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A brief history of the Fireblade

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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.

Introduced 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 some.

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 ages!

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'!

 

 

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