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Honda CBR 900 RR Fireblade review

Urgent printed matter

A call from Italy: the invitation to an undisturbed rendezvous with the Honda CBR 900 RR Fireblade. The result: the first test.

Such an opportunity should not be missed. February 15, 2000, Claudio Corsetti, head of test at the Italian motorcycle magazine, Moto Sprint, is on the phone: "Hello Germany, come to Bologna if you want to test a Fireblade." Without a three-way catalytic converter, but it should too one or the other gray imported CBR 900 RR find their way to Germany. And the opportunity for an initial assessment. Off to Italy, the Fireblade is waiting. Their unequivocal mission: to close the gap to the Yamaha R1 and Kawasaki ZX-9R. The old Fireblade, the undisputed queen of the super sporty big bikes for many years and continuously refined and improved from 1992 to 1999, could no longer withstand the pressure of the two competitors.
Bologna, Italy. Refuel, the precious piece, and off to the scales: 198 kilograms ready to drive. Wow. The Blade breaks the magical 200 kilogram sound barrier. A Yamaha R6 weighs just two kilograms less. Then the dynamometer. For reasons of topicality, not the Bosch test bench otherwise used by MOTORRAD, but that of our Italian colleagues. Therefore, the specification of the power on the rear wheel, not the corrected power on the clutch as usual. As soon as the German Fireblade version with Kat is available, MOTORRAD will measure the Honda again. Promised. Will it then press more than the 133 horsepower measured in Italy on the rear wheel (around 140 on the clutch) on the test stand roller? Performance fetishists are sure to be a little disappointed now. After all, Honda promises 152 hp for the CBR 900 without a cat.
Please stop crying for some withheld horses, boys and girls: This Blade is like the fire department. If you want to know, it catapults you from 0 to 200 km / h in nine seconds, the propulsion only ends at 274 km / h, until this finale furioso the four-cylinder turns breathtakingly to the limiter with no noticeable performance loss. Hand on heart: More than enough power for a normal motorcyclist life, which in most cases takes place on the country road.
And there this radical-looking, petite motorcycle cuts a splendid figure? a measured and respectful use of the throttle is required. Then it quickly becomes clear that the stupid, with her powerful, surprisingly gentle engine and the now even better shiftable gearbox, is also suitable for enjoyable gliding, power cruising of a very special kind.
For a super athlete of this caliber, the seating position can be described as consistently successful. Since there is no pinching in the back of the knees, the legs do not have to be spread unduly wide thanks to the narrow tank, and the wrists do not hurt even before sitting on. And this in spite of the steering halves attached under the upper triple clamp. Vibrations? Noticeable in the handlebar ends and footrests, but never annoying. Windbreak? That is also comparatively good. No less suitable for everyday use: the Blade’s characteristic storage compartment under the pillion seat, Honda was conscious of tradition.
Not so with another tradition. The 16-inch front wheel and 130/70-ZR 16-tire used for years had to give way to a 17-inch model with the more common 120/70-ZR 17 tire size. Kudos for that. The wobbly turning behavior that was repeatedly criticized in the past, the lack of accuracy of the old people ?? no more trace of it. The CBR 900 can now easily find its radius even on bumpy stretches, and it is pleasantly neutral and easy to handle, even though, despite its low weight, it does not achieve the ease of play of a Supersport 600 series. The suspension elements, which are not adjusted too tightly, offer sufficient comfort and, almost more importantly, feedback for the driver. That instills trust right away. And the righting moment when braking in an inclined position, a sticking point with earlier CBR 900 models, is kept within absolutely tolerable limits. In general, the front brake: something really nice. Not too aggressive in response, the Nissin four-piston pliers deliver precisely adjustable, brutal deceleration if required.
Hitting the handlebars, an issue for all super athletes in this league, is no stranger to the Honda. What a miracle, with such impressive performance and weight data. When accelerating harder on undulating asphalt, the feather-light front of the CBR tends to twitch slightly, but during the entire test ?? and at a brisk pace ?? the unloved phenomenon never occurred to a threatening extent. Another, unfortunately already known from the previous model: too much play in the drive train, accompanied by a metallic clacking, noticeable when driving through tight turns. Every now and then spoils the clean line that is otherwise easy to handle.
W.ow she fights on the racetrack and against her lovely competitors? Take it, take it, dear people. The big comparison test will follow shortly. The colleagues Lindner and Co. are already scratching their hooves.

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