Is this the 2017 Honda Fireblade?

| | New Bikes

You don’t need to be an expert to work out that a new Honda Fireblade is coming this autumn. The fact that Honda UK has been dumping the old model into dealers on super-cheap £99/month finance deals tells you much of what you need to know…

And now, here’s what looks like the first pics of the new bike, which have appeared online. Taken at what looks like a video shoot at a racetrack in Croatia, they show what’s clearly a Honda Fireblade, but with a slew of updates.

The most striking thing is the new bodywork. It’s hard to see from the angles here, but you can see echoes of the new front fairing design language the firm’s been using for a while now. The fairing sidepanels are cut away more deeply from the engine and frame than before, and the seat unit is sleeker, smaller, with an easily-removed numberplate holder.

The most obvious change there is the exhaust though. In the same way that Ducati has had to bolt on a huge end can to its 959 Panigal, Honda will have had to add exhaust volume to beat new Euro 4 emissions regs. A larger exhaust lets them have a bigger catalyst, and more sound-deadening chambers, to help reduce the noise and pollution emitted from the bike. So where the old bike had a neat MotoGP-style end can tucked under the footpegs, this beastie has a big old silencer, not unlike the sort of thing we got on Suzuki’s K5 GSX-R1000.

Fairing and can aside, it’s surprising how much of this looks like the current bike. The wheels are similar thin-spoked jobs, the swingarm isn’t massively changed, and the line of the frame around the engine mounts and swingarm pivots echoes that on the 2016 bike. The engine cases are of similar dimensions and locations, suggesting that Honda’s maybe kept much of the basics in the same ballpark.

That;s not a disaster right enough. A new top end, in the motor with a suite of modern electronics, and some weight reduction under the plastics, would help the Blade get back into contention on the road. Whether it’ll be enough to please the Honda-mounted racers around the world, struggling on the current model, remains to be seen…

More on this as we get it…

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