‘My wife made me go day-glo’

MCN - - OWNER REVIEW -

It’s a fa­mil­iar tale: boy has bike, boy meets girl, girl hates bike, boy gives up bike. But once the con­fetti’s stopped flut­ter­ing and all the wed­ding cake has been eaten, boy and bike usu­ally find a way to get back to­gether. “My wife hated bikes,” says proud Blade owner Justin Peel, “but all my mates were bik­ers and I re­ally missed it, so we struck a deal that if I bought the loud­est, most day-glo hel­met pos­si­ble, she’d be happy with me rid­ing again.”

Af­ter 17 years out of the sad­dle, Justin bought a light-up Shark Sk­wal lid, took his full test then bought a Honda CBR600RR. He then en­joyed 12 happy months gain­ing ex­pe­ri­ence on his 600 be­fore get­ting his head turned by a 2013 Fire­blade.

“I’ve al­ways loved Hon­das,” says Justin. “I just love ev­ery­thing about them; the rid­ing po­si­tion, the smooth­ness and the build qual­ity. When I bought the 13-plate Blade, the sales­man told me that the all­new Fire­blade would be com­ing soon, so I was wait­ing and wait­ing for news about it. It was at the NEC show in 2016 when I fi­nally clapped eyes on it and I thought wow, I’m hav­ing one of those! So in spring of last year I fi­nally bit the bul­let and bought one. But be­cause I got a cus­tom paint job as part of the deal, I had to wait over two months be­fore I could ride it.” Justin soon made up for lost time, though. Here’s how his first year’s been…

0 miles

No test ride re­quired, I was hav­ing that new Blade! Trou­ble was that none of the stan­dard paint schemes floated my boat: the matt black one picked up too many greasy marks and I found the oth­ers a bit bor­ing. North West Honda in Black­pool were of­fer­ing a pack­age deal on a cus­tom paint job on the new Blade, so I signed up and chose to get a Ja­son O’Hal­lo­ran BSB replica done.

100 miles

My first ride was up to Riv­ing­ton Barn. It got plenty of at­ten­tion, per­haps too much; as soon as my back was turned peo­ple would try to sit on it! Things have calmed down now that most peo­ple know me. Out on the road, though, you also get peo­ple who think I’m some sort of su­per­bike rider so they want to try to race you. I’m not a racer, far from it!

1000 miles

To run it in, I just put it on its low­est power mode and cruised around for 1000 miles so it didn’t re­ally take that much dis­ci­pline on my be­half. Then I took it back to Black­pool Honda for the first ser­vice, which I think they did for free. They also put a pro­tec­tive cov­er­ing over the paint­work to stop it get­ting scratched or chipped, which they also threw in for free.

1500 miles

I added a Rac­e­fit can, but it made the bike run badly so I swapped it for an Akrapovic. But even though the bike was run­ning sweet, I didn’t like the look of the Akra so I bought a Leo Vince, but I got bored with the looks of that one too. So I sold the Leo Vince and bought this Austin Rac­ing one, which I’m re­ally happy and has helped boost the power to 192bhp.

‘We went to the TT and the Blade was awe­some’

2000 miles

It came on Bridge­stone S21 tyres and they were fin­ished by about 2000 miles. Then I switched to the Pirelli Di­a­blo Rosso IIIs and I’m re­ally im­pressed. They man­age to be re­ally grippy in all con­di­tions and are hard wear­ing too. They’ve done about 5000 miles now so I’ll prob­a­bly put a new set on when I get the bike back out af­ter win­ter. I re­ally rate them.

2500 miles

Honda’s Ja­son O’Hal­lo­ran signed the tail­piece for me. My mates and I took a ride out to Oul­ton Park BSB and I showed him it while he was on a pit walk. He was im­pressed with it and said it was a pretty good replica, although the team have slightly changed their race colour scheme for this year and O’Hal­lo­ran’s not with them for 2019. Oh well. The au­to­graph’s been pro­tected by a piece of clear film.

4000 miles

I bought an SW Motech rack and adapted it to take a top­box, then loaded it up and went all the way up to John O’ Groats then rode most of the west coast of Scotland. A lot of peo­ple don’t like tour­ing on a sports­bike, but with me not be­ing very big I found it fine, with no aches or pains although I did find the seat a lit­tle on the hard side by the end of the trip.

5500 miles

We went over to the TT and the Blade was sim­ply awe­some and so sta­ble at high speed. The bike’s ca­pa­ble of go­ing much, much faster but you’ve got to keep a lid on it. The Moun­tain sec­tion kept get­ting shut be­cause too many peo­ple were try­ing to ride like Guy Martin. The quick­shifter and au­to­blip­per does make you feel a bit like a racer though.

7000 miles

Two months ago I took a test ride on the BMW S1000RR and I thought it felt a bit dated com­pared to my Blade. But I’ve just seen that they’re bring­ing a new one out so that might get a test ride at some point next year. That said, I don’t think I’d be very pop­u­lar with my wife af­ter the money I’ve spent on this one. No, think­ing about it now, I’m def­i­nitely not sell­ing it.

Austin Rac­ing can has raised power to 192bhp

Justin has splashed out on ac­ces­sories

Justin’s Blade is kit­ted to carry lug­gage

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