Honda CBR900RR-S FireBlade
This week from the yard, it’s a tale of two Urban Tiger Fireblades.
Never has a beige motorcycle created such an impact. Launched back in 1995, the revised for that year was the RR-S Fireblade model, which received the usual nips and tucks associated with feedback from the marketplace once the fuss over the original launch model settled down.
Depending on when you were born, the 1992 RR-N Fireblade is either a ground-breaking machine that quote ‘rewrote the superbike rule book’, or it’s an old-fashioned motorcycle with a 16-inch front wheel, a big pair of headlights and huge wobbly winkers!
I was gifted to the world in 1970, so it’s pretty obvious what ‘school of thought’ I subscribe up to.
So often the tweaked version of any motorcycle model falls by the wayside in desirability when it comes around to earning classic status. This is easy to calculate when you look at prices for those seventies established classics like the prices of a £20k plus Z1 compared to the asking prices of the models like the Z900A4 etc that followed, which in essence are largely the same bike.
The 1980s offers us up the same quandaries. Take the 1985 GSX-R750F, prices for the short swinging arm model with spindles no thicker than knitting needles, have outshone the prices for not on the sanitised G and H model Slabsides, but also all of those Slingshot 750 models. This launch model phenomena was created by the media at first, then us the buyers, attached the need to have THE first model.
The 1990s are now experiencing this quirky buying practice. Have you seen the price of R1 4XV models of late and compared them to the reworked 5JJ model? The 4XV R1 also highlights yet another twist to the price tag, that is the colour. A red and white one will always be more expensive than a blue one in equal condition.
My little history lesson leads me nicely back to my pair of Honda CBR900RR Fireblades. I am guilty of paying a colour tax on both. Honda had the sportsbike market by the goolies in the early to mid-nineties. To be fair they could’ve stuck a primer paint version out and it would’ve probably done alright on the sales front. The orange and beige Urban Tiger version is THE one that is now in short supply. We all know that values are led by supply and demand, if you own a Tiger Blade then think hard before parting with it.
Within a fortnight I bought two Urban Tiger Blade’s, one from each end of the spectrum.
I knew the whereabouts of this bike for a while. The owner had it in his personal collection of 50 plus bikes. He mentioned it might be for sale in a phone call and by the time I hung up, we had concluded a verbal transaction. A few days later he dropped it off. Buying a bike blind can be a gamble, if you ask the right questions and get the right answers, it’s actually one of the easiest ways to seal a deal.
I gave £6,500 for the unmolested UK model with a heap of paperwork, low owners on the V5 and not a single scratch to its iconic stripes. I admit that I have bought at the top of the market, but they are only original once!
Days after buying the Minter I found myself the owner of a Munter Tiger. On the face of it the bike looks very tidy, it’s the mechanical side of the bike that lets it down. The previous owner had spent money on getting a shop to get it running spot on. This they achieved, but somehow an afternoon of tinkering with his Honda led it to refusing to start. He then sold it to me! You can see that it’s more than likely something daft, but the capitalism side of my business brain had already kicked in.
A major part of my business is breaking bikes for parts. Many people wrongly assume that it is only crashed bikes that get executed for parts, that is so wrong. Many decent roadworthy bikes are actually worth more in bits. This wounded Tiger is just another one of those victims. I will be killing it off to allow other Blades to live again.
What To Check For:
- Charging systems are a well-known weak spot.
- Certain aftermarket headlight bulbs can create drama, stick to standard suggested brightness items. Paperwork. Old bikes either have bundles of paper history, or nowt. A bike with a good history folder is always a plus.
- Carbs on bikes that have been stored will create issues. Check it starts easy from cold, idles and revs cleanly. If it’s a bit reluctant, bid a few hundred off the price to cure the issue.
- Many owners swap the 16-inch wheel for a VFR750FS or CBR600FV 17-inch item. It allows wider and cheaper tyre choice options.
- Mileage, these motors will do big miles if looked after.
What to pay:
- £1,500 is entry level and buys you a scabby one. £2,500 to £4,000 is where the good ones hang out. A late RR-W model lacks the kudos of earlier models but is the better road bike in every way.
- Prices for the stunners are moving, I’ve seen them hit 10K for a stonking RR-N
Article provided by Scottie Redmond