Review Honda CBR 1000 RR-R Fireblade SP 30th Anniversary - 30 years of evolution

Motorcycle Sports
Rider on the TrackPhoto byMotorcycle Sports

The Honda Fireblade is celebrating 30 years since the launch of its first iconic model in 1992. For this year, keeping the same exterior shape, the model has been improved where it needed it most, both in base and SP versions, and we're lucky enough to meet the special anniversary version at one of our favourite circuits: Donington Park!

For the youngsters it might be just another super sport bike, like so many others, full of power and technology. But for middle-aged riders, the Fire-blade acronym means a lot! Since 1992 many versions have been released, leaving many two-wheeled fans sleepless, in "golden" years of motorcycling (also sometimes tarnished by not so good aspects), when owning a sports bike was very normal, petrol was affordable and there were few radar controls. Nowadays it is easier to find this kind of bikes on track days, which are always full, and if the detractors can say that the recent Fireblade generations have done little or nothing in the SBK World Championship (which is true, although that seems to be changing), on the other hand the sportive success has been huge in many other competitions, and we talk about the Endurance World Championship, British SBK Championship, Isle of Man and other Road Racing events, among others. And it was precisely in one of the most famous British circuits that we got to know the most recent generation of the model, in a weekend where we were with the stars Glenn Irwin and John McGuiness (interviews already published in our website) a few days before they went to the Isle of Man TT. And we also witnessed a remarkable "concentration" of Fireblade motorbikes, with bikes for all tastes and ages, but that we'll leave for the next issue.

MODEL 2022

We will not talk much about the specifications of this model, but we will explain the improvements operated for this year, especially in this SP version, the most refined and where we find for example the electronic suspensions. Born in 2020, this generation has changed a lot of what was the Fireblade paradigm, having been totally built thinking in the competition. For 2022 it kept the power of 160 Kw at 14.500 rpm (about 215 hp of power), but the model was improved in what most journalists (and many customers)complained about, the lack of power at low speeds for so much "horsepower" afterwards at high revs. So, for a better acceleration and cornering traction the intake ports, air filter box, intake funnels and exhaust mid-section were revised, for a better response in the mid-range gears. The rack was given 3 more teeth for a total of 43 (as the transmission was also too long) and the quick shifter system was updated. Honda's traction control was also optimised according to feedback given by the brand's riders -more sensitive to the actions on the right grip - being these the main changes in the model. A Fireblade SP that features a diamond-like aluminium frame and RC213V-S style swingarm, a 6-axle IMU and a 3-level electronic steering damper are also unchanged. Suspension comprises Ohlins Smart Electronic Control (S-EC)units and braking mounts top-of-the-line Brembo components for this segment. There is no lack of TFT colour instrumentation, which allows the adjustment of all driving modes, power mode adjustment, engine brake, HSTC system (traction control), anti-kickback control, start mode and also ABS, with the ignition through the Honda Smart Key system.For this year both SP trim (red and black) have gold rims (PVP of 27. The base version, simpler in terms of suspension and brakes, but also improved in terms of engine costs 23.300 euros. As for the SP 30th Anniversary version of these pages, it pays tribute to the original 1992 Fireblade, with a really remarkable set of colours that is impossible not to like. The more attentive will notice that the blue seat of the original version has also been kept, but there are more little extras: when you switch on the ignition you see a "Ring of Fire" animation while the screen loads, the exclusive serial number of each bike is laser engraved on the top table and on the 30th Anniversary logos - on the fuel tank cover, on the Smart key and laser engraved on the Akrapovic silencer - giving an even more exclusive touch to this model. All this at a price almost similar to the "normal" SP version, 27.700 Euro.


...or were we not in England! This exclusive presentation was part of a BSB race weekend, so we only had the track free on Friday afternoon, when it started raining! Worse still when the Donington track is one of the worst asphalt tracks in the country - with lots of rubber strips covering the gaps - which translates into a skating rink when it rains. The solution: change wheels on all bikes, so we only rode the Fireblade (2 turns of riding) with rain tyres! Of course, just to piss it off, it stopped raining immediately, so we rode almost dry with rain tyres on the 2nd shift, on a shorter version track where we didn't do the Melbourne Hairpin. But we loved the track, very "old school" and fluid and undulating like few others in the Hollywood, Crainer Curves, Old Hairpin and Starkeys Bridge areas. And on the inside straight the SP lifted its wheel in exactly the same place (there is a small bump not visible to the naked eye) as those of the SBK World Championship riders! As for the Fireblade in this '22 version, it's still a pretty radical supersport for road use - especially in terms of riding position - but it's much more enjoyable to ride on the track due to the changes made. The engine "wakes up" earlier and so we can leave the corner already with power -and without scaring- around 6.000/8.000rpm, while in the previous generation we would probably have to turn a gear below. The shorter transmission also helps in that respect, so now the Fireblade is easier and more fun to ride for most users. The inline four-cylinder engine is still smooth but singing well through Akrapovic, and the improved two-way quickshifter is so good it's impossible to think of a way to make it even better. Faced with slippery conditions and with Pirelli rain tyres fitted, we used only riding mode 2 (equivalent to a Sport mode), which already offered all the available power but in a smooth and progressive way, with the electronic suspensions adjusting very well to the ride and to the asphalt surface, len-do well to the irregularities. In these conditions, only the ABS sometimes acted too much (we needed to adjust it), and ended up prolonging some braking due to the excessive slipping of the rain tyre on an already dry track. Even so, the traction control worked very well, offering safety without emasculating a journalist who was already imagining himself as a pilot again, while trying to follow the great McGuiness on track.

Despite not having many changes for 2022, the Fireblade received the main changes that were required, so it is much better on the track and, we bet that, equally more enjoyable on the road. Agile, fun and with an excellent build quality, it adds very exclusive details in this SP Anniversary version, and we hope to ride it again soon, this time only in dry conditions. A bike that will look good in any garage, if possible with many track-days in sight, and even better if it has a well maintained 1992 version by its side.



4-cylinder in-line liquid-cooled 1,000 cc

POWER160 kW @14,500 rpm

Torque113 Nm @ 12,500 rpm

GEARBOX6 speeds

FrameAluminium double-brake chassis

TANK16.1 litres

FRONT SUSPENSION4-33 mm Ohlins NPX electronic inverted telescopic fork

REAR SUSPENSIONOhlins TTX36 S-EC monoshock, electronic

FRONT BRAKETwo 330 mm discs, Brembo 4-piston radial calipers

REAR BRAKE220 mm disc, 2 piston callipers


REAR TYRE200/55 ZR17

Wheelbase1,460 mm


WEIGHT201 kg


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