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Digital Subscriptions >  Blog > Urban, Timeless: Honda CBR900RR FireBlade

Urban, Timeless: Honda CBR900RR FireBlade
Classic Motorcycle Mechanics

Urban, Timeless: Honda CBR900RR FireBlade

Posted Friday, May 31, 2019   |   122 views   |   Aviation & Transport   |   Comments (0) This Honda CBR900RR-S is coming up to 25 years old, but take a walk around its flanks and it looks so clean, spotless and almost point-perfect.

I’ve always wondered why we are so caught up in time, our perception of it and how it changes the way we view things. 


Apparently, time is all relative according to physicists and the higher you are, the quicker you age. Which (for me at least) makes me wonder if the further up the ladder a motorcycle is when it is released, does this mean it becomes unfashionable more quickly?


The reason I ask is here before me (and before you in pictures). This Honda CBR900RR-S is coming up to 25 years old, but take a walk around its flanks and it looks so clean, spotless and almost point-perfect. Yes, it has a butch bulge here and there, especially along its twin-spar mid-riff: and that super-wide tank seems faintly ridiculous from some angles, but it’s still a handsome beast. Granted, I would suggest that the cover star from September’s CMM – the Yamaha YZF-R1 – looks more modern still, but the FireBlade in this its purest form still gets the pulse going before you even swing a leg over it.


Time and previous owners have been kind to this example. There’s no sign of the tat that often would be fitted to mid-1990s sports machines. You won’t see mini-indicators here, or slip-on exhausts (often not matched with a re-jet of the carbs) you’ll also not see different rear-sets. In fact, the only aftermarket accessory you’ll see on this minter of a FireBlade is a useful and helpful rear hugger to stop mud, muck and road detritus being flung onto that very standard rear shock.



So, this Honda CBR900RR FireBlade is a real slice of unaltered motorcycling from a time of Brit Pop, Toy Story, Windows 95 (has that ever been bettered?) and wondering what the hell Robbie Williams was going to do after he left Take That.


I recall this era and this model of bike extremely well. I’d lusted after FireBlades since the very first model but the 1994 RR-R an RR-S were the refined version of the original and arguably these were the 900cc Blade at the top of its game. A local lad would fly around the roads of my homeland of Thanet, Kent, on a brand-new (but well-used) red/white/blue ‘foxeye’ RR-R, complete with paddock jacket, jeans, hi-top basketball boots, John Kocinski replica Shoei and shagged-out Pirelli Dragon supercorsas. He was the man and that was the bike. It was even the right colour of Blade: until the arrival of the Urban Tiger in my local Honda dealership.


For some reason, this colour just did it for me.


It looked stunning. Blades were flying out of the dealerships at the time and it seemed that the popular red/white/blue bikes were in demand, so the dealership had to get this new colour in. Soon, Urban Tigers were also prowling the local roads.


Who cared that it said ‘beige’ on the V5? A year after seeing them in the flesh out in their urban domain, I finally got to ride one. New boy me at the weekly motorcycling newspaper was thrown the keys to a brand-new RR-S in Urban Tiger scheme and out I went. Scared feckless that I was on the number one sports machine in the land at the time, I went pretty slowly at first, before realising that this was my opportunity: I opened the taps and topped the ton before the bike coughed and wheezed onto reserve. Lesson learned: my fellow journos were notoriously tight and lazy and always ran every test bike on vapour, rather than fill the ruddy thing up.


Fast forward to 2010 and – after being the serial owner of a number of FireBlades and Fireblades (they dropped the capital ‘b’ when the CBR1000RR came out in 2004) I finally managed to bag myself a tatty RR-S. Foolishly, rather than keep the thing and make it nicer, I sold it. And now we fast forward a further eight years and I can see the bike that could have been – Andy Bolas’ immaculate Urban Tiger.


As is always the case with memories, seeing Andy’s lovely Blade doesn’t only make me think of my own, instead, it sets up a harp glissando in my head and we rewind back to the late 1980s to recall where the CBR900RR actually came from.


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