Test ride: Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade – RM91,999

By thoriq, 05 February 2020

A hot weapon
“Rrraaaarrrpp! Pop-pop-pop-pop...” went the GLA45 AMG that pulled up next to us at the lights in Shah Alam shortly after we concluded our photoshoot of the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade. Though we knew right away this was the universal sign of said super hatch’s driver wanting to “test power”, the invitation came as a bit of a surprise.

We wouldn’t have been so puzzled by if we were driving something like the new Renault Megane RS featured a couple of months back instead. Nevertheless, as soon as the lights turned green, it took no more than 15 seconds for the ‘test’ to end with one clear winner. Let’s hope the challenger in the Merc didn’t feel too wounded after being smoked by something with two less wheels.

Truth be told, when you have a rev-happy 1,000cc four-banger sitting in between your legs at the mercy of your right wrist, there isn’t much of a contest to begin with. Welcome, then, to the world of the litre-class superbikes; and the machine featured here is a prime example of what’s available in this market space.

Like many of its peers, the CBR1000RR Fireblade was built with one thing in mind, and that is to conquer race tracks with ease, even if it is in a more street-friendly ‘standard’ form as featured. Having locked in some significant seat time with it recently, there’s indeed much to relish – and just a little to loathe – with this hot weapon.

In typical supersport fashion, comfort is not a high priority. This is evident once we legged over into the ‘Blade’s 832-mm tall seat and assumed the typical suspersport crouch position dictated by the swept-back footrests plus the low and forward position of the clip-on bars.

While it sounds straining, the crouch makes perfect sense once we got the ‘Blade into gear and going. Depending on how fast you go, your head’s position would either be just above the purposefully curved windshield or tucked just under it, with your chest almost resting on the tank, chin almost touching the triple clamps.


Here, the intense fitness regimes that Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow undergo between race weekends become clear, as does the need to invest in properly good gear like a full-face helmet and protective garments. Both the physical fitness and all the protection you can muster are warranted when riding something like the ‘Blade.

To put in perspective, the ‘Blade will break every – yes, ALL of them – speed limit in the country in just its first two gears, even when you’re not letting its four-banger scream all the way up to its red-line that starts just after 13,000rpm. Do that in Mode 1 and the ‘Blade’s front wheel will want to go up too.

This may be a rather ‘basic’ superbike, but there’s nothing basic about what it can deliver.

Too much? Well, this is a more street-friendly ‘standard’ variant after all, so fret not as Honda has brimmed the ‘Blade with a more balanced Mode 2 on top of a restricted Mode 3 for the rain as well. While these should keep supersport newbies in check, Honda has even equipped two customisable modes for the more experienced lot too.

These modes and settings are easy to cycle through and adjust using the Fireblade’s interactive full-colour digital dash display. However, despite being brimmed with a lap-timer feature amongst many others, it annoyingly still lacks a fuel indicator. You get a reserve fuel warning light instead that triggers when you’re on your final gallon of petrol.

That aside, there’s still much more to relish in the ‘Blade, especially when introduced on a set of twisties like the famed Genting-bound Ulu Yam route.

This is where the Fireblade’s sharpened new hardware comes into prime and works in harmony with much of the electronic wizardries it already packs – i.e. ride-by-wire throttle, traction control, engine braking, as well as cornering ABS.

For starters, there’s the adjustable Showa forks and rear shock to bask in. Even when left in default factory settings, the ‘Blade’s ride felt taut and precise, the hardware delivering rich feedback in the process too. Just don’t expect these to feel comfortable for the daily grind through the city though.

Also praise-worthy here are the Tokico anchors paired with dual-channel ABS and sticky Bridgestone Battlax tyres the suzzies are paired with. While not the much more desirable Brembo and Pirelli Diablo Rosso pairing, they’re far from insufficient at handling the Fireblade’s 189bhp output and 195kg bulk, even when hustled hard through the twisties on a Sunday morning.

Again, this is merely the ‘standard’ variation of the ‘Blade, so the highly experienced lot will find a few things lacking here compared to some of its peers. The remedy to this perhaps lie in opting for the higher-spec SP variant of the ‘Blade or perhaps the latest CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP flagship, which naturally comes at even greater costs.


As a ‘standard’ offering, this ‘Blade in particular ticks all the right boxes, especially in the eyes of those upgrading out of a middleweight machine. Best of all? It even has the style to match. Above all else though comes the RM91,999 base price tag this road-legal missile commands, which makes it much more accessible than much of its peers.

Beyond that, one only needs to contemplate spending a little extra on a few essential accessories, namely things like sliders and perhaps a paddock stand. Yes, this may be a rather ‘basic’ superbike, but there’s nothing basic about what it can deliver.

Pictures: John Tan

This may be a rather ‘basic’ superbike, but there’s nothing basic about what it can deliver.


Looks, speed, agility, and ease of mastery Not the most powerful or sharpest of the lot
SCORE 8/10















kg (kerb)


PRICE: RM91,999 (basic price)

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