Honda Fireblade 2008

The machine has been completely renewed: a new design, better performance and improved response to the rider’s input, Honda says. It has to be a motor with which you can work well on the street as well as on the circuit.

First of all the design. The first impression of the engine is very futuristic: a very distinctive compact design nose, striking headlights with below the air intakes, the cutters are incorporated in the mirrors, a nice round line in the side panels that follow the curvature of the frame and of course the color play in this machine are direct eye-catchers. In addition, it is immediately noticeable how narrow the whole ass part of this engine is. The trend became narrower, more compact and flatter, but the new Fireblade is the crown in my opinion. He comes across to me as a well-built bodybuilder with a small butt in a much too tight pair of jeans. The exhaust, together with a part of the lower shell, is also a design object, just behind the right footrest the short damper protrudes from the aerodynamic box.

One of the most important keys to achieving higher performance on Supersport motorcycles, provided that the machine is used both on the street and on the track, is to realize a more efficient power-to-weight ratio. The power of an engine block only affects part of the overall performance, as an overweight motorcycle can easily eliminate the increased performance in the engine block.

The machine therefore had to become lighter and stronger. All components in the design were re-examined and designed. Especially in the block. The performance is increased and this is achieved by, among other things, a larger bore and a smaller stroke. This allows the block to run more revs than it already did in previous models. In addition to this change, lighter pistons are also used and the cylinder head has become more compact and lighter. All in all, the Honda Engineers have snapped 2.5 kilos from the engine block.

This results in an engine block delivering over 175 HP at 12,000 rpm and producing a torque of 113.8 Nm at 8,500 rpm.

For the first time in history, the Fireblade has now also received a slipper clutch. Honda Engineers have not used this system so far because of the little advantage that you have of this system during road use. However, from the side of the track drivers the demand became so high that Honda started looking at such a system. However, they did not want to build an already existing system directly into the new Fireblade, as according to Honda there are some weaknesses in the conventional anti-hop couplings. Take, for example, the resilience needed to push the plates together again, for this you need a hydraulic coupling system to disassemble them. Or the fact that if you accelerate again some conventional systems will not be able to get the plates back together quickly enough so that a moment of ‘freewheeling’ can arise, so that there is temporarily no contact between the engine block and the rear wheel.

Honda has studied all currently existing systems well and has now come up with its own system: The Honda Assist Slipper Clutch. Like existing systems, this system has a number of cams that pull the plates apart when the pressure is put on the gearbox from the rear wheel during very strong braking of the engine. However, a second set of cams have been installed which, at the moment of acceleration, again press the plates together quickly. As a result, much less strong springs can also be used in the coupling. In fact, the Honda Fireblade clutch is simply operated by a clutch cable instead of a hydraulic system. This gives a lot more feeling in the clutch, especially during racing situations.

The exhaust has also changed location. Where we saw him in the previous model under the butt, he is now just behind the right footrest. This has everything to do with the mass centralization that the Honda Engineers wanted to achieve. The exhaust is now close to the central weight point. There are also a pair of electronically controlled valves in the exhaust that guarantee the performance of the engine block throughout the power band. Naturally this system fully meets the current environmental requirements.

The frame has also changed considerably. The frame of the previous Fireblade model counted no less than nine parts, the current model only four. The Engineers have sought an ideal relationship between frame stiffness and flexibility, while they have also whipped 2.5 kilos off the whole.

The swingarm also had to be adjusted slightly as the exhaust had to be placed very close to the right side of the engine in connection with ground-clearance. There is now a recess in the right side of the back

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