2012 Honda Fireblade released

First official pictures and details of the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR

IT might have been leaked a month ago but Honda has finally revealed all the details of the revamped 2012 Fireblade.

The Blade doesn't qualify to be called a 'new' model – the engine and chassis are basically unchanged – but there are enough updates to make it a significantly different proposition to its predecessor.

Launched almost exactly 20 years on from the unveiling of the original Fireblade, the new bike isn't quite the same game-changer, but Honda's approach is interesting. Rather than chasing for near-200bhp power levels or trying to make headlines with even less weight (two routes that would have been extremely expensive to pursue) the firm is capitalising on the Blade's reputation for quality and controllability and honing it to further improve its abilities in those areas. “Smoother” seems to be a key word in Honda's press info...

Key changes are remapped injection for 'smoother' power, a new design of Showa rear shock (the 'Balance Free Rear Cushion'), which Honda also describes as 'smoother', a new second-generation electronic steering damper (it's probably smoother) and a new slipper clutch. Honda hasn't said much about that, but we're guessing it will be smoother...

There's also the addition of 'Big Piston' Showa forks, new instruments, stiffer 12-spoke wheels and new styling that's not only more up-to-date but which Honda claims reduces front-end lift.

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