If you love Fireblades then you will
know the name Tadao Baba.
As head of Honda's research & development
team Baba-San had a dream, to produce a superbike for the masses.
in 1992, the CBR900RR Fireblade has come to dominate the litre-class
Super Sports category with a heady combination of hard-charging engine
performance and smooth, responsive handling, all in the remarkably
compact weight and proportions of a 600cc-class machine. Originally
introduced as a ‘no-holds-barred’ high-performance Super Sports machine
meant to appeal to a relatively small segment of the motorcycle riding
public, the Fireblade soon gained an astounding level of world-wide
popularity, becoming a highly-regarded best seller that played a central
part in reviving the 900cc SuperSports category.
Baba San with a vision for the future,
first started his quest in 1989. Being disillusioned with the then,
current crop of 'sports bikes' he set out to design a new breed of
sports bike, one which was light in weight, had the power to thrill,
and yet which was easy to control by the rider. Honda chief's had
originally wanted the bike to be a sport's 750 and only became the
bike we now know and love because of Baba's insistence in a big bore
sports bike, Baba San won out and the term 'TOTAL CONTROL' was born.
Somewhere in the bikes early development
the name FIREBLADE came alone, through a misinterpreted translation
from French to English for the Japanese word for lightening. In March
1992 the bike that was to change the face of sports bikes forever
was released on an unsuspecting public, The Honda FIREBLADE was here,
and was a name that was to become permanently etched on the mind's
of motorcycle riders for years to come. Happily for Tadao Baba and
Honda motorcycles the Fireblade was set to dominate not only the hearts
of rider's but also the sales charts for the next decade and then
The first 893cc Blade, sold like hot
cakes, even at the list price of £7390, and demand soon out stripped
supply, as riders could not believe just how fast, light weight, a
class breaking 185kg and easy to ride this new bike was, but in the
hands of rider's more used to the heavy weight bikes of the time;
like the Kawasaki ZX10, Suzuki GSX-R1100, and Honda's own CBR 1000F,
This new Fireblade soon found it's self with a fearsome reputation.
Over the next few years, the Fireblade saw some minor updates as the
bike received some new clothes in the shape of a redesign to the bodywork,
as the now familiar Foxeye/ Urban Tiger, came along.
Although there have been many variations
and design changes, all of which can be seen on our dedicated
model pages, the 2008 bike still shows its pedigree and lineage
when compared side by side to the first Fireblade?
The best write up we have ever found
was in MotorCycle News in 2003. The article is a must for anyone with
a love of Fireblades. Click here for
the full write up (with full acknowledgement to MCN who produced
the article). Please be patient as it takes a short while to load
- OK if you have broadband, but if you are on dial-up it will take
Honda Europe held a celebration of the
Fireblade at Donington Park on 23 May 2008, and called it Bladeday2.
CBR Firebladers were approached by Honda to provide the display bikes
in a gallery dedicated to the fireblade models from 1992 to the present
day. The great man himself was present to look over the display, and
he was happy to answer questions about the development of the blade.
Thanks Baba San. You can see the Donington picture gallery here.
Thank you Baba San, and latterly your
successor Koyoshi Yoshii, for something upon which our club is formed,
and which still lights up our soul every time we fire it up. Your
persistence proved correct, and you have produced something that everyone
knows - ask any non-biker to name a sportsbike and he will say 'Fireblade'!