Honda’s inline four-cylinder motor remains unchanged for 2018. It might not have the big-bhp headline power figures of its rivals, but it’s packed with grunt and isn’t slow, by any stretch of the imagination. The Blade is also one of the lightest superbikes you can buy, with a mind-boggling power to weight ratio.
On its standard Pirelli Diablo Super Corsa SPs tyres there’s so much grip you’ll never bump into the electronics on the road, but push hard on the track and now when the rear tyre slides the torque control doesn’t grab and release as harshly as before. But Honda’s electronics are still too conservative and slow you down too much when you’re pushing for a quick lap on anything less than super-grippy rubber.
In the lower gears, where the front comes up faster, there’s still too much intrusion, but it’s far smoother than before. Pull a deliberate ‘show off’ wheelie with the clutch and the front will only stay in the air for three or four seconds before the electronics brings it gently back down again.
Stable, responsive, supple and grippy the Blade has one of the best chassis set-ups out there.
On the road it floats through corners and in previous superbike shootouts, only the Ducati Panigale V4 S can lap faster.
On the Blade SP you can’t get close to troubling the cornering ABS on the road, but it’s always there to bail you out in an emergency.