The Honda CBR900RR fireblade is a motorcycle that has proven itself again and again ever since it’s inception back in 1992.
Sure it has come a long way since then, with a quick jump in capacity early on just being the start of the improvements.
We are going to take a look back at the Fireblade to show the qualities that have made it a staple in the Honda lineup for the last 30 years as well as a staple for many sport riders.
Let’s get started.
Tadao Baba was a former racer and Honda engineer; he had been in the peak of sportbike craziness throughout the 1980’s and was all too aware of the focus on straight-line speed over and above handling for corners on the race track.
He knew what a new sportsbike needed to be the best and knew how it needed to feel and behave, having had the experience of being a successful racer himself.
Having the skills as an engineer meant he was the perfect man to oversee the project.
We knew we must go back and start again with sports bikes. We wanted to give riders something over which they had ‘total control.Baba interview
Originally destined to be a 750cc it was only by chance that it became known that an 893cc engine would fit in the chassis, it could also be centralized perfectly so it would be well-balanced.
Fireblade translates to the word ‘lightning’ and the idea was that the bike would perform in terms of handling and be light weight like a 600cc but have the power comparable with a 1000cc liter bike.
It was weighing in at around 185kg and pushed out 120hp so it was fulfilling its mission from the onset. It led the way in lightweight sport bikes and is considered one of Honda’s best bikes of the 90’s.
In all honesty however, the original Honda CBR900RR Fireblade wasn’t a revolutionary bike in terms of style or design. It had the usual Honda build quality but was a pretty simple, no frills machine built with a purpose and a vision.
The foundation was laid for a constant development that would turn the Fireblade into a legend with a 30 year long lifespan.
The Fireblade quickly gained popularity and once the test riders and magazines had done their reviews the public were keen to get their hands on one.
It was Baba’s vision for a sportsbike that could handle corners as well as it did the straights that was the bikes selling point.
The big liter bikes were incredibly fast but were shown up on twisty roads and on the track as the Honda could dive into the bends and get out of them with ease.
The Suzuki GSX-R1100 weighed in at 25kgs heavier than the Fireblade and to have a bike with such an impressive power-weight ratio was quite the revelation for the time.
It is the power-weight ratio that kept the Fireblade ahead of the pack for years to come, sportsbike handling and what was to be expected from a sportsbike was set by the introduction of the model in 1992.
MCN in 2006 and again when they revised their initial piece in 2021 gave the original 1992 Fireblade a 5 star rating.
The first Fireblade may not have any of the tech of today’s modern sportsbike but it will still knock your socks off if you take one out today.
It changed sportsbikes forever, without any standout special features. It was a bike with fantastic build quality that came with performance and reliability as standard, made by a team that was led by a man who knew what a sport rider wanted.
The model would go on to have many great racing successes and remains in production today with a bigger displacement.
Let’s take a look at the original specs versus the new models specs and then some of the more notable race wins.
Specifications – 1992 Honda CBR900RR Fireblade
Engine and Transmission
- Engine – Four Stroke, transverse four cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
- Capacity – 893cc
- Bore x Stroke – 70 x 58mm
- Compression Ratio – 11.0:1
- Cooling System – Liquid Cooling
- Lubrication – Wet Sump
- Exhaust – 4 into 2 into 1
- Induction – 4 x 38mm Keihin CV carbs
- Starter – Electric
- Max Power – 122 hp at 10,500rpm
- Max Torque – 116.9 hp at 10,500rpm
- Clutch – Wet, multi-disc, cable operated
- Transmission – 6 speed
- Final Drive – Chain
Chassis and Dimensions
- Frame – Aluminium, twin-spar frame with heavily braced aluminium swingarm
- Front Suspension – 45mm Showa cartridge, adjustable spring preload and adjustable rebound damping
- Rear Suspension – Pro-Link, Show damper, adjustable spring, preload and rebound damping, compression damping
- Front Brakes – 2 x 296mm discs, 1 piston caliper
- Rear Brakes – Single 220mm disc, 1 piston caliper
- Wheelbase – 1405mm
- Rake – 24 degrees
- Trail – 89mm
- Length – 2055mm
- Width – 685mm
- Height – 1110mm
- Seat Height – 810mm
- Dry Weight – 185kg
- Wet Weight – 206kg
- Fuel Capacity – 18L
Specifications – 2022 CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP
Engine and Transmission
- Engine – Water-cooled, four stroke, DOHC, inline 4-cylinder
- Capacity – 999.9cc
- Bore x Stroke – 81mm x 48.5mm
- Carburation – PGM-FI
- Compression Ratio – 13:1
- Max Power – 214 horsepower at 14,500rpm
- Max Torque – 113 Nm at 12,500rpm
- Starter – Electric
- Clutch – Wet multi-plate, hydraulic clutch, cable operated
- Final Drive – Chain
- Gearbox – 6-speed
Chassis and Dimensions
- Frame – Aluminium twin-tube
- Front Suspension – Ohlins NPX S-EC 43mm telescopic fork
- Rear Suspension – Ohlins TTX36 S-EC Pro-Link swingarm
- Front Brakes – 330mm disc with radial-mount Brembo 4-piston caliper
- Rear Brakes – 220mm disc with Brembo 2-piston caliper
- Caster Angle – 24 degrees
- Trail – 102mm
- Wheelbase – 1455mm
- Length – 2100mm
- Width – 745mm
- Height – 1140mm
- Seat Height – 830mm
- Kerb Weight – 201kg
- Fuel Capacity – 16.1L
Honda Fireblade Variants
1992 – First Generation
The first Fireblade set out to change the game for supersport motorcycles and it did just that by bringing a high-performance bike to the masses.
It was lighter and more compact than the prior 4-cylinder 750cc machine and it was a phenomenal ride, quickly becoming the leader of its class, outshining the competition.
1994 – Second Generation
The 1994 Fireblade was there to re-generate interest with eye-catching paint work and mean ‘tiger-eye’ headlights.
It was built to be better handling than the predecessor, with a new fully adjustable front fork at the same time the engine was created to be more efficient.
Power output varied among models in the early years from 106 horsepower to 124 horsepower so Honda was working on ensuring the engine would be consistent for all riders.
1996 – Third Generation
For 1996 the Fireblade received an engine upgrade which saw the capacity increase from 893cc to 918cc.
It was also lighter and had a stiffer frame than previous versions; had a fuel tank reshape and rider position was adjusted for better control.
1998 – Fourth Generation
Over 80% of the parts for the 1998 model were redesigned, following the ethos it needed to be as lightweight as possible. The bike was stripped down piece by piece and what could be replaced with a lighter version, was.
This included a new swingarm and swingarm pivot, which was also more rigid and the dimensions overall changed to provide more stability at high speed.
2000 – Fifth Generation
The fifth generation saw the first major engine redesign, it was a full rebuild from the ground up and it was the first in the series to receive a fuel injection system.
The displacement increased to 929cc which increased the overall maximum power output.
The frame and bodywork was also completely overhauled and the end result was a more aggressive machine and once again it was more lightweight than any of the Fireblades so far.
2002 – Sixth Generation
This was the last generation to be named the CBR900RR and it came with a new capacity of 954cc and increased power output once again.
It was an excellent performing model, the best handling and was more responsive than any previous iterations.
The 2003 edition marked the last of the models overseen by Tadao Baba who that year was leaving the project to retire.
2004 – Seventh Generation
The all new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade stepped into the ring with a bigger engine, new frame and new mission to target the WSB.
The displacement was increased to 998cc to help with this mission, the engine was also filled with new features so that it could prove itself as the best in the class on the track
Two independent injectors per cylinder helped to increase the power output, and the direct air system aided a quicker throttle response.
The new engine opened up the Fireblade for increased performance on the track but also the street.
Michael Rutter won the first race at BSB in 2004 and the Fireblade gained popularity as a result.
2006 – Eighth Generation
In 2006 the engine was once again revised and it was now more advanced than ever and more efficient at the same time.
The front brake disc was increased in size but the overall weight reduced, resulting in further boosted performance.
In 2007 the iconic Repsol edition was released and it remains one of the best-selling models today with the livery being passed down to even the 125cc version of the CBR.
2008 – Ninth Generation
For the ninth generation Honda was aiming to be the best in its class in rideability, design and also output.
The 2008 bike also got the first assist slipper clutch. It was a peak design that was holding back no punches for the competition.
2009 – Tenth Generation
Honda weren’t going to stop developing the Fireblade to make it the best of all time and in 2009 the model was the first ever to receive electronically controlled combined ABS for a supersport motorcycle.
It was a huge technical feat that ensured optimal braking in all situations.
2010 – Eleventh Generation
This model simply refined the 2009 version to make it a more enjoyable and comfortable ride.
2012 – Twelfth Generation – 20th Anniversary Edition
New suspension, new fuel injection system was about all that graced the 20th Anniversary Edition different from the previous generations.
It was a model that had found its place and was comfortable to stay in its lane for a while at least with the exception of a few cosmetic changes.
2017 – Thirteenth Generation – 25th FireBlade Anniversary Edition
5 years passed and the 25th Anniversary model gave Honda fans something to shout about. It was an all new Fireblade and a worthy one to carry the name at that.
The bike was lighter than ever, had an overhauled bodywork for a sleeker and more aggressive design and it was packed with modern tech that gave the bike a whole new level of comfort and rideability.
This included three possible riding modes which changed the engine output to suit the rider. The 2017 edition also saw an increase in power making it the most powerful Fireblade up until that point.
2022 – Current Version – 30th Anniversary Edition
For the 30th Anniversary Honda are celebrating the Fireblade and all of its success both in terms of sales and on the track.
There is an all new logo commemorating the 30th Anniversary and new paint scheme to boot.
Keyless ignition, serial numbers are stamped near the top yoke and there is a specially engraved Akrapovic muffler fitted.
Honda claims the new Fireblade is the closest you can get to a Superbike with the exception of being a professional racer.
It is a pretty special motorcycle for those who love the Fireblade and those who have never experienced one equally.
Major Fireblade Track Successes
While the first Honda CBR900RR Fireblade has its roots in 1992 the first of the notable racing wins didn’t come until the third generation model in 1996.
- AMA Superteams title in 1996
- 2 wins at the Isle of Man TT in 1998
- Honda’s 100th TT victory in 1998
- Suzuka 8 Hour endurance race won each year in 2004, 2005, 2006
- 8 victories to win the FIM WSB Championship in 2007
- Four victories at the Isle of Man TT and first for the Superbike and Senior Podium in 2007
- Victories in the Superbike, Senior and Superstock classes at Isle of Man TT in 2009 and 2010
- Between 2008-11, 13 WSB victories were won and 46 podiums
- Suzuka 8 Hour endurance race was won 3 out of 4 years
- 3 WSB wins
- 5 Isle of Man TT wins
- 2 FIM World Endurance Championship wins
- 5 WSB wins
- 5 Isle of Man TT wins
- 3 FIM Endurance World Championship wins
- FIM World Endurance Championship with 4 race wins
- FIM Endurance World Championship win
- First round of British Superbike Championship win
- Victories in the Spanish and Italian Superbike Championships
Honda Fireblade Top Speed
Back in 1992 the very first Honda CBR900RR Fireblade had a top speed of around 164 mph.
The 2022 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP 30th Anniversary edition is limited to a top speed of 186mph as per the the Japanese and European manufacturers gentleman’s agreement.
How much is a Fireblade new and used?
The all new 2022 30th Anniversary CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP is priced from £23,999/$28,500.
The standard 2022 CBR1000RR-R Fireblade is priced from £19,999 in the UK and the CBR1000RR is priced from $16,500 in the US.
Prices vary for a Fireblade on age, condition, model version and a whole host of other factors.
In the UK you could buy a Fireblade starting from £1,800 and then go all the way up to full retail price.
If you are looking for a first edition you can spend around £4,000 to pick one up in good condition like this one here.
In the US you can pick up a Fireblade from $2,000, with $6,000 being able to pick up a newer model in great condition from around 2007 onwards.
However, there are some early generation models from $2-3,000 that would make for a great investment.
First generation models are becoming more sought after particularly with the 30th Anniversary so it would come as no surprise to see these shoot up in price pretty quickly.
Love it or hate it, you cannot dispute the Honda Fireblade as the ultimate supersport motorcycle for real world riding.
It doesn’t matter if you only ride Kawasaki or whether Yamaha is your go to manufacturer, the fact is the Honda CBR900RR Fireblade started it all.
How many motorcycles see a 30th Anniversary and are better than ever before with the original premise still very much visible at the core?
It has been a phenomenal machine for every generation, and with each generation it has offered something more than the one before.
Yes there are faster motorcycles out there, sure there are more torque driven monsters out there and arguably some sexier bodyworks, but how many of them have the full package backed by 30 years of development?
If you want a reliable supersport motorcycle that will dominate the road and track then the Fireblade is for you.
Last note, I don’t think there is any livery more iconic than the Honda Repsol livery.