Published on August 7th, 2012 | by Boris




Bloody magazine editors and their bloody sportsbike fetish. Where do they get off inflicting this hyper-powered insanity on me? Do they not understand that I am a shallow and feckless swine? Do they not care that I am weak and worthless and submit to temptation like a fat chick surrenders to chocolate? I’m sure that if they could hear my licence ripping itself to shreds in my wallet they’d have second thoughts about making me ride these wretched, thrice-damned sportbikes.

Still, they’re right about a few things. There’s something really special about getting your evil on when you’re race-crouched on a Fireblade that’s painted up like firework, and singing the song of your people.

Precision is rewarded, courage is remunerated and daring is reverenced. String a few hot corners together on a cool winter’s day and you’ll understand why the Fireblade is one of the world’s great motorcycles. Thread it through some Peak Hour traffic and you’ll really appreciate the engineering that’s gone into making something so satanically powerful, so incredibly manageable at the same time. And for me, that’s the bottom line.

This is not me. I have not owned bright red leather pants for decades and I do not ride as slow as this fellow. I'm probably slower.

This is not me. I have not owned bright red leather pants for decades and I do not ride as slow as this fellow. I’m probably slower.

The 2012 Fireblade has come a long way since the model first loosened the bowels of riders the world over 20 years ago. Today’s bike is refined, well-mannered, beautifully finished and a pleasure to ride…at all speeds. If something goes to crap, then it’s probably your fault. The bike is simply too well-mannered to pull any kind of weird shit on you.

And I do have to tell you this: I got the bike fresh from Austest. Honda had pulled it out of a crate, put oil into it, carted it to the track and let the fast boys lash the newness out of it all day. Then, when I called out of the blue and asked if I could have it for a month cos it was in the Horror’s garage waiting to be picked up and returned, Glynn Griffiths, Honda’s long-suffering and ever-so-accommodating marketing manager said: “Sure.”

Such faith in one’s product must not go unremarked.

Bravo, Honda. Well, played.


Start mileage: 723km

End mileage: 2560km

Fuel economy: 5.3litres per 100km

Easy to read. Especially when you are screaming in horror at how many laws you're breaking.

Easy to read. Especially when you are screaming in horror at how many laws you’re breaking.


The noise it makes whenever the revs hit 4000rpm. Things deep `inside the ’Blade torque-rich heart wink open and it begins to roar in a most pleasing manner. I also loved the riding position, which was not too onerous on my wrists despite all the commuting I subjected them to. But the greatest thing about it is it’s a Honda. It was always gonna start. It was always gonna idle and it was always gonna go around corners better than I ever could.


Honda is making great use of LEDs on their bikes and fitted them to some nice stalks that came out of the Fireblade’s fairing. These stalks also happened to have mirrors on them, which was thoughtful. But these mirrors only showed me my forearms and elbows, which was good, because it reminded me to turn my head each and every time I changed lanes. The dash was also a lesson in how to make monochromatic LCD dashes legible and easy-to-read. Yes, I am speaking to you Italians. Capisce? Oh, and it doesn’t have any electronic assistance. No anti-lock brakes. No traction control. Nothing. Nada. Excellent. Bring your A-game.


Keeping your licence. No, seriously. Sportsbikes are only engaging when they are being used in a…um, sporting fashion. If you’re happier pfaffing about like a ballroom dancer, you’ll be far happier on something that isn’t designed to cut hectic laps at your local racetrack. On the road, as little as half-a-centimetre too much throttle could have you writhing under a pile of disaffected police dogs when they finally pull you over. Just so you know.


The Motor Traffic Act. C’mon, guys. It’s just not Christian forbidding Fireblade owners from doing 200km/h up the Kiewa Valley Highway on a sunny afternoon when the roads are empty and the birds are singing. What are you? Communists? Oh, and the headlight sucks. C’mon, how hard can this headlight business be? Or doesn’t anyone ride at night anymore?


Pipes, if you wanna make some noise. I found the suspension fine, but I would certainly fit the Metzeler K2 Racetecs again. The Fireblade was fresh from Austest and it was fitted with some nicely scrubbed-in K2s. Wow.

See that exhaust rubbish? You will throw it in the bin because you are a righteous man.

See that exhaust rubbish? You will throw it in the bin because you are a righteous man.

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About the Author

is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.

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