NON-SP ver­sion of the Fire­blade is still faster and smarter than ever be­fore

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Richard New­land DEPUTY ED­I­TOR

Last month Honda un­veiled two stun­ning new Fire­blades, the SP and SP2, which left us ask­ing: where’s the stan­dard ver­sion? Well, here’s the an­swer.

This is the bike MCN grabbed spy shots of two months ago, boast­ing non-semi-ac­tive sus­pen­sion and a black frame and swingarm. It looked like a de­cent evo­lu­tion, but in fact even in this more stan­dard form 90% of the 2017 Fire­blade is brand new.

Power-to-weight ra­tio is im­proved by 14%, reach­ing the Fire­blade’s best level ever, thanks to a 15kg diet and an 11bhp boost. It’s also equipped with a plethora of elec­tron­ics miss­ing from pre­vi­ous Blades. Cen­tral to the sys­tem is the five-axis In­er­tial Mea­sure­ment Unit (IMU), which mea­sures ex­actly what the ma­chine is do­ing, in ev­ery plane. It works the nine-level trac- tion con­trol which pre­cisely man­ages rear-wheel trac­tion via the new rideby-wire throt­tle. Along with the new Bosch ABS sys­tem (also man­aged by the IMU) and wheelie con­trol this all drags the Blade into this decade.

There are a daz­zling num­ber of set­tings to choose from: three rider modes, five lev­els of power de­liv­ery, three lev­els of wheelie con­trol, and three lev­els of en­gine brak­ing con­trol. Thank­fully you can make sim­ple selections that let you to ride away in un­der 15 min­utes, too.

Like the RC213V-S, the Fire­blade uses a full-colour TFT dash. It has three modes: Street, Cir­cuit and Me­chanic.

Chas­sis-wise, thinned frame walls save 300g. Honda say re­duced in­er­tia makes the Blade more flick­able, while an elec­tronic steer­ing damper makes sure it never gets too lively at the bars.

This base model may be de­void of the SP/SP2’S top-end sus­penders, but there’s noth­ing wrong with the Showa 43mm Big Pis­ton Fork or Bal­ance Free Rear Cushion shock. Both ends are fully ad­justable, and we know from ex­pe­ri­ence that both are highly ca­pa­ble units.

Front brakes are To­kico (rather than Brembo) four-pis­ton calipers, and the alu­minium wheels use a new fivespoke Y-shape de­sign. Peak power is 189bhp at 13,000rpm, with peak torque of 86ftlb. All light­ing is LED, with the twin front head­lights of­fer­ing high/ low beam on both sides.

De­spite all the op­tions avail­able, this Vic­tory Red paintscheme ap­pears to be the only one on of­fer. Thank­fully it’s rather nice, and slightly redo­lent of the Honda Bri­tain de­sign of the late 1970s.

Showa and To­kico chas­sis parts re­place Öh­lins and Brembo ALL-LED lights, from front to back


2016 MILAN SHOW SPE­CIAL THE FACTS O 189bhp O 196kg O Seat height 832mm

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