

Although power and torque re­mained at a claimed 175.7bhp and 82.7ftlb, new map­ping gave bet­ter throt­tle re­sponse at small open­ings. Honda also re­leased Ur­ban Tiger (2014) and Black (2016) spe­cial edi­tions.

The Blade SP ar­rived in 2014, with a ported head and new de­sign of header pipes to up per­for­mance to 178bhp and 84ftlb. Öh­lins sus­pen­sion re­placed the Showa units. Brembo monoblock calipers, a 1kg lighter sub­frame (no pil­lion pro­vi­sion), HRC paintjob and dou­ble bub­ble screen com­pleted the sporty trans­for­ma­tion.

A TT Spe­cial Edi­tion SP was re­leased in 2016 with bolt-on ex­tras, for an ex­tra £1500.

The dealer’s view

“There is still a lot of in­ter­est in the 2012-style of Blade, but since Honda un­veiled the new bike I’m get­ting more peo­ple ask­ing about that one in­stead. So there are deals to be had on the old ma­chine and you can see quite a few 2016 stock and SP mod­els be­ing ad­ver­tised at re­duced prices and with Honda PCP deals. Over the years the Blade has sold well but the SP has been a bit steady. A few po­ten­tial own­ers were put off by the lack of pil­lion seat, but that’s all part of its race style. A used 2012-style bike is a good buy as Honda own­ers gen­er­ally look af­ter their bikes very well as they tend to be a lit­tle older.” Tony Boyle, Pad­gett’s Honda

The me­chanic’s view

“Very lit­tle goes wrong with the latest Fire­blade. You get the very oc­ca­sional cam­chain rat­tle, but this is rare. The main area of con­cern is the ABS sys­tem, which can get air in it, and that leads to a spongy brake feel. Bleed­ing the sys­tem is a big job that takes more than four hours as you have to re­move the ra­di­a­tor and down­pipes. Bikes used in win­ter can also suf­fer from cor­roded brake pis­tons, but this isn’t com­mon and isn’t a mas­sive is­sue. Watch the lower fair­ing around the V-piece as it is very brit­tle and can snap its lugs, es­pe­cially if re­moved by a home me­chanic. Other than peo­ple crash­ing them, we don’t of­ten get Blades in the work­shop to fix.” Scott Bul­lett, work­shop man­ager at Doble Honda in Couls­don, Surrey

Owner’s views on­tor­cy­cle­

“The Blade SP is a very smooth-rid­ing bike and han­dles much bet­ter than the stan­dard one. Leans nicely in the turns and makes me look like a bet­ter rider than I am. The sus­pen­sion and brakes are bet­ter than stock, but I was hop­ing for full track sus­pen­sion. Over­all, worth the ex­tra cost over a stock Blade.” Stealth­biker

“Honda qual­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity in a con­fi­dence-in­spir­ing bike that will have you yearn­ing for more time in the sad­dle.” Tha­trick

“I took out a Kawasaki Z1000SX, but it wasn’t quick enough. So some mates sug­gested I try a new Blade. The rid­ing po­si­tion is per­fect and you can flick it around with ease or just sit and plod along. This is the all-round bike I craved.” daj39

SP ver­sion adds Brembo and Öh­lins kit to the al­ready ex­cel­lent chas­sis

New Blade for next year means lower used prices for cur­rent model

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