Driven: HONDA CBR 1000 SP by Mieke Oelofson
The ‘Blade and the Beautiful
Good-looking, well built, always presentable, a proven pedigree, impeccable manners, throaty voice – these are just some of the things that us ladies look for in a ma- I mean motorcycle. And since ladies are notoriously hard to please, finding one steed that ticks all those boxes can be a bit of a challenge.
Mr Sato, LPL for the SP, said that the new Fireblade promises customers “The pure joy of riding”, and like a true gentleman it delivers on that promise.
Yes dears, the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP is the new crush. In red, blue and white livery for the 25th Anniversary Edition, the ‘Blade is very easy on the eye, with lines that will make you swoon.
The SP model has a stiffer price tag than the base model, and the question on everyone’s lips is whether it’s worth it. The semi-active Öhlins suspension is a real treat - one I’ll get to in a moment - and one I highly recommend. The SP is also fitted with a smooth as silk quick shifter with auto-blip, which I dearly missed when I got back on my ol’ faithful.
When the inner hooligan comes out, or conditions demand it, the Brembo radial callipers are the backup you want, and will suit even the most aggressive riding – if that’s your thing.
Since modern ages allows us to straddle horse-power and not sit pretty in side-saddle, we can confidently swing a leg over to really appreciate how lean the ‘Blade has become. The ladies from The Litas who had their pictures snapped with this dream machine agreed - through all the gasps and giggles -that it really does not feel like a 1000cc.
The riding position is less aggressive than the other litre bikes, but don’t let that lull you into thinking this bike does not pack a punch. Honda aced the challenge of power-to-weight ratio and presenting the ‘Blade at just 195kgs all fluids intact, it has really gone a long way to put Honda back in the running for top spot. On a 2nd gear rolling start I quickly learnt that backing down is not an option. I scooted my booty as far back as it would go, twisted the throttle and was amazed at how easy the bike is to Ride Fast. The screen unfortunately does not provide a lot to tuck behind and that can become a bit unpleasant, even for someone of my stature. The bike offers a languid cruise at 180kmph while you gather your eyeballs back in their sockets, but a quick downshift or two has it hurtling ahead again. The fireworks start fizzling out upper 200’s, but who’s really counting by this point.
The new dash auto adjusts to ambient light, and although it initially represented a bustling magazine rack, the 3 display modes allows you to drown out the noise and pick what you want to see. The rest of the on-hand controls is rather straightforward, my only gripe being the placement of the hooter and indicator so close together. The ladies who prefer to keep their manicure long might take a while to figure out a fool proof way of working around it, but in my few rides on the ‘Blade I eventually gave up. Hand signals seemed more effective than having to look down to locate it. Inadvertent hooting just attracts unwanted pervs on the road, and the Citi Golf drivers will think you are signalling a dice.
Unlike men who require an operating manual to get the most out of every ride, the SP’s adjustable suspension is easy to play with and understand. 4 main settings (General, Brake, Corner & Acceleration) to fiddle with in a -5 and +5 range and an easy backup to default means no more asking the boys for a hand. And it can be done without having to be stationary, so no having to pause the action for too long to tweak a setting or a chafing bra strap. Safety first though, so be sure to keep those lovely eyes on the road.
The standard end can might not be the prettiest to look at, but it’s not the worst either. Although it only slightly caresses your ears - and unless you’re really after a performance exhaust – there’s no rush to break open the piggy bank just yet.
The ‘Blade SP will definitely find itself on many a lady’s wishlist.
Honda CBR 1000 SP
Price R404 000.00
Engine 998 cc inline 4
0-100 < 3.0s
Top Speed > 280km/h (we did not limit)