2017 Honda Fireblade SP1
4th October 2016
SP2 | Öhlins S-EC | Rear lift control | Specs
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The Honda Fireblade is 25 years old, so it's only natural that the manufacturer might want to mark the occasion with something special. To that end, three new 1,000cc models are on the way; the 2017 CBR1000RR SP1, the 2017 CBR1000RR SP2 and a 2017 base model about which little is (so far) known. Here's our review...
The SP1 and SP2 have been hyped with Honda's "Next Stage Total Control" philosophy, which is really all about stuffing the bike with more electronics than the space shuttle thereby increasing the redundancy of the rider.
That said, it looks like this mobile video game has got all the right features and gizmos beloved of the current generation of techno bikers and control freaks. Check out the 5-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) which neurotically measures every possible shift in time and space and forwards the data to whichever bit of kit wants to know.
Then there's Öhlins S-EC suspension front and rear via a NIX30 fork and a TTX36 shock absorber/damper. The Suspension Control Unit (SCU), with the aid of a Bosch MM5.10 IMU gyro, monitors the roll rate, yaw rate and lean angle information. This device also checks the wheel speed, the engine rpm, the pressure of brakes, and the throttle angle, then tells the suspension how to behave itself no matter what the hell the rider is doing. It ain't perfect, and you can still collide with a passing tree. And arguably, it will only encourage us all to ride faster than we might otherwise have done. But that's ultimately a personal albatross, so keep a tight control of your right hand (and you know what we call people who don't).
There are three active riding modes and three manual modes. There a Rear Lift Control (RLC). There's Cornering ABS. There's a new liquid crystal dashboard that brightens and dims according to ambient conditions, and if you're desperate for info, you can check the three display modes of Street, Circuit (lap time, best lap, etc) and Mechanic (voltage, temp, gear position). Naturally, average fuel economy, trip fuel consumption, average speed and time after the last turn of the key plus the reserve fuel level is calculated by the onboard computer.
Beyond that, the Japanese CAD-men have been busy on their computers shaving a few grams here and few grams there, happily shedding unnecessary atoms in an effort to make push come to even more shove. We can talk about torsional rigidity and whip and flex, but you ain't gonna really appreciate it until you straddle this bike and throw yourself into the asphalt future. And when you do get your leg over the 32.7-inch (831mm) high saddle, you'll appreciate the slimmer chassis and bodywork.
Naturally, the Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), which is the factory traction control set-up, will help keep you on track as and when you lose your way. And we really ought to mention that the SP is said to be the first inline four-cylinder Honda engine controlled by Throttle by Wire (via an Acceleration Position Sensor in the switchgear). Clutchless upshifts are available complements of a quickshifter, and there's a Downshift Assist (with an auto-blipper) for clutchless downshifts.
Are you tired of all this techy stuff yet? We certainly are. In fact, we've got about as much interest in the electronic innards of this bike as we have for the circuit of the Sump TV remote control. In other words, either it selects the channel we want, or it doesn't. But then, we're not really the target market, and it ought to be remembered that biking has a long history of worrying itself with engineering detail that, for the most part, really isn't all that crucial to carry around in your noggin'.
Meanwhile, the wheels are a 120/70 R17 at the front, and a 190/50 R17 at the rear, both Bridgestone RS10s tyres. The kerb weight is around 431lbs (196kg). That compares to around 460lbs (210kg) on the 2016 Fireblade.
If you need more power, and most riders do, there's said to be an extra 11hp on tap offering a claimed 189bhp @ 12,500rpm and 81lb-ft or torque @ 10,500rpm. The bore is still 76mm. The stroke is still 55.1mm. But the compression ratio has been hiked slightly to 13:1 (up from 12.3:1).
And if that still ain't a convincing enough package, the SP2 version is said to take the 2017 Fireblade to a new riding threshold. More details as and when we have them.
As for prices, there are no details yet. But budget on around £15,000, plus or minus a little small change.
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