year 1992 (EU)
year 1992 (EU)
year 1993 (US)
year 1994 (EU)
year 1995 (EU)
year 1996 (EU)
year 1996 (EU)
year 1996 (EU)
year 1996 (US)
year 1997 (EU)
year 1998 (EU)
year 1998 (EU)
year 1999 (EU)
year 1999 (EU)
year 2000 (EU)
year 2000 (EU)
year 2002 (EU+US)
year 2003 (EU)
year 2003 (EU)
year 2004 (US)
year 2004 (EU)
1992 and 1993
''I am not completely sure... without steering muffler won't be possible.......
steering geometry is almost equal to 250cc...'' These words was able
to hear after first test ridings and those words were giving perfect
picture about character of first Blades. First Blades were crazy,
mad, almost too much for normal mortal. In that time buyers requested
raw power and welcomed everything what was increasing level of adrealin.
They wanted to be scared. In fact they didn't know anything else.
Handling sport bikes in those times , besides a few exemption, meant
that riders had both hands full of work.
Honda decided to go different way, the way of total control. CBR900
was brisk, had power - mostly on the top and was more then just a
bit wild. And rider fell in love with it. Properties of Blade qained
for its owner lot of respect. CBR900RR despite higher price was on
the top of selling statistics. Bike with dry weight 185 kg and 893cc
engine produced 124 HP, which was power ration 0,67 HP/kg. But what
was more important, finally was available bike was fast as 750cc and
turning round as 600cc. Because of front 16'' wheel the bike after
passing any roughness pretty slaped the rider, therefore many rider
applyed steering muffler.
In that time started to sell knee sliders in wider amount, which
wasn't usual before -finally you could reach by knee the road on
stronger bike. Hardly any owner left the bike without any adjusting.
Front rotors often broke after 15,000km. Also exhaust muffler didn't
last much longer, especially when bike used during the winter and
that's why many owners aplyed tune exhaust. Many owners of firts
Blades trimed their bikes with plexiglass, small mirros etc. But
there weren't many able to handle the bike completely, the bike
was simply too much. That is why many rider liked to use Blade for
traveling. But nobody admit it. In mechanical way were Blades OK.
It proves many first models you that can see nowadays on the streets
and also their price. There was so interest for Blades than many
people got their bike in 1993. Honda succeeded - created fenomenal
bike. In 1993 was changed just color cheme and its price slightly
Honda improved Blade for the year 1994 just slightly . In comparasion
tests that year was put together Suzuki RF900, Kawasaki ZX-9R and
Triumph Daytona 900, everybody appreciated how Blade ran like sprt-touring
machine and equal was dominating in sport branch.
Probably most remarkable change was rebuilded front part with more
rounded lights. Shape improved aerodynamics. Engine stayed without
changes, but original piston cover head was replaced by magnesium
one. Supply of power was the same - light power delivery in bottom
but a lot of power in midlle and upper range. There were different
things which moved possibilities of 1994 Blade forward. Bike had still
front 16'' wheel and was still litllebit unstable but changes in this
year includes udjusted gearbox and wider rear tire 180/55 instead
of former 160/55 so unstability was decreased. Number of Blades admires
extended. Even riders who dreamed about VFR750 attracted potential
of RR handle comfortable also longer distances. People loved Blade
couse its look. The price was tremendously increased in spite of all
Blades were sold out immediately.
The tradition is that Honda renovating motorcycles every second year.
Same was with CBR-RR, which could sleep calm in success. Honda for
this year changed color scheme and logos and also was improved stability
by side stand. For those small changes potencial customer had to pay
again littlebit more. But Blade had so good position on market that
would be sold out even for much higher price. Demand for was repeatedly
higher than Honda was able to produce new bikes. Position on the market
didn't threaten not even Yamaha FZR1000 EXUP nor heavy GSX-R1100WS
and neither Kawasaki ZX-9R which was introduced in 1994.
Honda admited nervousness from year 1996. Blade was a long time on
the top of selling charts. And rumours were spreading about new competitor's
models . Yamaha replaced FZR1000 Exup by YZF1000R Thunderace, Thunderace
paper data were impressive. Honda therefore adjusted Blade like never
before to be able keep fighting with competitors. Honda introduced
1996 Blade on the end of 1995. Though the look wasn't too different
from previous model it was practically new bike. 893cc engine disappeared
and was replaced by 918cc one. Dry weight droped down 1 kg on 184
kg and power increased for 5 HP on 128 HP. Supply of power was more
flatten. First test spoke about what kind of miracle Honda achieved
with rebuild of CBR. Bike was faster, better manageable a hard ride
was easier. Honda keeped first position among supersport bikes.
Thunderace was more powerful (145 HP) byt with dry eight 198 kg
was too heavy. Tilt the bike into the curve required a lot of effort
and the hoods made bike much bigger than CBR. But FireBlade buyers
were pleased, because otherwise Honda wouldn't improved its CBR
so much. Except new engine CBR got lighter hoods, different riding
position and lower tank (about 10 mm) and higher handlebars, narrower
and stiffer frame and lighter crank and bent cooler and more durable
exhaust. Front 16'' wheel stayed without change. Changes in engine,
which included stiffer crankchaft, smaller alternator etc. brought
3 Nm moreof torgue.
Blade couldn't compete with bigger rival Yamaha Thunderace by its
HP although Honda for this year didn't make any changes. Slowly was
coming up take down from the throne.... The only change on 1997 CBR,
except color scheme was replace steel exhaust muffler by new aluminum
one. The result: lost 1 kg of weight on 183 kg. Blade was still most
requested bike in this class.
If incoming of Thunderace in 1996 scared bosses of Hnda , incoming
of R1 in 1998 shocked them completly . YZF-R1 was one of the most
classified model in modern history, photo of grey colored prototype
bike were made already in summer 1997. Only few months before YZF
Yamaha developing department was forced to make something really radical.
Honda knew about new Yamaha many months and it reflected on the new
1998 Blade. Blade went through much bigger changes than Honda originally
planned. First time after introducion in 1992 eppeared on the market
serious competitor. Weight of Blade decreased on 179 kg rebuild was
engine (according Honda 80% of parts), had more comfortable behavior,
but increase of HP was minimal - 2 HP on 130 HP.
Reaction of engine was better thanks to the new and bigger carburator.
Gearbox was slightly adjusted, which cuse increasing of top speed
about 6 km/h. Also engine cooling was improved, frame was lighten
( about 4 kg ) and also was improved stability by lowering of fork
offset. Fork was changed, new bail arm had higher torsion stiffness
and diameter of front rotor was increased from 296 to 310 mm. Also
were used new four piston brakes. Look was changed thanks to a new
headlight and remodeled hood. In comparison with previous model Honda
improved model at least 10 %, but it wasnt enough. The world was captured
by R1 fever. Blade riders fast forgot on RR when saw new R1. Yamaha
engaged by modern look and although it was only 2 kg lighter then
Blade looked liket would be lighter at least 50%. In streight competition
R1 wasn't clear winner. Wasn't so stable, didn't turn so easily and
in lower speed falling into the curves too much, but it didn't avoid
RR from second position.
Honda suffered by succes of R1. In this year had to satisfied by second
place and centralized forces on new model for year 2000, with this
model Honda wanted to get back on the top.
Honda in order to decrease selling bad success of Blade had to sell
much cheaper than R1. The only one difference between 1998 and 1999
model was color scheme. The big changes were on the way. Chief Engineer
Baba-san and his team spent on development of new Blade thousands
and thousands hours. They put togeter few functional models, some
with 1000cc engine some with tuned 918cc engine and some with 929cc
engine. Development was classified and press was speculating if Honda
decline from slogan "Total Control" and will go the way
of increasing the power, which was required in that time.
Honda hoped in 2000 for regain the top. But Yamaha didn't sleep and
also modernized its R1. Blade again had to be setisfied by second
place although the lead of Yamaha was only huge.
Introducing of new CBR was holdn in Spain in circuit Estoril. Improved
Blade during the ride offered great amoutn of safety and was fighting
with R1 by specific way. Was more sophisticated against R1, more calm
and seemed also bit more boring. During the ride wasn't so wild and
didn't provide same portion of adrenalin as before, although was remarkable
capable. During eight years of existence become Blade more settled
and calm. Almost was able to say that bike which settled down fundamental
stone for supersport bikes haven't belonged into the same category
as R1. Almost was able to qualify Blade as sport touring bike. High
power on the top of range disapeared, same as slightly unstable controllability.
New Blade finally got what needed long time ago - 17'' front wheel.
This together with front fork /upside-down/ calm down the front part
of the bike and subsequently allowed more hard manoeuvring.
Blade represended highly sophisticated unit and could overcome R1
but ... Yamaha didn't leave anything to the coincidence and for year
2000 also modernized its R1. R1 lost 2 kg and got titanium exhaust
muffler together with many improvements in engine and chassis. But
Blade also prepared itself good, got increased engine from 918 on
929cc and decreased weight to 170 kg. New was also fuel injection.
Honda finally increased power - it reached at least on the paper 152
HP, but was proven it was too optimistic - checks on dyno showed more
realistic value about 135 HP.
After the Suziki in 1996 stoped with production of GSX-R1100 its position
parial adopt GSX-R750. GSX was fighting with other 1000cc bikes. Altough
the engine size was a class smaller, on the circuit was bike great
and nothing could compare with. Bike was wild and thrilling. But the
world turned away from 4 cylinder 750cc - in superbike class started
to dominate two cylinder bikes and modern 1000cc, 4 cylinder offered
great fun on the roads for average people. Suzuki which in the past
determined the rules with models GS1000 and by GSX-R1100 needed 1000cc
race replica with sharp chassis and racing geometry. Shortly said:
Suzuki needed bigger version of GSX-R750. And thats why GSX-R1000
was born. R1 and Blade were instantly on second place - GSX-R1000
become immediately new etalon of this class. Suzuki was better than
any bike in the class. R1 and Blade weren't modernized for this year.
Situation looked for loosing the postitions on the market for both
bikes. In big number of tests was standing following: GSX-R, R1, CBR.
But selling statistics were completely reverse. On the top of saleability
was still CBR, following by R1 and then GSX-R. Better on the circuit
doesn't mean better in sell...
Blade's competitors will have serious difficulties.... Engine is bigger
954cc and dry weight droped down on 168kg. Frame is more stiff and
intake grew up from 40 on 42mm. 2002 Blade came round to its original
wildness. Racer will surely fastest on GSX-R. But who can use the
possibilities of the bike on 90% Blade will be unique. Contrary former
model is much better, has higher power, sharper controllability and
better riding position. And what is very important the bike give great
amount of confidence in what is not GSX-R1000 so good. Also Yamaha
introduced new R1. About R1 everyone talks in superlatives. Unfortunately
for Honda after all the changes it's still not enough... For first
place still competing R1 and GSX-R. In spite of Blade is still best
selling bike. Blade obtains customers by wide spectrum of capabilities.
You can use it such race replica, sport tourer and even for everyday
For year 2003 Honda made just small changes, which includes only new
color scheme (but still the Blade is best selling bike of hypersport
class in this year).
And that's why everybody waiting what will bring 2004, when expected
significant improvements of Blade ....
Completely new motorcycle based on MotoGP bike. Used many new innovation
approaches. New engine, new radial brakes, higer output (+150HP),
exhaust under the seat. Personally I don't like too much design
of front part (lights). Only direct competition with new Kawa ZX-10
and modified YZF-R1 will show who the king of hypersport class will
Courtesly by Moto.cz