Test Rides - Honda CBR1000RR-R and Kawasaki ZX-4RR

I had the opportunity to queue up for a few test rides this weekend at the ABR. I chose the brand new Fireblade SP (the R -iest blade ever :laughing:) out of pure curiosity as I have my lovely 2004 model and also chose the Kawasaki ZX-4RR as it sounded like it would be an absolute blast.

Honda CBR1000RR-R
My biggest challenge with the blade was starting it…keyless ignition with a strange wheel to the side of the TFT screen to switch it on :laughing:. Once it was started, there were so many options to set it up that when I was asked what I wanted I just said not with everything off and maximum power, but not totally dulled down either…so just down the middle .

It was, as you would expect, as smooth as silk and absolutely monstrous power - wise. I don’t think I got out of third gear (may have touched 4th briefly…) and at points I did manage to go “quite fast”. The sound is absolutely amazing past 5000 revs, a really loud induction howl that just gets louder and louder the more you push. The brakes are insanely good as is the handling and electronic suspension. It was a ride that made me smile and I would happily have stayed on all day…however …it is just so much bike for the road and the gap between my talent and the capability of the bike is immense. It does make you feel like you are a far better rider than you actually are as the technology is constantly compensating for you I think. It has less character than mine and I actually prefer the stripped down nature of it too; I don’t know how long I’d need to ride for to actually find which settings were best as the combinations seem infinite.

Verdict? Absolutely fantastic for a fun test ride, very comfortable, noise and power were addictive. Even if I did have almost £29000 to spend on a bike would it be this one? More than likely not just as I wouldn’t utilise even half of its capabilities I don’t think.


Kawasaki ZX-4RR
My first impression of this little Kawasaki was that it was compact, light and fast - looking. When you start the bike you’re met with a noisier, sportier - sounding engine note than you might expect and the TFT is clear and just has three basic modes. The guys at Kawasaki just advised that it needed keeping really high up in the rev range with lots of gear changes using the quick shifter to achieve that.
I can’t really explain how intoxicating this little bike is; it’s light, so well balanced and just pure FUN. It is really noisy all the time and the more it screams and howls the more you want to keep it there. It picks up really, really fast, the steering is precise and I just could not stop grinning inside my helmet. It comes alive after 10000 RPM and redlines at 16000! I absolutely did not want to get off this bike, it is so agile and so full of character, a few other people on the Kawasaki test ride said to me that I looked like I was having a lot of fun and they were right. You can really use this bike and the work up and down the gear box to keep it spinning along is just so absorbing and the quickshifter is really slick.

Verdict? For me the riding position is very comfortable, it’s sporty without being too aggressive and the seat is small and narrow. The brakes are great and the suspension is a good spec but I’d set it up for me on for sure as it wasn’t quite right for my weight / riding style I don’t think. Overall though it just delivered total joy every time you twisted the throttle (the ridiculous smile on my face on the photo says how I felt about it as I came back from the ride :laughing:). I like it so much that I might get a longer test ride from a Kawasaki dealer.


6 Likes

Found this sound video on YouTube of the ZX-4RR. Not great quality, but gives you the idea. Little hooligan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGmD45AShn4

2 Likes

Them 400’s are gorgeous looking bikes😘
But would one replace the Street Triple @MrsVisor ? :smile:

2 Likes

Never :grimacing: !!!

2 Likes

Does the New blade suffer like the S1000RR with no power at low revs in second or 3rd gear?

Does it actually need a front wheel? :rofl: :joy:

1 Like

Yes it does, it’s quite noticeable. It needs some revs to liven up.

Probably not if you rode it :laughing:. It’s useful for parking anyway if nothing else.

2 Likes

I wonder how many more R’s they can fit in the name :rofl: Sexy bike mind!

1 Like

More R’s than a pirate convention.

3 Likes

I’m staggered by the fact that a new Fireblade costs £29k :astonished:

3 Likes

You’ve made me want to go and try one of those little Kwackers. :smile:

1 Like

In the uk u can get a whole lot of car for 30k,
such as an Aston Martin V8 vantage and still have change in your pocket…. well until u factor in running costs :joy:

On a serious note u could buy an R1 with next to no miles on it for just over £12k and buy second bike for the hell of it.

Honda must have a very loyal and cash rich customer base to continue selling that bike at that price.

2 Likes

Do it; I am going to go and take one out from the dealer with the nearest demo one available so I can ride it for myself as opposed to a group test ride environment. It was so much fun!!

The Honda test ride I was in a small group with the other sports models and the person leading the ride certainly cracked on a bit outside of 30 and 40 mph limits. We could overtake each other if we wanted as well as long as it was clean and legal.

The Kawasaki test ride was pretty good and did crack on but less so than Honda. We also were not allowed to overtake each other and I was behind an Eliminator 500 which obviously didn’t behave like a sports bike. I did let a sizeable gap build before long straights or a good bend so I could then ride as I wanted but obviously didn’t want to do too much and impact others further back in the group negatively. The one thing that bike is no fun at is steadily at low revs as there’s not much there; I was even told to use the quick shifter and never the clutch to not lose momentum once I had it going. Very engaging bike.

1 Like

Looking at the website, the basic, “cheapest” configuration of it is £23 495. Whatever the case, the price is still staggering to me for such a focussed “one job” type bike. Honda do not make a base model of the Fireblade any more, just the SP. They seem to be placing a lot of emphasis on it being the most powerful production super sports currently for sale at 215bhp and I suppose when you compare it to the V4 Panigale (£27 995) and BMW M1000RR (£30 940) it’s not a total outlier price - wise if your budget is an extremely healthy one.

1 Like

I’ve done two group rides, both recent and written up elsewhere. The Ducati ride was ok - good country roads around Wray and a leader who didn’t hang about. The Kawasaki event was a more pedestrian affair, which was unfortunate as I wanted to stretch the legs of the H2 SX and it’s supercharged engine.

I’ll see if any of the local Kawasaki dealers have a demonstrator of the 400. And I think we’ve just found the bikes that actually need a quick shifter. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

Agreed. You really had to keep it going!