Charley Speed Reviews the Honda Fireblade
The Last Superbike, from an era when adrenalin and brutal, unalloyed power compatibly mixed to create a highly addictive drug, is still the best stimulant on the market. Charley Speed puts the Honda Fireblade to the test.
I had a little trip down south looming. An old friend of mine had invited me over to peruse (vaunt) his ever-expanding collection of motorbikes. Despite running a highly successful Soho-based motion graphics company, he still felt the need to capture his inane ramblings via helmet-cam during his various commutes into town and upload them to the internet.
With his burgeoning popularity among the online motorcycling fraternity came an ever-expanding garage. Having duly responded to various requests for equipment reviews, said garage had been filling up with all sorts of goodies.
Now, not willing to be outdone, I deemed this the perfect opportunity to procure something fast and exotic to arrive on. Having only recently gained my full motorcycle licence, I had yet to acquire anything of notable merit. Does the Fireblade count? Honda’s irredeemable bad boy, in its various guises, has been scaring the bejesus out of novice riders such as myself since 1992.
Otherwise known as a CBR1000RR, as the name suggests, it has a 1 litre engine that puts out 180 bhp, yet only weighs 200 kg. For those who prefer the sanity of four wheels, let me bestow a little perspective here: that’s like a Nissan Micra with the power of a Bugatti Veyron. So, you know, it’s fast.
I should also mention that it’s the last of the full-fat (insert hairy-arsed) superbikes available. Luxuries like ABS and traction control are, apparently, for pansies. A simple turn of the key and a press of the start button are all that’s required to fire up the 186 mph road rocket, and it’s refreshingly simple when compared with some of the Italian offerings’ keyless faffery.
Having successfully negotiated Honda’s extremely shiny (read fucking slippery) workshop floor, the time to exercise restraint was nigh. These machines command the sort of respect usually reserved for nature’s fiercest and, for once, it really is all in the wrist. Head down, arms tucked, straight sections of tarmac disappear with frightening haste, acceleration is superbly linear and, as always, it’s in the twisty stuff where I find out just how competent this motorcycle really is.
Master of all? It’s tempting, and perhaps deserving, because as I came to rest outside Mr Vlogger’s scaled-up toy box, I spied what appeared to be his very own, carbon Kevlar-clad track day special Honda Fireblade. And trust me, there’s no higher praise.
Charley Speed studied drama and managed to blag his way into several films and most recently appeared alongside Elle McPherson as a judge on Britain’s Next Top model. A respected and popular presenter, well dressed, well-travelled and well fit, Charley’s main side passion in life is motor vehicles. Any of them. Follow him on Twitter at @CharleySpeed.
Visit honda.co.uk/motorcycles for more information on the Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR.