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Blackbird riders: Some questions for you!

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by VFR750 IRYDE, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. Hello all, looking for input from anyone who has had personal experience with a Blackbird.

    I'm currently riding a 1994 VFR750. Great bike, very nice and well behaved, and great as my first upgrade from my VTR250 learner bike.

    I am now considering my options for my next step up, and the year 2000 blackbird (pre cat) has caught my eye.

    I have read review after review and done as much research as I can on the web. All the reviews are done either in isolation, or compared to other bikes that I can't relate to (such as the Hayabusa), so I really dont feel that I know what to expect from a blackbird other than 'really fast and smooth'...

    So here is what I would like to know: :idea:

    My VFR is 210kg dry. This weight poses little trouble for me. I've had two embarassing stationary drops :roll: but learned each time and now the weight rarely troubles me. The Blackbird is 223kg dry, but also with a larger fuel tank. How much heavier is this going to feel once its full of fuel and on the move?

    What fuel economy are blackbird riders ACTUALLY getting? Particularly anyone who uses it as a daily to-and-from work machine. (My VFR is rated at 6.5 per 100km, but gives me more like 8 :mad: )

    Is the blackbird easy to live with as a daily rider? It seems pretty big...? What about getting through traffic? (yes, splitting as well.)

    How will the running costs compare assuming I use the same type (but obviously not size) of tyres etc that I am on my VFR? (ie: what do services, chains and sprockets etc cost?)

    Last question: What does a Blackbird rider upgrade to, given that most reviewers rate it as one of the best all-round machines ever made? :grin:


    P.S. I know it's going to be tempting to reply with 'ride one and see', but it'll cost me $550 to hire one for a weekend and I STILL wont know the answer to some of the above. Please play nice. :)
  2. I don't own one, and haven't riden a vfr, but I've ridden a few birds.

    The weight is very easy to manage, much more so than I thought.

    Smooth smooth smooth! Any fantastic power available, but its so linear its ultra manageable. I'd see no problem with someone upgrading from a 250 to this bike, its that user friendly (plus the sorts of people to buy blackbirds are semi sensible.. wait hold on :LOL: ).

    Seriously, you'll be amazed at how easy to ride it is, most honda's share that same characteristic. I'd very much doubt there would be much difference in maintenance cost, tyres will burn out faster but not by a massive amount.
  3. I have the '00 Blackbird.

    Economy - on a trip, say around 270km til the fuel warning light comes on. Then probably another 30 or so kays til empty. Usually,at that point it will take around 17l of fuel. Around town, to work and so on, probably closer to 230 km til the low light.

    Weight - I thought that it weighed 216kg, not 223kg. But you could be right. Whatever, it "feels" lighter than the Honda CBR1000F that it replaced and they weight about the same.

    Significant weight reduction can be had by installing a $2k titanium 4-1 exhaust and removing the centre stand.

    Comfort - I get sore right wrist and elbows on longer rights. Can get a sore arse too. But that may be just me and how I sit on the bike. You have a more forward crouch. But they say that getting VFR 800 bars put on it make the world of difference.

    Performance - it is hard to beat and if allowed you could easily do 230 km/h on it on a long trip. But that sort of motoring will see fuel economy turn to crap.

    Commuting - it's probably similar to your VFR. I don't ride in city traffic so I can't comment on lane splitting/filtering. But if it's not that much wider than your typical sports bike then it should be fine if that's your riding style. It won't be a nimble as say a 600 sporty or a 750 but if you ride a VFR now expect the Blackbird to have similar characteristics.

    Maintenance - chain/sprockets should last around 30,000km if maintained properly. I haven't had the bike serviced since I've bought it, apart from oil and filter change. But expect little change from $500 for a full service.

    I have had a voltage regulator unit fail and it's apparently not uncommon for that year. Expect to pay around $220 for a new unit if the bike that you're interested in has a dodgy one. I've heard of stator/alternator problems but I don't know how common they are.

    Tyres - 180 rear Michelin Pilot Road is up to 11,000 km. Front about the same. I'll be putting Pilot Powers on it next. See how they perform as far as handling and longevity goes.

    Handling - it will handle much the same as the VFRs. Easy enough to throw around. But they do become a handful in the tighter stuff. For example, I dread the ride from Mt. Hotham down to Harrietville. 50 km of twisties downhill that have your forearms and wrists crying for relief at the end (luckily from there's it a 15 min. ride to the Alpine Hotel where lots of beers and beer wenches await).

    There is a spacer kit that can be bought that goes in the rear shock assembly to raise the arse end, I think it does. Those who have fitted it report quicker steering and makes it feel lighter. Maybe something like that is what I could try. www.ozblackbird.net is a website that caters for BB riders and they have lots of info in such mods in there.

    Upgrading - well, I'm looking at a V twin for my next bike. Something like the Honda VTR1000 or Suzuki SV1000S. These bikes are no longer made, so if not one of them, whatever their replacements may be.

    I'm looking for something that's a bit narrower, not as heavy and that has heaps of torque down low. The B'bird has lots of power but it's mostly from 5000 rpm onwards. I'm getting lazy. I want something that I can punch from corner to corner without having to change gears all the time.

    Hope this helps.
  4. I also have a 2000 model and have been riding it for about two years as commuter (40ks a day, mainly freeway) and for a bit of fun at other times. I had some two up touring in mind but this hasn't quite taken off as I had hoped. Maybe this summer.

    This is my first bike off restrictions so I don't have a lot to compare it to but it is a fantastic ride. I did think about buying one of the latest and last models as a replacement but the trade-in price wasn't worth it.

    I'm not nearly a good enough rider to raise it to anything like a canter at any time but I don't find it too much of a problem as a daily ride. It is smooth, well balanced and predictable. As mtj said the power really begins to come on from 5000 but it is pretty easy going below that. I have got a bit lazy with the gear changes. If my commute was on local roads, in traffic into town it could become a bit wearing I think.

    I don't think too much about the economy of it but you could definitely do better!!!

    We've had some of the well documented issues with the loom and rectifier but they seem to have been fixed now.

    As far as what to move on to, I don't know. While I have picked it a couple of times this is not to be recommended at my age (mid 50s). The next bike will be lighter and probably a bit smaller but the power is a bit addictive. At the moment I see no need to change.

  5. I had a 2004 Blackbird and concur with mjt57's assessment.

    In addition,
    Handling - very light/stable at walking pace and slowish steering in the fast stuff even with the 6mm spacer. It only felt like a heavy bike pulling it up of the side stand.

    Ride - I'm 175cm short and got very swore wrists after about an hour. Front end was to hard for my weight but changing to 5w fork oil helped.

    Motor - Very nice but not as smooth in the cruising range (3-4000rpm) as I'd like (very slight vibes gave me pins and needles). Biggest problem is the engine heat which cooks your right leg at every set of lights.

    These issues where the main reasons for selling. Overall nice bike but didn't suit my stature or riding style. Also I picked up a cheap TRX850 to commute and ended up not riding the BB at all, while slow the TRX850 is a ball of fun which sadly the BB isn't (typical Honda efficiency but slightly bland).