Honda Fireblade SP: the rivals

It's the best Fireblade ever produced but it's up against some fierce competition. We check out the bikes vying to keep the CBR1000RR-SP at bay


Honda CBR1000RR-SP

Honda's Fireblade SP is more than a Fireblade with exotic parts bolted on; it's the product of thousands of hours of input from Honda's finest engineers. Although the components are model names that can be bought off the shelf, Ohlins TTX36, Brembo M4, etc, they've all been worked on by Honda and are unique to the SP. The SP also features a slipper clutch and a blueprinted engine: the icing on the cake. Selected pistons, polished ports, gas-flowed. It's the ultimate Fireblade. It's too early to talk about classics but as the only 'special' Fireblade, the SP is surely destined to be a collector's item in years to come like the SP1, RC45 and RC30.

Engine: 999.8cc, inline-four cylinder, 76 x 55.1mm bore and stroke

Weight: 199kg kerb-weight, 210kg with C-ABS

Power: claimed 178bhp @ 12,250rpm

Price: £14,999 and £15,599 with C-ABS

Click here to read our Honda Fireblade SP review

Aprilia RSV4 Factory ABS

Aprilia RSV4 Factory ABS has a high-specification electronics package called APRC as standard: traction control, launch control, wheelie-control, ABS and a quick shifter as standard. Like the Fireblade SP, it's dripping with exotic parts: Öhlins front and rear, very similar Brembo M4 radial calipers. You can adjust the swingarm and engine's position too; phenomenal for a road bike. The V4 engine sounds every bit like a MotoGP bike. One special machine. 

Engine: 999.6cc, 65° V4, 78 x 52.3mm bore and stroke

Weight: 208kg kerb-weight

Power: claimed 181bhp @ 12,500rpm

Price: £16,932

Click here to read our Aprilia RSV4 Factory review

BMW HP4

The S1000RR was already a gem, the HP4 takes things to a new level. The product of BMW's Motorrad Motorsport division, it is jam-packed with the latest gadgets and lighter too. Despite producing a claimed 193bhp, the HP4 isn't a handful and makes light work of any race track. It features DDC: BMW's active-suspension that constantly adjusts to suit the conditions, a full titanium exhaust, forged aluminium wheels, launch control, 14-way adjustable traction control, which you can fine-tune on the move and Brembo monobloc calipers with race ABS. It has a shorter stroke than the Fireblade SP and revs faster for it. It's hard to think how it could be any better and slightly alarming to think that in a few year's time, someone will produce something that is.

Engine: 999cc, inline-four cylinder, 80 x 49.7mm bore and stroke

Weight: 199kg inc. ABS

Power: claimed 193bhp @ 13,000rpm

Price: £16,700

Click here to read our BMW HP4 review

Ducati Panigale S

The most innovative Ducati since the Desmosedici RR. The 1199 Panigale feature's Ducati's all-new monocoque chassis. It's a tiny, tiny motorcycle and 11kg lighter than the 1198 SP it replaced. Believe what you like about the monocoque chassis and while Ducati haven't enjoyed the racing success they're used to, that doesn't take anything away from what the Panigale S is. It's a hardcore, hard-revving, brutal superbike. The S version features Öhlins NIX30 forks and a TTX36 rear shock, much like the Fireblade SP. It also features a quick shifter, traction control, ABS, forged aluminium wheels and a slipper clutch. Not as easy to ride on the limit, but taking the oversquare engine all the way to the redline is one of life's treats.

Engine: 1198cc, 90° v-twin, 112x60.8mm bore and stroke

Weight: 193kg

Power: claimed 190bhp @ 10,750rpm

Price: £19,995

Click here to read our Ducati Panigale S review

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