FIRST RIDE: 2019 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade

Honda had celebrated the 25th anniversary for its CBR1000RR/Fireblade milestone via the introduction of not one, not two but three different variants of the Model Year 2017 CBR1000RR Fireblade motorcycle.

The three variants are the Fireblade CBR1000RR Standard; Fireblade CBR1000RR SP and Fireblade CBR1000RR SP2. The Standard variant features a black chassis, is equipped with Showa’s BPF inverted front forks, a titanium muffler, a titanium fuel tank and available in two colour schemes – Racing Red and Matte Black, with Quickshifter as an option. It is also fitted with Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S21 Radial tyres. Front brakes are radial type calipers from Tokiko.

Model Year 2019 Fireblade CBR1000RR Standard variant

Both the SP and SP2 variants feature a Matte Silver chassis, are equipped with Quickshifter as standard accessory, spotting the same HRC Tri-Colour option (additional golden stripes for the SP2), titanium exhaust muffler and a titanium fuel tank. The SP variant is fitted with Bridgestone Battlax RS10 Radial while the SP2 comes with Pirelli’s Super Corsa Radial tyres. Both variants featured Ohlins’ Semi-active inverted front forks and Brembo Radial front brake calipers.

Both the Standard and SP Fireblade models are aimed at bike enthusiasts while the SP2 variant is designed exclusively for homologation as entry for the World Superbike (WorldSBK) Championship, and for that, both its wheels are lightweight alloy from Marchesini.

Of all the models available from Honda’s 25-year heritage on the Fireblade line-up, I have managed to test ride a selected few variants only. This is due to all imported CBU Fireblade bikes previously were done by parallel importers, with no official channel whatsoever.

Things are now vastly different, with the official franchise holder/importer of CBU models for the brand lies with Boon Siew Honda (BSH), buyers could now buy the Model Year Fireblade CBR1000RR Standard and SP directly from any of its four Honda BigWing dealerships – BigWing Georgetown, BigWing Setapak, BigWing PJ and BigWing JB.

With BSH being the official importer now, this fact has enable us to have this First Impression Ride for the Model Year 2019 Fireblade CBR1000RR Standard variant. What we could tell readers from our First Impression Ride immediately is the Standard Fireblade is incredibly awesome, fast and precise!

It basically performed as it is designed to be, via its “Total Control” tagline by Honda. The acceleration was superb; the Showa inverted front forks feel really planted even when riding the Fireblade on uneven tarmac surfaces and handling is simply wonderful. Best of all is its compact and lightweight overall package, making the Fireblade a great motorcycle to ride via Lane Filtering during traffic rush hour, which we tried via the infamous snarl on both MRR2 and LDP highways.

The main difference between the 2017 and 2019 Fireblade bikes is on the electronics setting options. On the 2017 model, the electronics were far more complicated to understand to the average bikers so Honda had fine tuned them to give riders more options, providing a more stable performance overall.

We didn’t have the time to go for an all-out test for this first ride but even with the short time we had the Fireblade with us, its performance really bowed us over. For the short 90 minutes (plus approximately 140km distance of excitement) we rode it, the experience gathered had allowed us to have a deeper impression of what can be expected once we are granted an actual full test with the 2019 model.

Despite that, we are still able to share some insights to the Fireblade’s performance here. For starters, its inline four 999cc DOHC engine is super smooth in acceleration, it goes up to speed within 3 seconds (not a 0-100km/h sprint) of acceleration, takes to the corners easily thanks to the Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S21 rubbers, and the rumble emitting from the bike’s titanium exhaust muffler was nice to hear too.

2019 Fireblade CBR1000RRs TFT LCD panel

The Fireblade’s “Ride-By-Throttle” was set to Mode 2 for twisty canyon and city roads, which the bike was able to control the traction well when if/when it is needed. Mode 1 is for less intrusion by the Traction Control (TC), while Mode 3 is for wet weather and slippery surface riding. The TC doesn’t really kicks in unless it is absolutely necessary. There are two options available for User-selectable TC/Power delivery settings too.

With quite a number of rush hour traffic encountered during this first ride impression, we weren’t be able to try the Fireblade at its top speed performance, and we had no plans to do that on the North-South Expressway (NSE/PLUS Highway) either as time was a factor for us in this first impression ride.

The Fireblade had a fuel consumption of approximately 20km/liter – we started with just 8 litres in the tank, and came back with the TFT LCD panel indicating a 25km range left after our 140km mileage ride. Yes, it’s all cruising speeds on our part as there’s no way we could risk going higher than 143km/h with nearly heavy traffic everywhere. 

Two of the routes we had subjected the Fireblade to were the usual Batang Kali-to-Goh Tong Jaya/Genting Highlands and the old, twisty Jalan Gombak on the return trip back to BSH KL. Fourth and fifth gears were all that’s needed for the trip up to Goh Tong Jaya and Awana areas, while 3rd gear was required for the steeper segments toward the hilltop resort zone.

The riding speeds vary between 93km and 143km/h for the said zones as there was no need to go any faster than that as the smoothness of the Fireblade ensured the feeling of being quite speedy throughout the ride.

The conclusion for our First Ride Impression with the MY 2019 Honda CBR1000RR Standard is “We Can’t Wait For Our Chance For Full A Test Ride With It” so stay tuned for that.

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