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Honda CBR900RR FireBLade

FireBlade Therapy

(from our Travels with Guido series MT #353, updated July 2020; pic by Ben Galli Photography)

Why aren’t there more sports bikes at rehab clinics?

It’s funny how some weeks you get engaged with a detail in your life and all of a sudden it seems all-consuming. Like you’ll pull a bike out of the shed to work on it and then three pop up in your social media feed. Then another gets ridden down the street past your house.

I’ve been having one of those weeks with FireBlades. There’s a first-model 1992 example lurking somewhere in the depths of the shed and it was long overdue for a gallop. So it gets pulled out into the sunlight for the first time in a few months.

Despite the inattention I’ve been lavishing on it, it fires up after a couple of stabs on the starter. Lovely. It’s a good thing they can’t talk, as you can imagine the complaints: “Oh, you remember me, do you? How come the Blackbird gets more attention than I do? And do you even know what a fresh bottle of oil looks like?!” Multiply that by 20 and you’d soon be going round the twist.

No matter. The non-talking Blade and I roll out the driveway and go for a bit of blast. Just 10 kay or so today, but enough to get the assorted juices flowing. It’s a nice reminder that these things, in good condition, are still a thoroughly enjoyable thing to play with.

Because we’re in Victoria with its 25-year rule, we’re on club plates which mercifully keeps down the running costs. We cruise home and all is right with the world.

The trip was a reminder to pull out a story I did on this series a few years ago and pop it up on my web site at allmoto.com. Its one of the ‘signpost’ models in modern sports bike history and I admire its lively and forthright designer Tada Baba.

Of course while I’m doing this, the algorithms in my web browser have been hard at work and pop up an Ebay ad for an original brochure for one of these things. This is exactly how conspiracy theories start. Someone reckons they were talking about fried cauliflower and next thing they know ads for McCaulis start popping up on their smart phone. The bastards from Google – or the CIA as they seem to be interchangeable – have been listening in.

Clearly that, or something similar, is what happened with the FireBlade brochure. Maybe I even said “a FireBlade brochure would be nice” over breakfast that morning.

Of course I have to buy it and fork over whatever ransom is being asked (actually it wasn’t too bad at $40), knowing full well that it will be carefully filed away among the other brochures and books and lost to the mists of time.

If you think $40 for a brochure is a little rich, hold on to your wallet. Someone in the USA just paid $35,000 (that’s Oz dollars) for a zero-mile first model FireBlade. Yes, seriously. As the auction house explained, zero-mile CBR900RRs are probably more rare than zero mile RC30s or even NR750s. Even so, it seems nuts to me. I still struggle with the concept of paying more than the equivalent of new price for any motorcycle.

In among all this, there’s a note on my Faceplant feed from that someone has responded to the Blade posts. Say hi to Al, who has come up with the first genuinely new excuse for buying a sports bike in the last few decades: I need it for my post-motorcycle-crash therapy. Seriously.

“I bought this one while still on crutches after a spill on my '99 Valkyrie,” he explains. “The boss asked, ‘What do you want that for?’

"’Rehab,’ I told her. ‘I need it to get my knee to bend all the way back.’
“Must've worked because the damaged knee bends further than the good one.” Al, you’re my hero.

 

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