1998, was it really twenty years ago?
The Millennium bug scaremongering was still two years away, and Prince would have to wait another year to party like it was 1999.
The close of 90s saw the Honda CBR900 Fireblade become a bit more sensible and look less sharper than the iconic 1992 RR-N model. Lots can happen in a few years, let alone two decades.
Prices for those early bug eye bikes are on the up, but there’s still cheapie Blades to be had, you just have to focus on the later models and lower your expectations.
The RR-W arrived in 1998, it still had speed holes in the fairing and a 16 inch front wheel, but it looked sanitised when compared to earlier and ‘Fox-eye’ models than went before it, oh yeah and Yamaha had launched the R1….
I have a soft spot for the carb fed Fireblade, so when I spotted a for sale advert for a S reg RR-W I couldn’t help but make contact with the seller.
Within a few moments he’d passed me his mobile number, the upshot of our chit chat was I had a deal to buy his Blade.
I had tried to trim a few hundred from his £1,200 asking price, my negotiations centred around the bike having a short MOT and looking pretty shit thanks to a duff respray in its past. I am not one to judge a film by the book, so the later didn’t really bother me. My newest mate agreed to get a fresh MOT on the Fireblade if I gave him his £1,200.
Before I could counter offer he even said he’d deliver it, can’t get fairer than that, so a verbal deal was struck.
Two days later and the Blade whizzes through its MOT, a few hours later I hear that unmistakable noise of a 90s sports bike running an aftermarket exhaust.
People buy people first, and I was already sold, the seller was down to earth and points out the various good and bad parts of the latest motorcycle to take up residence in my garage. It’s a pretty level list, the lows are the countless stickers, and ropey paint job. The highs being the new tyres, and the fact the motor sounds healthy.
By the time he’s left my home I’ve sharpened my finger nails and begin picking off the cheap and nasty stickers, to make it easier I drop the fairing sides off. Already it looks better! Well, in my opinion.
There is one job that I’m slightly reluctant to do, and that’s to remove the frame covers.
My gut feeling is that misery lurks beneath the plastic covers, the Blade frame is very wide, and I’m pretty confident that this old girl hides a chequered past, but for the money it owes me I know I could easily break it and make a return on my outlay.
After picking off yet more stickers I have to admit that I’m pretty pleased with my Blade.
I’ve already made a mental list of parts I wouldn’t mind changing, these include the various bits of anodised tat and the rear mini indicators.
I am not looking to polish a turd, just make it a little less smelly.