Niall's Spin: Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade review

I believe you get back exactly what you put in with the latest Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade

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Whether you're a track day ace or a quick road rider, 'predictable' is the word I'd most associate with the revised 2006 Blade. Predictable maybe, but  definitely not boring. And let's face it, how could a 176kg
superbike putting out a claimed 169bhp ever become boring?

Out of all the 1000s to date I've found the new Fireblade fits my 11-stone, 5ft 8in frame best of all. It has the most agreeable riding position for doing any distance plus I can tuck in nicely, even if the screen offers very little in the way of weather protection. It also has the fewest quirks and, although this may have made previous Blades bland, it now has lower gearing which gives it more oomph in every gear.

The new model also gets sharper steering, which requires less effort when you need to make sudden direction changes. The best bit, however, is the yoke-mounted HESD, or Honda Electronic Steering Damper, which now has to work harder as the front gets lighter with the extra acceleration in the lower gears. The real test of any bike's stability for me is the Railway Bend section at Knockhill is a fast, undulating, fourth gear corner, through which every bike is a challenge. On the HESD-equipped Fireblade you barely need to hang on. Point proven, I reckon.

So I've sung the Blade's praises but, if I owned an '04 or '05 model, would I chop it in for the new bike? Well, the answer's no. Sure, the bodywork and tail section is a bit sleeker but the performance is essentially the same apart from a few more rpm and punchier acceleration thanks to the lowered gearing. If I already owned a Fireblade and had money burning a hole in my pocket I'd fit a one tooth smaller front sprocket and get Dream Machine to give me Stobart paint job. But if you are in the market for a 1000cc sports bike, the Blade is right up there.