The modern-day literbikes are nothing short of technological masterpieces in a world that are becoming ever more cutthroat. It is becoming increasingly difficult for manufacturers to distinguish their product amongst a herd of offerings that are all equally amazing at what they do. It doesn’t matter which brand you are biased towards, you can’t simply ignore the other capable offerings that are available in the segment before finalizing a purchase.
Honda is one of the few automakers in the world that not only makes some of the most reliable and durable cars in the world but some of the most iconic bikes as well. However, manufacturers like BMW, Aprilia, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Ducati, and other companies have been competing against each other as well.
In this race of the best of the best, it was Honda that kind off dropped the ball in 2017 when they updated the beloved CBR1000RR Fireblade and gave us a product that although was a very capable machine in its own right, was obliterated by the competition due to the lack of power and electronics that could be found in abundance in any one of its immediate competitors, according to this website.
It was due to this complete lack of any attention-grabbing factor that led to a subpar offering from Honda that could have been much much more. All this was the primary reason why the 2023 Honda Fireblade was one of the most anticipated products of this year, and boy did Honda deliver.
Anything and everything that one touch is deemed to be “New” including the name, the CBR-1000 RR-R Fireblade SP, which I do understand is quite a mouthful. Now, the base model is still the standard CBR-1000 RR-R which is unchanged from the 2019 variant but it is the SP that is going to knock your socks off and is the crème of the stable.
The new Blade(I am not using the full name ever again Honda, PERIOD.) comes with a new powerplant in the form of a 999 cc inline-four that puts out a ballistic 214 Bhp at 14,500 rpm and 83 lb-ft of torque at 12,500 rpm with some extremely high tech bits in the form of titanium connecting rods, forged pistons and most importantly DLC coated camshafts which cuts down inertial weight and drivetrain friction dramatically. How effective are these DLC coated camshafts you ask? Enough for Honda to file for a patent to cry out loud.
The airflow to the engine has also been completely overhauled as the central ram-air duct now does the primary duty bringing in air volume that is larger than ever before. To prevent blockage of the air duct’s path, Honda moved on to its Smart Key system instead of the traditional key unit resulting in an overall efficient system that cools down the engine effectively. Also, the titanium Akrapovic Exhaust is another sweet detail that passersby will appreciate apart from the sweet central ram air intake.
The Blade SP is the most track-focused offering from Honda’s stable and therefore one would expect nothing short of the best electronics on it, Does it deliver though? Let’s put a big checkmark right alongside that statement because Honda has brought in their A-game. The 2023 Blade SP comes equipped with a ride by wire throttle, five power modes and nine levels of Honda Selectable Torque Control to fine-tune the rider’s set up for street or track riding.
A six-axis IMU manufactured by Bosch constantly monitors the lean and pitch angles alongside wheel speed sensors to provide the rider with three wheelie control modes as well as three engine brake levels. It also comes equipped with a start mode that helps in launching the bike from a dig cleanly while the two-way quick shifter sees you fly through the gears with the two available ABS modes: Sport and Track, acting as a safety net if you ever misjudge your braking markers. All of the above-mentioned electronics are controlled via a brand spanking new full-color TFT screen with a completely customizable layout and an intuitive four-way selector that see you cycle through the settings in no time.
The Blade SP comes shod with Öhlins Electronic Control semi-active suspension that proves to be the perfect balance between absorbing those pesky bumps and potholes and providing confidence-inspiring stiffness to take each corner faster than ever before. The suspension can have three settings stored on memory which can be switched on the fly thus tuning the suspension perfectly for every sector of the track. The winglets in conjunction with a completely new fairing setup have resulted in a bike that has a class-leading drag coefficient of just 0.27.
All of the factors alongside many other smaller improvements come together in conjunction to put forth a product that is extremely compelling. Honda has upped the ante by bringing forward a machine that is leaps and bounds improved from the outgoing model and is filled to the brim with tech and safety features that are at par or even more than it’s competition. It would certainly not be a stretch to say that Honda is back, and back it is with an engine roar so loud that the competition needs to be worried. VERY WORRIED!