Wrestling the award for the fastest production motorcycle from the Kawasaki ZX-11 in 1997, Honda's 1137cc Blackbird reigned supreme in the top speed stakes for just two years until another bird-the Suzuki Hayabusa-brought it spiraling down to earth with a bump. That didn't stop the Blackbird being a brilliant hypersport tool with the legs to cover ground fast, two-up, via a twisty mountain pass. Honda made few changes during the ten-year production run; the biggest tweaks being the addition of fuel injection and a revised digital display. The styling was barely touched, testament to how right Honda got it initially. It's been four years since the last Blackbird rolled off the assembly line and we think they should ditch the oddball VFR1200 and go back to building the world's fastest motorcycle again.
Stock Blackbird motors are beautifully smooth. Twist the throttle and thrust is delivered with a whoosh. No blips, glitches or hiccups-just silky power. While that may have been good enough a decade ago, in today's money it isn't much faster than a GSX-R750. What we need is more cubes, lighter components and increased efficiency, while still retaining the twin balance shafts for that trademark vibration-free delivery. So with 1300cc, revised ram-air and fuel injection, we'll be looking at a true 185 hp and knocking on the 200 mph door. We've done away with the twin external silencers and used a more streamlined system which sits flush in the bellypan and also increases ground clearance.
While this may be a hypersport tourer (emphasis on sport), our Blackbird needs to boogie when the time calls. The alloy beam frame carries fully adjustable Showa suspension front and rear, and wheels and ABS brakes are borrowed from the VFR1200 parts bin. There are adjustable rearsets and foldaway pillion pegs. The original bike's CBS linked brake system is just a distant memory, thank God.
Designed and tested in a virtual wind tunnel, our Blackbird continues the aerodynamic theme started by the original 1997 bike and also features the dual stacked headlights for a pointed, narrow frontal area. Air is also pushed around the rider's head, arms and feet by the new vents in the top cowl and bellypan. While the Hayabusa and ZX-14 hit a few of the branches on the way down the ugly tree, we reckon our Blackbird's mean, sleek profile gives it the edge.