Why We Can’t Wait For A New Honda Fireblade

Honda has revealed that a new CBR1000RR will be released in 2017. Here are four reasons why we're super excited!
Why We Can’t Wait For A New Honda Fireblade

Since its release back in 1992, the Honda Fireblade has been considered something of a two-wheeled icon. A bike that can comfortably take you down to the shops, and then set a 130mph lap around the TT course. But in recent years the CBR1000RR has been falling behind the pack. Thankfully MCN’s recent report has given us reason for hope, with news that Honda is planning to release its new Fireblade in 2017. Here’s why we’re excited.

1. The current bike is a dinosaur

Why We Can’t Wait For A New Honda Fireblade

The current iteration of the CBR1000RR has been around since 2008, and no matter how you cut it, that is too long. The bike has been given numerous updates, the most significant being the SP version in 2014. But beneath the skin, the SP is almost identical to the bike that rolled off the production line seven years ago. And with the release of the 2016 Suzuki GSX-R1000, the Honda is now the only superbike in the class without a sophisticated electronics suite.

Honda purists will probably claim that the Fireblade is ‘more raw’ and that the lack of electronics make it the last of the of the truly involving super bikes. But this lack of tech is guaranteed to affect showroom sales; only die-hard fans would choose a bike that is considerably less advanced than any of the other available rivals.

2. We want World Superbike success

Why We Can’t Wait For A New Honda Fireblade

The Honda has never been the fastest bike on track, but it is now completely past its best. World Superbike (WSBK) Champion Jonathan Rea demonstrates this very clearly. Rea, arguably the most naturally talented rider on the WSBK grid, raced the Fireblade from 2008 to 2014, hoping to secure a seat in the pinnacle of motorcycle racing, MotoGP. And in that time, the Irishman managed to hustle the uncompetitive Honda to a total of 15 WSBK wins. But even with this success, at the end of 2014, Rea had failed to secure a place in MotoGP. He quickly realised that he needed to stop wasting his time on the ageing CBR. So he made the only sensible decision, and switched to Kawasaki.

In his own words:

“I had to stop doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. To be world champion I had to make a change.”

Why We Can’t Wait For A New Honda Fireblade

Now, 15 wins might sound very impressive, but compare that to his debut season on the green machine and you can see that the Honda was distinctly off the pace. In 2015, Rea amassed an almost unbelievable 12 race wins and 20 podiums from 21 races. Whereas Honda’s new recruit, 2014 WSBK Champion Sylvain Guintoli, secured no wins and finished sixth in the championship.

Honda has an incredible WSBK heritage with names like Dunlop, Edwards, and Fogarty having previously graced its bikes, so watching the team stuggle is honestly quite depressing. As motorsport fans we need to see the Japanese manufacturer reach the top step of the podium once again.

3. We need an affordable superbike from Honda

Why We Can’t Wait For A New Honda Fireblade

In early 2015 Honda released the pinnacle of its road bike efforts, the MotoGP-inspired RC213V-S. The bike answered almost all of our prayers; a Honda with a 215bhp 13,000rpm V4 screamer of an engine, all kept under control by advanced electronics. Unfortunately, the £132,000 price tag dampened our enthusiasm somewhat.

But luckily for us, MCN has reported that as well as the new Fireblade, a new, cheaper version of the RC213V-S (the RVF1000 V4), could also be on the way. But before you get excited about an affordable version of the track-spec bike, it’s expected to cost you double the price of a new Fireblade.

And besides, the ‘cheaper’ RVF1000 V4 isn’t a dead certainty for production. Firstly, producing a second superbike (alongside the new Fireblade) would be a huge investment for Honda, so if they run into any difficulties during development, there’s every chance that the project could be axed. Secondly, is there even a market for a premium limited run superbike when modern machines like the S1000RR and Yamaha R1 are already so fast and capable?

So the good news is, even with the RVF on the table, there is still room in Honda’s lineup for a cheaper, more practical superbike, like the CBR1000RR. And we can also expect that some of the innovations from the more expensive machines will make their way onto the new Fireblade.

4. Despite being affordable, it'll still be high tech

Why We Can’t Wait For A New Honda Fireblade

Due to the potential expense and limited numbers of the RVF1000 V4, we are far more excited for what Honda has planned for 2017. According to MCN, the new Fireblade will be much cheaper than the RVF and will be receiving a complete overhaul. Lightweight engine internals, increased power, a new airbox, a new fuel injection system and a new exhaust are all to be expected. And the bike is also likely to receive an all new traction control system.

There has been no word on how advanced the system will be, and Honda has always claimed that you don’t need electronics to control a road bike. But with the competition pushing the technology ever further forward, we expect the Japanese manufacturer to pull no punches. In fact, we predict that when the bike is unveiled in 2017, it will feature a full suite of advanced electronic gadgetry. Because if there is one thing we’ve learned from Honda, when they do things, they don’t do them by half.


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