25 Years of the Honda Fireblade – Every Model, Every Major Update (By MCN – Motorcyclenews.com)
Check out the 25 year history of the infamous Honda Fireblade – Every model, every major update
893cc + 185kg + 160.9mph | 122bhp @ 10,500rpm | 65ftlb @ 8000rpm
Designed by Tadao Baba, the first Fireblade broke new ground in terms of power and weight, decimating the 750cc sportsbike opposition with its agile handling and over-capacity motor.
- In 1989, Honda tested both a 749cc and 893cc Blade prototype.
- Baba insisted on using conventional and not inverted forks as they were lighter, so he designed a set of conventional forks that looked like upside-down ones.
- Honda claimed the controversial 16in front wheel (130/70 – ZR16) was a weight-saving feature.
- The drilled fairing and cowl were claimed to aid aerodynamics and further reduce weight.
- The Fire Blade name came about after a mistranslation of its intended name of ‘Lightning.’
893cc + 184kg + 161mph | 124bhp @ 10,500rpm | 65ftlb @ 8000rpm
Compression adjustment was added to the forks in a minor update that also saw the twin round headlights replaced with the foxeye units.
- Power output on early Blades varied from 106bhp to 124bhp.
- 1994 saw the unveiling of the Urban Tiger paint scheme.
- Honda made a specific spac efor a U-lock under the 1994 FireBlade’s seat.
918.5cc + 183kg + 173.4mph | 126bhp @ 10,500rpm | 67ftlb @ 8750rpm
A 1mm larger bore saw the FireBlade’s capacity increased to 918.5cc and the seating position was more relaxed, with 10mm taller bars and seat height. The chassis was also beefed up and the fairing redesigned.
- The Blade’s drag-reducing front mudguard was the same design as the one on Honda’s NSR500 GP bike.
- Phillip McCallen won the 1996 and 1997 Production TTs on the Blade.
918.5cc + 180kg + 174mph | 128bhp @ 10,500rpm | 67.2ftlb @ 9000rpm
A minor visual update saw the Blade’s engine tweaked with a friction-reducing coating on the pistons, and new clocks fitted. The chassis geometry was relaxed and the swingarm beefed up for stability.
- Honda claimed over 80% of the Blade was redesigned.
- In 1999, Sanyo Honda Britain built the Evo Blade. Costing £18,000 it came with a tuned engine, single-sided swingarm and upgraded suspension.
929cc + 170kg + 168mph | 152bhp @ 10,750rpm | 80ftlb @ 9000rpm
A radically altered Blade came with a new 929cc motor and a pivotless frame that saw the swingarm mounted directly to the back of the engine, as well as fuel-injection replacing the carbs of previous generations.
- As well as inverted forks, the 2000 Blade featured a 17in front wheel for the first time.
- The 2000 Blade debuted Honda’s variable exhaust control system.
954cc + 168kg + 166.3mph | 155bhp @ 10,750rpm | 82ftlb @ 9000rpm
Baba’s swansong FireBlade saw engine capacity increased via a 1mm larger bore, the fuel injection updated, chassis geometry tweaked and a new swingarm fitted.
- Honda retired the capital B in the name as a mark of respect for Baba leaving the project. He was presented with a piston from every model on a plaque as a retirement gift.
- The 2003 Blade was the last model to come with a hinged pillion seat.
2004/05 CBR1000RR Fireblade
998cc + 179kg + 178.5mph | 169bhp @ 11,250rpm | 85ftlb @ 10,000rpm
The Blade became a litre bike with a 998cc motor in a new chassis with Unit Pro-Link swingarm.
- Honda’s HESD electronic steering damper was debuted.
- The Blade gained radial brakes and a radial master cylinder.
- HM Plant Honda’s Michael Rutter won the 2004 Blade’s first ever race at Silverstone in the BSB opener, and also became the first rider to top 200mph at the North West 200.
998cc + 176kg + 178.9mph | 172bhp@ 11,250rpm | 86ftlb @ 10,000rpm
A tweaked engine with new pistons and an altered head boosted power, while lower final drive ratios improved acceleration.
- James Toseland took the 2007 WSB title on the Ten Kate Blade, its first world championship.
- John McGuinness broke the 130mph average TT lap barrier in 2007, with a 130.354mph lap.
999.8cc + 199kg + 172.1mph | 175bhp@ 12,000rpm | 83.9ftlb @ 8500rpm
Brand new bike had a new motor with titanium valves and forged pistons helping it make a claimed 175bhp. The chassis featured monoblock brakes and a new stubby, side-mounted exhaust.
- The 2008 Blade’s back torque limiter was the first slipper clutch to be used on a Honda production bike since the RC45.
999.8cc + 210kg + 171mph | 173bhp @ 12,000rpm | 83ftlb @ 10,000rpm
A very small update saw the Blade gain a more rigid crank and bigger flywheel to improve the engine’s drive out of bends, as well as slight styling alterations. Power, torque and weight remained unaltered from the previous model.
- The Honda Legends World Endurance team become the first team to run ABS at world championship level, using the C-ABS system at the Le Mans 24-hour.
999.8cc + 200kg + 175mph | 176bhp @ 12,000rpm | 83.9ftlb @ 8500rpm
With the motor left virtually unchanged, Honda added a bit of spice thanks to a sharper look and new Showa Big Piston forks, a new Showa shock, 12-spoke wheels and an LCD dash.
- The new dash featured a digital gear indicator for the first time.
- Jonathan Rea won the Suzuka 8-Hour on the new Blade.
- It was the last of the ‘pure’, electronics-free Blades.
2014/16 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP
999.8cc + 199kg + 177mph | 180bhp @ 12,000rpm | 84ftlb @ 8500rpm
The first SP version of the Blade arrived, with Öhlins suspension, Brembo brakes and a lighter subframe with no pillion provisions. A ported head and new exhaust headers boosted power to a claimed 180bhp.
- Honda claimed the Blade’s cylinder head porting increased flow efficiency by 6.5%.
- The SP was the first Blade to feature Brembo brakes.