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I have lived with my blackbird for about 6 months now and as an every day rider we are well acquainted First thing to consider when reviewing the bike IMHO is the brief it was designed to. Discreet hyper sports tourer for the discerning motorcyclist or there abouts in Japanese. Basically you get the impression that the guy who designed the VFR (which it was) was given the job of bringing it on a little. a sort of grown up VFR. Here are the ingredients v powerfull motor, trick braking system, roomy frame and discreet styling. In the Blackbird they gell with perfection. In the flesh it is a very imposing and attractive bike. Everything about is designed for top end speed so take a glace front on and it is very narrow and pointed, almost 250 size. The mirrors house the indicators the radiator is well wrapped and the front wheel quite shrouded. More on this later because it does make the engine run quite hot but don’t worry it wont blow up. In short this is one bike that will not give away many mph to wind drag, that is until you perch an idiot on the top of it. Fire her up and it’s a subtle experience. Quiet throb from the 1100cc four and you are on the way. It’s a big bike so under 6 foot ad you are probably on tiptoes. Underway it is very easy to ride and people who look at the power figures and say blimey what a beast would be wrong. It has bags of power but delivered in a silky linear way with no big power bands cutting in and making it all hectic. The only difference is that the power does not stop and you will quickly find yourself doing silly speeds if you send the rev counter round the clock in a few gears. Estimates of top speed vary. The ZR12 and hayabusa will probably have the measure of it on the deserted runway but count yourself safe for a 180 MPH blast. Handling wise it is smooth as the long wheel base would suggest. I hear it mentioned that if you want attack mode you can jack up the rear with a 6
mill spacer. Uniqueish to the Bird is the linked braking system which means the front lever will apply half a back brake and the pedal half a front brake. You will encounter riders who hate the lack of control and point out “well, if you are going slowly down an icy slope you don’t want any front brake if you touch the pedal” personally I cant remember the last time I did this and the system is on it’s third generation so is pretty sorted. Build quality is great as you would expect and nothing feels flimsy. Buying wise I would suggest a post 2000 model which is fuel injected with Ram air. Five and a half grand seems to get one. Essential is a trip to www.superblackbird.co.uk it is a rider forum par excellence with a world of information about owning riding etc
The best all round bike i've ever ridden.It will tour,scratch or do a track day just as easily as it will take you to work and back.The best buy for the Blackbird is Dunlop D207 tyres as they transform the handling from slightly ponderous to razor sharp. A scottoiler is also well recommended,I've adjusted my chain 4 times in 14,000 miles. I,ve been to Scotland,The IOM and to Brands Hatch and there is no other bike I would rather do those sort of trips on . I may be biased as I own one but I can not sing its praises highly enough. Definitely five star rating.
It comes close. I have test ridden a few bikes down the months with a view to upgrading from my reliable, nippy but ultimately dull Suzuki GS500E. I toyed with many powerful machines but the only one which thrilled without terrifying and satisfied completely was the Blackbird. R1 felt too light and the riding position too cramped; Hyabusa and ZX12 are uninsurable; after riding them the thought of a less powerful bike was anathema. So it was that I rolled out of the showroom with my new mistress firmly in control, tempting me day by day to lean further, corner faster and turn heads in my self-satisfied wake. When I tell friends about it I start off saying "Do you remember your first really, really good sexual experience and how you were buzzing for days after it? Well....."