Honda CBR900RR Fireblade (2002-2003) - Buying Guide

Author: Bike Social Used Bike Expert Posted: 28 Sep 2015

Honda's CBR900RR Fireblade

2002 – 2003 Honda CBR900RR FireBlade

Why you want it:

Somewhere in a carport in Japan sits a 2003 Honda CBR900RR FireBlade. The carport is owned by Mr Tado Baba and having designed the first ever FireBlade, and every subsequent generation until it went underseat pipe in 2004, this is the model he himself chooses to own and ride. That tells you all you need to know about the fantastic 954 Blade.

To many (Baba included) the 954 is the best FireBlade ever built and is a fitting culmination of eleven years of time and effort. What makes it so special? Simple, after piling on the pounds and losing its way in the 1990s, this bike returned the Blade to the sharp end of the sportsbike battle thanks to its philosophy of ‘total control’. But it didn’t go too far…

Technically, this generation of Blade actually arrived with the new millennium, but the 929 model isn’t as good as the 954 so canny buyers tend to skip a few years. They may both share the same chassis (with the swingarm mounted to the back of the brand new, fuel-injected, engine) but the 954 is the better model thanks to its gutsier mid-range. This is one of those bikes that as soon as you throw a leg over it you just can’t help but enjoy. It his the magic balance between sporty and practical (it even has a hinged pillion seat with ample underseat storage) and is just plain fun to ride as well as being built at a time when Honda lived up to its reputation for quality. There is very little you can’t do on a 954 and despite being overshadowed back in the day by the brutally powerful Suzuki GSX-R1000, nowadays the 954 is rightly being recognized as one of the best used litre bikes there is. The only fly in the ointment is the fact sellers know this and prices are inflated to reflect its popularity.

What to look for:

The 954 is an extremely robust motorcycle and it takes a fair bit of abuse to make one look tatty, so avoid any hounds. The biggest mechanical concern is if the H-VIX exhaust valve has seized solid. Like the EXUP unit on a Yamaha, freeing it up can be a time consuming and frustrating job. You can check it is moving freely by watching the cables as they turn the valve when the bike does its starting cycle when the ignition is turned on. Extras make a world of difference to the 954 and a Power Commander takes the snatch out of the slightly poor fuel injection while a steering damper calms the sometimes twitchy front end. Don’t pay extra for them, but search out a bike with them already fitted. Mileage isn’t generally an issue on the 954, but a few forums report reg/recs and coils can fail, which can’t really be checked. The biggest worry on a 954 is crash damage, so be wary of an aftermarket fairing and inspect behind the fairing for scrapes on the engine cases.

Any updates?

The 954 itself wasn’t updated, however it was an update of the earlier 2000/01 FireBlade 929. This bike was the first ‘new generation’ of Blade and made a claimed 152bhp with of torque. To ride they are very similar, however the 954’s extra grunt thanks to its bigger bore makes it the more popular model. If you want a bargain, get the 929 as it is less sought after and its price reflects this. Budget around £2500 for a good 929, a saving of around £1000 over a similar 954.

Honda's CBR900RR

What to pay:

Where the price of a very good condition 929 tails off at £3400, that’s where the 954 begins. A high mileage (mid-twenties) 954 can be found for around £3500 in a dealers with mid-teen mileage examples pushing this to just over £4000. This seems to be the sweet spot for a 954, however there are a few advertised for near to £5000, which is very optimistic.

Who to ask: – A forum dedicated to Fireblades of all shapes, sizes and spellings…



954cc, inline four, 16v, DOHC,




155bhp @ 11,250rpm

Torque: @ 9,500rpm




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