Buying and selling
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 on www.motorcyclenews.com
“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