2008 Honda Fireblade launch - technical stuff

All the bits that make the 2008 Blade special

THE NEW 2008 CBR1000RR Fireblade is a totally new bike from the ground up. Engine, chassis, fuel and suspension components have all been redesigned from scratch. Honda claim they've built the new Blade with the road rider in mind, rather than the out and out racer - but even so - the Honda still bristles with some of the newest technology available. Here we look at some of the highlights:

New, more compact and aggressive-looking nose cowl

The new '08 Fireblade's bodywork features a noticeably more compact, mass-centralised design that shortens and lightens the front and rear of the machine. Honda claims this helps the new Blade change direction faster.

New ram air ports integrated into front cowl

The new Fireblade's ram air intake with new ports moulded into its front cowl. These two new forward-mounted intake ports replace the large, centrally located port that took up room between the steering head and the top of the radiator in the previous Blade.

New rear-view mirrors with integrated indicator lights

The Fireblade's front indicators are now integrated into the leading edge of the CBR's rear-view mirrors, to give the bike a cleaner more futuristic look. Should be more visible, too.

New, more compact instrument panel design

New lightweight instrument panel keeps the rider informed what's happening at all times, with an analogue tacho and LCD speedometer. There's an LED warning light for when you've only four litres of fuel left.

New smaller, lighter and more compact seat and tail cowl

Styled on the RC212V MotoGP racer, the new Fireblade's seat and tail have been shortened and lightened. The number plate hanger's easily removable - good news for trackday addicts.

New 2.5kg lighter, more compact engine

The Fireblade's engine features a newly designed, more compact head that is 15mm shorter and 950g lighter in weight than its previous configuration. The complete unit weighs 2.5kg less than the outgoing Blade.

Newly developed slipper clutch

The Blade's slipper clutch utilises a set of tapered cams to separate and disengage the clutch pressure plates when downshifting back torque is fed to the clutch from the rear wheel. The new clutch prevents rear wheel hop when changing down from high speed.

Compact, new underslung exhaust system

The new 2008 Fireblade has a compact, mass-centralised exhaust system, which is now concentrated almost entirely underneath the engine. Honda claim this also helps with the bike's maneouvrability on the move.

New lighter and narrower 4-piece cast aluminium frame

The new frame is significantly stronger than the unit it replaces - with lateral rigidity increased 13%, torsional rigidity up 40% and vertical rigidity up 30% - as well as being 30mm slimmer and more compact overall.

New gull-wing design hybrid aluminium swingarm

The new swingarm is 11mm longer than the one it replaces, with a 16mm longer set length that ensures high-speed tracking while still maintaining essentially the same short wheelbase as its predecessor. Like much of the bike the swingarm's been developed in conjunction with Honda's MotoGP programme.

Triple-spoke wheels with monobloc calipers

The new Fireblade's hollow-section triplespoke cast aluminium wheels feature new thinner-wall spoke castings for 240g of reduced unsprung weight at the front and 310g at the rear. The Fireblade's front disc brakes now feature new four-piston brake calipers of a stronger and lighter new monoblock design.