2006 MotoGP world champ, Nicky Hayden presents the 2017 Honda Fireblade SP and Fireblade SP2 at the Intermot in Cologne, Germany. The bike is simply stunning...
Honda have unveiled the new Fireblade SP at the Intermot and as expected, the machine is lighter and more powerful than its predecessor and also gets a full suite of electronic rider aids. ‘All 1000cc sportsbikes are extraordinary examples of high performance engineering. But for us, for our new Fireblade, we want extraordinary to be the pleasure of handling and controlling such a machine. Its true purpose - wherever it’s ridden - is to enjoy something that is not normally experienced in everyday life, something that cannot be surpassed,’ says M. Sato, Large Project Leader for the 2017 Fireblade SP. ‘To go to next stage Total Control, we have added an electronic control system that is there to support the rider,’ he adds.
So, the new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP gets an all-new 5-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which measures exactly what the machine is doing, in every plane. It works the Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) traction control system, which manages rear wheel traction via the FI-ECU and ride-by-wire throttle. The new ABS (also managed by the IMU) offers rear lift control (RLC) and the ability for hard, safe trail braking into corners. Depending on settings, any difference measured between the front and rear wheel speeds also triggers the bike’s wheelie control system.
The new Fireblade SP’s electronics work in conjunction with its onboard Öhlins Objective Based Tuning Interface to adjust both the compression and rebound damping force of the bike’s semi-active Öhlins Electronic Control (S-EC) 43mm NIX30 front fork and TTX36 rear shock. For the rider this means access to a whole new level of handling ability. This system works just as well on the road as it does on the track and according to Honda, brings in a whole new standard in terms of superbike handling. And the Fireblade SP’s TFT LCD digital instrument display, which has three modes (Street, Circuit and Mechanic) provides all the information required by the rider for his specific usage and type of riding.
With revised cam timing and uprated internals, the new Fireblade SP’s inline-four has been engineered to rev harder and higher, and has a much higher compression ratio as compared to its predecessor. The Honda mill now produces 189bhp at 13,000rpm and 116Nm of torque at 11,000rpm, which is more or less in the same league as power and torque figures quoter by other manufacturers for their litre-class superbikes. The ’Blade SP also comes with a quickshifter fitted as standard, along with an autoblipper and slipper clutch. Overall, the bike is 15 kilos lighter than its immediate predecessor and has a wet weight figure of 195kg.
The Fireblade SP’s twin-spar aluminium chassis has also been tweaked and optimised for improved rigidity and balance, and has a stiffer swingarm to match. With a new, lighter rear subframe, redesigned wheels and Brembo brakes with monobloc, radial-mount 4-piston calipers, the Fireblade SP leaves no stone unturned in its quest for providing massively improved high-speed handling and cornering.
With all-LED headlamps and taillamp, slimmer and more aggressive bodywork and beautiful tri-colour paintjob, the new Fireblade SP amps up its style quotient and is now easily one of the best looking superbikes on the planet. With the new riding modes, ‘fast’ delivers full power and linear throttle response (with lowest levels of traction control intervention), ‘fun’ delivers a more moderate response in first to third gears, and ‘safe’ modulates power output from first to fourth gears, with correspondingly higher levels of electronic intervention.
If you thought Honda would stop at new CBR1000RR Fireblade SP, you’re wrong – there’s also the higher-spec Fireblade SP2, with which Honda probably intend to take on machines like the Aprilia RSV4 RF, Yamaha R1M, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, Suzuki GSX-R1000R and Ducati Panigale R etc. The Fireblade SP2 is a road legal ‘homologation special,’ which uses the Fireblade SP as a base for a bike that’s closer to a proper, full-on racebike. The SP2 gets revised engine internals (bigger intake and exhaust valves, more valve overlap) and goodies like gold-painted Marchesini forged alloy wheels, revised cylinder heads with different valves, combustion chambers and pistons, and an optional racing kit. Visually, the bike has carbon pattern insets and gold striping interwoven into its tri-colour paint to differentiate it from the SP. Stunningly brilliant, though we’d be happy even with just the ‘base’ model Fireblade SP.
Pricing and availability details for the 2017 Honda Fireblade SP and Fireblade SP2, coming soon.