Multi-coloured swop shocks

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Road Test - Chippy Wood

Ped’s 2002 954 feels nar­rower and scalpel-like com­pared to my orig­i­nal. The engine is more re­spon­sive, and the chas­sis a pure de­light, much more of a track tool than I imag­ined. Every­thing feels lighter and tighter – at £3500 it’s in­cred­i­ble value for money.

Tim’s 2017 SP is a thing of beauty; the whole bike reeks of HRC. I’ve read neg­a­tive re­ports about it but now that I’m on it I can’t be­lieve how good it is. The engine spins quicker than any­thing I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore, its weight feels neg­li­gi­ble… you just look where you want to be and it’s there. As I get used to stiff but ex­ot­i­cally plush sus­pen­sion, I find my­self get­ting giddy again, flirt­ing with time and space. Please can I have my old bike back be­fore I’m well and truly com­mit­ted?

Ped Baker

Chippy’s 1992 orig­i­nal feels long and fat. The bars are wide and far away from you, en­cour­ag­ing you to stick your el­bows out and wres­tle the bike through the turns. The power is sur­pris­ing and the engine still feels ea­ger and tight, just slightly dull, like the brakes are drag­ging (they could be!). The seat is so well padded it’s as deep and lush as a Gold Wing sad­dle.

Tim’s SP is l-o-u-d! Through the fast Lin­colnshire sweep­ers I’m hold­ing the bars al­most by my fin­ger­tips. Mod­ern engi­neer­ing ex­udes pre­ci­sion and that’s how the bike de­mands to be rid­den. It’s a NASA su­per­com­puter com­pared the flint axe of the orig­i­nal-model Blade. The bike is nar­row-waisted un­der me and small, but sur­pris­ingly is more com­fort­able than the other two. I know my 6ft 4in frame looks ridicu­lous on it, as Tim men­tions sev­eral times, but it’s comfy.

Tim Thomp­son

Chippy’s clas­sic clicks over to 25,000 miles within the first minute of my ride, so I pat its fat tank and pin the throt­tle. The engine feels the smoothest, as if it was hand-built all those years ago with per­fectly matched pis­tons and rods, and still re­sponds beau­ti­fully. It’s still an in­cred­i­bly ma­cho ride. When I rode the first Blade in 1992 it thrilled me with its light­ness and agility; now it’s dense and slow to turn.

Ped’s 954 is my all-time favourite. The one I ran in 2002 turned with more zest than any bike of its gen­er­a­tion. Ped’s bike isn’t quite play­ing ball to­day, and while it’s a de­light to drop into bends, it doesn’t hold its line like it should. Power builds along an ar­row straight curve, while the LCD speedo and analogue tacho combo cap­tures its era al­most as well as the bloody alarm that keeps go­ing off.

In all other re­spects it has hardly dated at all. If you have one of these, hang on to it!

‘The new SP is sur­pris­ingly com­fort­able’

O What changed? Com­pres­sion ad­just­ment was added to the forks and the ‘foxeye’ head­light ar­rived. O Tell us about it: Honda added a touch of re­fine­ment through up­graded sus­pen­sion in an ef­fort to calm the of­ten lively Blade. But never tak­ing an eye off the Blade’s ethos. It lost 1kg, and gained 2bhp. O Should I buy one? If you can find one, buy the Ur­ban Tiger.

Blade rat­ing:

1994/5 CBR900RR Fire­blade (R/S)

I’ll have yours and yours and mine. You two go for a cof­fee

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