RETRO RIDE: Honda Fireblade (1998)

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How was the ‘Blade? Over to our Maja…

In the 30th anniversary year of the Honda Fireblade it only seemed appropriate I finally got to ride one. It happened that I had the opportunity to take a 1998 RRW or Sc33 Fireblade out for a spin. I was a little bit apprehensive, to say the least. I didn’t know what to expect from a 24-year-old motorcycle. I was worried about how it would handle the corners and whether I would be able to reach the floor when stopped. Not only that, the fact that its owner was following me on another bike was somewhat unnerving, too.

Maja and the 1998 Honda Fireblade
Maja and the 1998 Honda Fireblade

With no electronics to help the ride, I started rather gingerly. I was warned it liked to pull wheelies if pushed too hard. There was some talk about the 16-inch front wheel but I really wasn’t paying attention anymore. I was busy eyeing up the bike in detail, noticing the smart RR vinyl on the fairings, the appropriately named fox-eyed headlight, and a few tweaks over the years such as the Yoshimura exhaust and the Ohlins suspension; I felt I was ready to go for a spin.

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The roads I chose were familiar to me and I knew there were quite a few miles to cover before I had to face the first decent bend. By then, I figured, I would have settled on the bike and started to have fun.

I was wrong. I didn’t need to settle on the bike to start having fun. We gelled instantly and I was surprised at how comfy it was. I can see how one would happily cover many miles and indeed, I know people have been touring Europe on the models of this era. I mean, there is even a ‘boot’ under the seat to store your essentials.

Maja and the 1998 Honda Fireblade

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The seating position means the knees aren’t bent too tightly and nowhere near around your ears; the upper body weight isn’t resting on your wrists only; and if you have to rest, you can lean on the tank with your belly. Not what I imagined riding a sports bike would be like. The throttle was very responsive; the clutch was light; just the brakes took a bit of getting used to. Luckily, I figured that out before I actually needed them.

The bulky look of the bike had me worried that it might be heavy to manoeuvre when parked, but that was not the case. I hadn’t realised one of the advantages the Fireblade had over the competition wasn’t the power but the fact it was so lightweight. Post-1998 Fireblades especially had a bit of a change and were the year in which the power went up and the weight went down. They also made them more comfortable at the same time.

Maja and the 1998 Honda Fireblade Maja and the 1998 Honda Fireblade

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Not something I was concerned about for my quick spin, but it is worth noting that it doesn’t have a fuel gauge. It does have a fuel reserve switch so when you start to run out you have a few more miles to find the next fuel station.

Despite its large composure compared to modern bikes, it doesn’t feel big when you are riding whether it is at a leisurely pace or a slightly more spirited one. It is incredibly nimble and a joy leaning into the corners and powering out of them. I needn’t have worried about the corners as it was a joy taking them on and I found myself getting excited at the sight of the next one. Even a couple of hairpins were fairly easy to negotiate.

As the day progressed so did my confidence and the realisation of how easy the Fireblade was to ride; my grin was getting bigger. The sound of that exhaust was mesmerising and I kept the revs up to hear more of the noise.

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Maja and the 1998 Honda Fireblade

The ride was exhilarating for many reasons, and it sure is filed in my memory as one of the most enjoyable rides on a bike that isn’t spotted on the roads very often. It sure did attract some attention when I stopped for a coffee break.

A fantastic day’s riding on some of the most wonderful roads in North Wales on a machine that made me appreciate the evolution of the Fireblade in a whole new way.

Who’s Maja?

‘Maja is an adventurer by heart. From a young age she thrived on the unknown, pushing the boundaries and exploring new frontiers whether in travel or in business. Her zest for life and adventure is both contagious and inspiring. She is running a motorcycle tour business sharing her passion for traveling on two wheels and exploring the beautiful roads worldwide. Originally from Slovenia, she has made North Wales her home for the last 20 years. Join Maja on one of her tours at www.majasmotorcycleadventures.co.uk

#morebikes #retrorides #motorcycles #maja #motorcyclesportandleisure #fireblade


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