I don't know if this will get any interest, but I figured since it was already written, I might as well post it. Mods, feel free to delete. I wrote this for another member who is interested in buying a Blackbird. I figured I'd do it 'review style'. Honda envisioned creating a machine that would put them on the top of the big fours top speed rivalry, to earn them a place in history as the most potent speed-machine ever produced. And they did. Kind of. They just barely edged out the venerable Kawasaki ZX-11D in top speed trials, this much is true, but during the pursuit of this goal, they wound up designing in some odd and mismatched items that create a bit of a quirky machine. The Honda build quality, attention to detail, and silky smooth precision engineering abound in the bike, but corners have been cut in an attempt to keep the machine available to the masses while still making money on all the R&D that went into the Zed-Killing Bird. Its not a sport bike, you know. It looks like a sport bike, but it really isnt. It differs in a few very important ways. First, it is way too heavy to be a pure sport bike. Secondly, the power delivery is a bit different. Third, and certainly not last or least, the ergos arent nearly as tight. What this bike is, in fact, is a grand-touring (GT) bike that was built with a singular purpose; to go very, very fast in a straight line. The heavy machine is at a disadvantage in the tight stuff, especially with a more relaxed geometry than a true sport bike. When entering a corner, even a long fast sweeper, a bit too hot, the bike isnt happy about a change in direction. Worse, when the rider goes to scrub off entry speed a tad too late, the weight is heaped on the front tire, causing it to flatten out and kickback into the non-adjustable front suspension. This causes the bike to pitch back. Do this when actually beginning to lean over and you wind up with a near tank-slapper as the front tire and forks got through their little mating ritual dance. It is unsettling. Just when you thought things couldnt get any worse, in comes Hondas most diabolical invention this side of VTEC; the dreaded linked brake system (LBS). The LBS makes this particular situation just that much worse by not allowing the rider to give a nice step on the rear brake to trail brake the bike and cause the front end to straighten out. Many riders dont have any issue with the LBS, to be fair, but this rider despises them with every molecule in his being. If theres any good news here, it is that there are a couple of de-linking kits available. Ill be making this purchase. I will say that I think a lot of my hatred of this system is related directly to my constant running on wet, gravely, and frozen surfaces. If you live in a nice dry climate with good roads, you probably wont ever notice it one way or the other except in the lack of nose-dive that most other bikes with lower grade suspension exhibit, which brings me to my next gripe. The suspension is, for all intents and purposes, non-adjustable. The rear shock allows you to dial it in a bit, but nowhere near what a bike with of this caliber should be equipped with. The front suspension is, absurdly, non-adjustable. Im sure Honda did this to keep the costs down and hope, desperately Im sure, that the LBS properties would keep the bike flat in a stop and mask the forks shortcomings. Ive already noted the nasty weight/suspension issue with the front fork, and dont think that needs any further discussion. The rear performs well enough for me to forget about it in most circumstances. The whole package works fine for daily use, and deals fine with road irregularities. It is a real-world bike that doesnt like to be pushed hard in any other condition than straight lines or very long and predictable fast sweepers. Itll do tight stuff fine, but youll need to really be familiar with the properties of the machine and be willing to deal with the large weight penalty and non-adjustable suspension issues. So, while the XX clearly is not a true canyon slicer, it destroys true sport bikes when it comes to other aspects of riding. It is a fact that fighter pilots launched off aircraft carriers suffer tunnel-vision as their optical cornea is flattened under extreme acceleration. I have no doubt the Blackbird rider with a heavy hand gets to experience this firsthand. The word speed and the Honda Blackbird are nearly synonymous. The bike was very appropriately named after a bird, and theres no doubt this machine flies. Unlike a true sport bike, this machine doesnt require the same top-end only throttling that track derived machines do. While it doesnt quite have the bottom-end power that some of the super-standards do, it does make quite a bit down low. The delivery is nearly seamless; an exercise in linearity. Once the bike makes it to around 7000rpm, however, the engine seems to wake up from a dutiful existence of pulling the rider and chassis around and gets really gung-ho. The modern, reserved Japanese businessman who is the engine most of the time instantly turns into a ravaging Genghis Kahn and goes tearing to work destroying everything its alter ego has created. The sound changes from a docile whir to a banshee howl as the air gets sucked down the ram air intakes, gets set ablaze and blown with extreme force out of the twin tail pipes. It is truly one of the most Jekyll and Hyde personalities in the motorcycling world. When that wild barbarian side of the Blackbird is present, youd best be on your toes, or hell crush you. The Blackbird is a narcissist and is handily equipped to kill anyone, at any time, if their attention wanders elsewhere; as if it could. When the throttle is twisted with any vigor, a few different things happen. First, the world you once knew is left behind for a decidedly blurrier one. Acceleration is what this bike does best; maybe better than any other bike available. While it may not be the fastest bike on the planet anymore, or even the one that gets you to extreme speed the fastest, it absolutely does so seamlessly and with a level of competence that this rider has never found in any other bike. Super sport bikes have no refinement when it comes to acceleration; their task is to get you there as fast as possible, damn the consequences. The Blackbird can attain and maintain amazing speeds while keeping the rider in stellar comfort and control. It is stable to a fault, at any speed. I have yet to find the true top speed of this machine, and frankly I am more concerned about the tires shredding than I am about any part of the bike failing. The bike is solid. Solid to the point of feeling like it is sculpted from a single piece. Everything is well put together and, aside from suspension, a good match of high-performance bits and gentlemanly refinement. The rider is privy to a well-padded saddle that is a single piece unit capable of accommodating two real-sized people. The finish is typical Honda quality, and the instrumentation is relatively easy to read. The pegs are a bit tight for such a large bike, but put the rider in a good position to explore the bikes capabilities. The clipons are well placed, if a little low, and feel meaty in the palm. The throttle actuation throw is extremely good and very intuitive; better than most bikes (especially EFI equipped ones) Ive ridden. The EFI programming works well, but is a bit abrupt when coming off the line. Once underway the power is easy to modulate. I think it could be smoother with some Power Commander tweaking, but not necessary. While the true sport bike is a torture rack, the Blackbird isnt. It is, certainly, more aggressive than a super-standard, but not so much as a VFR or ST3. The rider position allows you to sit up and enjoy the air, or crawl under the paint and tuck into a Zen like tranquility that exists behind the windscreen. The reach is long enough that this rider finds the bike nearly sublime when leaning on a tank bag which is likely to be standard equipment for the Blackbird owner. As a sport touring rig, the Blackbird would be extremely difficult to displace as king of the hill; and I dont believe it has happened yet despite larger and faster bikes being introduced all the time. The Blackbird is extremely smooth; and while not to the point of being soul-less like many other Hondas, it is much smoother everywhere in the rev range. Itll cruise happily, nearly invisibly, at 55mph. Itll do the same at 85mph. Not much changes except wind pressure when the rider rolls at 95mph, which the Blackbird could easily maintain for hours on end. The only reason to move for hours and hours is to get somewhere. The Blackbird is a roomy bike. Unlike a lot of sport bikes, or even GT bikes, the Blackbird takes well to having luggage draped over its sleek lines. Several companies make luggage for the bike, and with its addition, the bike goes from a refined day-tripper to a multi-state mile-devouring land missile that has the ability to tote an entire wardrobe if needed. This machine, though initially built with the single purpose of becoming the king of the top-speed hill, it managed to earn a very secure spot as sport touring mogul. Sport touring riders appreciate some particular attributes in their bikes. In addition to the previously mentioned luggage options theres: good lighting, the ability to run a variety of gadgets, good range, good tire life, and ease (and rarity) of maintenance top the list. The Honda has an excellent headlight that can be made better with a swap of the bulb without infringing on available power for other goodies. At 440 watts to spare, the Blackbird has enough power to drive the most common moto-goodies a sport-touring rider would fit., and the larger fairing and well laid-out instruments make it relatively easy to find a place to put them. The slightly lower power (and smooth power delivery) of the XX makes for good tire life, and with the advent of ever widening tires for more powerful bikes, the 190 rear is becoming downright affordable by comparison. The Blackbird will get about 190 miles to a tank before the reserve light comes on (there is no reserve switch). By the end of a tank, most riders will be ready to get off for a stretch. Draining the tank three times in a day is an easily attainable feat, but Im not sure many riders would be willing to do much more unless they had some specific need. I can attest to the fact that the finding the bottom of the second tank marks the end of the seats comfort. It doesnt take much of a break to limber back up enough to ride through the third tank if need be. Being a Honda, the inline four is nearly trouble-free. Preventive maintenance comes in at longer than normal intervals in its class; nearly double its nearest rival the ZZR1200. Many sport-touring bikes are generally compromise machines that do nothing extremely well. The Blackbird is a bit of an anomaly in the sport-touring realm. While its forte is the ability to go extremely fast, it also is an extremely versatile bike that does an excellent job of eating miles in moderately good comfort and looking gorgeous while doing it. The Blackbird may not be king of the power or top-speed hill, but it still continues to dominate the world of long distance sport touring (with an emphasis on sport). It wont carve canyons like a 600cc supersport, but itll do better than most bikes in its class. It wont put to the highway like a Goldwing, but itll be much sportier, and decidedly more powerful for those who enjoy a more sporting perspective. The Blackbird is a rare bike that does everything very well, and few things just average, tipping the performance versus practicality scales to a point of near perfect balance. It is a bike that satisfies the hooligan speed-junkie while pacifying our responsible side. The Blackbird has a few quirks, but thankfully even these character flaws can be easily corrected, and the bike personalized to meet most riders needs to a nearly perfect fit.