2023 Honda CBR1000RR-R SP Fireblade 30th Anniversary Review

Rennie Scaysbrook | May 7, 2023

The Honda CBR1000 is no longer the sleepy old man of the superbike class. Now in CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP (to give it its complete name) form, Honda has taken the ‘Blade and made it more a racer-with-lights than anything coming out of Japan right now, and damn near more so than anything from Europe, too.

A little power wheelie never hurt anyone. At this 9000+rpm range, the power comes on really thick.

Photography by Ryan Nitzen

That’s not necessarily a good thing for many who buy this bike.

At a time, Honda would create a sports motorcycle for the street and turn it into a racing bike. But, in recent years, Honda’s hand has been forced into making this racer-with-lights by the sheer onslaught of European performance, especially in the homologation specials like the BMW M 1000 RR, Ducati Panigale V4 R, and the Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory.

I don’t think Honda themselves wanted to go down that path, but the results in WorldSBK speak volumes. Honda has not won a WorldSBK race since Nicky Hayden took the gold for Ten Kate Honda in a wet race in Malaysia in 2016, a year before his tragic passing.

Isn’t that nuts? We’re going on eight years since the largest motorcycle company on the planet won a race in the series that actually sells its motorcycles. So, you can’t blame them for making street riding a definite second to racetrack performance.

But, oh man, is this bike pretty or what? I’d have one just to put in my living room to stare at those iconic 1990s white, purple, and blue colors. Just beautiful. The attention to detail is typical Honda—little things like a perfectly uniform gap between the tank and the bodywork that runs underneath it, the neat inbound winglets, and the uncluttered appearance of the cockpit all scream Honda quality. Each time you look at the bike, you find something new to like and gaze at. This bike is pure garage porn.

2023 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP right side
This has to be the best-looking superbike on the market today.

Ok, so what’s it like?

I’ve just spent four months riding this $28,900 CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP in every possible condition (café runs, press engagements, a day at Chuckwalla, and, yes, even rain, thanks to the gods dumping all over SoCal this winter). And for the first time I can remember, I think the performance aspect is now too far skewed to the track.

I cast my mind back to when I had a Suzuki GSX-R1000R a few years ago, which was like a couch compared to this CBR. A quick look at my report from the 2021 Honda CBR1000RR-R SP Fireblade press launch from Thunder Hill.

confirmed what I initially thought in that the ergonomics are now so tight they only make sense if you’re either under 5’9″ or you’re tucked in trying to break the sound barrier, or both. I’m 6’1″ with average-length legs (if there are such a thing) and

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OEM vs. Aftermarket Parts: When One Makes More Sense for Your Car

Choosing between original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, and aftermarket car parts is all about squaring your priorities with your budget.

Each option has its benefits, but how long a part will last and its initial cost can vary widely depending on if you go with OEM or aftermarket parts. Which one you decide to go with will determine the impact on the overall cost of owning your car.

Here’s a comparison of the perks and drawbacks of OEM and aftermarket parts and which is the best option for certain situations. 

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What’s the difference between OEM and aftermarket parts?

Let’s start with genuine parts, which are parts that were installed in your vehicle by the manufacturer when it was first sold. They often have the logo of the vehicle manufacturer, such as Honda or Subaru, printed on them.

Once you’ve purchased a vehicle and need to make repairs or replace parts for maintenance, the terminology changes to the following:

  • Original equipment manufacturer, or OEM. These parts are made by the same manufacturer that made the genuine parts in a car, but they’re installed when a car needs a repair. Because the same manufacturer makes OEM parts, they are guaranteed to fit in your car.

????Nerdy Tip

Some retailers use “genuine” to refer to OEM parts. This is a marketing tactic and doesn’t mean that the part will work better. A part is either an OEM part or not an OEM part — regardless of if it is described as “genuine.”

  • Aftermarket parts. These are made by manufacturers that did not make the original car parts and therefore do not qualify as OEM parts. They can often be used in place of OEM parts, but they carry the potential of not being fully compatible with your car.

Comparing OEM and aftermarket parts

There are benefits and downsides to OEM and aftermarket parts, and a quick comparison shows that OEM parts win for dependability as a longer-term investment. On the other hand, aftermarket parts offer more options and tend to be more affordable.

Here’s a quick comparison of their pros and cons.

Pros and cons of OEM parts

In general, OEM parts offer peace of mind, but that comes at a higher cost. Here are a few benefits and drawbacks to buying OEM parts.

  • Compatibility. OEM parts are manufactured to fit your vehicle and work like they’re supposed to with your car’s systems. 

  • Longer life. Because they are made in the same way as genuine parts, OEM parts tend to be more reliable than aftermarket parts and last for longer.

  • Warranty. OEM parts should come with a warranty to protect you if the part is defective or doesn’t work properly. The specific warranty will differ by manufacturer.

  • Higher cost. Due to their better quality, OEM parts tend to cost more than aftermarket parts.

  • Limited availability. With a higher demand, OEM parts can have limited availability and

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