First thoughts: Honda Fireblade and Fireblade SP

We've got a full review on the way, but first here's what immediately struck us about the new Honda Fireblade

TWO FIRSTS for me today – a ride on the new 2017 CBR1000RR Fireblade and Fireblade SP, and a ride round Portimao Circuit in Portugal. And they’re both very serious indeed, with lots to say about them.

Portimao is a very complex, technical, fast circuit, and I spent the morning just trying to work out what tricky corner was coming up next.

But the new Fireblade made it all seem easy. Starting on the base bike with road tyres, we spent a couple of sessions settling in. First impressions are of a physically small bike, especially at the front, and a very flash new TFT dashboard. Our bikes came with the optional quickshifter, and it was a breeze to snick up the box on the power, while the auto-blip function on downshifts is super-slick.

The engine feels a good bit stronger than before – but it’s by no means a scary monster. The same ease of use is there as before – but more power together with a serious weight reduction program, puts the Blade right back in contention.

Later on in the day we rode the SP version, and it offers a much more committed track package. The Ohlins electronic suspension moves the chassis up a level, with a more secure, controlled feel to wheel movement on the brakes and out of corners.”

We’ll have much more on the new bike in the full test, coming atcha as soon as the snappers have unloaded their instamatics, and I get my brain de-frazzled…

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