When launched, the Honda CBR900RR FireBlade wiped the floor with its competitors, not by being more powerful (it wasn’t) but by being considerably lighter. That was way back in 1992.
Rivals were all well over the considered unbeatable benchmark of 200kg, and the first Honda CBR900RR FireBlade was a ridiculously slim 185kg, which threw it to the top of the handling pops in one giant leap. Right where it belonged.
Even in today’s nuevo-post-Modern-modernism, (yes, I invented that word, what of it?), that very first Blade represents a wild ride in addition to being a surprisingly practical motorcycle too.
Well, sort of.
Chiropractors have been buying cheap property on the Gold Coast on the strength of that bike for a long time, but let’s not get caught up in who shot who when it comes to a 28 year-old motorcycle.
The bike was considered to boast dangerously fast steering when it was launched – but times have moved on and modern motorcycles are much more flighty, requiring all sorts of techno-wizardry to keep the rubber side down.
Proven technology made light weight over brute horsepower – very much the Honda CBR900RR FireBlade’s philosophy, basically giving rise to the doctrine that is held today. Light is might.
The simple fact is that the first Blade worked extremely well.
The in-line four, 16-valve, liquid-cooled grew from 893cc to 918cc by 1998 but it always set the motorcycle alight with plenty of power at any revs and a dab of character too.
In 2020 the Blade displaces 999cc and blurts out an amazing 160kW. But, it owes all that to a little bike that could, way back in 1992.
Snag’s career in motoring journalism spans 29 years with stints at major bike mags Australian Road Rider, Motorcycle Trader and AMCN along with contributions to just about every other outlet worth a hill of beans. He was editor of Unique Cars magazine and hosts his legendary podcast ‘Snag Says’ when he gets off his date.