Used Blade buying guide
Bag one for just £3k
What we said then
“The 2008 Fireblade comes with attitude from its rev-happy engine, race-like steering, stability and balanced chassis. With the engine 2.5kg lighter, you could almost second-guess how quick the motor would spin up to its new 13,000rpm redline. The new lump features a slipper clutch – a first since the HRC WSB special RC45 – and it works; get the braking over and snick down three and let the lever out. Perfect.”
But what’s it like now?
The 2008 Fireblade’s bull-nosed looks stood it apart from the opposition when it was first unveiled in 2007, and on today’s used bike showroom floor it still ploughs its own furrow in the styling stakes. While other litre bikes cling on to their aggressive fairing angles and het-up headlamps, the Blade’s mellower face gives it a futuristic look even today, nine years down the line. And, slinging a leg over this £5299 example from Wheels Motorcycles, Peterborough reminds me of just how unique the CBR1000RR is in the performance stakes too.
Chassis dynamics and usability have always been Fireblade fundamentals, and this 29,000mile bike has lost none of its sweetsteering charm. Even on rutted roads the Blade still manages to insulate the rider from the worst of the gnarliness and creates a spookily surreal air of stability, aided by its ever-vigilant electronic steering damper.
Although this evolution wasn’t graced with the high/low-speed damping control of its rivals, the ride quality from the fully adjustable suspension is ideal for road riding. It’s a roomy ride too, with plenty of space for leggier riders and the height of the bars makes it as comfortable for touring as it is adept on the track.
Power delivery is flawlessly smooth and spins up with unimpinged friskiness all the way to its 13,500rpm redline, feeling all the better for its near 30,000 miles already covered. With 84ftlb of torque, the gutsy Blade makes corner exit wheelies an almost unavoidable delight and makes calmer town work a joy, but it’s also got that top-end rush at its 175bhp peak.
Any useful extras?
When it comes to accessorising Fireblade owners tend to go one of two ways – either down the sporty race-replica route or erring towards the side of increased practicality. Save for a rorty sounding Scorpion slip-on, this Fireblade had been personalised with a plethora of practical parts, all fairly typical additions. The engine cases were protected by R&G covers, while wind protection had been boosted by a tinted double-bubble screen. Meanwhile a carbon belly pan extender provided a tasteful way to protect the otherwise exposed exhaust collector box, which is notoriously prone for turning brown at the drop of a hat. As with any accessorised used bike purchase, always ask the seller if the standard parts are available as part of the sale. If they’re not it could be an indicator of previous crash damage.
…or obvious faults?
Build quality is usual top-notch Honda but this is the era where the Blade’s switchgear got a little on the tacky side; the starter button and indicator switches feeling particularly flimsy and cheap.
One person’s snubnose is another person’s futuristic…