Honda CBR 929 Fireblade regeneration in the words of her dedicated & lifelong owner Alastair
“It’s funny how motorcycles are different, you build up a relationship with them in a way you don’t with other machinery.
Some you love, some you trust and some you hate; but they always mean something to you.
My first bike at aged 17 (Honda CB250 RS) symbolised freedom, independence and to be brutally honest, the stupidity of youth. My second bike, a Yamaha RD350LC, put me in hospital for several weeks and off work for as many months. Then came my Suzuki PE175 that seemed to need rebuilding after every time you rode it… the list goes on.
Fair to say that bikes have been one of the most important things in my life and over the years I’ve owned probably 65 – 70 bikes in the 42 years I’ve been riding.
However, one of the most important bikes to me was my Honda CBR 929 Fireblade.
Even at the time it was new, it was not the most extreme superbike and with the Suzuki GSXR1000 coming out in 2001; it was soon overlooked by most, even the upgrade to 954 and much better styling did little to lift sales.
But for some reason this bike got under my skin. Perhaps it was just that point in my life and the fact I used it a lot for both commuting to work and for track days. I was also racing a little RVF400 at this point and wanted to move up to a larger capacity class. Therefore, the obvious thing to do was change the Fireblade into full-on race bike.
I then raced the Fireblade for a few years, eventually giving up racing when my son was born and the slow realisation that I was no Valentino Rossi.
The Fireblade was then pressed back into service as my road/track bike and used for a few more years until some idiot in a white van stopped in front of me and reversed flat out for a parking space he had just passed without checking in his mirrors.
One written off Fireblade later I subsequently bought a Honda Blackbird and purchased the Fireblade back from the insurance company. I now had a dedicated track bike as the damage to the Fireblade was all cosmetic and a decent road bike in the Blackbird.
However, the Fireblade did not get too many track outings as most of my mates had stopped doing track days. So, the Fireblade slowly worked its way to the back of the garage, got covered in the normal rubbish that gets stored in your garage until it had not turned a wheel in six(ish) years.
In the meantime, I’d put over 90,000 miles on the Blackbird which was now getting a bit tired and to be honest a bit too heavy for me, so it was time to look for a new bike.
How much! Every bike I wanted was £15,000 or even more expensive so it was time to think again
What I wanted was a lightweight, comfortable bike that had about 140(ish) BHP, ideally the new Suzuki GSX-S 1000 GT or Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX.
At this point in time an interesting idea entered my thoughts – what about turning the old Fireblade into a comfortable sports tourer?
It weighs about 170kg (dry), has about 150 BHP and should not take too much money to put a new top yoke, flat bars and extend the cabling.
The more I thought about it the more compelling the idea became. I also decided I wanted the bike to look like it came out of the factory as a sports tourer so perhaps I needed a bit of professional help to tackle some of the more complex tasks like extending the wiring to the switchgear (I’ve never liked the look of someone that has put flat bars on a sports bike and all kinds of interesting and inappropriate routing of cables)
So, the next big question… who could help me both recommission the bike and get the level of professional finish I wanted to make the bike look like it came out of the factory as a sports tourer?
This was possibly both the hardest and easiest decision to make. The hardest part was trying to find somewhere I could trust to complete the work – a likeminded group of individuals who care about motorcycles as much as I do.
The easy part was once finding mono motorcycles, making the decision to get them to do the work for me.
I am an absolute self-confessed perfectionist when it comes to motorcycles. It is absolutely amazing to meet two people in Daniel and Katy who are as obsessed as me about motorcycles, the way they look, how they ride and how important it is to make sure they are mechanically correct – safe, reliable and set up correctly.
Therefore, the day came when I trailered the bike over to mono motorcycles and handed it over with an agreed build spec.
It would be fair to say it was not a straightforward process:
- The fuel was horrid as it was sat in the bike for years
- This clogged up the injectors so new injector bodies had to be sourced (second hand) fitted and set up
- The full service revealed a few shims needed to be replaced as they were out of tolerance
- One of the fork seals was knackered so needed replacing
- The list goes on…
Once the basic bike was in a good state and proven to run reliably the transformation work could start.
Katy was amazing in updating me regularly with emails and pictures on the build and answering a bunch of stupid questions about things that I had not thought about in the original build.
The build progressed quickly, and I was even asked for a fitting – I’ve never brought a suit from a tailor so getting fitted for a motorcycle all seemed very surreal, but again it was just another fantastic insight into how far mono motorcycles go to make sure everything is absolutely right for you.
The build was finally finished and the result is absolutely amazing. The bike is so much better than I could have hoped for – it just looked right.
It didn’t look like a sports bike that had flat bars nailed on as an afterthought it looked exactly as I wanted as if it came out the factory like this.
And then it came to riding it – WOW! Fast, light, balanced and brakes that are absolutely amazing. I’ve managed to do just over 5000 miles on the bike this year including a trip to southern France.
The more I ride the Fireblade the more I like it. I went down to France with a mate who was on a Pan European and I think I was more comfortable than he was on the ride down and when it came to charging round the French Alps; I definitely knew who was having more fun. The bike has even made me want to do some more track days. I could go on and on about how pleased I am with the bike but I won’t, but what I will do is share some advice:
If you have an older sports bike that is getting a bit uncomfortable definitely think about converting it to a comfy sports tourer.
You are definitely in the right hands with mono motorcycles – the work they have done for me is nothing short of AMAZING!
Daniel and Katy are really nice people and care deeply about what they do and how they do it.
I’ve been looking for ages for someone I can trust to look after my bikes and I have to look no further than mono motorcycles maybe you should too”
From Daniel & Katy
“Thank you so much Alastair for the trust & belief you have in mono motorcycles.
Alastair’s Fireblade regeneration project is without doubt our greatest success story this year & what a pleasure it was to bring this very special motorcycle back to life for him.
Alastair invested just over £4500 in parts & labour in the regeneration project for the Honda CBR 929 Fireblade.
If you are considering a regeneration project of your own, please do contact Daniel or Katy on T: 01243 576212 / 07899 654446 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
All the best, Daniel & Katy”
Alastair has kindly sent this Google review over for us.
“Absolutely first rate service from first rate people – simply the best place to take your motorcycle for any work no matter how big or small the job.
Like many of you motorbikes are one of the most important things in my life (I have to say this as my wife might read it so I can’t admit they are the most important). So, finding someone you can trust to work on them has always been a bit of a challenge for me. I’ve been very lucky over the past 10 or so years as I found a brilliant mechanic who used to look after my bikes, however he recently retired and I had to find someone else I could trust to do the work.
I was introduced to Mono Motorcycles by a friend around the start of 2022 when I was looking for someone to help me with a project – taking my old race bike (fireblade – 292/RRY) and turning it into a comfy sports bike for someone who is getting on a bit. From the second I met Daniel and Katy it was obvious they are passionate about motorcycles and equally passionate about building the best motorcycle business on the South Coast. I can’t commend them enough for the exceptional quality of the service, work and support they have provided during the build of my bike. They absolutely got what I was trying to achieve, showed me examples of what they had done in the past to assist in the development of the project.
Every element of the project has been completed to the highest possible standard of workmanship including the recommissioning of the bike that has been sat unloved in the back of my garage for the last 10 years. Lots of the fuel system had to be stripped, cleaned and replaced along with replacement fork seals and some other consumables before the flat bar conversion could begin. At every step of the journey Katy kept me informed of what was happening including regular picture updates to DropBox to allow me to watch the transformation. The end result is a staggering good bike. I can say completely honestly that the bike would be nowhere as good if I had tried to convert it myself or if I had asked anyone else to do the work. The working brief I provided to the team at Mono Motorcycles was “make the bike look like and ride like it came out of the factory with the flat bar conversion” they exceeded this brief in every respect.
I also have a little CRF250 Rally that I use as a Trans European Trail (TET) bike. I got Mono Motorcycles to service the bike and change chain/sprockets before a +2000Km trip on/off road on the French TET. After receiving the bike back from the service it ran better than ever and did the entire trip without missing a beat.
At the beginning of this review I talked about trust and the important part that it plays (for me) in finding someone to look after my bikes. I trust Mono Motorcycles to understand what I want them to do, I trust them to do the work and I trust them to do it at a very reasonable price, oh and they are exceptionally nice people… what more could you possibly ask for?”