Used Blade buy­ing guide

Bag one for just £3k

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Bruce Dunn MCN GUEST TESTER Thanks to… Wheels, Peter­bor­ough www.wheelsmo­tor­cy­cles.co.uk

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…

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