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Honda Fireblade test comparison, VTR 1000 SP-2

Everything stays different

Honda is the only motorcycle manufacturer to build two 1000cc super sports bikes according to completely different concepts. What are the effects of the big difference when driving?

Who does not know them, the arguments about the relationship between theory and practice, head and gut or intellect and feeling?

The grumpy-funny slogans with which one party wants to verbally bring down the other. "Theory is …, practice is …" "Go with the head-ridden." And: "This is how it happens when someone thinks with his gut."
Everything is inextricably linked. Nothing is better for practice than good theory; And an engineer who lets himself be guided by passion alone will not build good motorcycles any more than someone who only designs based on textbooks and specifications. And what’s more: if you want to make the pilots of "your" motorcycle enjoy a certain type of driving, you have to know the technical means and use them consciously. And who knows what he is happy about can be more happy. Like this:
It’s great. You purr through the city, slowly, quietly, somewhere between third and sixth gear. And when you leave town, you simply fold your right wrist down. The Fireblade picks up immediately. First she growls. Then she starts to roar so wonderfully and goes off like the wild pig. It feels like she gets faster at a higher pace. What a kick? in the head and in the buttocks.
Please don’t forget to look at the digital speedometer. Because the SC 50 can quickly rush through the range between 50 km / h and driver’s license withdrawal even in higher gears, accompanied by an aggressive growl from the airbox. In the, a flap regulates the inlet cross-section and thus the flow speed of the sucked in air in order to increase the torque in the lower speed range. The same purpose is served by two rollers in the exhaust, which, depending on the load and speed, connect different manifolds with each other to ensure optimal pressure conditions. The Fireblade’s pull-through benefits mainly from its extremely low weight and short gear ratio.
The SP-2 requires significantly more manual work from the driver than the Blade. Below 3000 the big pistons stamp as if they were dancing a waltz in ski boots if I turn the gas just a little too far. And even when the engine is running smoothly, it doesn’t pull through as lively as the Fireblade four-cylinder. What happens over 5000 is great. Then the two-cylinder gets snappy and really clicks in the direction of the red area. It’s almost too fast in the lower gears, not even this weird tachometer can keep up with that.
The ability to turn and perfect concentricity at low speeds are difficult to combine in a large-displacement two-cylinder. Because the SC 45 is extremely sporty, in fact a basic device for superbike races, HRC designed a light crank drive. This results in a high degree of irregularity in the rotational movement of the crankshaft at low speed, which is perceived as pitching. On the other hand, the low mass inertia of the crank drive promotes rapid revving. For performance development: The throttle valve diameter of 62 millimeters is designed for the use of performance-enhancing racing parts; at low speeds it causes low gas velocities in the intake tract. Power and torque suffer. The air flap, which is hidden in the central air inlet of the SC 45, hardly helps. In higher engine speed regions, a large inlet then promotes high peak power.
Yes yes, it’s ok. As soon as I sat on it, I noticed that the SP-2 is extremely sporty. The handlebars pull you down a lot at the front. If you have to drive slowly, you wish you have done push-ups more often. And every U-turn, every turn can make you sweat. The front of the tank is so wide that you hit it with your forearms when the steering wheel is fully turned.
In fact, the handlebar halves are – what is it called in the brochure? – SP-2 only about three centimeters higher than the seat cushion ?? measured from the center of the cushion to the center of the rubber grips. With the Fireblade, however, it is a comfortable eight centimeters.
In return, the fun on the SP-2 increases with the driving dynamics, uh-proportionally. You just need a little more corners, a halfway smooth course. Then you can let yourself be pressed out of the corners in a crisp sloping position without it crumpling around the back. In general, everything looks very stable and direct, and the seating position also fits this. I always feel exactly what the bike is doing. Except that when you brake sharply, your knees break like a struck cavalry gawk that bothers you. Tea fork springs are probably too soft.
Limited. The SP-2 has linear springs in the fork with a spring rate of 100 Newtons per centimeter. With a comparable front wheel load, springs are even harder than a Ducati 998. However, they are installed with low preload, the front section sinks relatively deep statically. The progression that occurs during compression by compressing the 135 millimeter high air cushion is not enough to compensate for this. Preload sleeves and / or a smaller air cushion would help. Just for comparison: the fork of the Fireblade has progressive springs with a lower initial rate and works with an air cushion of only 97 millimeters.
I don’t care how the Blade does it to make it feel a little more stable when braking. However, she still lifts the rear wheel quickly.
Christ, what’s going on here? Actually, I know the route here pretty well, but with the tall grass on both sides of the road, it is difficult to see the line for the next bends. On the SP-2 a wretched, angular poke. And exhausting. Everything is easier with the Blade. I can easily correct the line if I have entered a curve incorrectly. The rhythm is retained. You can even get over the fact that the engine jumps around as roughly as the SP-2 when the load changes.
Yes, a lot comes together here. The higher-mounted handlebar halves of the Fireblade, for example, are not only comfortable, but also the reason that the rider puts less weight on the front wheel. A driver weighing almost 76 kilograms results in eleven kilograms less front wheel load than with the SP-2, at least statically. This gives the Fireblade handling advantages. The rest of the chassis data, including the handlebar width, are almost the same. The steering head of the SP-2 is half a degree steeper, the caster two millimeters shorter, the wheelbase one centimeter longer. On the other hand, the center of gravity of the SP-2, which is 16 millimeters higher and 16 further back than that of the Fireblade, is more significant.
Main emphasis? Gradually my elbow joints are the point where it gets difficult. For today I’ve had enough of city traffic and curves; I’m going home on the freeway.
Don’t forget to refuel. And appreciate the Fireblade’s very low consumption in hot outside temperatures. The SP-2, on the other hand, is obviously not optimized for economy because …
What about that handlebar slap, especially at high speeds?
By converting to ball bearings instead of tapered roller bearings in the steering head and the thicker shaft tube, this is no longer an issue. Why this works cannot be explained. The main thing is that it works properly. Comparative drives with another Fireblade have shown, however, that it is important to pay attention to the optimal condition of the landing gear components. Even a small run in height on an original front tire fitted ex works has resulted in a noticeable deterioration.
Before, we say bumpy country road, both of them wedged their handlebars quite a bit when accelerating sharply.
D.hat is unavoidable with strong motorcycles like the SP-2 and especially with extremely light bikes like the Fireblade. At some point they all start to hit the handlebars. You just have to realize that this is part of the price for the exuberant driving dynamics.

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Honda Fireblade test comparison, VTR 1000 SP-2
Everything stays different

Technical data: Honda Fireblade

HONDA FirebladeMotorWater-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, wet sump lubrication, electronic intake manifold injection, Ø 42 mm, engine management, regulated catalytic converter with secondary air system, electric starter. Bore x stroke 75 x 54 mm, cylinder capacity 954 110 kW (150 PS) at 11,300 rpm Max. Torque 104 Nm (10.6 kpm) at 9500 rpm Pollutant values ​​(homologation) CO 0.80 g / km, HC 0.50 g / km, NOx 0.00 g / km Power transmission Mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring Chassis Bridge frame made of aluminum profiles, load-bearing motor, upside-down fork, slide tube diameter 43 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, two-arm swing arm with upper pulls made of aluminum profiles, central spring strut with get up system, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, four-piston front brake, floating brake discs, Ø 330 mm, rear disc brake, Ø 220 mm, single-piston caliper. Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 190/50 ZR 17, tires tested Bridgestone BT 012 G / G frame data, steering head angle 66.25 degrees, caster 97 mm, wheelbase 1400 mm, spring travel f / r 120/120 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 800 mm, weight with a full tank * 199 kg Payload * 185 kg, tank capacity / reserve 18 liters. Two-year guarantee with unlimited mileageColors white, yellow, redPrice incl. VAT 12,590 euros Additional costs approx. 180 euros * Motorcycle measurements

Technical data: HONDA VTR 1000 SP-2

HONDA VTR 1000 SP-2MotorWater-cooled two-cylinder, four-stroke 90-degree V-engine, transverse crankshaft, two overhead, gear-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, wet sump lubrication, electronic intake manifold injection, Ø 62 mm, engine management, secondary air system, E- Starter.Bore x stroke 100 x 63.6 mm, displacement 999 cm³, rated output 99 kW (135 PS) at 10,000 rpm, max. Torque 102 Nm (10.4 kpm) at 8000 rpm Pollutant values ​​(homologation) CO 8.95 g / km, HC 1.11 g / km, NOx 0.10 g / km Power transmission Hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring Chassis bridge frame made of aluminum profiles, load-bearing motor, upside-down fork, slide tube diameter 43 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, two-arm swing arm with upper pulls made of aluminum profiles, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, four-piston brake at the front, floating brake discs, Ø 320 mm, rear disc brake, Ø 220 mm, single-piston caliper. Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 190/50 ZR 17 tires tested Dunlop D208 FN / N chassis data Steering head angle 66.7 degrees, caster 95 mm, wheelbase 1420 mm, suspension travel f / h 130/120 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 820 mm, weight with a full tank * 217 kg, payload * 181 kg, tank capacity / reserve 18 / 2.5 liters. Two-year guarantee with unlimited mileageColors white / black including VAT 14,590 euros Additional costs approx. 180 euros * Motorcycle measurements

1st place – Honda Fireblade

Thanks to ingenious technical calculations and constant further development in detail, the Fireblade meets the emotional state of quite a few motorcyclists. The 2002 model is the handiest one that has ever existed. The Fireblade is particularly impressive because of its light-footedness, which can be converted directly into driving pleasure. Thanks to the retrofitting of the steering head bearings, the outstanding handling no longer even has to be bought at the cost of critical behavior at high speed. The large CBR is also exemplary in many practical and everyday details, including exhaust gas cleaning.

2nd place – Honda VTR 1000 SP-2

A motorcycle for specialists with a committed driving style. Extremely sturdy, hard-sprung and with technical systems that you don’t really need in everyday life, the SP-2 makes one thing clear: For it, the state of serial production is only an intermediate stage on the way to becoming a superbike racer. And if it is not allowed to be, you should treat yourself and yourself to an hour’s race track every now and then. Ideally on real racing tires so that they can be challenged according to their design. Of course, the suitability for everyday use suffers a little. The only exception: the wind protection that is good for a super sports car.

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