The Honda CBR900RR Fireblade has been around for more than two decades. Designed by Tadao Baba and launched in 1992, it immediately made every other sports bike at the time look stupid.
Now 25 years later those early 1992-1993 CBR900-RRN and CBR900-RRP models are now classics, even though to most people they still look striking and modern. As a result prices have continued to rise, but if you go a little later, then there are still Blade bargains to be found. You just have to look beyond nostalgia.
1998 Honda CBR900RR-W – the thinking man’s Blade?
For me, the combination of technology, progress and budget makes the last of the carb models the right choice. Despite the fact there wasn’t a single decent colour scheme available, the RR-W models benefited from the improvements over each model which preceded it.
That included a comfier riding position for the road, and a bigger 918cc capacity motor for more practical road use. Not only was the braking improved with new calipers and larger front discs, but the frame was closer to the original in stiffness, the suspension was revised and it became a much better package.
Of course, it wasn’t perfect. Keeping the silly 16-inch front wheel size hinders modern tyre choices, but it’s easily and cheaply fixed with a 17-inch alternative from a late Honda VFR750 or CBR600.
And possibly the best thing is that it’s still easy to find a reasonably priced, reasonably clean example for good money. For around £1,500 you can soon find something fairly tidy, whereas for a couple of grand or more you can expect a corker.
Buying tips for the Blade include checking the head races due to the ease of power wheelies for ham-fisted previous owners who may not have landed gently. Getting the front wheel in the air allows you to check for movement back and forwards – at least the brakes tend to be fine aside from the normal checks for neglect. There was a recall for cracks in the lower fork legs on some of the European model Fireblades from 2000-2003, with letters sent out around 2006ish.
A slightly clattery engine from cold isn’t necessarily a problem, but if it continues with the clutch in, consider whether an oil change or tappet adjustment is needed.
The RR-N is the one that collectors are rushing to snap up, one day they’ll realise that it’s the RR-W/X model that was the best carb fed Fireblade, until then happy shopping.